It has often been said that it is “not about the destination, it’s the journey”.
Spending eight days driving around the UK and Scotland with family may not be a journey that everyone would want to do, (yikes!) but I encourage everyone to do it at least once. It can be anywhere, a driving trip to the outback, a snorkelling holiday in Fiji, a walking tour in Spain, something that brings you together in a different way than at home.
Prepare yourself to be out of your comfort zone but it is worth it. It’s worth getting to truly know your children and your partner. Spending time together in close confines adds another dimension to your family dynamics, it is never what you expect, it is better and worse.
I am guilty of conjuring up all these romantic visions of family life, straight out of the Ralph Lauren advertisements (I do not deny that I live with my head in the clouds sometimes and only see what I want to see), but it helps when your teenage daughter is giving you the blank gaze and shrugs her shoulders when you ask what she wants for dinner, “I dunno, I’m not that hungry”. You could have the argument about being able to make simples food choices or just ignore the attitude and order what you want yourself, and if she doesn’t order when you do, well that’s too bad, she can go hungry, I am not bothered.
When you are on holiday it is different, you are different in yourself, you are not working, you are not at school, you don’t have all of those pesky jobs to do around the house and your days are free of running errands and catching up with correspondence. It is a real chance to just relax and re-charge the batteries. As a parent I think I let my guard down a bit on holidays but that’s when my children really get to see a part of me that isn’t so visible at home with the busy lives we lead.
I truly love seeing the people that my children are becoming, they are not little anymore, they are becoming adults and I feel blessed to get to know them. Holidays give you the opportunity to spend time with your family that has no other strings attached; there is absolutely nothing else to do but to enjoy each other’s company.
Yes, you do grate on each other, that is natural too but what you gain is an insight to these very special human beings that makes you proud, makes you cry, makes you laugh, and makes you cranky (and sometimes all of these emotions happen at the same time, LOL).
I think we forget just how easily children adjust to their surroundings, we worry more than we should. I too suffer (sometimes…) being a helicopter parent but I try very hard to give the children independence and when you are holiday it is easier to let them go off by themselves and do things on their own.
It truly is a time that I treasure and will never regret; I can look back on this time and know that I had this window of opportunity while the children were still in our care to experience this family time and what better place to be in than Scotland, “A spirit of its own” according to Scottish tourism advertisement, and I agree, we were having our own spiritual journey.
Family travel is an evolving process; it can change from one day to the next. My husband and I are seasoned travellers, we have “been there done that” in many of the places we have re-visited with our children but it can be a completely different beast than travelling as a couple.
This is a big transition time for our children (and us!) The Teenage Years. I think that teenagers don’t deserve the bad rap they get, especially when it comes to travelling, there are seen to be unenthusiastic and difficult, and often have a negative reputation as surly passengers.
But I disagree. Yes, they have their moments, of course but it’s a grand adventure, a grand tour of life and as parents we can teach them the philosophy of “Keep Calm and Carry on”, with a smile on your face 🙂