When my son was growing up, I was a single mother with limited time off and a modest budget. Chris actually spent many vacations flying to his dad’s home to enjoy time with Jeff, Ellen and his half-brother Sam and half-sister Grace. Our life was great, but vacations together? Not so much.
In 2011 Chris had finished graduate school and was living at home and searching for a job in advertising either in Cleveland or Chicago. As those frustrating months unfolded, it one day occurred to me that I ought to make lemonade out of this lemon. My wonderful adult son wasn’t going to be living at home without a job forever (God willing!). Why not enjoy a vacation together – a vacation that may well be the last we ever share?
So I used most of my Continental/United miles to get us tickets inbound to Paris, and returning from Rome (knowing I could find a super-cheap flight between the two cities on a carrier like Ryan Air). I used Priority Club points for a Holiday Inn hotel room in Montmartre, then consulted my trusty Rick Steves Italy guide for a budget-friendly hotel in central Rome.
We had a blast. It was SO MUCH FUN traveling with Chris! It was his first trip to Europe and we hit most of the highlights of those two remarkable cities: Eiffel Tower and Louvre, Coliseum and Vatican, and so much more.
If you have an adult “child” who is free for an adventure and you can swing it financially – take a trip together. It doesn’t matter where. What matters is spending time together. As our kids grow up, our opportunities to enjoy each other’s company dwindle. It’s just the natural progression of things.
Chris is now working on his PhD and living in Brisbane, Australia, again. He is engaged to the wonderful Sarah and I look forward to attending their wedding in June of next year. It’s just amazing watching Chris’s life unfold and I am so happy for him!
I’m also grateful for the vacation we shared and for the memories I will cherish forever. Though I had visited Paris and Rome before with friends, sharing those same cities with my son was a delightfully different experience.
I know that’s one of the things I value most about travel. Whether you’re visiting someplace you’ve never been before, or returning to a much-loved location you’d like spend more time in, every experience is unique. I love this line from a Globus ad that I keep pinned to my office bulletin board:
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.