I was complaining to a friend of mine the other day about how heartbroken I am since I have not had time to spend traveling with my children while they are home for summer break. We are used to being able to have plans to look forward to during the summer months, however this year I have been particularly busy. She said something to me that really hit home and that I needed to hear during my time of sadness. She reminded me that although we may not be doing things we are accustomed to, that every day I spend with them, no matter what we are doing, we are still creating memories and those memories are real.
In today's society it is hard to shake the "I must keep up with the Jones's" mentality. With instant gratification at your fingertips, bigger is better mind sets, and constant on the move lifestyles, we are seeing less and less quality time spent on day trips that are close to home, low key, and free (or at least inexpensive) that mean just as much as traveling across the globe. I am guilty of it myself, planning and researching many trips to take the kids somewhere far away and exotic, but hey I am a travel planner so it is in my nature. When my friend reminded me that I need to cherish these day trips I am making with the kids, it was a long overdue reminder that I and probably many of you, really needed.
What is the definition of travel really anyways? Travel; to move or go from one place or another usually for pleasure, to journey. I do not know about you but if I really think about it so many of the greatest times me and my children have had were on day trips or small journeys we made to places we had never been before. For instance, one day during a walking trail me and my younger son Robert took, we were pleasantly surprised with a beautiful little beach at the end. We sat and talked about life and found a beautiful pink rock in the shape of a heart to bring home. A memory stuck in my mind forever and this little trip was just about thirty minutes from our home.
If money is a problem this summer, there are many amazing places to take the kids that are inexpensive that most people never even think about. Many of the museums in New York City only require a donation to enter. Depending on my finances I typically will donate anywhere from $5.00 per person up to $15.00 per person when we visit and we will have a picnic lunch in one of the nearby parks. I am a fan of checking our local hometown park events, and also love visiting historical landmarks with the kids which usually are inexpensive. We always enjoy grabbing lawn seats for a concert and just chill in the parking lot having sandwiches from home beforehand. The other day while spending the day at the beach we visit every summer we stopped by and visited their nature center and interpretative center that we had never seen before, it was free and so much fun.
It is up to you to make these times just as special as a week long vacation in the Caribbean. Each moment, each adventure, is just as meaningful to our young children. Trade in your travel guilt and know you are doing what you can to make each day special. Now get out there and enjoy a day trip with your little ones!
Yesterday I pulled this bag out of the closet while doing some very late Spring cleaning and my heart dropped. When you look at the picture above you may just see a small piece of worn, somewhat beat up and dirty luggage. When I look at this luggage I see flashes of life and love and childhood memories spent traveling with my children. I see growing pains, bumps and bruises as well as amazing vacations spent over and over with my family. I see my own selfish heart ache knowing my children have grown but I also see opportunity to see the world with my older more mature children. I see memories of each one of my children struggling to pull this tiny bag threw the airport and I see tiny hands packing it with a smile on their face knowing adventure awaits for them. When I look at this luggage I can remember each one of my children taking this very bag out of the closet at different stages of their life and remember clearly the look of wonderment on each of their faces while they imagined where they will be traveling. This very piece of luggage has been a symbol of my life as a mother over the past 19 years. This beat up absolutely beautiful bag stands for everything that childhood means to my children. This is my 19 year old son Michael's very first piece of luggage that we bought just for him when he was small enough to lose his hand in mine. This very piece of luggage went threw him, his sister and his younger brother over the past 19 years. This very piece of luggage both breaks my heart as well as fills it with an unimaginable amount of love knowing we still have so many adventures to take together. Today we will be passing this piece of luggage to my 1 year old nephew and my sister so they can create the memories together that we also did with this very bag. For it is time for us to purchase a new much larger bag for much larger adult experiences. However no matter how small this bag may be no other bag can replace the large amount of memories we have created with it. Whats in your luggage?