2/17/18

Three Reasons We Choose to Make Vacation a Priority



Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Cascais, Portugal

San Francisco, California

Sintra, Portugal

Paris, France

Rome, Italy

Our love story began the very weekend I met Herm for the first time. It wasn't love at first sight, but I remember in the midst of conversation, as we sat near one another at the wedding reception of a mutual friend, a thought popped in my head, seemingly out of no where.

He is the man I am going to marry. 

I had already decided, after being in several relationships that didn't work out, that I wouldn't be romantically involved with anyone again until I was emotionally mature enough to handle it -- say twenty-five perhaps. 

The thought caught me off guard. Herm seemed nice enough, and he did have blue-grey eyes that made it pretty hard to focus on anything else. But I was nineteen, and twenty-five wasn't exactly just around the bend.

We had a lot of things in common, a love to travel being one of them. We compared notes about countries we visited and placed we hoped to one day see. He told me that Venice, Italy, was a dream destination for him. I mentioned I want to go back to Dubai, UAE, again, because with how amazing the airport itself was, I know the city has to be even more showy. Highest on my bucket list, though, would be Istanbul, Turkey. 

A few short months after that conversation we began a relationship, and thirteen months after meeting, we were married. 

I still remember so vividly on my wedding day someone telling me that now I'd have to settle down. I was a married woman after all, and my days of regularly roaming the world would come to an end. Enjoy the honeymoon! It might be the last trip in quite a while.

What that person forgot to consider was that I was marrying a man who loved traveling as much, if not more, than I do. Our days of traveling alone were over, our chance to adventure together was just beginning.

***

In the five and a half years since our wedding, we've taken quite a few trips together, some fairly local, others across the country and half way around the world. 

Often friends and acquaintances ask about our trips. Not nearly everyone understands why we would prioritize vacationing, since it is quite costly.  And even more people seem aghast at the thought of traveling across the world with young kids. Wouldn't it make more sense to wait until they are old enough to remember this once-in-a-lifetime trip? Wouldn't it make traveling easier?

I guess the answer to both of those questions could be yes, depending on how you look at it.

I will admit, because of Herm's business and the amount of supplies and inventory purchased, we are able to quickly accumulate airline miles and hotel stays we earn from our credit card points. Those points toward airline tickets and hotel rooms have played a huge part in us being able to afford the luxury of taking our family on many vacations. But I know that even without those points we would still find a way to travel, to getaway and spend time together as a family. Even on a much smaller scale, that time together, doing something we love as a family, is essential.

***

So, to answer that question I've been asked quite often... We Choose to Make Vacation a Priority Because:

1. Making Memories Together Helps Create a Strong Bond
One of the things I have noticed about families that seem to have a close bond is that they've created memories together. That doesn't happen by accident. Life can so easily get in the way, each of us falling into our normal rhythms and routines, that we forget to be intentional about building relationships with the ones we love most. It doesn't have to happen through vacationing, but since traveling is something Herm and I absolutely love, and something our kids are quickly becoming fond of as well, it's where we have decided to be especially intentional about creating memories. 

2. It Broadens Your World View
In addition to creating memories and valuing time spent together as a family, I also believe that traveling (especially when visiting other countries and cultures) creates a broader world view. I want my children to be immersed in worlds much different than their own. I want them to appreciate the many ways people live across the globe. I want them to see the value and beauty in diversity and be able to celebrate that. I want them pushed outside of their comfort zones, immersed in cultures where it seems nearly impossible to communicate because of a lack of common language and have to figure it out. I want them to know what it feels like to be an "outsider". For me personally, living aboard and traveling to many countries where it was obvious that I was a foreigner, has taught me how to be more sensitive to those around me in my own community who might also feel like an outsider.

3. This World is a Masterpiece Waiting to be Explored
And finally (although, I probably could go on and on) this world is an absolutely amazing and breath-taking masterpiece created by the Master Artist. That, in and of itself, is reason enough to buy a ticket somewhere new and do a bit of exploring. Traveling has a way of making me realize how great and amazing yet small and connected this world and its people are.

