2016: Travel

Our kids believe that when they’re a grown-up they’ll be able to do whatever they want. We haven’t yet had the heart to explain that being a grown-up means you rarely get to do what you actually want. You do have more choices — but even when you have discretionary time, turns out you also need discretionary finances to do most things.

That means you usually can do one set of things — and not another. For 2017, we decided we’d focus on the house, so for 2016 we chose to do some traveling.

In February we took a very nice family vacation to see my parents in their very nice new home in Grand Cayman. The kids were delighted to see their grandparents, and Nic and I were delighted that a friend from my parent’s Bible study group happened to be away for the week, and graciously gave us her apartment — giving Nicole and I evenings to ourselves for the whole week, while the kids were all tucked in at my parents place.

Grand Cayman was a tropical paradise, with beautiful beaches all around. We went on a submarine tour of a coral reef, snorkeled in a little cove, swam with turtles in a turtle farm, and tackled huge waves that kicked our butts more than once. It was a perfectly timed escape in February, that gave us a break from our first Ohio winter.

In June, Nicole and I are getting away kid-free again. For the past 5 years, we’ve missed celebrating our birthdays together, and we’ve missed a couple anniversaries in there too. Summer just always ends up sending us in different directions. This year we decided we’d pre-empt any other plans, and get away together. I’ve been promising to take Nicole to Europe since we started dating (in 1998!) and I’m finally making good. We’ll fly into Paris and spend a few days seeing the sights, then drive to my old home town of Kandern, Germany, before flying home from Zurich. We’d love to see more, but since we have to budget my vacation time carefully, 7 days was the best we could pull off. This time the kids will stay with Nic’s parents in Canada.

And finally, assuming there’s money left in the travel fund, we hope to go west. We’re all dying to meet the kids new cousin in Calgary, and we’ll try to squeeze in some visits with other good friends while we’re out that way. We miss the west coast!

If we had unlimited time and money, and could really do whatever we wanted, we would do even more. We’ll get in a camping trip or two this summer, and plan to stay a little more grounded next year. I’m sure there’s lots of places around here to explore — but the world is too big a place to only ever experience one tiny part of it!

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