Our First (and Most Important) Advice!

Our aim with this blog is to provide encouragement and advice on planning your group travel. Here is our first and most important advice: get planning…now!

 

Right after the question of “you are going on vacation with HOW many people?”, the question that I am asked most frequently when discussing our trips starts with “did you ever imagine…?” The ending has several variations:

  • Did you ever imagine you would do this for so many years?
  • Did you ever imagine the group would get so big?
  • Did you ever imagine all the places you would go?

If I am really being honest, the answer to each of those “did you evers” is no! As you know, us four women were close friends in college. Speaking for myself, I left college just expecting to keep in touch with my friends, but I didn’t have a real concept of making that happen.

I didn’t know that the other three women would be there for me through the daily joys and quirks, a myriad of parenting situations, and everything else that has come with the years and decades of my adult life! My mom (who remains happily married to my dad) often tells me, “I am not sure I knew what love was when I got married.” To paraphrase her, I am not sure that I knew what friendship was when I left college. I did not have enough life experiences to know how friendships that lasted a lifetime could carry you through hard times and make good times sweeter! 

When we agreed to that first trip, it was a chance to see friends and get away from the real world. It would be revisionist history to say that I had any idea the impact that trip would have! Have we grown our friendships because of these trips? Or have we continued the trips because we have deepened our friendship? Honestly, I am not sure which caused the other…or if they both came into play. I do know my life would be very different without these friends and without the memories of our trips.

 

The advice to start planning a group trip is not necessarily a commitment to changing your life, to deepening existing relationships with friends or family members, or to starting a tradition, but our group is proof that all of those (and many other rewards) are possible if you do embark on a trip. There is always an excuse not to plan or not to plan now–time, money, and effort are three of the most common. As we continue this blog, we will touch on each of these. For now, take it on faith that none of these excuses are insurmountable if you are committed and creative!

 

Please become a part of the conversation! I would appreciate your thoughts and comments:

  • As you plan a group trip, what are your hopes?
  • What holds you back from starting planning?

To help you get to know us better, we will start signing our posts when we write as individuals!

–Ann

Who We Are

Collectively we are the eight vacay moms and dads of twelve rambunctious teenagers, tweens and kiddos. Fifty-one weeks out of the year, we are four families living busy lives across a couple hundred miles in the Midwest. For about a week each year, though, we do something pretty incredible—all 20 of us vacation together…and we have each year for almost 20 years!

We hope you will get to know us a little better through each blog entry, but here are a few quick details. As you may remember from our first post, all four of us women met in our freshman year in college. Only one of our husbands attended college with us; since all the men met through us, it is even more impressive that they get along so well. In real life, our careers span from engineer to educator, IT expert to investment advisor and media manager.

Our 12 kids range in age from 5 to 17 currently. It hardly seems possible that we are staring down annual high school graduation parties when one of our first trip traditions was guessing who would announce their pregnancy each year. The largest gap between kids actually occurs between the last two—just over two years.

Jen and John are parents of four kids—Libby, Michael, James and Marie—and showed us how to do the parenting thing since they had the first two kids within the group; they also claim the most (but not only) vehicle repairs completed during trips. Jaime and Victor are parents of Grace and Andrew; they hold the dubious claim to fame of being the only family to make an Urgent Care visit on the trip (knock on whatever wooden surface is near)…and the most victories at the annual poker tournament. Ann and Eric have three girls—Liz, Mae, and Noelle; Eric’s trip claim to fame is being the house hunter and also preserving memories with an annual video compilation. Anna and Kay are twins and older sisters to Matt; the three of them keep the last couple Laura and Greg busy. Laura was the first one of us to consider capturing the stories of our trip in written form.

As a group, we have vacationed in eleven different states, rented sixteen different accommodations (excluding some repeats), and eaten probably a hundred dozen ears of sweet corn! If you happened to be a fly on the wall observing one of our vacations, you would see a wide range of activities, traditions, and adventures…and we always leave already planning for the next year! We have enjoyed our trips so much that we have all also traveled with other family groups. It is our hope that we can share our enthusiasm and expertise with you and encourage you to find a group and get started on making your own memories.