We are at an awkward time within my family.
D and I met during a summer when I was walking across the country on a U.S./Soviet Peace Walk and he was off for a bike trip across Nova Scotia. When we both returned, I hosted a group of Soviet teachers who were in the U.S. for a conference. D was fascinated by my travels and by my traveling spirit. I had arrived from my teaching exchange in Russia the previous fall, and I had set up shop in the corner of southwestern Massachusetts in order to have easier access to the borders of New York, Vermont and Connecticut, where I took displays to area schools and taught the children there about Soviet life and culture.
The fall after we met, I packed up my stuff, which fit in my Dodge Omni, and moved to Cambridge to graduate school. The following summer, I was back to the Soviet Union.
I was on the move. Always had been. Assumed I always would be.
My moving, my travels, my way of life were attractive to D. He'd done some traveling, too, but not to the extent that I had. And I brought him on travels in our future together - Jamaica, hiking across England, Scotland and France, traveling about the East Coast, moving to the Midwest.
C has never been the world's greatest traveler, although we were game in his early years. He'd been to NYC, Toronto, Chicago, up and down the East Coast, Florida and Hawai'i, and various Caribbean islands (via a cruise), all by age 7. At 10, he went with me to Amsterdam and Germany. At 11, we went together on a homeschooling cruise to Mexico.
In the past couple of years, however, it's been harder and harder for the three of us to find successful vacations together. We don't quit "fit". D and I love museums and restaurants; C doesn't. C and I love quirky, pop culture stuff; D doesn't. C and D love heights; I don't. D loves the mountains; C and I love the beach. D and I love a big city on occasion... C, not so much.
We'd planned out a couple of last, "big ticket" vacations together prior to C's leaving for college. We were supposed to go to Europe this past winter to see our exchange kiddoes, but changes in their schedule and the deflated American dollar canceled that at the last minute. As for our other two "plans" - Alaska and England - I'm not sure we're going to be able to afford either. And no big deal - it's just the way it goes - we have enormous happiness and love in our life and we've already traveled to many places together.
For our summer vacation this year, we decided to go to Chicago. It was nearby, cheaper than many choices, and would provide visits with friends and family, as well as some memorable attractions (ie. we ALL love aquariums).
When we got there, however, nothing worked - the weather was horrendously sticky and humid, the streets crowded and noisy, and everyone was having a serious freak-out. When we added how much we WOULD be spending for this vacation, the solution seemed obvious - we packed up and went home.
We did manage to see the people we wanted to see before we came home, and we spent the last couple of days happily ensconced at home with books, movies and some delicious food. Which seemed to be more what we had wanted in the first place... I guess.
As a mom, I want to give my child wide experiences. I want him to step out into the world, to know that there are places in the far beyond. Yes, I know we've done that, but as we all grow older as a family, we are truly becoming homebodies. It's weird. I know that, for me, part of the issue is that I find these days when I travel, there's so much that's the same. What I loved about travel in my youth were the differences I could find in languages, stores, food, etc. I find those differences not as pronounced these days, and it saddens me. It's one of the reasons that I'm supporting my local EVERYTHING. (Okay, so that's for another post).
So, I have a question for you, wonderful readers (and a HUGE thank you, by the way, for all the wonderful wishes for a good trip): how have your travel habits changed over the years? Are you doing more of it? Less?