A personal story about setting expectations

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the first lesson I learned from our family trip to Brazil – setting expectations.

I wanted to post this blog a while ago, but life (family, work, work travel, family, more work travel, and back-to-school) really took over my priorities for bit. Sorry!

Here is story from my father-in-law Daniel. I think this is a great example of how important it is to understand what each generation wants out of a trip before it starts.

Several years ago my then 81 year-old mom and I took a weekend trip to Estes Park in Colorado.

She was still relatively active and mobile. And, in my mind, I thought, with my assistance and the right amount of time built in to travel and rest, we would be able to go out to visit the town for a meal and maybe even a take a very short walk around the grounds of the lodge where we were staying.

Once we arrived I quickly learned that mom didn’t want to do any of these things. She didn’t want to go out and she didn’t want to go for a walk. She wanted to stay inside the lodge and sit with me.

I became angry with her for not wanting to do things. I hadn’t bargained on feeling this way. And at the time, I didn’t understand why she didn’t want to do anything.

After we returned I learned that she wasn’t interested in being active during this trip. She wanted to go on the trip because she wanted to be with me. Of course, I wanted to be with mom, but I also wanted something else out of the trip as well. I wanted to see and experience Estes Park.

I didn’t connect with the fact that mom just wanted to be with me. As I look back, I know I was a jerk to her during that trip and this is a regret for me.

This is a powerful story. One that goes right to heart of why it is critical to set expectations for a trip from the start. In this example, not setting expectations up front created a tension between mother and son about the purpose of the trip altogether.

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I hope you come back to read more stories, tips and advice I have to share on multigenerational travel!

And, if you have any stories you want to share, please email me at dorothy@squirtsandseniors.com.

Dorothy Hoffman is the creator of the travel blog, Squirts and Seniors. She is a Gen X-er who writes about traveling at home and abroad with her young son and aging parents.

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