It’s 2am. My eyes are open, adjusted to the grey light and the odd flash of headlights that whoosh by, reflected through the window onto the high vaulted ceiling. The room smells of Oil of Olay, my Mother’s beloved nightly moisturizer, mixed with the faint smell of plumbing to be expected of a centuries’ old Italian mansion. And there it is. My Dad’s snore. Again.
I am lying on a cot, pushed into the corner of a Pisa hotel’s double room. More precisely, my parents’ Pisa hotel double room. I am an adult, complete with a brand-new Master’s degree, sleeping on a children’s cot in my parents’ room. For some, traveling with parents as an adult this way (ie. the great cot tour of Italy) may seem infantilizing. And I have to admit, writing it down on paper like this, I see it. But I also feel so lucky to be able to go on the age-old Family Vacation with my parents as an adult – especially after over two years of living on separate continents. But even despite that, and the fact that I moved out of home at the age of 17 to a separate state and have never properly moved home since, I have traveled with my parents quite a bit as an adult. Definitely more than the average person has.
For most of my friends, the final Family Vacation came in the last few years of high school. I mean family in terms of their “original” family: parents, kids. No partners, no odd sibling left outdue to job or university commitments. It wasn’t usually something that was marked, but rather happened as any other summer family roadtrip, until a few years went by with clashing schedules and one day they realized, actually that was it. That was the final Family Vacation. I asked Dan about this a few weeks ago and he had to think back: yeah, it must’ve been his third year of secondary school when they went to Turkey as Mum, Dad, Dan, brother. For most of my friends it’s a similar story.
Well, for me it’s different. Since I moved out at 17, I have been to New York City, Florida (maybe five times?), South Carolina, Georgia, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and throughout England (again about five times) with…my parents. And I now find myself on said Great Cot Tour of Italy.
I think a lot has to do with the fact I am an only child. There are no siblings’ schedules to work around, meaning so many less factors at play. Another reason is my parents’ jobs: my Mother no longer works, and as a University professor, my Dad’s work is pretty location independent as long as he’s not teaching that semester. And despite my Mother’s airplane-averseness, they both do like to travel.
So yes, I feel lucky to travel with my parents as an adult. Despite my Dad’s snores and my Mom’s 6am showers and the child-sized cots. Because I know that one day there will be a final Family Vacation – even if I don’t foresee it for a long time. Because who else could I feel no guilt at dragging to gluten free restaurants? Who else would be delighted that finally I actually want to have my photo taken (thanks travel blogging)? Who else could I return to Pisa with and laugh about 15-year-old memories of our last time here (does anyone else think the tower looks a little bit more leaning now)?
Have you ever traveled with your parents as an adult? Would you? I want to know your thoughts!
Oh and by the way…yes we were in Pisa! We didn’t spend much time here and I don’t have much to say about it, but I still wanted to share some photos from our wanderings. Our favorite part was The Royal Victoria Hotel, which I recommend as a good gluten free Pisa hotel! It’s right on the river and has lots of character. (And child-sized cots 😉 )
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*This post is part of a monthly travel linkup (this month on the theme “travel companions”) hosted by SilverSpoon London, Follow Your Sunshine, Adventures of a London Kiwi , and Leona at Wandermust Family.
**I’m linking up with Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This, and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderful Wednesday.
This is such a lovely post! 🙂 I too, have travelled with my parents in the last few years and I’ve loves it! This July, when my parents came to Chile we went to Patagonia and it was the best! It’s not quite the same without my brother being there as my true family holidays were as a four but it’s still great. I love thinking about how our relationship was changed from child to adult and the fact that the reason I love travel is all down to them!
this spring I took a 17-day road trip with my parents through the Pacific Northwest… and it was a total mix of awesome and nostalgia and annoyance. I slept on one pull out sofa that was a torture device, so I feel your cot pain. but we also saw a lot of amazing things. I realized that the three of us travel well as a family because we are always taking pictures! my brother joined us for a week and that made things even more fun. I probably enjoyed it a lot more than “being dragged” on family vacations as a teenager 🙂
YOUR PARENTS ARE SO ADORABLE!!! I travel with my parents all the time – except, now I’m planning the trips and treating them like children. “Does anyone need to go to the bathroom? Dad? Have you been to the bathroom? I put a granola bar in your front coat pocket in case you have low blood sugar. DID YOU HEAR ME? Your front coat pocket.” Seriously. My parents love to travel, but they typically join tour groups (Rick Steves) whereas I feel more confident in planning itineraries, etc. for independent travel. We went to Amsterdam and Cologne last year when they visited in December and I think it was the first time they really stopped treating/viewing me as a 17-year-old (which is when I moved out of state as well) and the 33-year-old that I actually am … and trusted me! It was such a switch.
Travelling with family is the best. My family love to travel almost as much as I do so it’s nice that when the husband can’t go away I still have someone to go with. Hope you go on lots more trips with your parents!
I went with my mum on a couple of day trips:)
I have done trips with both mine and my inlaws. I think it is important to set expectations and also have some time away #travellinkup
I adore that you travel with your parents – it’s so lovely that you get on well enough that you can!
This is a great post and it sums up my feelings/experiences with traveling with my parents. Although we don’t see each other as often as I would like, we have gotten to travel together. I like that we get this awesome quality time together that we probably wouldn’t have if I lived closer to home. Also, I love that I’ve gotten my parents out of their comfort zones. They never would have traveled to Hawaii if it weren’t to see me.
Aww I love this! I, too, have traveled some with my parents as an adult–and the vacations are waaaaay better than when I was a kid, although sometimes sharing a room is tricky sometimes ;). My parents’ first trip to Europe remains one of the best trips I’ve EVER taken, with or without them!
I loved this post. I COMPLETELY relate. As an only child myself with parents who enjoy travelling, I never really had that “last family vacation”. It’s become more sporadic, but is still a thing for my family and not so much for my friends and their families. My parents are good travel buddies, I think I will never not be up for a cot-tour. 🙂
So I use Olay lol, I have crazy sensitive skin on my face and that is the only stuff that works! On one hand, I think it would be cool to travel with my parents (especially to their birth country, Vietnam) but on the other hand, we have such different traveling styles. I love to walk 10 miles a day, sight seeing, taking pictures, seeing all the culture… my parents like to relax and do resorts stuff lol. Maybe we can find a middle ground!
I’m an only child too and travel with my parents quite often! In fact, I forced them to visit Scandinavia with me SO often 😀 They’ve been to Sweden, Norway and Denmark with me so now we only have to cross Finland off the list, haha! Though, we always make sure to stay in Airbnb’s with 2 bedrooms or at least a bedroom and a sleeping couch in the living room cause we do all appreciate at least a bit of privacy… 😉
I love having a vacation with the family! The important thing is to have fun and it’s always nice to spend time with family 🙂