- I come from a long line of world travelers. Some ancestors pass on dimples or bushy eyebrows (I got those, too…sigh), my grandparents passed on the travel bug. My dad’s father was a travel agent and toured the world many times over. In his home he has a map with all the places he’s been marked by colored pins – different colors share the number of times he’s been to a specific location. My mom’s father was a tour guide for Brigham Young University’s Travel Study program. He, too, was a globetrotter visiting every continent multiple times.
My mom carried on this tradition and took us kids on a family trip once or twice a year. Even as a single mom she carted four kids all over. We went to New York City, San Francisco, Anaheim (Disneyland & Universal Studios), Mexico, Idaho, and what felt like hundreds of national parks. She didn’t let her single status stop her from taking us on amazing adventures. I’ll be forever grateful.
I know that’s one reason I LOVE my job. Opportunities to speak and consult all over the country help me scratch the itch of travel. I dream of the days when I take my kids on solo trips, paid for by event planners.
This year included many travel memories I won’t forget. In October I went with my mom to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, a bucket list trip in celebration of her 60th birthday. In September I got to go with my husband to Germany where he checked off his bucket list item: driving a German car on the Autobahn at unlimited speed. (We topped out at 240 kms, which is about 150 miles per hour). In both cases I went along for other people’s bucket list’s and my mom asked, “What’s on your bucket list?”
Quite frankly, I feel like travel of any kind checks things off my bucket list and I don’t have to go far.
This summer I took my kids to Universal Orlando Resort. My brother Merlin joined us from Philadelphia and my sister Melinda flew with us from Salt Lake we had a great time! My kids enjoyed interactive wands and we explored the new Volcano Bay. It was a week I’ll never forget.
I live by the philosophy, experiences beat stuff, hands down. We can fill our kids room with things (that never get played with) or we can take them on trips, take a bajillion pictures (I’m still an avid scrapbooker) and talk about the fun we had for weeks and months to come. Seeing a new place, or even visiting an old favorite lasts longer – even if the price tag is higher. Yes, yes, my kids still have stuff, but we save our pennies for trips.
I also believe that it’s important in our family to let my kids earn money and pay for trips – they’ll appreciate them more. One of the reasons I love being an entrepreneur is because I get to create my own money. I want to teach my kids that money doesn’t show up, you get to work for it. Both of my kids are under the age of 10, but they have been earning their trips since they were little. Now they earn money, but then they earned stickers. We don’t do this for family reunions and ALL trips, but we love to have them earn at least souvenir money, but often it’s a lot more.
Whether we can afford to pick up the tab or not, something magical happens when my kids get to earn their own money. They learn the value of money and that trips aren’t cheap, and they get to have a sense of pride when they’re there – they appreciate it more than if mom and dad pay for everything. It was super nice this year to tell them that they needed to earn all of their Universal spending money. My son spent every dime in the Transformers store (his favorite ride from the trip) and my daughter spent $5 here and $5 there buying churros and pretzels and her last $12 was spent on a Minions fanny pack, but there were no fights or begging for me to buy stuff. They had the money or they didn’t and it was great all around.
They sold cookies and ties, did extra jobs for me and others and worked really hard. I want my kids to know that if they want something, they can work hard and earn it. While we were walking through the Diagon Alley and riding Gringots for tenth time I was so grateful that I hadn’t just caved and paid for it. I probably spent 50 hours in the kitchen helping the kids make cookies, and if I had spent that time in my business, I would have made 50 times the money. But it felt good to teach the kids the value of a dollar and it turns out we all liked the trip a bit more because we put some time into it.
In the end I’m collecting memories. Sure, I’d love to go to Italy or see the Great Wall of China, but right now, travelling with my kids and helping them make solid memories is my bucket list. I love the theme from the park, “Dreams are Universal.” Being with my family this summer felt like heaven and I’ll have those memories forever.