All you parents know that as your kids get into school, taking them out for a few weeks during October (when prices are the cheapest and the weather around the world is quite lovely) is challenging. In San Francisco, after ten days of the kids being out of school, we get this letter that says that (and I am paraphrasing here) we are bad parents for not taking our child’s education more serious, yadda yadda yadda–like traveling could ever be educational–ha!
And to avoid the wrath of the superintendent, or his/her assistant, I have joined the masses and now pretty much travel only on school vacations, which as we all know is stupidly expensive, and chaotic enough to make the most intrepid of travelers want to stay home.
Yet I don’t know about you, but I am not going to stop traveling just because getting there is rough (and pricy, and exhausting, and annoying, and and and).
Nope instead, my late night Internet romances with Travelzoo and Kayak get heated about 37 seconds after I return home from my previous journey. My fingers clicking through the array of summertime destinations just begging to be explored as I calculate just how much money I have to spend on plane tickets (approximately zero, which times four is still about zero), and just how much more I am willing to go into debt for yet another amount of time chasing little Nikko through crowded train stations, or having Kai complain that he is bored and misses his friends.
But I do it. Call me crazy, but I will hop on a plane.
At first, I’ll explore the furthest reaches of the planet. Inspired by some lovely photo spread in AFAR and then thwarted by the jaw dropping cost of transporting four humans in little seats from one corner of the earth to the other, I am quickly only expressing interest in destinations closer to home, and then, (imagine a pouting child of the Veruka Salt variety) I am hunting through the array of less desirable places to visit during US holiday seasons.
I’ve rocked more rainy seasons in Central America than I can count; winter in New Zealand; typhoon season in India; summer in Japan–yuck; the sticky “winters” in Queensland, Australia and August in Thailand. But I got there. And I took my kids.
Before having children, the thought of my languid beach days with fruity cocktails in Tahiti being rained out would make me cry, or be mean to my husband, neither of which are pretty. But now that I have no time to laze my days away reading on miraculously beautiful white sands, I don’t really care if it is raining. Or hot. Or cold (well, I do care if it is cold).
All I want is to introduce the world to my children, and engulf myself in other cultures. Rain does bring rainbows; too hot days do mean you have to actually stop and take a break; a freak rain storm in Thailand can be the perfect backdrop for a nap, or a quickie if your kids are napping, or a card game if they’re not.
You see we don’t travel for perfection. We travel to meet the world where it is at. Crappy weather and all. And so if you can get a ticket to Tokyo for $500, take it! Who cares if you have to wear a scarf or snow boots; or if you have to sweat through a day at Ueno Park, you are there! With your kids! Most likely in some swanky hotel you got for a steal, living real life in another time zone.
Traveling isn’t all about great weather. Sunny skies help, but they are not a requirement for an enriching vacation. So the next time you are bargain hunting for a getaway during your child’s winter vacation, dreaming about donning a bikini, consider going Gangnam Style in Seoul, or sipping vino in Paris.