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

Joie de Vivre

Our intent for this blog is to share some useful tips and practical ideas for planning and executing group trips.  But events of the past week have brought home some things that I wanted to share.

I am a substitute aide at my children’s school.  Last week, a sixth grader passed away after a sudden and very short illness.  Prior to this, he had been the picture of health and vitality.  Full of sunshine and joie de vivre, his passing touched all those who knew him, no matter how slight. 

As can be expected when a community loses a child, the next few days were full of difficult moments.  But one thing that was brought home to me was how fleeting life can be.  We can plan for an event five years in the future but there is no guarantee that tomorrow an oncoming car won’t cross the centerline into our lane or a routine doctor’s visit won’t end with x-rays and a terminal diagnosis.

Thinking about this young man’s untimely passing, made me not only hold my own children tight, but also think about the other kids in my life, especially the ones who are a part of our yearly group trip.  I have watched these babies grow into young men and women getting ready to spread their wings.  I’ve bandaged their boo boos.  I’ve cheered their successes.  I’ve even threatened them within an inch of their life when their behavior warranted it. 

My memories of them are wrapped up in weeks spent searching for geocaches in Colorado, splashing through waterparks in Wisconsin, hiking around Mt. Rushmore and schlepping carseats through a cave in Missouri.  I hope and pray that I get a lot of years being one of their “Vacay Moms.”

It seems so easy these days to stay in touch by text message and Face Book posts.  But life is so short.  We never know when our time is going to be up.  Wouldn’t it be better to have memories of things done with people you love?  Let’s all put down our smart phones and make the effort to spend time with friends and family.

I’m not saying that you should break the bank to go on that dream vacation.  Maybe the Alaskan cruise or the African safari will have to wait until the mortgage is paid off.  But isn’t a long weekend spent exploring a location you’ve never visited with friends who will (hopefully) become even closer in the glow of shared experiences and discoveries worth the effort?

Life really is short, even if you are lucky enough to make 90 trips around the sun.  Make the most of the time you get to spend with those you love.