Though we’ve traveled a lot as a family since the span of our existence (my oldest is seven), it’s been a long time since we’ve gone on vacation. As in, a trip just for fun. We’re really good at tacking on fun things to do en route to some other sort of trip: a drive through Yellowstone on our way to Aunt Carly’s house; a day at the beach in Greece as we renew our passports to return to our home base.
But we don’t often take trips just…because. Because we need to decompress. And to have some good quality family time. And guess what? We’re feeling it.
Our last “pure” family vacation was November 2009, when we went to Paris, France. Our oldest was 4, our youngest was almost 2, and I was 9 weeks pregnant with our third. It sounds more exotic that it was; it was the cheapest flight from where we were living.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was Paris, for goodness sakes. We had an amazing time, and the two little ones had the time of their lives. Tate, our daughter, still loves Madeline, the Seine, and goes through Eiffel Tower withdraw (we were there five days and spent approximately two hours at the tower, so, you know… it wasn’t her second home or anything).
As I write this, I’m acutely aware of how blessed we are as a family. We have chosen to route our spending towards travel—we deliberately have only one car and are in the process of remodeling a very modest fixer-upper. We simply prefer to spend our money on experiences.
We are also blessed to have the shape of a life that allows margin for travel. Our kids are young, we homeschooled this year (we just finished for the school year), which allows for flexibility, and both my husband and I work from home. This is not accidental.
But we haven’t traveled together in a long time. Our youngest, Finn, has yet to board an airplane (he’s a late bloomer, according to our family’s normal), and certain items of agenda in our life have prohibited a decent vacation. And starting about two months ago, this has become a problem.
Our days have been spent working and schooling, nearly round the clock save a few late hours for sleep. Kyle and I, unaware until recently, have worked ourselves into the ground. It’s our fault, for sure—we love our work, and it’s hard to say no to things you love. We’re also smack-dab in the middle of a home renovation. We’re feeling the burn… And we want to prevent burnout.
Book deadlines, websites to build, expense reports to approve, and editors to guide have meant a certain flavor of life that doesn’t sit well with us. We haven’t seen the well-rested, happy-in-the-morning us in awhile… And we miss us.
So when Babble gave us the opportunity to travel as a family, we couldn’t say no. It was an answer to a prayer, to be honest—a forced break from our go go go; the gift of sweet time as a family. Balm to our rubbed-raw lifestyle.
We leave later this week, and later I’ll chronicle our voyage on a cruise here on this blog. Yes, that means I’m still working a little bit… But it’s a different kind of work. It’s a work I get to share with my family, in between rest and walks and books. A chance to sigh a little, to “forget” the phone in the room in order to watch my children splash in the water.
I’ve long believed—and espoused—that taking regular breaks for soul care and family time are essential to your health. I’m looking forward to actually taking my advice, for the first time in a long while.
Do you have vacation plans this summer? Or maybe staycation plans?