Just about the last thing a family travel writer wants to hear from his kid is a request for a year off from flying.
Yet this was our reality in August of 2014, after we followed up five months of living abroad (for the last half of 2013) with family trips to Hawaii and Walt Disney World, and the Big Girl informed us that she needed a break.
Powerwoman and I wanted to be sensitive to L’s wishes; as major travel advocates, the last thing we wanted was to push our daughter to the point of resentment.
Still, we were bummed. Handcuffed, really. And concerned.
We responded by emphasizing road trips to local national parks and elsewhere around the state, as well as a greater frequency of daytrips to destinations less than three hours from our Northern California home. For a while, this strategy worked. But (being the inveterate travelers that we are) we yearned for more.
Then a funny thing happened. I went to Maui on behalf of the Expedia Viewfinder blog. I called home with reports every day. When I returned in person, I regaled the kids with stories of smooth flights, and the neat new personal entertainment devices passengers can rent aboard Alaska Airlines planes.
And, unprovoked, L declared that if she could have her own device, she was willing to shorten her moratorium and agree to fly again.
We were stunned. We clarified her statement four times to make sure we heard it correctly. We had.
Then, of course, we did what any travel-obsessed parents would do: We got out the laptop, pulled down the calendar, and started booking trips. When the hour ended, we had purchased plane tickets for the whole family to spend a long weekend (reporting some stuff) in Los Angeles. We also bought plane tickets to convert our full-on road trip from home to the San Juan Islands and back into a halfsie road-trip from Portland, Oregon, to the San Juan Islands and back to Seattle.
In all, we’re taking three separate plane trips as a family this summer, making the absolute most of the extra three months L gave us by rescinding her ban.
In short, thanks mostly to L, we’re planning to fly again this summer. And it feels good to be back.