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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rojas

Going Places With My Dad

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

My dad's birthday was on Monday, and so, I wanted to write a little something to celebrate his life.

I have been thinking a lot about what I could write about my dad. What is the defining thing that I have taken away from the ways he raised me? Also, what can I succinctly describe in just one blog post?

When I think about my dad, I will always think about going places.

Because, there is no one on planet Earth that I have traveled to more places with than my dad. We've been to France and England, New York and Chicago, Arizona and Washington, D.C., and countless other places in-between.

I can always count on my dad to be ready for an adventure and willing to hop on a flight to anywhere and everywhere.

My Dad and I outside the White House

Prior to the aforementioned trip to Washington D.C., I excitedly texted my dad one morning when Jane Goodall announced a speaking engagement there. If you know me at all, you probably know that it was obviously my one true dream in life to be in the same room as Dr. Goodall one day. So I asked my dad if he would be interested in coming with me.

Instead of a response, I received only a screenshot, showing a purchase receipt for orchestra seats at Jane Goodall's lecture. A few months later, we went and walked 50,000 miles, ate amazing Chinese food and all of my dreams came true.

Two years ago, I was sent to Chicago for a work conference and, of course, asked my dad if he would want to tag along. And, of course, he said yes.

A few days before takeoff, my dad texted me yet another screenshot of Hamilton tickets, purchased last minute, for one of the nights we'd be there. We watched the show (for our third time), ate more Chinese food (starting to see a pattern I did not notice before...) and indulged in deep-dish pizza (what else?). It was the best.

Days before the world shut down due to COVID-19, we were scheduled to fly to New York for the weekend. We had plans of more pizza, likely more Chinese food, and yet another viewing of Hamilton.

However, the more I read about the mysterious disease that had just arrived in the U.S., and had recently been confirmed in New York City, I told my dad I wasn't comfortable going. Typically, even though I'm not sure my dad agreed with me at the time, he left the decision up to me, sent our tickets to a friend and we ended up staying home that weekend.

All of these anecdotes aren't to brag about my travels, but I guess they are to brag about my dad. From him, I've learned the gift of quality time, travel and experiences, and learned to value them above material possessions. While I do love things, I love experiences more, and I know I got that from him.

On top of that, I know my dad's love language is definitely quality time. Once, when one of my favorite bands was coming through town and I didn't have anyone available to go with me, I asked my dad to go. Even though he had never heard of the band before, he agreed (and of course, if you're sensing a theme in this story, he bought the tickets for both of us). Now, we're already purchased tickets to our third Bear's Den concert together, and even danced to one of their songs during the Father-Daughter dance at my wedding.

That's the thing I wanted to share about my dad. He'll always be there.

I see jokes a lot on TikTok about dads who don't even know their kid's birthdays or the names of their friends. That's never been my experience with my dad (sorry, not sorry, just can't relate). My dad was always happy to tag along with my friends or hear stories about my life.

Whether it's a hiking trail I want to try, a trip I want to take, a concert I want to go to, a musical playing at the Fox I want to go to, a movie I want to see... He'll be there. Even if it's not his cup of tea, he'll be there.

When I wanted to play soccer in a league that was a 30 minute drive away from our house, instead of the much closer option, my dad agreed and drove me to practice every Tuesday and Thursday. Those are some of my fondest memories, now, driving back and forth every week and talking about life and politics and so many other things. And I'm not just saying that because of all the times he'd stop at Five Guys or Publix or Chick-Fil-A to get us dinner on the way back...

I'm just thankful that my dad taught me the importance of spending time together, of showing up for each other, and of experiencing the world. My dad taught me to value travel and other cultures and seeing the world and trying new things.

These are things I will always be thankful for. I am thankful for a great dad who shows up and cares about my life.

Now, the only question left is... Where to next?

I love you dad, happy (one day belated) birthday!


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