What I did on my summer vacation picture from childhood

Remember having to write “What I did on my Summer Vacation” essays? Well, sharpen those pencils

Where did the opportunity to tell all your peers “What I did on my Summer Vacation” go? Here in the USA, as September rolls around, it’s not just the kids that are in back-to-school mode. Everyone is looking forward. They’ll ask you, “How was your summer?” but it’s clear that a monosyllabic or few-syllabic response is preferred. “Fine.” “Hot.” “It went fast.”

When you do have an adventure to talk about, not many people are geared to listen.

That’s why you should be writing, not waiting for someone to ask!

Narrating—or the opportunity to narrate—“what I did on summer vacation” is a lost art. Remember
when that was the first homework the teacher assigned?

I was one of the few elementary students who liked the assignment. Climbing trees, playing in the creek, and watermelon seed fights mixed with close friendships and visits from cousins seemed worthy of narration.

Most kids dreaded it. Some figured it would be a contest on who had the most interesting summer and they would be the clear loser. Others struggled with the writing part. Some questioned why the current year teacher couldn’t come up with a more imaginative topic. Writing about being stuffed into the way-back of a station wagon with siblings and without air conditioning was hard to make into compelling reading.

But back then, as now, teachers had their reasons. It wasn’t just to assess their students’ ability to string words together into comprehensible sentences and paragraphs. Teachers then (and now) collected clues about their charges’ personalities. They gained insight into who the kids spent their time with and what their family unit looked like. It was the first step in figuring out what made the monsters students tick.

The Lost Art of “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”

And therein lies the lost art of writing about summer vacations and travel adventures—giving hints and insights into your life. Weave clues to the things that really matter to you into what you did, where you went, and what you saw.

Your Turn

Summer vacation can be wet

Even less-than-flattering photos bring “What I did on my summer vacation” essays alive

Try your hand at writing your own “What I did on my Summer Vacation” essay. Be sure to include:

• What made the trip memorable?
What type of relationships did you have with your companions? Were they co-adventurers, partners in crime, or co-cell-mates of the RV?
• What do you treasure (hopefully not resent) most about the people you spent time with? How did they affect your travels and your enjoyment of your time?
• What part of your summer vacation was tradition? How did this trip demonstrate those traditions? Break from them?
• If you traveled, who choose the destination and why?
• If you were disappointed in your time, explain why.
• Photos with and without people.
• What did you like most about your trip or free-time?
• What did you like least (besides it coming to an end)?
• Your personality!

If you come up dry or our looking for a more creative bent, apply some of Christina Hamlet’s “Table Topics” ideas for What I Did on My Summer Vacation into your writing.