We cannot direct the wind, but we can direct the sail

I don’t know about you, but once we schedule a vacation, I start to plan the vacation. I read travel books and travel blogs. I search Trip Advisor, Pinterest and Google. I talk to friends. I start to make lists of all of the things that we could see, do, and visit. At some point, this list takes the shape of an agenda, or worse, a detailed schedule that maps pretty much every minute of every day during the trip. A to Z.

However, for multigenerational travel, creating a detailed schedule may not be the right approach.

I’m not saying that you can’t plan your trip. In fact, identifying things to do, places to see, and tours to be had is really important. What I would encourage you to do is to understand how your traveling partners like to spend their day, stay flexible, and don’t over-schedule your daily itinerary.

For example, as many parents of young children know, just getting through the day sometimes can be tough. Take my six-year old son for example. He is not an early riser and waking him up for school can take time and effort. Lots of time and effort. Sometimes so much time and effort is needed, I have found myself sprinting out the door while I’m carrying him like he’s a football and I’m desperately trying to reach the end zone. There is a banana tucked under my chin (breakfast of course), his backpack and my workbag slung across my body.

My mother-in-law (MIL) on the other hand is an early riser. She’s up early. Really early. She wants her coffee and she is ready to go.

So what? What’s the point you might ask? The point is that people like to spend their day certain ways. So it is better to understand this and consider how to accommodate this within your daily plan.

During our trip to Brazil, mornings were the happiest and most peaceful times of our day. We all understood that the day wouldn’t start until late morning. This gave us all the time and space to do things at our own pace.

The early riser, my MIL, would head out to the beach to take a morning walk. On the way back, she would stop at a beach side cabana for a fresh coconut juice. She would talk with the locals she met along the way and together they would share stories about growing up in Brazil. She loved this time to herself. And she always returned with a huge smile on her face anxiously waiting to tell us about her latest encounter during her walk.

I used the morning time to meditate and practice yoga on the veranda or the beach, slowly sip coffee by the pool, or enjoy a few more pages of a book in a hammock.

My son and husband would both sleep in maximizing the full amount of zzz’s possible.

The morning schedule worked because we all knew what each of us wanted out of that part of the day and we all honored that time for each other.

And, the best part of our morning routine? Within a few days, I looked forward to see my MIL rambling up the driveway fresh from her latest adventure. We would sit together and share coffee and stories of our morning adventures.

Thanks for stopping by.

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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