Traveling with Our Parents: The Good, The Bad, and the Awkward
(FROM THE #TRAVELWITH SERIES)
Note: This is a follow-up article to Why Traveling with Our Parents is a Beautiful Adjustment
Just a few days after publishing Why Traveling with Our Parents is a Beautiful Adjustment, I received an opportunity to go on a trip with my father later this year. (Thanks, Seat Sale!) But what is more awesome than that is that I got a chance to do it earlier! The last hurrah for the summer, as they say. I was able to bring my father to Boracay Island for a short trip- and by a short trip, I mean two nights!
So yes, I finally got to travel with my father. And I am not going to take back anything I said in my previous article, alright? I am so glad I made those assumptions because:
1. I was able to show off.
Yes, I arranged everything! From my father’s clothes, down to getting his coffee (or beer) fix. He did not have to worry about anything aside from appreciating the beautiful sight of the island. I got everything covered, and all he had to do was to tag along and get cozy. Taking care of our parents is easy if we grew up watching them doing things for each other. I am lucky to have had the best trainer- my mother!
2. It took family bonding to a whole new level.
Although we are usually together anyway, this was the first time that we vacationed together. I probably would not have done helmet diving if I did not want to leave the island without us doing any water activity. It was fun to see him amused with underwater creatures; even with the fine white sand! I felt proud when he said that he liked the beach we transferred to on our second day. Who would not love this kind of view, anyway? Oh Under the Stars Luxury Apartment, why so perfect?
3. It sent me right back to the original essence of a vacation.
True to my prediction, we had a slow- paced kind of trip. This photo of him at the beach front of Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel says it all. Who says two days is too short to relax and unwind? We were able to do everything we wanted in just a little more than 48 hours on the island.
We had some seafood, swam at the beach and pool, caught the breathtaking sunset at the White Beach, did helmet diving and had a well- deserved massage after walking our legs to exhaustion. If I am correct, it was the first time in a long time that I have slept at around 10 PM without having to force myself. Watching the sunrise from the balcony of our apartment was a highlight of our trip as well. We may have lived most of our lives on the island of Mindoro, but it is not every day that we get to see the sunrise just a few steps from our beds.
4. I was able to prove that traveling with parents is not a nuisance..
Maybe I am an old soul, or I am just starting to love slow travel more and more each day. I have never been a party person so skipping the nightlife in Boracay was not a problem for me at all. We were back at our first hotel for dinner at seven in the evening and ready for bed, reading a book at nine.
When I suggested helmet diving, my father went along with it, too. It was easy for me to accept that we had to finish earlier even if we have just been underwater for about ten minutes because he was feeling a bit dizzy already. Traveling with parents it not a nuisance at all. In fact, it makes me feel a bit more selfless as it teaches me to compromise and to understand other people’s point of view and limitations.
5. It brought me to an important realization.
There is a feeling of nostalgia when we allow ourselves to think about all the things that they have sacrificed for us. So, it makes me happy that somehow, they are enjoying life after all the years of focusing on their children. It made me a little teary, though, thinking that it would have been nicer if my mother was with us, too. But I was hoping that she was seeing us from up above and was happy about how we enjoyed our time together.
It is not exactly a bad thing but as much as I wanted to make this trip exclusively for my parents and me, it was hard not to get hit by slight remorse. We also stayed a night in a colossal apartment at Tambisaan Beach, and I could not help but think about how fun it would be if we were sharing the experience with my siblings, too, like our other travels.
I was oblivious about this before the trip. It has never crossed my mind that since I am a woman and traveling with just my father- heart- shaped towel arts on beds can become awkward. People were most likely to assume for a romantic date, too! Some were slightly confused why it was just us together. I thought it was funny, and I felt a bit uncomfortable at some point but I did not let it get the best of me. After all, these bloopers can happen whoever you are with, right? (But honestly, none of this would have happened if my mother was with us! Ha!)
When we went home, our flight was delayed for two hours, ruining all our plans for the rest of the evening. What was worse than that was that because of the bad weather in Manila, our flight was diverted to Clark. It only proves that even if you are traveling solo or with a companion, you can never control everything. But what you can control is how you handle the situation. I would have probably panicked if I was all alone. But since my father was calmly enjoying his bag of Cheetos while tourists were making scenes already as they will be missing their connecting flights, it was easy for me not to feel stressed.
Traveling with parents, just like with friends, can never be perfect. There can be some unexpected and upsetting moments. But it does not mean that they are not worth it. It is. As our parents grow older, the things they want in life become lesser and lesser. Sometimes, it even gets hard to think about physical gifts for them anymore because they seem to have everything already.
But there is probably nothing more humbling than doing something that can make our parents happy. Despite the fact that the lives that we live right now seem to no longer revolve around them like when we were kids- spending even just two days with them to recharge is priceless. The time spent with them is something that they will treasure the most for the rest of their lives as much as we would. So, while my father and I still have the chance to do silly little things together, I will take advantage of every opportunity to make the best memories. I am already looking forward to our next trip where I can actually bring my mother’s photo with us!
How about you, would you do the same?