You Will Be Back
I actually have a philosophy about traveling. It boils down to "you will be back”. It does not matter whether it is true or not, but it takes the pressure from trying to see everything and then enjoying nothing.
We prioritize our activities based on our kids ages and tastes. We actually only made it into the Louvre Museum the third time we traveled with the kids to Paris. OK, I am lying here- we skipped it on purpose the first time. The second time we allotted 2 hours at the end of a day but the day turned into a comedy of errors and we made it into the lobby at CLOSING time! My point however is that with limited time and short attention spans our time was better spent walking and getting to know the city and its history. Instead of a museum we played in a park behind Notre Dame. Running and swinging in the shade of such a magnificent building left more of an imprint, and a desire to return than standing in front of a Monet. When they got a bit older we dedicated time to the Louvre and they loved the museum, but they also had an appreciation for the city and it added to the experience.
We take the "you will be back" seriously. We try to have a repeat city in every trip we take. Our kids love cities even more the second time around. They feel familiar and new all at the same time. There is something special about visiting the same sandwich shop or buying something in a favourite store. We have gone back to big cities like Florence and London, and also small towns like Chur in Switzerland.
This year we were sitting at a pizzeria in Rome and I pulled out my ipad and we read their blog entries from Rome 3 years ago. It was so much fun! (OK, maybe I thought it was fun and the kids thought it was embarrassing). Everything from their spelling to their sense of humor had changed. Their appreciation of the city was very different this time. It was great to hear them laugh remembering funny stories from that trip and amazing to see how much they still carry with them!
We see our children every day so changes sometimes go unnoticed, but when you see them standing in the same spot with years in between it really hits you! I love recording these moments, it reminds me of how fast time is flying by and how much we treasure these short trips when we have them just to ourselves. There are many conversations we would have never had if we hadn't been crammed into the same hotel room or if we hadn’t ran into the men wearing tutus and bunny ears on a tram! (they still talk about that).
I don't consider going back a waste of time or money. It is impossible to see everything in any one place at one time. As far as I am concerned it is like reading a favourite book twice, every time you pick it up it gifts you something new.
Trafalgar Square, London UK