I just booked us a last minute trip to Dallas for a West Point bowl game. We are leaving three days before Christmas and coming home Christmas Eve day. It’s insane and spontaneous, and I am giddy with excitement! We need to do something a little crazy to get away from what is making us crazy.
On my Instagram I use a hashtag sometimes when I post non-travel items: #lifebetweentrips. Lately, life between trips has been pretty mundane. Don’t get me wrong, these are first-world issues. We are blessed indeed. We are all healthy, have everything we need, have wonderful friends and family…the works. We have nothing to complain about. But it’s your typical life in suburban America, and we have become consumed by the routine.
This routine is the very reason I am so passionate about family travel. Our family needs to physically leave our home in order to mentally leave our bad 21st century habits. The moment we board a plane or even drive away in a packed-up car, we transform. There’s excitement and anticipation; there’s so much to talk about that doesn’t involve school, sports, friend-drama, work, etc. We are relying on each other and looking out for each other in ways that we don’t at home.
Now, for a long time, I thought I was the only one who recognized this phenomenon. But recently my husband acknowledged it as well. My kids feel the difference when we travel and enjoy the time together, but they are becoming more reluctant to leave the bad home habits. This reluctance is precisely the reason we need to continue to leave.
I had been having a minor tantrum for much of September and October because I could not get the family to commit to a winter-break trip. We had just returned from a fantastic time in Costa Rica, so I assumed that I was striking while the iron was hot! However, as the girls transitioned into the new school schedules and sports demands, they told me that Christmas break was for resting…and they were “soooooo tired.” Yes, I get the tired issue. But travel for me is exhilarating! Travel for me is rejuvenating! Travel is my cure for tired! But, the whining won out, and I agreed not to book a trip that involved walking enough miles to break a Fitbit or traveling in coach for ten hours. They were lucky that the Catalonians voted for independence, because I had been eyeing flights to Barcelona for months! I acquiesced when I thought we may end up in the middle of a civil war. Even I have limits.
Now, I’m sure there is all kinds of judgement out there waiting to pounce on the statements I have made. For starters, Funtrip lady, you LIVE in a vacation area. People come to Southern California to take a vacation. Why can’t you stay home and enjoy a “staycation” with all of the wonderful things around you? Or even better, why isn’t being at home with your beloved family playing board games and baking cookies enough for you? My answer: because, because, because, because because. Enough said. And, did you ever notice that the heart-warming Norman Rockwell family scenes involved young children and not teenagers? Life with teenagers if no longer “easy, peasy, lemon squeezy;” instead it’s “difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.” (cred: @thedailydad and reposted by my fabulously funny friend @thenewstepford) Bottom line, we need to reconnect as a family, and that doesn’t happen as often when we are at home. Maybe it’s just us, but it is what it is.
Now, we HAD actually booked a long weekend. over winter break, in Brian Head, Utah, to do some skiing and snow time. My girls threw a fit when they found out basically because it wasn’t their idea. It was actually my husband’s idea to go to the mountains as he likes the mountains, and we skipped the ski season last year. Since we rarely do what my husband wants to do, I figured it was his turn to decide. In fact, it was going to make a good blogpost as we were using AirBnb for the first time, and the condo we chose was super cozy. I’m sure we could have played a LOT of board games there. However, with the lack of snow in Brian Head right now, we are waning in out motivation to make the trek. So we may still be in the market for a little jaunt after Christmas, once we recover from our whirlwind Christmas football extravaganza!
And why won’t I just let my kids stay home for the rest of break and lounge around? Because they are teenagers, and the clock is ticking. There are only a few more years left, and then our family travel will change forever. Perhaps we will still be The Funtrips, but it will be different: we will have to work around their careers, they ask to bring their boyfriends (or eventually their own families) or they will fly in to meet us since they are living in another city (or country). I don’t know what the future will bring. So until then, we travel!
(Featured image photo cred: Ross Parmly)