Over Christmas break, I went on a vacation with my family. It was the first time my brother, sister, their spouses, my nephew and I had all been on a trip together. And because I am the one who has been bitten by the travel bug, it was left up to me to plan the adventure.
I started getting annoyed in the planning process. First, it was my sister who wanted to go far away but only could go for a few days. It baffled me how she could not understand that where we were talking about going would be at least a full day’s drive there and back.
“That only gives us two days at the park!” I complained when we were planning the trip. “We’ll spend just as much time on the road!” To me, this was nonsense. But I failed to look at this and try to see it from her point of view.
Planning this trip was nothing like I had planned recently. Because the past few trips I had planned were just for me. I had only one opinion, wants, and desire to consider.
It didn’t take long after we got there that I noticed I was hard on my nephew, criticizing almost everything he did. You know how people you love can just breathe wrong sometimes? Yeah, that was me.
The six of us took three vehicles on the trip, pairing up two per vehicle with Noah and me in my car. I got onto him for being messy, and then I realized it had been a while since I had been on a road trip with another person. I was simply failing to make room for him.
And then it hit me. Am I becoming a crotchety old man? Have I gotten too used to being alone on trips? As the trip went on, this realization became more apparent. Thoughts like, “This is why I love to travel alone,” would float through my head as I would mentally roll my eyes.
But I don’t want to be a crotchety old man. These were people I love, and love to spend time with. I needed an attitude adjustment. When I got home, I began to write down ways to keep from becoming a crotchety old man.
Don’t get too comfortable and set in your ways
For me, it has helped me to share my precious travels with others. Yes, I still love solo travel and crave it, but it shouldn’t be all that I do. I had gotten too comfortable with going alone and calling all the shots.
When you spend some of that time going with other people, you are likely to try more new things. You may find yourself doing things you would not have chosen, but in the end, are very glad you did.
This happened to me on my trip to Florida recently with my best friend. When I told people I was planning a trip to the Everglades, most people responded with “Are you going to do an airboat ride?” I did not want to do an airboat tour because I thought it was touristy and kitschy. But Crystal wanted to do it, so we did it. And I ended up loving it!
Remember that it’s their trip too
Your loved ones are spending money and taking time off of work, just like you. This is something to remember especially if the trip was your idea and you are the one planning it. Unless it’s a trip that you have specifically wanted to do solo and they have voiced that they just want to tag along, keep their thoughts and wants in your planning process too.
Remember why you love spending time with them
Sometimes with family and loved ones, we get a little too familiar and routine. I just got back from a week-long trip with my best friend. We have been best friends for more than 20 years. On the drive to and from, we listened to ’90s music and reminisced about our time in high school. But what I loved the most was we laughed a lot. It brought to mind our time in the dorms in college when we would literally get in trouble for laughing too much.
And last, remember not everyone thinks exactly like you
I didn’t see the point of spending just as much time on the road as we would have at the destination. But my sister did. And because we didn’t see eye-to-eye on that issue, we had to compromise. You compromise in all other aspects of your relationship, travel isn’t any different.