Youth is not always wasted on the young. As a matter of fact, I find myself (more often than I would like to admit) jealous of my children. In our more than two decades long quest to encourage them to do great things, we have afforded them opportunities that we either never had or squandered somewhere along the way.
My greatest jealousy stems from their very casual attitude about travel. We always joked about our daughters and the lyrics to a very old song: “How are you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm after they’ve seen Par-ee?” Guess what? It’s true.
Daughter #2 was the first to go abroad, spending a week in Paris with some fellow high school French students and their teacher. She has also been to more US cities than I have, and I’m certain she’ll travel more. It is part of who she is.
Daughter #1 is in graduate school in London, did a semester abroad in Wales during her undergrad years, visited Amsterdam, and has flown halfway across the country on more than one occasion. Last week she went to Paris to spend time with another friend who is working there. Her friends are from, and have visited, many lands.
When they were younger the only foreign city we took them to was Toronto a couple of times. Since it’s just a few hours’ drive from our Western New York home, Canada almost doesn’t even feel like a foreign country. They loved that city, and also loved our occasional road trips: Maine, DC, Tennessee, Ohio, and others. They caught the travel bug.
To be given a gift of travel right now it would be hard to choose a location. My long wish list begins in the Midwest, continues to the West Coast (northern, mostly), circles back through the Southwest and Deep South, and includes parts of Canada I have never seen. And that’s just on this continent. European stops would include Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Greece, plus the requisite visit to London while Daughter #1 is there. With unlimited time and resources, I would also love to see other parts of the world: Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Japan.
The dreams are all there, but then reality strikes. There’s a mortgage to be paid, cars to maintain, food to put on the table, and – oh yes – college expenses for said daughters. In fact, this year we had to scrub some travel plans due to other expenses. But there we were sitting at the dinner table last night and my husband, who is more of a homebody than anyone I know, said, “I wish we could go somewhere. It would be great to get away.” So there is hope.
Somewhere along the line we made the decision to raise a family – a great adventure in its own right. We could be a duo and travel once in a while, or we could be a team and have a modest home to enjoy. We have absolutely no regrets about those choices.
And so the next generation is on the move. They should go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere. I want them to know so much more about the world and other people and other cultures. They and their friends, who are from all over the globe, are living my aspirations. To them, the world is a much smaller place, and one to be seen firsthand. Color me green with envy, and very proud.
But given the right circumstances I could be packed for just about any trip of any length to any location in less than twenty minutes. I can only hope we’ll still be able to walk by the time we can afford to go.