The Family Vacation

The Family Vacation

The Family vacation is one of those iconic, all American things that we do.  As a kid, my dad had conventions every summer at different places around the country and took us along as part of the package.  We went to some really nice trips and of course Disney World well before the craziness it is today.  I once thumb a ride from a limo driver at the Greenbrier down to the pool.  If I were not playing golf or tennis, you would find this kid bass fishing in the ponds along the fairways for hours.  Classy, I know, but my family does have high standards.  

Fast-forward 35-40 years and not much has changed…other than Margaret and I have to pay for it all and there are no conventions.  But at the end of the day, it is all worth it; we always have a great time watching the kids see a whole new world.  One of the biggest things I have learned over the years is I had to change my mindset because, "it not about me."  This code applies to almost every facet of my life, but it is crucial to surviving the family vacation.  I am simply one piece to a much bigger puzzle…I am the driver.  Once I realized to just go with the flow and not get uptight about "my agenda," I found myself relaxing and enjoying the ride.  

One trip out west when Will was 8 or 9 years old and a total train nut, we hit the railroad museums, train up Pikes Peak, and stayed in a hotel near the station in Cheyenne so he could watch the trains from our window.  He was such a blast, and it warmed our hearts to see him so happy.   That's what it's all about.  Sure I was drooling at all the trout water we passed along the way, but there will be another day and another trip for that.  With all that being said, I still needed some downtime.  Driving and being in a car for four days with anyone can test a man's sanity, especially if they are three and eight years old. Once we got to Cody, and everyone was in bed, I popped up, told Margaret I would be back it a bit, walked down the street to the Silver Dollar Saloon and had one of the best cold beverages I have ever had in my life.  (Yes, I left my tired wife with two tired kids but that's a side note).  I do not remember what kind of it was, but I do remember how well it tasted to this frazzled dusty traveler. Just for a couple of hours and a couple of cold beverages, it was all about me… and that was okay.  I'm sure my dad had those moments back in the day, but he was Baptist and probably sat in the back of the bar.   

We are getting ready to head out of town for this summer's trip, headed South instead of West this year, and we are all very excited to be together for a change.  I wish you all wonderful and safe trips this summer. Remember, whether you're traveling to the beach or the mountains, "it's not all about you".  Once you can accept that, the trip becomes much more fun I promise.  And yes, I will be sneaking away to have a cold beverage alone .....

Pikes Peak, Colorado.  Thats the train fanatic in the middle

West Glacier National Park, Montana


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