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Saturday, October 27, 2012

What Makes a Great Family Vacation?




We are back from our week-long Utah vacation. I am totally wiped out but also happy as can be! It was great!!

Now, I have to admit that I suffer Vacation ObsessiveCompulsive Disorder. And I am far from being cured . . . not even in remission or stable. I plan our family vacations with intensity and tenacity. When on vacation I wake up early every day and I'm ready to go (in contrast to the normal me who stays in bed as long as possible and is not fully awake until noon).

This vacation was long awaited for our entire clan. We were so excited about it. And, for me, it marked a first in this particular dream I have for our family: I would like us to visit as many National Parks as possible together. So, with all that said, the expectations were high. And I have to say Utah lived up to our expectations and beyond.

First, the National Parks!!! Oh, the beautiful, untouched, wild, conserved National Parks!! We visited Arches NP and Zion NP. To be able to experience nature's beauty first hand was just the beginning. We also learned so much in our visit. It was like a hands-on Geography, Geology and Biology lesson for our little boy. To hear him talk about the "cryptobiotic crust" and look for it in the rocks was simply music to my ears.

Then, there was the hiking along the different trails. I felt as in an "Amazing Race" type game. We would walk along a trail, sometimes with difficulty, but, at the end, we would find our prize. Our amazing prize: a pool in the middle of a rocky mountain, a beautiful arch formation, or an unexpected animal friend. The hours of hiking were always rewarded.


 


We did several easy trails, but we also tried some pretty difficult ones. And I have to say our little man faced the challenge like a pro. I felt so proud to see him persevere and walk along with us while enjoying both the view and his achievement.

I was also able to complete a half marathon in Moab, Utah.  Coincidentally, I have this personal dream of finishing a half marathon in as many states as I can. And I was absolutely amazed by the fact that I was running in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, right along the Colorado River. Coolest place I've run so far!



Now with our vacation behind us, I feel we have grown as a family. We not only walked and spent time together, but we also worked together, learned together, and enjoyed each other's company with no other distractions than the beautiful landscape and nature around us.

Husband and I had discussed taking the boy to Cars Land at Disneyland next year. After our first National Park experience, we have officially put that idea behind us. Yeah, you can't do it all. But that's OK. Because I personally think the lessons learned in our recent adventure can't be taught at any theme park. Because I know now that what makes a great family vacation is not the OCD type planning or the crazy schedule to try to see as many places as possible.  What makes a great family vacation is being able to take some time away from everything to remember who are the most important people in your life, to enjoy them, and to be fulfilled by their enjoyment. In the most amazing family vacation you look into each others eyes and give thanks together for your many blessings.

I am happy to report that the whole family is now on board with my little NP dream!

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