My brother and I embarked on many journeys together throughout our lives. We’ve been all across
Europe as well as up/down the east coast of the United States. I can say without hesitation that each trip has been filled with copious amounts of laughter, inside jokes, and even a few moments of serious discussion. Maybe we had a few misunderstandings or disagreements along the way, but they were all insignificant since I can not recall any argument. If you are reading this and thinking about embarking on a journey of your own for any extended period of time, it is important to choose your traveling companion wisely. I was lucky enough to be the youngest brother of four males in our family. I have a special relationship with each of them and traveling with any brother would most definitely be dissimilar from the other along each journey.
One trip I love to recall in particular was a journey through the Swiss Alps with my brother, Jason. The
landscape, from a distance, is as if you are staring directly into a snowy mountain masterpiece painted by none other than Bob Ross. Driving through the winding mountain roads with cyclist, motorcycles, and other automobiles, I could spot lone trees speckling the white and silver Alps. A few times along the way my brother would roll down his window and let out the loudest yodel/catcall with motorists turning their heads. For those not familiar with the “southern catcall”, it is a bloodcurdling yell that you would hear at concerts such as, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Toby Keith, and ZZ Top. Moving on… I, of course, lifted my “Guide through the Swiss Alps” book to cover my face as a I slouched down a bit in my chair. I could just imagine one of the cyclist taking a turn over the side of a mountain face after his ear was blasted by my brother’s southern rendition of the Ricola commercial. E.g. Ricola Commercial YouTube.
Once we crossed the pinnacle of the mountain we were driving, we began a lazy drive down into the town which was situated in a luscious green valley that wrapped around the perimeter of the valley. I looked across the steep ridges and cliffs trying to focus all my senseson the magnitude of my
surroundings. I heard a soft, deep pitched ringing off in the distance. As I walked down a steep road, my senses fixed upon the object that was producing that sound. It was a large cow grazing in the distance with a large cowbell dangling underneath it’schin. Cold air from the flowing streams could be felt within each of my breaths. My eyes were bouncing from each vivid color as if I only had a limited time to process it all. My brother and I reached the bottom of the hill on foot and a lincoln log type structure donned the name of our hotel. As Jason checked us into our room using his impressive German vocabulary, I wandered the lobby and flipped through each brochure. My legs ached from such a long drive and I was more than ready to stretch out for a few minutes before heading to dinner. Jason waved his hand and I grabbed my bags as we headed up the creaking
wooden stairs to our room. He had a grin that crept on his face ever since he had taken the keys from the receptionist. It looked like he wanted to laugh, but since he was always in a good mood I did not dwell on it. He unlocked our door and started dying laughing. My brother has a contagious laugh and I was laughing along with him before I even knew what he saw. As I entered our Swiss hotel, I saw that our room contained bunk beds. All I could do was turn to him and say, “BUNKS?!” He was laughing
so hard that I think a few weary travelers poked their heads from their rooms to see what was happening.
Memories like these are what have made me the person I am today. All my brothers have impacted me in ways that have changed and shaped my character for the rest of my life. Jason gave me the opportunity to visit him and be his traveling companion throughout Europe 7 different times! I learned three important lessons along the way. Jason taught me to always look for a bright side to things. As
simple as that sounds, it changed my entire thought process and has opened up doors of opportunity beyond anything I could have imagined. Look for the good because the bad will always pop it’shead up, so there is no need to make that list. The second thing was that there is always something better out there. I was astounded by the tunnels we drove through to get to our destination. Jason would
say, “If you think these cliffs and tunnels are incredible wait until we reach the other side.” Finally, Jason taught me what a man should strive to be. My brother exudes kindness, self-control, and optimism. Family are not just people you are raised among. Family is deep. Family is love. Family is about learning who you are and what you can become.
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”