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As I type these words, I’m hurtling at 600 miles-an-hour in a metal tube over the North Pole. During the past few days, a business emergency for my husband became an unexpected trip to Asia for the family. (One more reason to always have a valid passport, because when opportunity knocks, you want to go, go, go.)

My kids have traveled outside the U.S., but never to Asia. Both kids are good travelers, but nerves were jangled this time because the trip was unexpected, unplanned, and totally by the seat of our pants. Plus, each had concerns about the destination (Europe is different from home, but Asia is very different from home).

Nevertheless, we’re on our way, and it’s time to let go of the oars and see where this adventure takes us.

Many parents (or grandparents) dream of taking their families on a once in a lifetime journey. Maybe that dream is the Grand Canyon, a cruise, Dude Ranch, a beautiful house by the ocean, or even Asia. Unfortunately, for many, it’s just a dream.

“One day…we’re going to take the kids to Hawaii!”

“We really want to travel over to Europe, but we’re waiting until the kids are older.”

“We really want to go out West and see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but our summers are just too busy. Maybe, next year.”

Next year turns into the year after that…and the year after that…until you “blink” and are sitting your kid’s high school graduation wondering where the time went.

Families want to spend more time together (and driving back and forth from school, sports, band, or dance competitions doesn’t count). Between work and all the other STUFF we do, many of us feel disconnected and burned out.

The solution?

Any guesses?

I’m sure you have a guess.

That’s right; travel together. Hit the road (or the sea, mountains, desert, jungle) with no distractions and no excuses; just you and your kids (or grandkids) spending some good ole’ fashion time together

Besides being good for your health (seriously, there were studies) traveling and seeing other parts of the world opens your hearts and minds and makes things out there a little less scary.

Please believe me; guilt isn’t the point of this essay (we ALL have enough parent guilt). Instead, it’s just a reminder. If you want to see Paris, the Pacific Ocean, or the new water park at Universal Studios, make plans and GO!

Remember…you only have 18 summers.  (Sorry, I know it’s an overused cliché, but my friend, this one is true).

Let’s go!