By Rhonda Stanley
My previous blog talked about ‘the education of travel’ my husband and I have given our children. We’ve had the chance to take them to exotic and exciting destinations, showing them the beauty this planet has to offer.
But not everything is ‘beautiful’.
Recently, our youngest daughters, 18 year old twins, went on a graduation trip with their high school friends. One went to Cuba, the other to the Dominican Republic.
From the moment they arrived at their respective destinations, reality set in. This was not like travelling with mom and dad.
One daughter sent a message upon arrival remarking that there wasn’t a sign with her name on it outside the arrival gate. When she got to the hotel, she gave us a tour of the room via Skype and said, “I miss travelling with my mom and dad!”
The daughter that went to Cuba was noncommittal about the experience. She just said she had a great time because her friends were there, but she didn’t want to go back. Her friends complained of bed bugs. She didn’t have any in her room but I suspect they didn’t either; they were more likely bites from sand flies than bed bugs.
Suffice it to say, neither of my daughters were impressed. Now I understand why so many divorces result in one spouse being sued so the other spouse can maintain the lifestyle they have” become accustomed to”.
The whole purpose of sharing this story is to say that, while we have enriched our children’s lives in many ways, we have also set expectations that aren’t realistic.
Ironically, when we travelled as a family, it was sometimes hard to get the kids to buy in. They felt we weren’t staying at the ‘fun resorts’ because we saw few people their age. But now that they’ve actually seen some of the destinations that young people frequent, they’ve realized the grass was greener.
One of the twins is talking about backpacking through South East Asia or South America. Talk about reality! That may be the just the reality check she needs: staying in youth hostels, riding local transportation, and budgeting her money to ensure she has enough to sustain her throughout her journey. That may be her best ‘education’ yet.
During my years in retail travel, we subscribed to and promoted the ‘Ten Commandments of Travel’
The Ten Commandments of Travel
1. Thou shalt not expect to find things precisely as they are at home, for thou hast left home to find things different.
2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the basis for a great vacation.
3. Thou shalt not let other tour members get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.
4. Thou shalt not worry. The person who worrieth hath little joy and few things are fatal.
5. Thou shalt not judge all the people of a country by one person with whom thou had a problem.
6. Thou shalt in Rome, do somewhat as the Romans do.
7. Thou shalt be on time, for if thou art late thou shalt make thine own way to the next hotel. Thou shalt carry thy passport at all times, for a traveler without a passport is one without a country.
8. Thou shalt learn to say “Thank You” in any language. Verily, it is worth more than gold.
9. Thou shalt acquaint thyself with any currency and thou shalt not be cheated.
10. Thou art welcome in every land. Treat thy hosts with respect and thou shalt be an honored guest.
If we all accepted and abided by these commandments, travel would be so much more enjoyable. Treat it as an experience and an adventure. Who cares what you have and how you live at home. Considering that only 3.5% of the entire world’s population has travelled internationally, my daughters are very fortunate to have experienced so much of what the world has to offer.
Now, they’re going to learn how to rough it!