My traveling kids -- 08/02/00

Sean may be spending two weeks in Australia later this month!

When I was a kid -- elementary school age -- our big annual family trip consisted of my mother taking me and my brother down to New York City for the day. We lived far away from NY -- a whole ninety miles up the Hudson River. We saved coins all year long in our vacation fund bank so that we could make the trip across the river (via ferry) to catch a train to New York. Once we -- the entire family, including my father -- went up to the Albany area (about sixty miles away) to visit my mother's sister and her family. That was in the early 1950's. And once, summer of '54 probably, we went to visit my father's cousin in rural Pennsylvania, an all day car trip, at least two hundred miles, perhaps more... and this was two lane blacktop driving, before the construction of the interstate highway system. (Okay, so there were war-time trips to New Jersey to visit my grandmother; I was a baby. And also, when I was very young, I think there were two other trips to Albany: one by DayLine boat and one by train.) We sometimes went camping in the Catskills... and almost every weekend during fishing season meant a fishing trip... and there were trips to area attractions like the Catskill Game Farm. Yeah, and my sixth-grade class trip to Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo. What I'm trying to say here, folks, is that I was not exactly a world traveler as a child. My family did not travel much... or, at least not very far.

Straight-line map distance, Connecticut was no much over twenty-five miles from my house but I never crossed into that state until I was a teenager. I guess it was as a teenager that I began to travel a bit more, as friends got licenses and access to cars. Then I went to college (my first two years down on Long Island) and I bought a car (a VW Beetle in which I covered many tens of thousands of miles) and I began to travel further. Even so, I didn't have a passport until I was in my mid-thirties (when Nancy and I got married and flew to London.) Yeah, okay, so now I travel all over the place on business trips.

My kids are much better traveled. Adam, my eldest, has wandered through eastern Europe as well as visiting England, etc. Most summers he and his girlfriend do backpack hiking and camping out in the southwest. Sean was a toddler and Jennifer kindergarten age the first time we took them to Canada. We've dragged them all around the New England - New York - Pennsylvania area, as well as down to D.C. and Virginia. They've been through the museums in Washington and Boston and Philadelphia and Toronto and New York City and Albany and... etc. Smithsonian and Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg. Plus various amusement parks, zoos, underground caverns, etc. as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Soccer Hall of Fame... (We once stood in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame but it was closed to the public that day.)

If it were not for the extreme flying phobia that Nancy had developed I would have liked to have brought the whole family to England for a vacation trip. I've thought about bringing one or the other of the kids along with me on a trip... I had wanted Jennifer to accompany me to London last summer but she did not want to fly -- as a kid she loved flying (a friend would take us up in a small plane) and often said she wanted to learn how to fly -- but she seems to have picked up Nancy's fear of flying, perhaps triggered by an extremely turbulent flight she was on a couple years ago when she and an aunt flew to Chicago. Sean was eager to come with me but I was hesitant about having a 14 yr old boy wandering about London on his own while I was working. I have thought about taking him to London on a vacation trip, just the two of us, but this was not a good summer for that -- we put a bunch of money into Jennifer's graduation (a big party, a new computer for a graduation present), miscellaneous expenses (like a brake job for Jennifer's car) as well as expenses that are just ahead of us, like her college tuition and books, hardware needed if I'm going to setup a home LAN, some computer hardware upgrades, and the exercise equipment I'd like to get to set up our home workout center.

One of Sean's friends is going to Sydney to visit his father. Rather than constantly flying the father back home while he's working in Australia, his company pays to fly family members over to visit. The companion who was going to fly with Sean's friend had to back out at (almost) the last minute so Sean was invited to come instead. He has to leave two weeks from tomorrow. This has instituted a mad scramble to get him a passport and visa, etc. quickly. (Yes, you do need a visa to visit Australia, but they've streamlined the procedure and now travel agents can set it up online.) I've told him he should spend a day sitting in the back seat of Jennifer's Honda Civic as training for the flight.... the Los Angeles to Sydney leg of the trip is like fourteen and a half hours. (It's been three years since I made the trip and I still feel cramped *grin*)

My son, the world traveler.

Meanwhile, Jennifer is going to be going down to Baltimore this weekend for Otakon 2000 (an anime convention)

My kids, the travelers...

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