I was fortunate to grow up in the most incredibly loving, supportive, and caring family. I have two older brothers who are 16 and 13 years older than I am, and a sister who is two years older than I am. Together with an immediate family unit of six people we are a clan … supporting each other in every way possible when it counts the most.
Growing up I lived in many different countries and was fortunate enough to be able to travel with my family for vacations on the holidays. My father was away a lot for business working tremendously hard, but my mom was always front and center making sure we grew up in a happy household. I have no misconceptions with respect to how lucky I was and am for the family I was born into.
My mother is German so we spent many years bouncing around Europe, New England, and to our main family home in the Bahamas. With such a global family we would always get together once or twice a year in the Bahamas for the most incredible Christmas vacations.
My brothers were particularly set upon my sister and me not becoming too “Girly.” So, we grew up learning how to ride four wheelers, rolling around in the sand, learning to fix engines, camping on deserted islands, and taking the most incredible wilderness trips around the world.
Here’s one example to illustrate what a unique and dynamic family I grew up in:
Each Christmas we would all convene in the Bahamas, gather our camping supplies where we would take our 35 foot powerboat, and motor to a deserted island somewhere in the Bahamas. The Bahamas has approximately 700 islands, and only 200 are approximately populated, so we were spoiled for choice.
Once we arrived on an island my sister and I were tasked with finding firewood, my brothers and dad set up the tents in the campsite, and my mom set up the decorations & food. We would explore the island by day, play board games at night, go spearfishing for dinner, and build the most incredible sand castles.
We literally spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on a deserted island up until my teenage years. My mother was so fantastic she would even pack battery-operated Christmas lights and decorate a surrounding bush on the island as well as pack some of our Christmas presents to spread around the tree. It was absolutely wild & tremendously unique.
On occasion we would get trapped in a storm on our way back to our island where we lived and I remember being about seven or eight years old with 25 foot seas left and right of the boat. I was so tiny at that point that I could only see ocean … I would look up and see the sky. My brothers and dad would strap my sister and me down to the back of the boat, and cheekily, one of my brothers would sing Gilligan’s Island just to mess with us. Sometimes I’m surprised we all made it back in one piece!
The stories could go on and on, but suffice to say, I grew up in a family who promoted curiosity and learning from a very young age. To this day I am curious about everything, question everything, and always take initiative to do things on my own if I can!