Last February I learned that child-less travel is the best kind of travel. But before realizing so, I frantically brain-stormed a last-minute timeshare getaway to warmer climes with the family. It would include our 2-year-old and 10-month-old.
My stress over rising airline tickets and dwindling hotel availability prompted my partner to say, “You could just go on your own.”
(Disclaimer #1: Getting away for an adult vacation wasn’t feasible. We don’t have family nearby on whom to foist two kids under 2 and we can’t afford 4 days of round-the-clock baby-sitting.)
“What?” I sputtered.
“Yeah, I mean it’s so much work to take the kids. It’s expensive, it’s a headache, and it’s not relaxing. I’m all about taking my own solo mini-vacation, later. You want to get away more than I do, right now, anyway. Seems to me child-less travel is the best kind of travel.”
(Disclaimer #2 True. I’d been very full-time daddy for the past couple months…along with titles of “actor“, “writer” and “entrepreneur“.)
“So you just go for a couple days.”
“But, but, but…” I sputtered, “No! We need to go somewhere exotic and force ourselves to have a fantastic time and take the perfect family-of-four picture that’ll serve as our Christmas card that shows how insanely happy we all are on our vacation that’s really been a total pain-in-the-ass, unrelaxing, sleep-deprived getaway from our convenient snack cabinet”.
Even I couldn’t even finish that run-on sentence without laughing at my own absurdity. I knew such a trip would be 70% headache, 25% mildly fun, 3% relaxing and 2% exhilarating.
After talking to some friends with kids who all said, “YES! GO! DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH I’D LOVE TO GO AWAY ON MY OWN FOR A FEW DAYS?” I realized I was being given an incredible opportunity.
So I did.
Here are the reasons I’m a complete convert:
- Saving money. Lots of it: food, airplane, drinks for one instead of four, fewer chintzy souvenirs. (I looked up how to spell “chintzy”. You’re welcome.)
- Saving my smart phone. I don’t have to worry about getting sand in it, recharging the batteries because Toca Boca games drained it, or capturing limitless pictures of the fifteen minutes that the kids actually entertain themselves and act cute. Instead, I Instagram my beer and my book and then run the battery down, myself, playing my own inane games.
- Pitying the exhausted parents around me. I got real sleep. Or I slept in. Or I lost sleep by my own volition. But I didn’t wake to a screaming child or a child demanding, “I want milk! I want milk!”
- Speaking of demanding: there are none. But mine. And I want them NOW!!!
- Anxiety-free meals. Let’s start with where and what to eat: my only dilemma was choosing the right meal for myself. No worries about whether the kids will eat or that I have to wolf down my food as fast as possible before post-dinner attention meltdown begins.
- Read a book. Or not. The point is, I don’t have to worry about drowning children or sun-burnt children or fighting children or napping children. Just me. Read. Or not.
- No more pressure to take the perfect family vacation photo. Nobody but parents want to see vacation pictures, anyway. Now I don’t need to get frustrated trying to stage the perfect vacation photo-op. Those pictures create more angst in myself than pleasure for others. I’ll take more candids at home. On vacation, I’ll just Instagram my beer and my beach read.
- I get to miss my children and be excited to come home. Even a mere 5 days (two of them were travel days, so do they even count?) away made me homesick for my kids. What a wonderful way to end…excited to come home. Plus, I got excited to dream about vacations that will be much less hassle-free and much more appreciated by my kids WHEN THEY’RE A BIT OLDER. In the meantime…daddy solo time. Me likey.
Any others? What justifications can you add to save future guilt-ridden parents the agony of indecision and realize child-less travel is the best!
I LOVE this blog…thank you for giving me permission to laugh at myself and to feel guilt free about parenting. I’m actually planning a solo vacation in February (running the Disney princess half marathon with my sister — no spouses, no kids, just the two of us) and I feel no guilt about how excited I am. Able to ride whatever rides I want as late as I want without trying to make four people happy? Awesome. Doing meet and greets with princesses without eye rolls? Works for me. Getting to eat at the grown up restaurants on Disney property? Sign me up. Sometimes, especially if we are the default parent who takes on the bulk of the juggling and chauffeuring and homework doing in addition to our own jobs and lives, we need a break. And no one should feel guilty or selfish about taking care of themselves. And remind me I said that when it’s my spouse’s turn for some well-needed solo time away…
Solo vacation time at ANY point along life’s journey is a GOOD thing! Our kids are to the point of gifting us with grandkids, but “ME” time is still an important part of our lives. This weekend Linda travels to AZ for her 40th HS Reunion. The next weekend WE will travel to see friends in IL (I think you may know them!). And in late Jan I will head to CA for a lecture series in Berkeley and to reconnect with theatre friends on the CA Central Coast. It’s ALL good!