8 Times A Year

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Not too long I was having lunch with a dear friend who I haven’t spent much time with over the past few years. Between both of our travel schedules, we’ve seen each other accidentally, not purposefully. Needless to say, when you have a connection and a strong history together, you pick up right where you left off.

When the subject of kids came up, we of course shared our proud papa moments and then spoke about the challenges of raising kids, while balancing the other critical roles in our life. I was intrigued when he started talking about the need for a super-duper sized SUV in order to accommodate all of the gear they needed for a trip to the desert. For non-SoCal folks, this translates to a trip to Palm Springs, to stay at a luxury five-star hotel while enjoying mud baths, massages, hot springs and hot rocks.

I jokingly told him that we only traveled with a stroller and a single toy. As well as he knows me, I don’t think he got my dry wit in the matter. And I suspect, that like most parents, he probably didn’t believe it was possible to travel light with children. Beliefs as they say, determine behavior.

From the time our kids were born, our belief has and always been, that vacation is for experiencing new things. I guess it’s for that reason that we always limited the amount of familiar stuff that the girls could bring from home. Bare minimum, to reduce the distractions while we were on vacation. Those were the marching orders from the start! And, eight flights a year, 14 years later, the orders haven’t changed.

My wife and I of course always had control of what they packed, at least until they were old enough to pack their own suitcase. My eldest started around the age of 8. And having been on 60+ flights up to that point in her life, she had a good handle on it. My youngest who was five at the time, wanted to be just like her big sister, and decided to pack her own suitcase. She packed 10 bouncy balls, a couple of pipe cleaners, and a black cape! Not wanting to try to explain the necessity of such gadgets to hyper-aware flight attendants, my wife and I took some corrective action.

In a few weeks, we are taking another trip that requires us to be in a certain place at a certain time, shortly after landing. This means that for this 7-day, multi-city trip, everyone has to pack a carry-on. I’m happy (and a bit proud) to report that my teenager and preteen didn’t question my request.

My belief is that they understand that the excitement is in the place we’re going to, and not in the stuff they put into their suitcase.  Too much baggage sometimes gets in the way of the adventure that lies ahead. I hope you enjoy my future posts on the adventures we’ve taken as a family.   And pray that our little stories would help you to take a few of your own.

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