by Nancy Bestor
Well it’s the start of a new year once again. We’ve thrown our glittery confetti, tooted our New Year’s horns, and downed our glasses of bubbly. (Or, in my case, we’ve sat on the couch, read our book, and gone to bed before the clock struck midnight.)
The last few months of 2015 brought big changes in my life. Bob and I went from a full nest to an empty one, as our youngest daughter went off to college at Oregon State University, the same school her older sister attends (Beaver Nation baby!). Our house instantly got quieter, and—dare I say it—cleaner too. Our girls are just 3 ½ hours away, but I’ll admit, there are days when that seems really far.
The truth of the matter is though, it was time for them to move on, experience new things, and meet new people. And it was time for Bob and I to enter a new phase of our lives. We’ve been enjoying exercising and hiking together, we’re cooking and eating new and delicious things, and we’re even learning new hobbies—Bob the lap steel guitar, and me the traditional guitar. (Bob is my guitar teacher, and I’m certain he would tell you I don’t practice often enough, but I digress.) It’s actually a fun place to be in life, 48 and 52 years old respectively, and for the first time in a long, long time (21 years to be exact), we are only responsible for ourselves, at least on a daily basis.
Our plans in 2016 include traveling more—just the two of us—particularly in the off-season. It’s definitely a different type of travel when your kids don’t come along. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s better or worse, just different. I’ve loved traveling with our girls over the years. We went on our first big trip to Italy and Croatia when they were just two and four. And we were fortunate enough to take them to many places around the globe while they grew up. I’d like to think they learned flexibility through our travels, as things didn’t always go our way. (The non-existent hotel reservation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, upon our arrival from the airport at midnight, comes to mind.) I also hope they learned to appreciate different cultures, for the people we met around the world sure loved them.
I know our family travels are not over, certainly not as long as we’re willing to pay to take Emily and Sarah on vacation with us. But our travel is changing. Bob and I are planning trips to more far flung destinations, including Thailand and New Zealand next month, and we’re hoping to get to Africa some day. We can be gone for longer if we don’t have to worry about school schedules, and let’s face it, it’s cheaper to buy two tickets to Africa than four (sorry kids).
Change isn’t easy, but if I take a lesson from the Brady Bunch, I’ll remember that “when it’s time to change, then it’s time to change. Don’t fight the tide, come along for the ride. Don’t you see? When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange. Who you are and what you’re gonna be.”
Best wishes in 2016, and happy trails to you.