On My Next Family Trip – I Leave My Family Behind

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My family is leaving for a two-week trip to Greece tomorrow so naturally I have been on the computer all morning trying to find a way to shorten the trip and fly home early.

No one really wants to go on this trip – which would have been nice to know before we booked it – but that would have been too easy. Here are some of the complaints I’ve heard so far:

–       “It’s going to be soooooo hot.”

–       “My friends are doing all these cool things while I’m gone, like camping and salsa dancing” (salsa dancing? seriously?)

–       “I need to talk to my girlfriend and the internet will be spotty.”

–       “It sounds boring – why couldn’t we go to Italy instead; they have a gladiator school?”

–       “Aren’t there riots there?”

I don’t necessarily want to go either, but I’ve been to Greece so it’s not like I need to see it. I just thought it was time for my kids to explore their roots.

I am a 100% first-generation Greek and I haven’t been to Greece in over 20 years.  My husband and my kids have never been to Greece – they’ve never met my cousins or met my aunts and uncles who are the last of my father’s siblings and are not going to be around much longer.

Besides, I thought my kids would want to go to Greece. They LOVE Greek Mythology! The Percy Jackson books sparked my kids love of reading so I figured Greece would be exciting for them.

Apparently, seeing the actual Temple of Poseidon does not trump going to a Chicago Cubs baseball game with friends.

I should have known better.

As I lay in bed last night trying to figure out an alternate plan for this vacation I had an epiphany: I don’t need to take my kids on any more of our extravagant vacations. They can get to all these places one day on their own.

Seriously, what have I been thinking?

My kids like to travel (usually) and it’s become the only guaranteed family time we can grab—no friends, no sports—so I like the idea of taking a family vacation but really, do I need to fly them to a different continent? They would be happy going to Disney.

I don’t even know if my youngest remembers going to London and Paris when he was seven-years-old or if he even remembers traveling to Australia a couple of years ago (hands-down, the greatest vacation ever!) So, although I like to say that I’m taking my kids on these trips so they can see the world, it’s so I can see the world…and not go to Disney.

My parents didn’t take me on exotic vacations when I was a kid. Although my trips to Greece sound exotic, those vacations were not filled with days of swimming in crystal clear water and hiking amid the beautiful scenery. They involved sitting in my uncle’s flat in Athens listening to my parents catch up with my relatives.

Crazy fun for a kid; let me tell you.

So when I plan trips with my kids, I try to include all of these great activities that they will enjoy just so they can have these great vacation memories…that they won’t remember anyway!

So screw it. No more planning “teen friendly” vacations. No more working around their school and sports schedules. Besides, I can cut the cost of these vacations in half if I leave the two kids home.

And by 75% if I leave my husband at home.

But that’s a blog for another day…

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4 responses to this post.

  1. I laughed out loud at your 75% cost reduction plan! Really funny piece, and even with kids way under the teen years, I could relate to the complaints about vacation. Seriously–only in America do we complain about vacations! Have a great trip and be careful of the riots! 😉

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  2. Okay, this is so funny how we both went to Greece at the exact same time yet had totally different experiences! And of course, while I was there solo, I kept thinking how much I wanted to come back some day and bring my kids. Wishing we could stand under the hot, hot Grecian sun and look at the Parthenon together and then buy them orange juices that cost 4 Euros. Maybe, after reading your post, I’ll use all the money I would have spent taking the kids back to Greece and take myself to Australia instead 🙂

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  3. […] – forced or otherwise – is a rare commodity in our house. Even though family vacations aren’t always perfect, a few days away from the distractions of “real life” is a great gift for everyone in […]

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