Traveling with Teens

Well, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to talk about this evening and then it hit me – travel.  I’m not really too sure why it hit me – I think it was that cartoon I saw in a magazine the other day.  It is so funny, I have to share it:

  All I could think of was John and I and how perfect this would be for this blog.  My life is all about my children … but just once, I’d love to go somewhere and not have to worry about them.  Does that make me such a horrible mother?  We have pretty much taken them everywhere with us.

Since my girls were young we have traveled across Canada.  Allison was three and Amy was just eight months old when my then ex husband and I drove from the east coast all the way to Edmonton, Alberta.  He had gotten a job there so off we went.  That was where my marriage fell apart and we returned to Nova Scotia.  I just wasn’t happy here.  I’m not sure why or what was missing – I didn’t feel settled.  I met a man online and moved my girls and I to Ontario.  That proved to be the biggest mistake of my life – Ontario was just not good to me at all.  I came back to Nova Scotia once again and decided to make this my permanent home.

After settling here – the girls were eight and six years old – I made a life for us.  I found full time work, the girls went to a French school and I made sure I attended every field trip, every concert, every school function that they were involved in.  In the summer time I made sure we always did something fun.  I remember taking them to Magic Mountain in New Brunswick.  We had a blast!  We stayed in this little Bed and Breakfast – they got to see the zoo, we played in the water park, we spent some time at the indoor fair, and we even went to the butterfly emporium. I saved a lot of money to go there to make sure they had a great time that they could tell their friends about.  Most of their friends took exotic trips to warm places like Disney World – I couldn’t afford that place – so we did the next best thing and we had a great time.

The following year we went Whale Watching in Pleasant Bay, NS – what a beautiful experience that was.  We stayed in this cute little motel at the bottom of a mountain and the views were amazing.  The kids were amazed that they were actually able to see real whales during our boat ride.

The following couple of years we included John on our adventures.  In 2009 I wanted to do something that perhaps he’d enjoy just as much as we would.  I made the suggestion to the kids first that maybe we could travel to the USA and watch a NASCAR race.  This vacation would be good for all of us – we could watch a race, which is what John loves, and we could also get some shopping in, which is what we’d like.

The race was amazing, but the drive there was just as fun.  We made a lot of stops along the way – we visited a couple of cute little shops.  We drove up the coast and it was beautiful.  Maine was beautiful.  All the houses were so well landscaped.

The following year, we did it all over again.  There was a huge fight the first year we went because we didn’t bring either of John’s kids.  His ex wife had a fit.  I’m not sure how anyone thought we could afford to take five people on a vacation.  Besides, this was MY vacation and we invited John to join us.  To prevent a fight the following year, we told Colton if he could save at least $200 he could come with us.  He saved exactly $200 – no more, no less.  We did the trip again.  It was quite the adventure and it was so fun watching Colton have so much fun.  He’s never been out of NS before so to be in the USA thrilled him to death.  I was actually more excited because we were taking him than taking the actual trip.

After we returned we figured we should do something with Tim.  We took all of the kids Whale Watching in the same place I had taken the girls.  It was a very busy summer with kids and vacations – I’m still not sure how we managed both trips in one year.

Last year we didn’t take any big trips.  We did spend a lot of the summer camping.  We got ourselves a second hand RV, fixed it up and spent the summer in it.  It rained a lot so we spent a lot of it in the rain.  I loved our camping trips and I think that’s what I’d like to do a lot of this year.

So in 2011 we had our trips planned for the following year.  Allison would be off to Paris with her best friends – it’s her senior year in high school and she’ll be graduating.  I was so excited for her to have this opportunity to see Paris, especially at her age.  I had already booked a trip for the four of us to New York when she broke the Paris news to me.  I told her she’d have to save for it herself.  We only booked the NY trip for four because at that time Colton wasn’t living with us and there was no way I could afford to take the five of us.

Allison’s trip to Paris was nothing less than spectacular.  They stayed in Paris for a bit, then off to Germany by train.  Who wouldn’t love something like that now? 

It was two weeks later she was packing again to join us in New York.  The trip of a lifetime.  I got a pretty good deal through Hotwire for the four of us – hotel and flight all included.  I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to take a family trip.

The trip was incredible.  I honestly don’t think it would have been so much fun if it wasn’t for the girls coming along.  I mean, c’mon, do you really think John would have been up for shopping as much as we did?

My favorite place was Time Square – it was busy, loud, fun, there was a ton of things going on.  The girls were in awe.  Every evening when John was a little too tired to go anywhere, I’d travel up to Time Square with the girls.  We’d stop for a bite to eat, do some souvenir shopping and just hang around until dark to watch all the lights.

Now that we have all of our traveling behind us – I mean the kids are getting older now and more expensive to take, our next trip will be just John and I.  We’re not sure if it’ll be a nice relaxing road trip or one of those “all inclusive” hot spot things – with kids, I was never really interested in taking any of those because I’m a ‘doer’, I like to go place with something specific in mind, not to go lay on a beach or sit by a pool and drink.  I can do that at home.  At our age though, I think a nice relaxing drink by the pool is in our near future.

So, back to my original comic strip – “oh my God – we forgot the kids!” – they didn’t forget, they’re so used to taking them all the time, they forgot them on purpose … just sayin’.

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