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WHY OUR BOYS CHOOSE OUR VACATION SPOTS “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
When we give them power to choose, we tell them it has to be within reason. Last year, Nathan mentioned the Taj Mahal. “When you’re an adult, have at it,” I told him. But they’ve also been asking about Hawaii for a few years, and we told them we would go there someday. It’s an expensive trip. This year, they asked again, and to their surprise, Mike and I said, “Let’s do it.” None of us had ever been, so we decided to stay on Oahu and have the quintessential touristy Hawaii experience. We spent some wonderful time on the beach soaking up the sun and watching our boys play on the water. But we put our boys’ special spin on it as well. They were dying to see volcanoes, so we took them to Diamondhead National Park. We also took them to Pearl Harbor so they could learn some history. Since they loved the Disney cruise, we surprised them by staying at the Aulani Disney Resort. You should have seen the looks on their faces when we pulled up to the hotel! I know a lot of couples who take trips alone together. That’s wonderful, and I could see Mike and I doing that someday. But so far, we haven’t done that. We can’t imagine making these memories without them. For the time being, we’ll enjoy traveling with them while they’re young, because there may come a day when they don’t want to vacation with us. In all, we’re glad we can get them thinking about things beyond where they are. We hope they never lose that sense of curiosity and wonder at the world around them, even if they grow out of their love of Disney.
My passion for traveling didn’t really find me until Mike and I met in graduate school over in Europe. From that point on, we started traveling and making memories together. Mike and I really want to pass that on to our boys. If they can learn to love traveling now, we don’t see that ever going away.
A few years ago, we decided to try a new approach. We would take a trip every summer, but instead of telling the boys where we were taking them, we would let them choose . That way, we know they’ll enjoy it instead of feeling dragged along. It makes them part of the family decision.
The first year we tried it, we assumed they would pick Disney World or a similar classic 11- and 9-year-old’s choice. Instead, they conferred with each other and chose a destination that surprised us: Washington, D.C. Mike and I said, “Awesome!” We didn’t expect them to choose a place with so much educational value. The museums, the landmarks, and all the world-famous government buildings aren’t exactly roller coasters. But we were thrilled, and we all had a great time. The next year, they chose something a little more kiddish, and that was fine. We went on a Disney cruise. They almost settled on one of the great National Parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite, but we’re sure that’s in the future.
Have a wonderful July!
– Emilie Ulmer
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