It started a couple of years ago. The usually excited reaction I got when I mentioned a family vacation turned to polite interest, and eventually to the words, “I don’t want to go anywhere.” My daughter, the teenager.
I didn’t have the opportunity to travel when I was a kid, and I don’t mean I didn’t get to see the great cathedrals of Europe. I mean I didn’t get to leave Wisconsin, or even my home town very often. My parents got divorced when I was two and a big trip for me was to my cousin’s farm nine miles away.
So the first chance I got, I hit the road, and I’ve had the travel bug ever since.
We’ve been traveling with our kids since they were babies, and it’s been one of my greatest joys. I love the thought of them heading out into the world with lots of experiences to draw on, and an appreciation of people and the different ways they live. I also love the fact that when we are on the road, we focus entirely on our family, not on the million other things that fight for our attention everyday.
“I Want to Stay Home”
I knew the words were going to come. My kids are social butterflies, and developmentally speaking, it’s entirely normal to want to start spending more time with your friends and less with your parents. School breaks are filled with sleepovers, sports events, movies, and hanging out with friends. The travel budget is being used for more short term “tournament travel” than eight day treks across the country in the van these days.
So what am I going to do about it?
No matter how the kids feel about travel at the moment, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still important to me. It’s been a long process for me to arrive at the conclusion that it’s okay if I take an occasional jaunt alone or with a friend. Being a stay at home mom for so many years, and then a teacher, with a convenient schedule, I’ve always been home. At first the kids and I were a little group, all of us going everywhere together while my husband was at work during the day. Over the past few years though, the kids have all gotten their own “things.” Their sports, choirs, fantasy sports leagues, and friends.
I’ve realized, it’s not only okay for me to have my own interests, it sets a healthy example for all of us.
As far as family travel is concerned, there will still be family vacations. For the time being, just not as many or as long as they have been in the past. Perhaps there will be more that are just Steve and I. But I do know there is one time of year we all agree we need to get out of town.
After all, we do live in Minnesota.
How has your family travel changed over the years?