Thanks to Natalie of Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown for today’s stellar Q&A post. Be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

What’s your name, where are you from, and share a little about your mom or dad.
Natalie Vereen-Davis. I'm from Charleston, South Carolina, though I lived all over South Carolina during my childhood. My mom and dad are my travel inspirations--they had my younger sister and I traveling when we were very small, which is why I love to travel so much to this day! My mom is an accountant and my dad is in banking, so our trip budgets were always very carefully balanced even before we left the house.

How often do you travel together?
My parents, my sister, and I still travel together frequently--but now, we often have kids and spouses with us as well. On average, we generally do one larger family trip once a year where all 8 of us travel together. On those trips, we sometimes go all out for an international experience (we all went to Germany in late 2015), while other times, it's a laid-back visit to Walt Disney World. If our schedules don't allow for that, we will get everyone together for a long weekend in the North Carolina mountains.

I also take plenty of smaller trips with one or both of my parents during the year: in the last few years, my dad, my daughter, and I went to Charlotte; both parents and I went to the Orlando theme parks; and my dad and I went to Lake Lure, North Carolina to see the fall foliage. Usually, if I want to travel, someone is always available!

Best tip or words of advice for traveling with parents?
I think the biggest issue that we all face (especially now that my sister and I are adults) is carefully laying out expectations before we start a trip. It's easy to assume that someone else is packing X or planning for Y when, in reality, no one did it. We've let things fall through the cracks like that on past trips, and, while we tend to get over disagreements quickly, those moments can cause some tension until we figure out how we're going to handle it.

Any funny stories or light-hearted blunders?
My dad is such a light-hearted person, but he acts all gruff. There's a running joke in our family that my dad had fun once and it was awful! Usually, he'll put up the stoic act for a while but he can't ever manage it for more than five or ten minutes before he's laughing with the rest of us.

We've also had some major hiccups in our travels as a family. We nearly missed a flight to New Orleans (as in, we were sprinting to the gate as they closed it!) because my mom forgot to book the rental car until 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave. We didn't realize the difference between a local and express train during our first trip to England and, due to the delay on the local, we watched our plane leave us as we stood in the terminal at Gatwick. And once, in a story that's gone down in family lore, my dad lost his sunglasses when he bent over to look at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts; the rock is in this pit so people can't get close to it. Well, that didn't stop my dad, who took it upon himself to jump into the pit (where he DEFINITELY was not supposed to be), grab his glasses, and scale the wall again before anyone could yell at him! The history nerd in the grown-up me cannot believe that he did that, as he's usually quite strict about rules and barriers, even to this day.

What are your favorite activities on vacation together?
We all love history, which is convenient. We focus on museums, walking tours, and historical sights when we travel. We're definitely not sit-by-the-pool-and-rest people, so we're up and moving and trying to experience our destination to the best of our ability.

What places are on your shared bucket list?
We all want to go to see the Northern Lights (though we're not location specific on that one), take an Alaskan cruise, and be the lighthouse keepers at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.

Planes, trains, or automobiles?
For us, it's an even split between planes and automobiles. We love a good old fashioned road trip (and once drove from New York City to Prince Edward Island, Canada), but we're not adverse to hopping on a plane when necessary.

Any notable or unique culinary experiences?
I have to laugh at this question because my dad and I are the adventurous eaters while my mom and sister have the blandest palettes ever. We went to Paris, and my dad and I were SO excited to try the food; however, my mom and sister wanted nothing but ham on baguettes. This was way before cell phones were common, so we couldn't split up--there was no way for us to really find one another again if we wandered too far, so my dad and I ate a lot of plain bread on that trip. Now that we carry our phones with us, he and I (and my daughter, who also loves trying new foods!) tend to seek out culinary treats when we travel. On our last big trip together, my dad, daughter, and I found this tiny restaurant in Fussen, Germany, that served up traditional Bavarian fare: we got three huge dishes and spent two hours trying everything!

Do you have a favorite travel memory that encapsulates your parent’s spirit?
When I was 11 and my sister was 9, we were both deeply in love with the Anne of Green Gables series and the miniseries. When my mom discovered that L.M. Montgomery had drawn much of her inspiration for the books from her home on Prince Edward Island, she and my dad planned an epic road trip that centered around the places Montgomery discusses in her novels. That trip was like living inside a book for my 6th grade self, and I am so grateful that my mom and dad chose to make that our big trip that year. My mom and dad are incredibly thoughtful, and choosing to go to PEI so we could learn about Anne Shirley (instead of them going to an all-inclusive resort or something similar) is a great example of how they nurtured our interests.

What do you cherish the most about your travels together?
We have made some incredible memories, and we have learned about the world together. I cherish the knowledge that they have given me through our adventures, and I hope to honor that by taking my own daughter and son on many, many family trips in the future.

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