Hint of Things to Come

September 2, 2015

Somebody asked me about our trip today and it was a chance to reflect in a deeper way about some of the more meaningful aspects of our little adventure.

What’s going to stand out most, especially as time goes on, was the opportunity to spend extended, quality time with Peter. Truly. The definition of quality time: all three of us ready, relaxed and happy, with nothing to do but open our eyes, hearts and minds and let a whole bunch of new and exciting adventures wash over us. And talk about them. And talk about everything else under the sun, including lots of physics and way too much Donald Trump. And eat.

Perfect quality time, right?

From start to finish, Peter was a delight. He was a mature, young adult, ready to experience all kinds of new things, and perfectly happy to be sharing them all with us. In fact, I think he actually enjoyed us. Not a single obnoxious teenage moment. He was a little hard to get up some mornings, and once he threw up all over a shirt I was going to wear, but aside from that, he was extremely fun to be with. He totally, totally rose to the occasion.

Not that it’s a significant measure of adulthood, but he drank coffee with me in the mornings (with cream and sugar). On our last night in Paris, he had his first beer (at least the first that he’ll admit to). He had clear ideas of what he wanted to do and asserted them. He wanted to step out on Kjeragbolten in Norway, he wanted to go to the watch museum in Geneva, he wanted to see a Michaelangelo in the Louvre. Just a few examples, but he had no trouble making his wishes known. No trouble stepping up.

One of my greatest satisfactions was exposing him to European travel. He’s been to Italy, but he was so young. He’s traveled to Brazil and Costa Rica, but again, he was so young, and on those trips distracted and/or insulated by friends and family. Europe is so accessible, so familiar–western–yet different enough to be eye opening and expanding. Far enough away to offer new perspectives. Far enough away to feel far away. Now that he’s nearly an adult, with a whole new global curiosity, he’s coming to understand what travel is about; this trip provided him with some context for future travel. Meeting Leslie and Svein’s smart and pretty daughters and their very cool boyfriends and hearing about all their easy-peasy-drop-of-a-hat trips around the continent, and seeing other young people in train stations, I think gave him a sense that traveling around Europe was something he could do, too. When I suggested it to him before, he was unenthused. Now the opposite.

That alone made the 45 billion dollars we spent on this trip worth it.

And did I mention he was awesome to hang out with? That I enjoyed [just about] every conversation we had? (I did.) One big bonding fest, I’m tellin’ ya.

We’re back home now, and roles and routines are pretty much what they were before we left, but while it’s not exactly measurable, I think he was changed by the experience. I think he expanded, and learned, a ton.

All I could ever want.

Sooooo…. I’ll be blogging the trip, backfilling, posting lots of pictures. Could take a while. In the meantime, here’s a picture taken on our first full day in Norway…..some fjord outside Stavanger on our way to hike to Preikestolen…. (shot over my shoulder, through the window of a moving vehicle)…


…. a hint of things to come.

3 Responses to “Hint of Things to Come”

  1. Rachel Sales Says:

    I’m the editor of Pink Pangea (www.pinkpangea.com). Your travels sound wonderful, and we’d love for you to share your travels with our community. If you’re interested, feel free to email me at rachel@pinkpangea.com.
    Rachel Sales

  2. Bev Says:

    Boy, I know what you mean. Our best vacation ever was to England and Ireland with all five kids. David was not quite officially old enough to drink so he felt like big stuff to join us for beer in pubs. All kids were going off on Eurail passes after walt and I went home (we spent
    my father’s life savings on that trip) so they would be on their own eventually, so we didn’t ride herd on them when we were together. We were 7 adults traveling together and learning about places we had never visited before. I hope the kids remember that time as positively as I do.

    • Kari Says:

      What a fantastic thing to do with your kids! A worthwhile way to spend money!! I am hoping for a similar trip next summer…. Neither Jim nor I has never traveled in England.. we thought we could start there with Peter, then send him on his way with a friend (or two), alone, for a few weeks of pre-college travel. Just an idea now.. but hope it comes to fruition. The fact you guys did exactly that, well…. I think that gives the idea more heft! 🙂

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