Traveling and Children

“Well you can forget all the traveling you wanted to do now that you are having a baby”

-I’ll let this person stay nameless-

I grew up in a family that traveled. Sometimes it was in Michigan and sometimes it wasn’t. My mom nurtured my desire to see, do and find new things. She taught me to take a chance and not be scared. She taught me to not worry if you fail because failing meant you had the nerve to try something new. My parents were not rich and I came from a working class family. My dad retired from General Motors a few years back and mom worked/works as an interior design consultant in Florida now. NO, we did not take trips to Europe like some and no, we didn’t have a nice “summer home” in some far off place. BUT, the places we went, the places they showed us and took us mattered. Some of those places made me into the person I am today. They stuck with me.

Many of our vacations were at places where we could experience and feel things; the memories and their emotions. Not places where we just sat by a pool all day eating room service and buffets….not that I don’t enjoy a nice buffet. Our first major vacation (outside of Michigan) was Disney World when I was about 8, then again when I was 12. Another was the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg Tennessee during the fall. There were many many trips to Chicago before I graduated from high school. We camped almost every year. We rented a cottage for several years and did the whole cedar point and other theme park things.

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Family Disney trip….during the 80’s

These trips did not start when my parents started making better money. In fact, for the first few years of my life my mom worked in a restaurant as a waitress and manager. I grew up in and around that business. This would explain why I am comfortable around it. My dad was laid off several times from GM during my first 5 years of life. Regardless though, mom and dad made sure they took us to some of these places, showed us these things and gave us these memories. I remember many times we would go to Mackinaw and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or Traverse City. They saved their money and didn’t normally use credit cards for these trips.

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When you are young you don’t care or notice how much money your parents spend or don’t spend. Perhaps that is a bit of an old fashioned thought after seeing how some young kids act these days when it comes to money and what their parents buy them and don’t and they how they act depending on which one occurs. You can blame society or you can blame the parents. I blame both; Society for forcing those ideas and beliefs and parents (ANY) parent for not having the guts to tell their kid no. If your kid is whining about you buying them a 7inch Kindle Fire and not the bigger 8.9” version or an over priced IPad….well that is your failure as a parent. Why does a 6 or 7 year old need any of those? They don’t but society and parents try and justify that they do so they don’t have to grow a pair and say NO. My child will get no such bullshit at such a young age.

Dad, my niece and Myself
Dad, my niece and Myself at Silver Lake Michigan

During the fall of my senior year I was 18. My mom gave me the choice; either I can go to Cancun (as a family and not during spring break) or I can get a class ring. I knew I’d lose the ring (who really cares about a class ring anyways…it’s not the 80’s) so I chose the trip OF WHICH I still had to pay half of which was 500.00. I was working so I had the money. The trip was ok; I wasn’t impressed with Cancun or Mexico even though I was legally old enough to drink there which I didn’t do much of because I didn’t care to. I won’t say I didn’t though and what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico. The trip was memorable but taught me a lesson on money at point in life when I needed it the most. I learned where not to go when you travel, the value of things you want or think you want and began to formulate an idea of what I liked. I wasn’t that impressed with Mexico and won’t go back BUT I have some great memories of mom, my sister and myself while we were there. Mexico sucked but the $500.00 bucks was worth that one trip me, Jen and my mom took as a family.

When it comes to the quote on the top of this blog I just shook my head when this person said it. It’s not true at all. Seeing and doing, traveling and enjoying life isn’t over because I am going to be a father. I know many people who travel with kids. My cousin Stephanie and her husband do it often with their young daughter. My niece if allowed would have enough frequent flyer miles for at least a dozen round trip tickets because of all the flying she has done since she was about 8 months old. A social media friend named Leslie Carter who runs Bucket List Publication is my idol for traveling and being a travel writer. I envy this woman in so many ways. Somewhat recently she had a child and that did not stop her from doing her thing. In fact she brought her daughter, Athena, right along with her on some of her journeys and adventures and I think that is awesome.

Check out one of her amazing blog posts below…

http://bucketlistpublications.org/2014/01/25/a-resort-for-all-generations-atlantis-bahamas/

I think it’s the world we see, the experiences we have who make us who we are and make us better people. My parents’ nurturing my interest and love of travel and movement is part of the reason I try to do it as often as I can. In fact its one of the things I live for even if it’s just a weekend getaway. I think of some people I know, relatives and friends who haven’t traveled much, wont or are scared too and think of just how limited their lives are. I don’t think less of them but feel bad because of all they are missing out on. I do think less of the ones who don’t want to and are fine staying in the safe teat of Michigan.

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In July Stacey and I are bringing our first and probably only child into this world. Its world I have every intention of sharing with him or her. I am excited. I am excited to share this world with him or her. Excited to show him or her things I have seen and experienced as well as a great many new things which will be from the perspective of a parent. I am equally excited to share those things with Stacey. Traveling, regardless of where I go effects my writing. My novels, the ones written and future ones will all be influenced by the places I have gone and I am sure places I will go. That’s why traveling is just as important to me as being a fictional novelist; they both help one another and help me become a better person.

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2 thoughts on “Traveling and Children

  1. Okay, I’m still waiting for them to invent a magic carpet to ease traveling with my kids, but this post does encourage me to invest the effort it takes to go on those trips. I must reread this post in the summer when I’m lost in a sea of baggage and paraphernalia…

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