Monday, 21 April 2014

Balancing travel and visiting family


I am first generation Canadian, which means that I have lots of family that live elsewhere.  I often find it difficult to balance familial obligation and my desire to see more of the world.  How do you spend time with the people you miss and love and still get to do some wicked cool stuff? 

When my sister and I were kids we were fortunate enough to be able to spend our summers in Northern Portugal and the islands of Madeira.  At the time it seemed like a bit of a drag to leave all of our friends behind and spend our summers being driven from place to place to visit with people who were essentially strangers to us.  But as years went by, we began to cultivate our own relationships with these people who lived so far away.  The internet has helped to nourish those bonds now that we're not able to visit as often.  That being said, Skype conversations and looking through Facebook photos does not take the place of real human contact.  Nor does my 90-year-old great aunt care to explore any of these options. 

So in order to see my peeps, I've got to get in that tin can in the sky and head on over the Atlantic.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Vacation! But what if I want to see Thailand or Peru? 

1- I don't feel guilty about putting me first.  I work hard to be able to afford travel and sometimes I just gotta do me, so if I can't get there this year maybe I'll get there next year.  No biggie.

2- I try to work in a 3-4 day express visit when I can I figure, if I'm going to Europe anyway, I'd might as well make a stop to collect as many hugs and kisses as I can.  Like I said, my great aunt is 90, I've gotta collect those snuggles while I can.

3- I do not go to see everyone individually.  That would take forever and who has that kind of time? So instead, I try to plan a lunch or go during a festival that I know a lot of people are going to attend.  That way I save time and stress of trying to get to 10 places in 3 days and not offend anyone.  

4- I invite my cousins to come on day trips with me.  If there's a museum, attraction or general going on that I want to check out, I try to include as many people as possible so that they don't feel like I'm ditching them in their own home town. 

5- I stopped caring about "What are people going to say?".  Really, who cares? I make the effort when I can and if others don't think that's enough, well that's more their issue than it is mine.    

I know that a lot of you get caught up with , "but I HAVE to visit so and so" how do you deal with it?