An Unforgettable Father-Daughter Trip

6.16 - Gooseberry Falls State Park in Minnesota - US by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

The Power of Fatherhood and Travel

I remember it like yesterday.

We were at Gooseberry Falls on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. The sunset scintillated off the water in burning diamond glints as my sister and I splashed across the rocks. The roar of the waterfall cocooned us as a chilly breeze sent shivers down my arms. It was summer, but the heat of the day began to cool as the sun set.

My sister had a knack for skipping rocks. Being a tiny cinnamon stick with arms, I couldn’t skip a rock to save my life, which my sister (who was 5 years older than me) liked to relentlessly tease me about. (Don’t worry, we’re best friends now) It was so frustrating holding that rock in my hand and knowing, knowing, I’d never get it to skip.

After trying for a good 15 minutes with no success, I glanced back at the shore. Standing there was my dad. He was a scrawny guy with glasses and a bushy mustache. I still remember how young he looked, like a fresh-outta-college kid (he wasn’t). He had messy dark hair, bright green eyes and the warmest smile.

My dad had a way with people. He was a kind person with a great sense of humor and the kind of laugh that made you laugh, too. We all know someone like that, right? Where they could say the worst, most embarrassment-inducing Dad Pun and still get a chuckle out of even the grumpiest sourpuss.

I caught his eye. He gave me a wink and chuckled as my rock disappeared into the water without a single skip. Despite the disappointment, his chuckle made me smile, too—

Because if we succeed the first time we try, success doesn’t mean as much.

Failure holds a deeper meaning that lasts us a lifetime.

“Keep trying,” he told me. “Don’t stop.”

So when my rock finally skirted across the surface of the sunset-lit water, my father’s resounding whoop echoed inside my head louder than any waterfall.

A waterfall is a lot like life. Waterfalls have many different meanings across many cultures, but there is one in particular that really stands out to me:

It is a symbol of change. Nothing remains the same. As water is redirected from the river and falls into the lake, it begins its metamorphosis. We are constantly evolving through the experiences we have in life, traveling these murky pathways to our destination, crashing through and around obstacles that block our path. We are the waterfall, transformed by the journey we took.

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of this lesson every day. It was something my dad taught me from a young age, that my actions today affect tomorrow—

Keep trying.

Don’t stop.

Learn from your mistakes.

Failure is a part of life. It is how we learn, how we grow, how we evolve. It is just as important as success itself, because failure teaches us more than success ever will.

You cannot succeed without failure.

I will never forget our trip to Gooseberry Falls. I will never forget his whoop when I tasted success as my rock skipped across the water’s surface. And I will never forget how this moment shaped my future.

When it’s something I really, truly desire — no matter how many times I fail — I pick myself up off the ground and try again. Be it small things like frying a good donut or training my cats not to yowl at 4 in the morning, to bigger things like writing a novel or starting up a travel business… the failures build my success, and they do that because of the lesson I learned in Gooseberry Falls from my father.

Keep trying.

Don’t stop.

Unfortunately, my dad passed 8 years ago so I can’t say this to his face… but I wish I could tell him:

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for teaching me how to succeed. I’ll see you again at the next waterfall.

What about you?

What are some of your happiest trips with a parent or parental figure? What was one trip that had a big impact on you, and why? Comment below or email me to begin a conversation and share your story today!

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Wishing you bliss,

—Lindsey, the Sun Bliss Luxury Blogger


Ia Orana! My name is Lindsey and I am a luxury travel specialist from Minnesota. I have trudged through blinding white winters, trekked through state fairs during horrid humidity, and come out the other end looking for a more blissful day in the sun. My agency is Sun Bliss Travel, which uses its industry connections and specialized knowledge to design magical luxury vacations for travelers who want unforgettable VIP experiences.

But I am not just an agent or a (woman-led) small business owner — I’m an avid traveler myself who loves sunsets, cats, coffee and cooking. I live in Minnesota with my adorable fiance and together we’ve built a life full of love, fun and bliss.

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