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Italy Family Village (350x263)I just returned from ten days in Italy.   Just the idea of taking a vacation of that magnitude got me wide eyed with excitement and terrified.

Italy was a destination of my dreams for about the last three years.  Since 2012, I have pulled myself out of my comfort zone and traveled.  Some with family but mostly by myself.  I have never been one to do things alone but my empty nest, my husband’s job and my transition from employee to entrepreneur were all challenging me to find out what I was about. Travel gave me courage.  Travel gave me independence.  Travel taught me to get over my fear of the unknown — confidence in my ability to eat alone at a restaurant.

When I was a girl growing up with my mother, father, sister and brother — vacations were a given for two weeks every summer.   They culminated in a compromise for my mother and father — she wanted the outdoors and he wanted fishing, restaurants and motels with swimming pools.  Of course as kids, all of that was perfect.  We spent weeks fishing while staying in cabins, restaurants for dinner when we weren’t eating the catch of the day and at least a few days swimming in a pool with a slide.   We all laughed and had fun as a family, a time to treasure.   As we grew into teenagers, we wanted vacations less and less.  We pouted and wanted to be home with our activities and our friends. We were growing up and needed the family togetherness less and less.  Little did we know that our parents were also needing each other less and less and vacations subsided as our family fell apart.   The last few were miserable and thus my thoughts — Vacations Mirror Family Life.

As a mother, there were very few vacations for my kids when they were little.  They were limited to visiting my grandparents and an annual trip to the lake.  After my own divorce, my two kids spent them separately with their mother or father.   They do not regret this as much as I do.  After my remarriage and the purchase of a home, the vacation budget was spent remodeling and maintaining the house.   The older kids were involved in activities, a new baby arrived and life at home was busy with two parents working — the idea of vacation was practically non-existent.   After all, life was about getting things done and activities were keeping the kids (and us) constantly on the go. How could a vacation possibly fit into this scenario — again Vacations Mirror Family Life.

In the list of things I wish I could go back and do over — this item is in the top five.  Italy has a different pace — it reveres it’s grandparents and their heritage;  they take the time to enjoy their food and prepare it abundantly and with love; they have so much history and beauty — or maybe I learned to enjoy the moment and take in what was different from my daily life.   Travel has given me joy and wonder again, it taught me to appreciate how others live and survive and most of all I learned that the value of a simple smile and hug to show appreciation is universal to our world.

I cannot go back and take my young kids on adventures again but I encourage them as adults to get out of their homes and see the world.  The best way I can tell them is to show them how much I love to say yes to a trip which can take me 2 or 20 hours away.  Sometimes a trip is the only time when you can be who you want to be and enjoy simple things.

I hope to plan some family vacations in the future — I want my kids to see their mom out of her comfort zone.

Do you have family vacations?  Is travel a part of your family life?  I would love to know your thoughts on travel for yourself and your family and what it means to you.

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