Are We There Yet?
There are so many wonderful and magical places in the world to visit and experience. The word vacation means different things to different people. Daily life with busy schedules jammed with multiple sports and school activities makes the idea of time that enables us to reconnect and cement our family relationships a motivation to expend time and resources on a vacation. Studies have sought to explain the why we are willing to splurge on a holiday. A travel industry study identified nine motives for pleasure as opposed to business travel, “escape from a perceived mundane environment, exploration and evaluation of self, relaxation, prestige, regression, enhancement of kinship relationships, and facilitation of social interaction, novelty and education. (Crompton, John L, 1979). It made me examine my own motivations for pursing my wish for a dream vacation. In addition, if I were to examine the rational and motivations that would pique my family’s interest, I would be able to use their impulses to make my case. How could knowledge of these reasons and motivations assist me to convince my family that a trip was worth pursing?
Family vacations are an American institution, part of the American dream. It goes along with Beaver Cleaver, a house in the burbs and hazy images of long summer days swimming at the creek, building sandcastles at the shore or improving our intellects as we explore the culture and architecture of Europe. Mother, Father and two well behaved, tow headed kids, who are excited, engaged and grateful to spend time with their happy and relaxed parents is the ideal that is sold to us by smart and savvy admen and the ‘Priceline Negotiator’. Are this images attainable or just a Hollywood inspired mirage?
Images of smiling faces, relaxed and happy, toasting ‘Smores’ around a camp fire are what pops unbidden to my mind, when I think of a vacation with my family. In my family, what worked in the past would be a recipe for disaster now. Although we did not know it, our primary motivation for family holidays was education and the enhancement of kinship relationships. The family vacation was based on what was appropriate to the developmental age of my sons, now aged 13 and 16. When they were younger, it was camping trips to the mountains and visits to amusement parks. Last year it was a four state road trip to play in Lacrosse tournaments. The kids had a wonderful time and memories were made and are treasures that make us smile in retrospect. On the downside it was no vacation for parents. It was often hard work, putting up tents, hauling bikes, toys and equipment and keeping the little darlings amused while travelling. It was often exhausting and draining. I returned home tired but happy that our children would have favorable recollections of their summer trips.
There are so many wonderful and magical places in the world to visit and experience. I have thought about taking the boys to Jordan and Egypt to see the wonders of the ancient world and to meet family that they only know from Face book. To ride a camel down the Wadi el Rum and arrive at Petra’s Treasury building, carved out of the side of a mountain. “Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime, rose-red city half as old as time.”(Burgon, 1845)” To stand on the edge of the Sahara looking at the pyramids and imagine the people, who thousands of years ago built them, can take your breath away. Perhaps we could go to Southern Spain and discover the wonders of Alhambra, Seville and Salamanca. Wander around the little villages and join in the fiestas, where their uncle has made his home and who begs us to visit. Alternately we could go to Ireland and tour the castles and prehistoric Stone Age passage tombs of my homeland. I want to go to the cliffs of Moher and out to the Arran Islands where people still speak Gaelic and life is slower and more...