Sunday, June 29, 2014

ON NOT BECOMING (OR RAISING) TRAVEL SNOBS

John and I love to travel.  It's one of our greatest commonalities, because we both absolutely light up with possibility and enthusiasm when the smell of a trip is in the air.  We've always found ways for travel to be a priority, even when we were newly married and lacking in material resources.  We've stayed in all kinds of places ranging from pretty fancy to extremely not.  We've traveled on mission trips, study trips, business trips, vacations and family trips.  It's kind of our thing.

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Every trip adds to our memory bucket and gives new shades of experience to our repertoire.  There are always highs and lows, because that is life.

On this most recent trip to Kansas City, I had a revelation of sorts.  The more of anything that you have to compare, the more critical you can become.  This is true about most things in life.  And it most definitely has pros and cons.

We stayed at a really fun hotel and had a really nice room.  However, every time I stepped into the bathroom in our room, I was annoyed.  There was a tile that was loose in the floor and not grouted in. The overhead light flickered.  None of the drains were great at doing their job.  The outlet next to the sink did not hold plugs well, so my flat iron kept turning off.  The hair dryer made me feel as if I was taking my life into my hands with its strange spasmodic waves of heat.

Now - our bathroom was certainly not a major part of our trip.  Obviously, we had a great time in spite of the inconveniences it contained.  But - it was a disappointment, and no doubt - those things should be addressed by the hotel.  I realized very quickly into our trip that I had a choice.

I could choose to fixate on those annoyances, or I could blow them off.

I also realized that I could set the tone for everyone else in my family.  I'm thankful that it did occur to me that if the girls heard me complaining about any of those things, then they would pick up on those things and remember them later.  Negative things have a way of coloring both present and past.

I want to remember getting into the room and changing Bella into her swimsuit as she squeezed her cheeks with her hands and said, "I'm so so so excited!"  I want to remember Ellen reading a bedtime story to the pajama clad children.  I want to remember William and Violet clapping every time anyone would say "Yay!"

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The truth is, it was a fantastic room for our family.  The twins slept in the master bedroom, so we could shut the door.  The girls slept on a pull out couch behind a partition, which left the rest of the room free for us to hang out in quite easily after bedtime.  If you have ever stayed in a hotel with young children, you know how valuable all of what I just said truly is.

I want to cultivate the attitude of gratefulness in myself and my children in every situation we are in.  There will always be pros and cons, and we always have a choice about what ways to frame it in our minds and hearts.  It was a good reminder that I do not want to become or raise travel snobs who thumb their noses at anything that isn't "perfect" or "as good as" or "better than" the last place we were.  Getting to travel is always a privilege and a gift, and I want to treat it as such.

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