Every spring, summer, and winter break, my immediate family would make the 10-hour trek to my grandparents' farm in Missouri. I always had a fabulous time with my huge family, but it still blows my mind when I hear about friends' childhood vacations spent at campsites, lake houses, and Disney World..
Maybe it helps if you already live near your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? I had the most fortunate childhood possible, full of creative, nurturing, fun, happy parents, piano lessons, ballet, big city adventures, birthday breakfast tables, and snow picnics. We had a lovely time at home together, but when vacation time came around (my parents were teachers), I don't think it occurred to any of us to go anywhere but my grandparents'. My parents worked on the farm and helped take care of the house, I ran around with my cousins and did farm chores, and other than the gas to get there, a summer of fun was basically free. I can definitely see why we did things that way!
But now, as an adult, I'm trying to find a bit of balance. I was with someone for 8 years and we only ever went away for one weekend together: every bit of travel time and travel money was spent making the cross-country trip to see our families. I wouldn't trade that time with family for the world, but I would definitely have taken more vacations if I could. I still don't have tons of money or time for travel, so I'm trying to divvy it up as best I can. Last year I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy so I could attend (and make the cake for) my dear friends' wedding, but it cost me a trip to see my grandparents. I simply couldn't do both. This year I was sad to miss a family wedding, but it fell at the same time that two of my best friends and I were invited to spend two weeks in New York City working on a pastry collaboration with the MoMA. I hope to have many more holidays and vacations and visits with my darling family, but sometimes you have to go someplace fabulous and make cake with your friends.
Is all your vacation time and money devoted to travelling to see family? Or are you able to balance priceless parent and grandparent time with getaways with your partner, immediate family, and best friends?
(Image: Gregory Han)