Been having trouble recently deciding where my almost 13 year old daughter Claire and I should go this summer on vacation. For the past 4 or 5 summers we’ve taken a fairly exotic trip together. And I guess it’s become our thing.
It all started on sort of a whim. We’d been doing the usual things, going to the Jersey or Delaware beaches, venturing as far as Nantucket one summer. And we actually had enjoyed Nantucket so much that we’d booked a return visit.
I'd been enjoying traveling all over the world myself, but was beginning to think that the idea of returning somewhere again and again had an appeal for a family trip, however small a family we may be. I grew up spending a week each summer in Ocean City, New Jersey. It was nothing fancy, we’d rent a house and go to the beach and the boardwalk. We read tons of books since there was never a TV in the houses that we rented. I am not sure if that’s because of the price point my parents could afford, or if it's a sign of how old I am. Sometimes my Aunt and her daughters came along, or would visit for a couple days. Either way, I grew up knowing my way around Ocean City and sort of liked that I had a place that was my vacation spot as a kid. And as much as a traveler as I am, I thought that maybe Nantucket would be my daughter’s spot.
But at the last minute, our plans for a return trip that summer changed (long dramatic story involving a man we'd actually met in Nantucket that previous summer who became my boyfriend, and then wasn't) and fairly heartbroken I said, “Screw that, if we’re not going back to Nantucket, well then we’re doing something and it is going to be GOOD.”
And I didn’t think very long before I knew the place we’d go. The only place I’d been that I could see making up for this last minute change in plans was Greece. Santorini specifically. I wasn’t even willing to take the risk to go someplace new on the off chance it wouldn’t be great. I knew it had to be fantastic and Santorini was the only place up for the task.
And so it began.
The following winter we sat down at my laptop on the couch and tried to come up with a location for our next summer trip. I said basically that for all intents and purposes we could go anywhere. Anywhere! So we pulled up a map of the world and started to think. We’d already decided that a beach had to be a component of the trip, since we both love the beach. Neither of us are particularly museum and historical sites kind of people. Certainly not Claire at age 9, which I guess she was at this point. And frankly, I’m not much for all that either. So we looked at the map and she pointed to Africa and said, “How about Africa? Looks like there must be lots of beaches there!” And I confirmed that yes, I was sure there was, but if we were going all the way to Africa, we weren’t just going to the beach, we would go on a safari. And I explained to her what that was all about and well, she was sold.
And so (it is turning out to be a bit of a theme here) without a lot of thought I booked us an apartment in Marbella Spain. We spent a week driving along the coast to Gibraltar, taking the ferry to Tangier Morocco, enjoying the beaches in and around Marbella.
It seems like it should be easy, shouldn’t it? Plan a summer vacation anywhere in the world. But when push comes to shove it’s my hard earned money at stake and my just as valuable time off.
But it seems like impulsiveness wins again. I get tons of emails from various travel sites and tour guides and generally I only refer to these for some inspiration, ideas on places to go. I am not a fan of group travel. Why take a trip following a group around when you can do it all on your own? Planning the trip is half the fun. But yesterday’s spam was about family trips. Organized and planned with families in mind. Itineraries geared toward families and kids. And I thought Hey, that’s a win win! At her age my daughter would rather be around other kids, and traveling with her alone occasionally leaves me wishing for just a little adult conversation. And lo and behold there was a family trip with some beach time, kayaking, ferries to islands, old walled cities and the like, scheduled precisely when we have the time to take it. So a spontaneous deposit later, this summer’s trip will be spent on the coastline in Croatia!
Watch this space!
Watch this space!