T – Travel: the three stages of travel

TBoth my husband and I love to travel so when we got to “T” in the A to Z Challenge, travel seemed like the obvious topic. Keeping with my previous themes, here are the The 3 Stages of Travel  that we have been through since we met.

Stage 1 – Pre-children or as our friends called us back then, DINK’s (double income no kids). This seemed like simple times. We had no children, no mortgages, no pets and no worries.  Travel was easy and helped cement our relationship.

Our first trip was Texas and Louisanna which involved the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans and a road trip through Texas. We followed that up the next year with a 21 day tour of Europe and the year after that a river cruise down the Nile in Egypt and a backpacking trip through Greece where we got engaged and shortly there after married.

My hope for my children is they have the opportunity to visit parts of the world before they settle into the responsibilities of life. Travel makes you understand the bigger picture of life and appreciate what you have at home.

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Chania, Greece

Venice

Chania was built by the Venitians.

Luxor

Luxor, Egypt

Stage 2 – Travel with Children.  This stage involved: the happiest place on earth a couple of times, Mexico a couple of times, and then our many camping trips. Each trip was very different in content, cost and level of relaxation but equal in quality time and memories.

DisneylandWe did Disneyland when the kids were 1&2 and again when they were 7&8. People told us the first trip would be a waste of money but I can tell you it was one of the best memories for us, as parents. It was a chance to see a child’s imagination while it is still innocent: they thought it really was Tinkerbell flying over the castle. They absolutely loved that trip!  No they don’t remember it now, but we do so I would recommend it to all parents. The 2nd trip was more memorable for the kids and was still fun for us parents.

Our 2 trips to Mexico were both to all Inclusive resorts and they truly were vacations for the entire family. These were our most costly holidays but sometimes we all need time to relax and not worry about meals, cleaning or organizing activities. All inclusives are the perfect solution for a busy family,  and the planning was simple even with endless options for kids clubs, resort amenities and tourist attractions. Plus, their buffets enable everyone to eat exactly what they want, whenever they want.

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Then there were our early camping trips. These were by far the most work but worth it in memories and experiences. When the kids were really young we stayed in BC opting for lake trips with sunshine and swimming.  As they got older we ventured out on longer road trips through the Alberta Badlands, Oregon Coast and Yellowstone National Park. These trips gave us many great memories while providing some educational opportunities.

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Stage 3 – Travel with Teens.  As the kids got older we got busier.  3 more Mexico’s all inclusive called out. We headed back to Disney for an older take on that experience.  And added a trip to New York & Washington, DC in for good measure. In between all that we continued to camp; enjoying new areas and returning to our familiar favourites.

With teens travel is easier. As parents we could relax and enjoy the sights, pools, beaches and activities more. It was fun to watch our children become more independent and opinionated. They knew what they wanted to see and had ideas for where they wanted to go. One of our Mexico trips was planned almost entirely by our then 16 year old daughter… and she did a great job!

Camping became more about the company. We joined other families for trips and stayed closer to home trying to balance the kids’ work and sports schedules. We selected campgrounds with great beaches, lakes, weather and which had electricity & WiFi.  We organized group games and  activities that got everyone involved. We also started a yearly camping trip with a large group of families in hopes of keeping the kids coming back for years to come.

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iPhone camping

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iPhone at campfire

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iPhone after campfire

Each stage has been very different in organization, destination and content but they consistently provide memories and quality time that bring families together.

CampThatSite has provided a great place to document and share all these great memories.

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E – post secondary Education, the stress!

The A to Z Challenge now brings me to E. I had originally planned to do a “Camping at Easter” blog but after a family dinner last night, I decided to move to a topic very current in my life.

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In June my daughter, niece and their friends will complete grade 12 and start the next phase of their lives. For the past several months I  have watched as these bright young people have planned, applied and stress over their post high school education. They have prepared applications, volunteered at various locations, played on sports teams, studied for hours and held down part time jobs. Yes, they have done most of this based on their love of: the sport, the society or the cause but it is also expected!

Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University

In order for these young people to get into the school or program of their choice they had to excel in all these areas. They needed to prove they are “academic”, “well rounded” and “engaged in their community”.  I agree with the idea but I think we have forgotten that they are only 17. Yes, they have been accepted, but at what cost!

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia

These kids are busier than I have ever been in my life and they are stressed out by the high achievement that is expected of them. To top it off, after they have spent the endless hours completing all of these requirements, they must worry if the committee on the other end will “select them”. Leaving their future in the hands of  strangers who do not know or understand the emotion, time and passion that has been given to the choices these kids have made.

University of Victoria

University of Victoria

They must endure family gathering knowing the questions of “What school are you going to next year?” or “What career are you planning to go into?” are certain to come up.

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University of Life

Stress and anxiety is at an all time high with our young people and after watching this group go through this process I can understand why.  Yes, they need to be responsible, but I think this has gone too far. The group I know is more responsible than many adults. They have an entire life to “be a grown up”, let’s let them enjoy their graduation before taking on the weight of the world!

💖 mom