by Angie Miller
Family Getaways After The Kids Have Gone Away
The Baths at Virgin Gorda- British VI
This year marked some pivotal changes in my life as a mom and in our family unit as a whole. My youngest daughter went away to college last August and my oldest as of last month became an official college graduate. After having a quiet, kid free home for a full nine months, both of my daughters are now home for the summer and my house is full again- as is my heart. Not knowing how long it will be before grad school, jobs, a significant other, or any number of possibilities takes them away for good, we knew a family vacation was a must. After a four-year lapse where study abroad opportunities and other expenses had taken precedence we were overdue.
A vacation, while it may be short lived is a full immersion experience. Now that its over- we just returned from St. Thomas last week- I can safely say it was just what we needed to reconnect. We gained a new level of respect for one another and what we share as a family, but we also learned a few things along the way. Here’s my takeaway on how and why to travel with kids who have flown the coop.
How and Why to Travel with Kids Who Have Flown the Coop:
- No Distractions. College life, travel, jobs, extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities have been tugging at us for years. St. Thomas wasn’t just a vacation; it was an opportunity to get away from friends, boyfriends, and other distractions, thereby connecting us only to one another. We not only shared space, we shared new experiences and those experiences are memories that will last a lifetime.
- Busy=Better. We learned from previous vacations that everything goes better when we’re busy and engaged. St. Thomas provided just enough beach, activity, and surrounding islands to keep us entertained. Our second day we took a ferry to St. John where we discovered some of the most amazing views and spectacular beaches we'd ever seen. Our third day we took a boating excursion and on our last day we shopped. This still allowed time to lounge at the resort and hang out at the pool, but not so much that boredom set in.
The Baths at Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke- British VI
- Social Connection. My daughters, like many teens and older adults, love to be part of a crowd. Thus why I knew they would enjoy an all day boating excursion with lots of new faces and a witty crew that ensures everyone has a good time. It’s essentially a party boat run by a respectable company who has their agenda down to a science. Four stops to four unbelievably beautiful places in the British Virgin Islands, from Virgin Gorda to see the Baths, to Diamond Reef for snorkeling, then over to Marina Cay for lunch, and the last stop is Jost Van Dyke where you anchor off the shores of White Bay. Boating, snorkeling, interesting people, and a few Virgin Island “Pain Killers”-It’s no surprise that it was a trip favorite.
Pusser’s Marina Kay- British VI
- Same Place Different Space. A place where everyone has some space is best. One hotel room might have been great when they were younger, but everyone needs to know they can escape and have time alone when needed. We booked at a resort where they had a bedroom, we had a bedroom, and they each had their own bed. Space to breathe, read a book, or even catch on social media makes the time together go a little smoother.
St. Thomas- US VI
- Family Fitness. While a break from everyday life is great, a complete disconnect from routines that are important to each individual isn’t. For us, exercise first thing in the morning is a critical component of our wellbeing, thus most mornings we made a beeline for the fitness room. Though we don’t normally work out together, sharing this experience on vacation was a fun diversion from our regular routine. We each did our own thing, but we learned something new about each other, aka I had no idea my daughter kills it on a treadmill.
Family time isn’t something you can take for granted when your kids are grown. Getting away where there’s no distractions or competition for anyone’s time is an opportunity to create a stronger family bond.
Everyone’s Happy When There’s Sun and Fun
Best in Health and Many Happy Vacations~
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com