Summer brings about a natural sense of exploration. How do you know your family is ready for a vacation? Well besides it being August, are you experiencing any of the following symptoms: burnt out, stuck in a rut, cabin fever, snapping at everything, feel like it’s groundhog day and can’t bear to hear another “Dora the Explorer” travel adventures? Yeah, you’re ready to pack it up.
It’s the Journey AND the Destination
Whether your family prefers adventure, sight seeing, hiking, skiing, sporting, exploring ancient ruins or beach bumming, one thing’s for certain, when traveling as a family unit, the journey creating the memories is the destination.
Make Family Outings a Priority
Traveling with my family as a child embodies the hysterical, utterly ridiculous, educational, joyous, inspiring and unfathomable moments of my life thus far.
No matter how much money we did or didn’t have, our family outings were a priority. We went camping (where I read my first novel on my own), rafting (hilarious and absurd), cruising (the Litman’s at sea, where I learned that Jamaica the island is not located in Queens), driving up and down both coasts (I learned there is such a thing as overpacking when your dad has to rent the largest size car available), Canada (where my sister had to pee and I kept reminding her of Niagra Falls), and elsewhere. Each trip strengthened our family bonds and made the world much more beautiful, fun and generous than I could’ve ever envisioned from the confines of my parent’s house, classroom or computer.
While the Scenery May Change, You Stay the Same
Like my mom says, “it’s amazingly fulfilling seeing your family do their thing in different settings.” The beauty is experiencing your kids and yourself outside the norm. Many forget why we take vacations in the first place. It’s not just about having “obligatory time with your parents” or “seeing the Mona Lisa” but a chance to enjoy your family in a new setting. We laugh our heads off no matter where we are. But, traveling also allows each person to break out of their shell and be free to explore. Even with my parents, it wasn’t the same structure as home and we were all looking to have fun, enjoy and explore. My family’s personality was somehow exaggerated on vacation, like my dad getting rip roaring drunk on New Years Eve in London and dancing with perfect strangers; my mom morphing into Dory (the forgetful fish from “Finding Nemo”) while in Paris; or my sister listening to me and continuing to gamble instead of cashing in her chips (still haven’t lived that one down).
You can build wonderful memories anywhere, anyplace, anytime and on any budget.
Last summer, my family had “Family Fridays.” We explored the parks on Long Island with picnic lunches, took road trips to visit friends and explore new towns, and clipped coupons for Aquariums. It was five star fun on a shoe string budget.
Adjust Your Attitude to the Longitude
Seize any moment that appears as a “negative setback” and re-label it as a “Classic Family Moment.” So let’s say your taxi’s late for an airport pickup and your dad practically breaks the speed barrier to get to the airport only to find your plane is delayed 4 hours or they lose your luggage – see it as a shoportunity; or you get lost (just take the scenic route); or your credit card maxes out; or your baby sister gets a wicked sunburn and her face blows up like a poufy china doll, but you get to stay by her side. Stuff will always happen whether at home or abroad, embrace it. It’s a personal family trip, not business, so relax!
Making Priceless Memories
The world is your oyster and there’s a trillion dollar tourist/travel industry waiting to service you. Follow your family’s passions. My husband’s method to select destinations is to go where the Olympics were last held (Look out China!). If the thought of packing for your family sends your heart racing and eyes rolling, perhaps travel with a group so there are extra hands or to a place that has all the child gear readily available. Wherever we set our compass, I treasure the memories and adventures that await our growing brood. Especially as our travels will turn into college scouting trips – yikes! When you walk back through your front door, your spirit will be refreshed, eyes opened and you’ll carry much more then souvenirs, you’ll have priceless memories to last a lifetime!
About the Author
Cynthia Litman is a working modern mom with a classic twist. She has two delicious children and is the spiritual and visionary guide of Mommas Pearls. Cynthia began Momma’s Pearls in 2009 when her grandparents passed away as an outlet to remember and pass down their wisdom and integrate it into the quickly passing moments with her young family. Mommas Pearls provides insight and support to other everyday busy parents. Mommas Pearls has since dovetailed into the Mommas Pearls blog, talk radio show and M’S Gems – a blog written by her BFF Melissa who brings the practical, give it to you straight side of Mommas Pearls. Cynthia is also an entertainment lawyer with a niche in spiritual entertainment. Her firm Cynthia R. Litman, Esq., PLLC caters to the spiritual entertainment market. She is a founding partner of The Spiritual Cinema Circle (www.spiritualcinemacircle.com), a DVD club for spiritual films, Executive Producer of the Independent films “Lost In Sunshine” and “Boost”, production attorney for “Conversations With God” (film based upon the books by Neale Donald Walsch) and distribution attorney for Debbie Ford’s documentary film “The Shadow Effect” and Nicole Clark’s documentary film “Cover Girl Culture”. Cynthia is a contributing writer for the online magazine Bella Life and a Lifestyle expert for Skimbaco Lifestyle.