Traveling with your family “Ok, book the tickets”, came from my mother’s voice from the other end of the telephone. Anyone passing by the little Vietnamese Pho shop would have seen my face frozen with shock.
I was standing there frozen in disbelief! For years, I had pleaded, even begged my mother and brother to join me in my nomadic lifestyle for a bit. Now my mom had finally said the three words that I was starting to think I would never hear – “book the tickets.” Had I finally succeeded?
Was I falling for some elaborate ruse? Nervously I asked, “Book the tickets,” perfectly aware I might jinx it. “Yes, find cheap flights and book them,” she repeated. Yes! I did it!
Over the next few days, I scoured the internet looking for any insanely cheap flights to Europe. I finally found a round trip for just under $600. As soon as the booking confirmation came through, an unexpected feeling washed over me.
I felt fear.
Travel is my passion, my life, and my job. My family was about to visit my universe, and I felt the fear that they might not like it.
My mind was working overtime, processing every single worst case scenario.
“What if I am a bad tour guide?”
“Will travel stress lead to massive arguments?”
“Could they handle red eye flights, hours sitting on trains, and other cheap ways to travel Europe?”
I knew l had to plan this trip well. If my family did not love traveling, it would be a hard blow.
As each month passed, my anxiety continued to build. Soon my mother and brother would be on a plane watching the shores of America pass out of sight.
My mother has traveled all over America, but this was her first time traveling abroad. I was a little nervous about how my family would react to being in a foreign country.
Would they find Venice boring, the cathedrals dull, the people hassling us to buy knock off purses and selfy sticks annoying? I would soon find out.
We stepped out into the cold December breeze of a Europe winter and started walking the cobblestone street one block from out hotel to Piazza San Marco; I was unsure about how the day was going to go.
We passed the Bridge of Sighs and made a right at the Doge’s Palace and into one of Europe’s most famous squares.
As we entered, I looked at my mother’s face as her head whipped back and forth between St Mark’s Basilica on our right and San Marco Campanile on our left.
You could see excitement and joy all over her face. Her eyes lit up, and there was an extra bounce in her step as she took in everything.
Within seconds, all my fears and nervousness about whether or not my family would love traveling melted away.
Traveling with my family had it share of challenges, but as I taught them about my world,
I learned some new things about myself and experienced the many rewards.
I Get My Wanderlust from my Mother
My Mother and I have a theory that when they began building Venice, someone asked the city planner for the design and that he instantly took a lump of Spaghetti, threw it on a plate, stood up and yelled: “Build it like that!”.
Venice is a mystical, magical maze of twisting alleys, tiny streets, and romantic canals.
My mother wanted to explore every street of this endless maze without knowing or caring, where they led. She wanted mulled wine from every vendor to find which one was the best, had to window shop at every store, and wandered into every church in the city.
I couldn’t help but smile; it reminded me so much of myself when I started traveling.
I swelled with pride. For years, I had been wondering where I got this insatiable need to wander and after one day on the road with my family, I was 100% positive it was from my mother.
Traveling Different is Not a Bad Thing.
My family opened my eyes to a new world of travel. They did research and planned things like an acapella concert in a church in Rome,
Christmas markets in Florence, nice meals in quaint eateries and 5-star hotels for insanely low prices.
I have to admit, it was nice to take a mini break from backpacking through Europe even if I did feel uncomfortable being a dirty backpacker in a 5-star hotel. It gave me a chance to recharge my backpacking batteries.
It was different, but in my lifestyle, I crave all things new and different.
How to Compromise and Have Patience When Traveling With My Family
I travel alone.
This means I make major decisions on my own. I choose where I want to go, when I leave, and how I get there.
Solo travel is ultimate freedom.
Don’t get me wrong, I often go with friends that I meet on the road, but there is never pressure. If they want to go to destination A, and I would rather head to destination B, we just split off.
When it is your family you can’t do that, and we had to compromise so, everyone would get to see the major things that they wanted. Since it was their first trip to Italy, and my fourth, I wanted them to pick and choose what we did.
Taking a back seat and letting others take charge of major decisions was difficult, even frustrating, at first, but it taught me a lot of patience.
Traveling with My Family Taught Me to See with New Eyes
Traveling with my family, I started looking at travel the way I did when I first started.
The biggest lesson I learned and a huge reward I received when traveling with my family was the reminder of what it is like to see foreign places, old sights, and ancient cultures with fresh eyes.
In my lifestyle, I have to fight travel burnout a lot. My family reminded me of the WOW factor you get when exploring and seeing things for the first time.
This was a major revelation and has helped me see some much-needed changes I need to make. Traveling with my family turned out better than I ever expected.
I got to share moments with the people I love, had wonderful experiences I would not have had otherwise, and even learned some new things about myself.