I love visiting new places, meeting new people, and seeing how history can come alive, all from roaming the globe. As I wander, this world never loses its wonder. Traveling with kids, experiencing it from their perspective, has only made that feeling greater.

I feel it's worth the investment now to travel as a family, even when our kids might only remember the trips from photos. For us, we know it won't be a once-in-a-lifetime trip because we do plan to keep on exploring. It's a lot of extra work, but it's worth it. I promise. If you don't have the means to travel half way around the world, start where you can. Explore your neighborhood, your state, your country.

Creating memories and being intentional to build close relationships now, when my kids are young, is my way of sowing into what I want our relationships to look like when they leave home. Traveling together, I hope, will only increase that bond.

Do you vacation as a family? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

10 comments:

  1. I love this so much! Vacations are a priority for us as well; we all love to go to the beach and we make it a priority every year. Some people wonder how we can afford to go every year and while we've had different opportunities that allowed us to go, one thing we learned last year is that if you go in the off season resorts are so much cheaper! It really is totally doable but I think it makes a difference whether or not it's a priority for you as a family. We also prioritize trips to Honduras since that's where Gerry's family lives. We've gone 4 times since we've been married and last year was the first year that we couldn't all go (Gerry went alone). We are hoping to swing it this year, but it is definitely more difficult as far as expenses since we have more kiddos. I've never wanted to be that person that says that you can't travel with young kids. Yes, it is more difficult, especially international travel (but I think I stress over it too much...I need to chill out), but it is so rewarding when you see the joy that your children get from it.

    Anywho, that was a long ramble.��

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    1. I absolutely agree. It really is all in what you prioritize most. I told one of my friends the other day that I would gladly thrift shop for the rest of my days, if it means that we can put more money towards regularly traveling.
      I've also noticed that for me, material things tend to lose their value when I realize just how little you need when traveling. I'll gladly live simply in exchange for those experiences of seeing the world.
      I love that you prioritize going to see Gerry's family. That is so, so valuable!

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  2. Yes, we vacation as a family and like you, we wouldn’t have it any other way! Many of our friends travel as a couple and while that may be very wonderful, my husband and I do other things daily to keep our marriage strong that we don’t need a week away from our kids to do that :) I find it interesting when people say to wait till your kids can remember the trip... someone just said that to me last week when I mentioned dreaming of going to Israel as a family! Enjoyed this post Sarah, and agree that traveling as a family makes precious memories!

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    1. When we were in the beginning stages of planning our Italy trip, we thought that it would be just my husband and I. We were celebrating our fifth anniversary... so why not leave the kids behind? But when it came time to purchase tickets, we couldn't do it. We wanted our kids to come along. We value travel for our family, and if we took them along, we knew we could go for a longer period. After coming home, we both admitted it was the best decision. We will leave them for a night or two, but leaving them behind and traveling for nearly two weeks isn't something we want to do.
      Israel with your family? Do it! You won't regret it if you go now.

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  3. Isn't Sintra stunning?! That palace is amazing, and those kitchens simply mindboggling... 😉🤗

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    1. I agree! We were visiting friends, and that was such a fun way to experience a new country. They were our tour guides, showing up places we never would have stumbled across on our own. I hope to go back again soon.

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  4. I feel like we have SO much in common in this area. All growing up, my Mom told me, "Do the traveling before you get married, because it won't happen afterwards." That has, happily, been proven wrong time after time.

    The simple reason we travel with our children is, we can't leave them at home, and we want to go places WITH them. :)

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    1. I would love to meet you sometime. I always admire how you value traveling and make it a regular part of your lifestyle as well.

      And yes, we take our kids along for the exact same reason. We don't want to go places without having them come along.

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  5. I love this post! We are definitely on a budget, but even the close to home trips are worth the effort. I am by nature a homebody, but it is good for me to broaden my horizons, learn about new things and explore new place...especially if I want my kids to be curious and do the same. :)

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    1. I agree with you. Even with a limited budget you can still create memories and learn about new cultures together as a family. Books and preparing exotic foods are a great way to 'travel' without ever leaving home. I've found that there is so much history within my own state... I really don't have to go far to stay curious.

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