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Inter-Generational Travel – Creating Memories For Life

Inter-Generational Travel – Creating Memories For Life

By Susan Williams

Two interesting events intersected in our lives recently.

My husband and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary and my son went to Dublin to study at a University there for a semester. As much as these events are different we thought what a great opportunity.

We could celebrate our anniversary with a trip to Ireland with the bonus of visiting our son while we were there.

Then things began to shift.

My adult daughter who was also planning on visiting my son thought it would be a good idea to tag along with us. Her reasoning – “you guys will probably stay in nicer places than I would“.

Then we thought about my widowed father-in-law and what an opportunity it would be for him to also visit the country and spend some time with us and his grandchildren. We knew we weren’t going to possibly get this opportunity again so we should probably take advantage of it.

So, our wedding anniversary trip quickly turned into a multi-generational family vacation with our two adult children and my father-in-law all touring Ireland.

And it was great.

We had a wonderful time. We saw so many amazing things, shared some great meals and had conversations that never would have happened if we didn’t take this trip all together.

My Kids With Their Grandfather

As I think back on our time together, there were a few things that I thought I would share in case anyone else is planning a trip like this. Because as much as I would like to think it was strictly serendipity that everything magically came together, there was actually a great deal of planning that happened to help move it in this direction.

So here are a few things that I would suggest you may consider;

Tip #1: Find Out What Is Important To Everyone

My daughter had a list of sights she wanted to visit. My father-in-law wanted to see some of the old buildings, cathedrals and architecture. My son didn’t want to go back to the places he had already been. And my husband and I just wanted everyone to have a good time and get along.

So we created an itinerary.

We mapped out where everything was that people wanted to visit. Where necessary we compromised if we weren’t able to do it all in the time we had. So when we landed in Ireland we already have a pretty good idea of what we planned to do each day.

I think by doing this in advance, we eliminated any of the debate of what to do on any particular day. We already knew before we arrived so no one was necessarily disappointed by not getting what they wanted on the trip.

Tip #2: (If You Can) Get Some Space

When looking for places to stay, I really tried to find apartment style options so that people were able to have some space. After spending the full day together, it was nice to have a little room to spread out and just get some time away from each other and decompress for a bit.

Tip #3: Realize Not Everyone Goes At The Same Pace Or Has The Same Interests – And Be Okay With It

Climbing the Cliffs in Ireland at Age 85

My father-in-law is 85 years old and a real trooper. We were walking on average 12 to 15 kms a day and he kept right up with us. I did occasionally have to remind my family however that he doesn’t necessarily go at the same speed so we needed to make sure that we went at a comfortable speed for everyone. When things got a bit too hectic, we would also break into smaller groups to allow everyone to do something they were more interested in. This way we were able to stay together for the things we all wanted but also had the flexibility to change it up when necessary.

Tip #4: Take Pictures

One thing this trip reminded me of is that time moves fast and how memories can be fleeting. So take lots of pictures to not only remember the trip but to also be able to pass on to future generations. Photos of my father-in-law at 85 climbing the cliffs of Ireland with his grandchildren will be wonderful to share with our potential future grandkids.

Tip #5: Respect

As I watched my kids behave as adults, I realized that I really no longer had to play the “mom” role in our family vacations. It helped me to recognize that they really do have their own way of doing things now and I needed to respect their thoughts and opinions. As a result, I started to let them take the lead and experienced a shift from being strictly their “mother” to being more of an equal if that makes sense.

I think if we had fallen into our old traditional roles of parents and children, I would have missed the opportunity to really admire and appreciate the people that they have become.

As well, I always respected my father-in-law, but I found myself over our trip really admiring him. I learned more stories about his past and things he gave up in his own life to make life better for his family. I appreciated his perspective on aging and he soon became a role model for all of us on what life can be like if you are willing to welcome and accept what aging can bring.

So, this was a life changing trip.

Yes, I saw some amazing, beautiful sights. Yes, I ate way too many pub pies and discovered the wonderful world of Guinness draught. But most importantly, I spent time with people I love and created memories that will last forever.

Now, that’s a real trip.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.