On the road… with my kid

Recently Andy thought it would be cool if I took each of my boys on a separate weekend trip and she suggested I make that happen.  My younger son, Will, was first up and we just got back from our trip.

The plan was to simply pick a place we both wanted to go, provided we could find cheap flights (or drive) and then just go there and see what we might find.  He was keen to leave the country, and I had always wanted to check out Vancouver so that’s what we chose.

Both being big fans of Flight of the Conchords, it seemed apt timing to arrive in town just after the crowds and the Olympics had left.  But that’s the way we roll.

I suppose I could say the things we did, but I realize that this wasn’t what the trip was about—it was really just about wandering around and seeing new things for the first time together.  Even though we covered a lot of ground, just being transported to a place where things were different from home was vivifying.

We both appreciate design and architecture and so we noticed and talked about the different buildings and small urban touches like lots of parks; we liked trying out all the different public transports from water taxis to sky trams, and also just enjoyed the vibe of a place that seemed rather chill and trusting for a big city.

With no real agenda, we took our time, looking at food we wouldn’t be cooking, eating well, stopping to pet random bulldogs and going to the movies… even though it might seem silly to go all that way to do something you could do in LA (but we both like movies).  It was a bit surreal to pass a man in full dress kilt and others in their finery going into a beautiful old cathedral on Saturday evening (seemingly for a wedding)… and then stepping into the theater and seeing a very similar characters in Alice in Wonderland.

It was great to hang out at the aquarium, watching a mom beluga whale bonding with her kid.  On the bus back to town we ended up riding with a paparazzo shadowing an overzealous guy in a beluga whale costume who kept wanting to thumbs-up and high-five Will.  For some reason Will’s offer of a fist-bump seemed to scare the whale—I think he must have been an “older” whale, as I too tend to fear the fist-bump.

We walked in the rain through cherry blossoms falling like snowflakes.  On the last night we knew we had to get up very early for our flight, so it was fun to stay in, order room service and watch the Oscars.

Perhaps one of our favorite moments of the trip was coming upon a vast water’s edge field of rocks stacked to look like the Olympics guy, or the first human or whatever it meant.  We made our own rock guy, bonding in a sort of you-just-had-to-be-there way.

So, thanks so much to Andy for coming up with the idea, and to Will for being such a fun travel buddy.  I’m often a prefer-to-be-in-bed-with-a-book sort of guy, and I was a little sad to set out on the journey; even though it was a great time, I was also very glad to return to hearth and Hobbit.  However, it’s good to be pushed outside of our comfort envelopes, and the adventure reminded me how much I love to travel and also hunger to see more of the world (and return to the places I love).  I’m already looking forward to the next adventure with my other kid… and to the time Andy and I can get back to the sorts of trips we did before kids, such as watching the sun never quite set, high above the artic circle on a summer night in Finland.

So, let’s dedicate today to adventure—planning the trips we want to take even though we really shouldn’t spend the money on them (I never much care to buy “stuff,” but experiences always seem worth the expenditure when I look back at them), or making adventures out of the mundane—a trip to a different neighborhood, a restaurant we never ventured into but passed a million times, bringing a sketch book or camera to the park or to downtown—shaking it up in the service of bonding… with all our collective kids.

Namaste, Bruce

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4 Responses to “On the road… with my kid”

  1. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Your Andy is a pretty special partner and mother, isn’t she? What a glorious idea and what a glorious time you seem to have had.

    Like you, I have homebody tendencies, but I am rarely disappointed when I cut out on an adventure. These days my adventures are not much grander than impromptu visits to the independent bookstore or bakery with my toddler, but I am always grateful for embracing the spontaneous.

    Thanks for the reminder to embrace it more often.

  2. Eva Says:

    Ah, the cherry blossoms! Can’t believe they’re blooming already.

    I especially like your last paragraph, Bruce. I recently wrote about the recession putting life “on hold” for many of us, but that maybe we could still do exciting things in a different way. As you say, we can find adventure in our hometown. No need to spend a lot of money on a vacation. Have fun right here, right now!

  3. Linda Pressman Says:

    That’s a fabulous idea, spending time with each child separately on a vacation. My husband and I swore we’d have “date nights” with our kids separately after the second was born and, guess what? It never happened. Instead, they both have some kind of perception that the other one is getting all the attention.

    But a book and bed? That’s my kind of vacation!

  4. chris white Says:

    isn’t vancouver great!?! very chill for a big city, great people. definitely the place
    i will escape to if the states get to whacky.
    thanks for the story bruce. i could feel the sweetness of one-on-one time with your boy.
    blessings

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