My husband is 46 years old, and he’s never been to Europe. I’m sure that’s not all so unusual. What may be more unusual is that my first taste of the continent was when I was sixteen years old, between my junior and senior year of high school. I was lucky enough to visit again in college when, as a French major, I studied for a semester in both Paris and Angers, France. I haven’t been back since then, but that fact hasn’t kept me from using what I learned in my writing — case in fact being Passion in Paris (The Wild Rose Press.)
As you read this, I’m in England with my husband and two boys, ages 17 and 14. We’ll spend time in London, Paris, Nice, and Barcelona. I handpicked the cities. I’ve been to all of them except Barcelona. Since my seventeen year old son has now had five years of Spanish, I figured we’d make it . I, of course, can take care of the French.
This trip took a lot of thought. We’ll be gone nearly three weeks, and we opted for two rooms in each city to give the boys a little independence (and mom and dad a break from teenage boy mess!) Needless to say, it’s a major expense at a time when the economy is urging us to “just say no.” We’ve never taken a family vacation of this duration before. My husband, a lawyer, has never been away from his work for such a lengthy period.
But he needs this. We as a family need this. And it will be a marvelous educational experience for the boys who are at ages where they can truly appreciate the culture to which they’ll be introduced. The older will be off to college in a year, and soon family trips will be a relic of the past.
And of course it goes without saying that the beauty and wonder of cultures so much older than our own will inspire my creativity. (Too bad that doesn’t make the whole thing a tax write off!)
As parents and as writers, we sometimes have to take a plunge. Let that kindergartner walk to the bus by himself. Try a new genre when our work isn’t selling as we’d like. And the biggest plunge of all? Do something just for sheer enjoyment, like spend more money than we should on a trip.
The memories will be priceless. I want to see the look on my sons’ faces when they gaze at the Eiffel Tower for the first time, lock eyes with Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. I want to watch them grimace when they drink a pint of ale at a London pub! I want them to experience the hustle and bustle of the subways and trains, the pebbled beauty of the beaches in Nice, the raw passion of a bullfight in Spain.
Oh, it will be well worth the money! And maybe someday one of them might write about the experience. If not? They’ll still have the memories of our wonderful voyage.
Are you taking a trip with your family this summer? Where?