As I mentioned in the last JJ News, my three sisters, brother and I are about the embark on a trip down Memory Lane. After dozens of emails to organize our visit to Minnesota where we all grew up, we're still wondering how to squeeze in everything we want to see and do.
I take it for granted that we'll have another great time traveling together. That wasn't always the case.
Our first attempt at a family trip came in 1999 when we headed to Tuscany. That trip was more than a bit rocky. Part of the trouble may have come because 4 of the 5 of us live alone. The twenty-four-hour togetherness was as foreign as the drivers on the autostrada.
Midway through the trip I found myself sobbing in a restaurant bathroom after being snarled at by one of my dinner companions. Fortunately, the beauty of the Italian countryside and the daily explorations made the rough spots less rough.
It was five years later before anyone mentioned traveling together again. Amazingly, we all agreed. That trip took us to Lucca, Italy to celebrate my sister Nancy's milestone birthday. We rented an apartment on the second floor of a house that looked as if it might have been a convent or monastery. We were noticeably more at ease.
What caused the change? I'm not entirely certain, but it seemed that without ever discussing it, we had all made a decision to figure out how to enjoy traveling together.
Emboldened by that trip, we gathered the following year at a country home in the lovely Cotswolds of England. The next year we explored Venice together. Two years ago, we made the trip I named Stalking Van Gogh which included stays in Amsterdam, St. Remy in the south of France, and Paris.
Every trip got easier. We became masterful at negotiating our daily agendas. We accepted personal quirks and desires. We were functioning as a team and truly enjoyed being together. We laughed a lot. We survived the growing pains.
As I'm packing for the upcoming excursion, I realize how many wonderful adventures we would have missed had we given in to the frustrations of that first experience.
Seems to me that anytime we make a change, start a business, relocate or take on a challenge, growing pains are part of the deal. They may be a more important part than we realize.
As J.R.R. Tolkien pointed out, "It simply isn't an adventure worth telling if there aren't any dragons.
Being aware that There Be Dragons, we can also apply this advice from Dr. Jason Kolber.