Filed under: Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Traveling Tips
Just the Two of Us…
Since our youngest child, daughter Meghan, started college in Iowa this past fall, Terry and I have had the opportunity to do a bit of traveling without any children, something we have rarely enjoyed, given that I had a three year old daughter when we met and married. In all the years the kids were at home, we took only two trips without them: one, a road trip from Wisconsin to Boston when Terry ran the Boston Marathon in 1990; the other, a one week trip to Santa Fe, NM in 2000 when the kids were a bit older. Needless to say, most of our travels in our nearly 23 years of marriage have been with children in tow.
I must say it is an entirely different experience traveling as a couple, rather than as a family. First of all, we both miss the kids terribly. Being so accustomed to traveling with them, there is a small hole in our lives when they are away. However, that being said, there is a reason Terry and I found each other in the first place: we enjoy many of the same things and have very similar tastes. Never ones to want to vacation simply by laying on a beach, if we went to Mexico, we would be looking for Mayan ruins to investigate or mountains to climb. At least two of our three children, however, would give us a hard time about too active a trip and a battle may be waged. Not so with just the two of us. We have rediscovered this natural rhythm that we share so easily now that we are alone again. Or, should I say, for the first time.
Secondly, it is less expensive traveling as a couple than as a family, and not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, two can easily travel more cheaply than four or five. But Terry and I both grew up in blue collar families where money was tight and have learned to be very careful with money. In addition, we also both went to state colleges and had to work our way through school with very limited funds. As a result, while we love to travel and are avowed “foodies” (ie lovers of good food), we are both extremely frugal. We save “eating meals out” for vacation or very special occasions, both for financial and caloric reasons. We can make a nickel or dime go much further than our children can and sometimes wonder if this is one of our weaknesses as parents. But don’t we all want more for our children than what we had? It has been our mission as parents to give our children everything they need and much of what they want. As a result, they often have difficulty making the frugal choice. I believe that will come soon enough, especially as they will now be making more financial decisions on their own, with only a bit of guidance from us.
However, when traveling, Terry and I will often make very frugal choices in terms of activities and meals, preferring to eat an excellent and inexpensive meal of local fare rather than go to a high priced restaurant where you are paying more for atmosphere than for quality food. We often also share an entrée, starting with salad, because that is how we prefer to eat, but it also probably saves us at least $5 or $6 per meal. In these ways, we just tend to think alike. It also helps a lot that, other than pork, which I won’t eat except for ham, we share the similar taste in food.
And finally, similar to sharing the same taste for many activities and meals, Terry and I both enjoy the quiet times as well as the busy ones. We thoroughly enjoy sitting on the back porch of our soon-to-be primary home in New Mexcio and watching the sun set, in perfect silence, simply marveling at the beauty and peace in the occasion. Our children, at the same time, are on their computers, talking to friends on Facebook or watching episodes of television programs they have downloaded so they will not be bored on the trip. That is the difference. Terry and I don’t need the extraneous diversions. Whenever we have been in Taos thus far, we have had no television. Our only and occasional entertainment is the local radio station which plays an incredible and engaging variety of music, from oldies, to folk to top hits of the day to Native American chanting and drumming to polkas and folk songs in Spanish. We never get bored.
Yes, I think we will manage this traveling alone thing just fine. Now, to make my list of places to visit…
To plan your next trip search Woodall’s inspected campgrounds.