World Travel is No Joke

IMG_0735What was initially a joke has turned out to be a yearly tradition.  Let me explain.  About 5 years ago, my daughter, Madison, brought home a flyer for a trip to Turkey and Greece from school.  The trip was for an EF Tour that two of her middle school teachers were leading.  She handed it to her dad and said, “I want to go.”  He brought it to my attention, and I immediately froze.  On one hand, I want my girls to do everything I was too afraid to do (travel the world), and on the other, Turkey and Greece–thousands of miles away from home!  Yikes!

I gave my consent on the condition that I went along, too, which was truly a commitment on my part because I had such an incredible fear of flying at this point that I dreaded my words the moment they left my mouth.  I spent the entire 9 months sweating every time I thought about the trip to Turkey/Greece.  I got a recommendation for a program that worked for me, and you can read how I conquered my fear of flying in this post.

Anyway, since that trip, we’ve been to Costa Rica, Italy, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Vancouver, France, Japan, New Zealand, Portland, Philadelphia, New York, and some of these places twice!  One little flyer has turned into thousands (a hundred thousand?) of miles flown.

But that first trip turned out to be a joke.  Madison finally confessed just this year that she brought the flyer home thinking that we’d tell her no that she couldn’t go to Turkey and Greece with strangers, and was surprised that we both said yes.  Not only did we say yes, we followed-through.  So, I suppose the joke is on her because now she’s been all over the world with a trip to Iceland planned for next year.

So now my third child decided to present her idea of a ‘gap’ year after high school graduation that included traveling the world for a year with me.  I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.  I thought about it, decided it was an amazing idea because the best school is out in the real world seeing other cultures up close and personal, and talked to her dad about the idea.  He agreed it was a fantastic idea and I told the world (see my posts about traveling the world) about our plans to flee California.  I told friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who would listen.

Joke is on me again.  Sigh.  On our recent trip to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England, Sam confessed that the idea of traveling during a gap year was a joke–she never thought I’d say yes first to a gap year (I’m very pro-college because I didn’t get to go), and second to flying all over the map.

I was so disappointed.  Not only because I was so excited for the travel adventure but also because I would have loved to spend so much time with my third child alone.  She never, ever got very much one-on-one time with me–or more aptly stated: I never got much alone time with her.  Sam is an insanely interesting person who sees connections between things that I’ve never considered.  She raises many ‘what ifs’ that are so deeply profound.  She always makes me think.  And Sam thinks I’m funny, so that’s a huge bonus.

My husband said I should go alone.  What, exactly, is he trying to tell me? 🙂  Did he say that to get rid of me or did he say that because of my obvious disappointment?  One may never know, and I don’t really care–all I want to do is travel, and if I have to go alone, I know it will be a very different experience than going with the family.  As a total introvert, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to schedule a bunch of group tours?  I love tour groups because everything is done for you, and there’s forced events and forced interaction with others.  There’s also downtime, and a chance to spend a moment alone in one’s room–something I need on a daily basis.

The bottom line is I have been tricked twice by my girls but both tricks are going to result is continued travel.  Sometimes the best jokes are the ones that lead you to where you want to be anyway, purely by accident.  To this I say, ‘Pura vida!’


5 thoughts on “World Travel is No Joke

    1. The most economical way for families to see the world is through tour groups like Explorica and EF Tours. What I like about them is you can send your child with chaperones and/or go with them, too. You can put the trip on a payment plan, making payments every month, so it becomes an affordable option. And what I really like are the tour guides who usually have a Masters degree in their country and its history. Plus, bonus, you don’t have to plan anything–just show up at breakfast, get on the bus afterward, and enjoy being ferried around.

      The benefits of world travel cannot be underestimated. I’m so glad this flyer came home and we have seen so much. We’ve made a lot of fantastic memories.

  1. I have to confess that I LOVE traveling alone. I did it once when I traveled to Paris, and then London twice, and so the fourth time last month to Kingston.
    Even though this last trip was short, it was also the only one where I didn’t have anyone to meet up with and it forced me to explore on my own. I went to Richmond Park for a walk and ran 5 km, I went out to have dinner, for a little bit of shopping, and to another park more or less near the hotel. I could do what ever I wanted! And I barely made it back to the hotel room before midnight 🙂

    Of course, for you, since you’ll be traveling to several countries on one swell swoop, it does sound much better to go with tour groups. How cool that you can even put it on a payment plan!

  2. Oh my goodness, lady… we need to talk. I was thinking about giving my daughter a gap year and traveling to Europe with the two young ones for one final year of adventures, just the three of us. I’m trying to convince my gay son that he’ll be happier in Denmark. Now I just need to convince my daughter to take that gap year…

    1. Seriously. In London, nobody gave Sam a second glance. In the US? I have to stare people down with my “Do not effe with my child, or you don’t know what will happen next,” look.

      I’ll see if Sam wants to go or head to college. She’s in Japan now so I’ll talk to her about the idea again of a gap year. Fingers crossed she’s agreeable!!

      We should chat anyway. It’s been too long!

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