The world in which we live today moves faster than ever. Children grow in a technologically distracting environment, able to focus less on becoming who they are and more on how to participate in the latest craze. Not necessarily because they want to, but because it has become socially unacceptable not to. The label of "outcast" can be placed on those who don't conform to the simplest of trends. A video game, a particular fidget toy, a TV show, no matter how young you analyze this social behavior, it appears that once school begins, so do these pressures.
Times have certainly changed. When I was a child, growing up in the 80's and 90's, your worst day may have consisted of being called a "freckle fart from K-mart," or someone having a better yo-yo than you. Now, our children are faced with the indecency of the internet, texting and the consequences of the electronic written word that no longer fades with time but remains published on social media indefinitely.
It has become harder and harder to take time out of our home lives to find the magic. A combination of the world seemingly becoming more volatile and the cost of travel on the rise creates the illusion that those magical experiences for our families are now likely impossible to achieve. But, they aren't. In fact, it is now more critical than ever to seek out those moments of magic and hang on to them as foundations for the bonds that tie your family.
It is all too easy to watch the years roll by, albeit in horror, of how fast they go and how little you feel you have achieved. It is easier to let them roll by than to attempt to make a change. As your children get older, you feel more as though you have missed your opportunity to find those elements of sparkle and connection. I am here to tell you that it is never too late. Let's start today.
No matter how big or how small, making plans with your family or friends puts you in control of your environment and circumstances. Get a notebook. A large notebook. I have a series of these in the same design, so my family knows that when a new experience is in the works, a new notebook is pulled out of the cupboard. I have a couple of these running simultaneously, as it can take between 2 - 3 years from conception to completion. Note that I use the word experience, rather than vacation or holiday. A vacation implies that you are taking a break from your life. I prefer to think these adventures are routinely a part of our shared experience of life, and an integral part of what shapes our future relationships once our children grow up. This is not a break from our lives, this is our life.
I digress, back to the notebook. Open to the first page and write down where you want to go. It doesn't matter where it is or how unlikely it may be ever to get there. You just need to make a start. If you want to go to more than one place, start a separate notebook. Remember, this is a lifestyle change. Going forward, you want to be in the habit of continuously keeping each project moving in the right direction. A full-sized notebook can be big, I know, though don't be tempted to cram more than one adventure into each book. By the time we are finished, and you've set sail, you will have needed all that space.
This weeks' homework is to buy your notebook. Let's make a start and get your next adventure underway. If you are dreaming of Disney, then you are in luck as we will be using Disney locations as examples for the different stages of your planning. That said, no matter where in the world you want to go, the tips for making your experience happen are the same, regardless of your destination.
If the first page in your notebook already says "visit Disney," a good place to start is Disneyland. The reason for this is that you have much cheaper surrounding accommodation options and choosing them doesn't diminish your opportunities in the park. There are no 60- or 30-day FastPass selections to be made and restaurant reservations at 60-days out are the same for everyone, no matter where you are staying. Once you arrive in Anaheim, you are also not reliant on transportation, with most of the Disney property and Downtown Disney within walking distance of Good Neighbor hotels. Disneyland is also easier if you are traveling internationally through LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), which was named one of the world's top five busiest airports in 2017. In the coming weeks, we will look more closely at the how to find the right combination of activities and accommodations that suit your family and budget. We will also assess when is the right time to get in touch with a professional travel agent (like Dreams Unlimited Travel) and leave things to the experts.
I can promise you that with all the barriers this world has thrown at us, making us feel that we are even more isolated in our own part of the world, the advances in technology and corporate expansion actually provide more resources for you to achieve your travel goals than ever before. This is our time. Embrace the circumstances we live in and don't wait for the universe to hand you the perfect opportunity to live a more expansive life.
In the next few weeks, we will explore how to research your destination, creating a budget, and putting a plan of action into place to make your dream a reality.
Don't forget that notebook.