I’ve been so excited about our upcoming Epic Italian Adventure, coming up in only four weeks, that our other summer adventure has kind of crept up on us. We’re heading out to Alberta tomorrow for a ten day trip and it feels like I’ve barely given it any thought, let alone prepared for the trip. But the truck is tuned up, the suitcases are packed, the road trip snacks are purchased and the in-car entertainment is prepared.
We’ve gone to Alberta to visit family every summer since the kids were born and I have to admit that I don’t always give these trips as much attention as I do our other travels, even though some of our family’s fondest travel memories involve our Alberta trips. The main reason for this is probably that I don’t need to plan these visits the way I do our other trips. You see, my husband and I have a system for travel planning. I do research, look for ideas, read travel books and magazines, follow blogs, etc., then I float some ideas by my husband. Every once in a while he says that he’s not particularly interested in one of my prospective trip ideas, but he almost always says something along the line of, “sure, sounds fine.” Then I make a budget, check schedules, search for deals, figure out the best combination of airline points and companion fares to get the best deals on flights, read message boards, bring stacks of travel books home from the library, book time off work, research and reserve hotel rooms and do all the other things needed to get the trip off the ground. When it’s time to go, he packs his half of the suitcase and goes along for the ride.
Now, please understand, I’m not complaining in any way or accusing him of not doing his share. I love to plan our trips and I love that he’s easygoing about where we go and when. But our Alberta trips are different. There is no deciding where to stay since we stay with family. There’s no researching attractions and looking at maps since my husband grew up there and already knows where everything is. There’s no planning our daily schedule since we need to be flexible about coordinating our plans with other family members. So for once I’m the one just going along for the ride.
But one thing I need to do is remember that giving up control of the trip doesn’t mean I can’t be fully involved. For example, I’m often guilty of viewing the ten hour drive to Alberta as a tedious chore that we just need to get through in order to get where we need to go. I need to stop doing this. For many people, this route through the Rockies is a destination in itself; a trip of a lifetime with scenery that they’ll never see again. We’ll be going through a part of the world with many amazing attractions, and just because the itinerary won’t be entirely within my control doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t make the most of our chance to visit.
So my goal for this upcoming trip is to treat it like I do any other trip. To stop taking Alberta for granted just because I view it primarily as a place to visit family and not an amazing destination in it’s own right. So bring on Alberta! And letting someone else make the plans! And two ten hour drives! And Grandma’s spare bedroom!
It’s travel. It’s all good.