Five Reasons to Take Your Parents Along on Your Next Travel Adventure
There will be tantrums.
Make no mistake that cramming 4 adults into a confined space (car, plane, hotel rooms) for extended periods of time with few intermissions for over 20+ days is a guaranteed recipe for conflict. In fact, by day 5 we’d already gone through all the different permutations of arguments. Another travel bucket list item inadvertently checked off.
Even from the outset any sane person could take one glance at the predictably ambitious itinerary Jimmy put together (remember, he’s a maximizer) and very easily list out the reasons why it probably wasn’t a good idea.
In many ways I imagine taking your parents traveling isn’t much different than taking the kids on an extended road trip. It’s always harder to travel with a larger group as the law of numbers dictates that at any given time there will be one person who is hungry, tired or has to use the restroom when everyone else is ready to hit the road running. Personalities will clash, energy levels will swing and people will be cranky from travel fatigue. Plus, as one friend sagely put it, “our family members have the inexplicable ability to push all of our buttons because they were the ones who put them there in the first place.”
These are the things you don’t see in the pretty, smiley, post-card ready photos people throw up on Facebook that have you reaching for your phone to call your mother like a sappy Hallmark commercial.
And yet having survived such an epic family trip, I would still heartily recommend you grab your parents and go see the world anyways.
Why on earth??
Because some of the most worthwhile experiences in our lives are rarely easy.
And while the list of why-not-to probably trumps the list of why-to in quantity, I’m of the humble opinion that it is far dwarfed by the latter in quality.
Here is our short list of the reasons why you should consider dragging your parents along on your next great adventure (insert requisite disclaimer about lack of accountability here YMMV):
1. There will be no better time down the road.
Cars break down, it’s an inevitable fact of life, and the human body is sometimes even more capricious. Our folks are at that point in their life cycle where people usually deteriorate with age, unlike fine wine (our blissful denials notwithstanding). So if the body is willing, by all means, go hit the trails, because you never know whether the knees will cooperate several years down the road.
2. What goes around, comes around.
I’m not talking about high level karma here, just the plain fact that there will likely be times during the trip when you are the one to kindly request that your mom finish all her veggies and put away the tablet because it is time to sleep. But there’s a certain satisfaction in being able to take care of mom in some of the ways she did for you when you were a child. No veggies, no dessert!
3. It’s fun to witness them outside their comfort zone – even if you have to push them.
One of my favorite memories from the trip is seeing my mom’s face when she saw her very first sea turtle on an early morning outrigger canoe excursion.The very same one that she was trying to talk her way out of just the night before. I didn’t need to ask if she was glad I forced her into it because the fact that she would rave about it with everyone who called her over the next few days was validation enough. There may or may not have been a few “I-told-you-so’s” thrown in for posterity’s sake.
4. Rest is overrated – man was built to move.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to travel when you are older is inertia. Newton was right on when he said an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Case in point, my mom. At home, she’s a couch potato, but when we’re out traveling, she’s the one overtaking me on the trails. On a typical travel day, we easily walk 5-6 miles and mom is never more energetic than when she’s on the road traveling. What was it they said about brains and muscle? Use it or lose it!
5. You’ll make memories to last a lifetime.
During the trip, the little details always get you, but afterwards they all dissipate like a puff of smokescreen. What you will remember are not the tantrums, but rather those simple moments when it was just you, your loved ones and that shared moment in awe of the ever-magnificent world around you.
Life is short. Go out and see the world…and bring mom along!