Seriously? Kansas City?

It's hard to think "warm thoughts" when this is the view from the back porch.

Maybe it’s because there is a blanket of snow waiting to be shoveled or because we already hit the day’s high temperature. At midnight! Maybe it’s because the weather gal promised tomorrow will be warmer with a high of 34 before we “cool off again” for the weekend. Or, maybe it’s the drivers that feel a little too confident with their traction control (I’m talking to you, Mr. Audi!) and scare the bejeebees out of my bumpers. I’m not sure. But, what I do know is that this only our second or third “real” snowfall of the year, and though I like the snow, I’m not feeling the love today.

Whatever the trigger–snow, cold, stupid drivers–I had to get outta here for just a bit this morning. But, in lieu of making my way to the airport, which presumably has more cancellations than departures today, I traveled to the MSNBC travel page in search of a warm destination. Ah, perfect. Right there, on the front page of the travel section was a listing of the “Top budget travel destinations for 2012.”  I was greeted by a lovely, very warm-looking picture of the Azores; their number 1 pick. I settled into my seat, adjusted my laptop screen, and let myself travel far, far away from the cold.

I love to travel and have for as long as I can remember. I often joke that I was raised by nomads; my parents traveled the world extensively. They made it a priority to introduce their children to the world through family trips. With all 9 kids in tow, there were trips to tour the Hawaiian Islands and to visit Mexico. When I was only 6 or 7, we traveled throughout Europe. I still marvel at my mother’s packing skills and my father’s logistical planning. I can remember feeding the pigeons in St. Marks Square, the fog in London, and seeing The Jungle Book in Madrid. (It wasn’t until I watched it with my first-born did I see it in English.) In high school, my dad had promised to take those of us still at home  to the snow for winter break, something we had never done before. As winter approached, he bribed us with a cruise for Christmas to get out of it. (There was a reason we lived not far from the beach in a cozy valley–my dad HATED the snow. Looking out my window, I can guarantee you, he would be looking for a way outta here today, too.)

After I left my parents house, I carried and nurtured that love for travel with me . With 8 years together before our first was born, my husband and I explored (almost) every nook and cranny of Maui, cruised the Mexican Riviera, traveled the Mediterranean, and spent a lot of time scooting up and down the coast of California in our little blue Sunbeam Alpine. I feel very blessed by that time together; we shared adventures, created memories that will last a lifetime, and collected some really neat souvenirs. We’re both partial to the one we picked up in Venice, with the help of some fertility drugs and a nice Chianti. 😉

We knew from the beginning we would want to give our children the chance to travel. And, we have been lucky enough to do so, offering them a mix of domestic and international trips. As a family, we have been to parts of the Caribbean and Mexico. We traveled to Alaska and explored Vancouver. (LOVE Vancouver!) And, we have explored our “own backyard” with trips to California, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Kansas, and throughout Colorado. Like their dad and I, we have watched them grow in understanding of themselves and the world around them. And, we have watched their self-confidence grow as a passion for travel takes root in both girls.  Each trip has offered special gifts. In my book, travel isn’t about the miles crossed as much as it is about the people met and the connections made, which can include those made in the town next door or at the local farmer’s market–which won’t return until the warm weather does. Just sayin’, in case you forgot, it’s cold here. Back to the Azores…

Looking at the list of “bargain destinations,” I began thinking about the goal setting I’ve been working on for 2012. With homeschooling, we’ve always enjoyed the flexibility to travel on our own schedule. With C starting college next year, that luxury will be coming to an end soon; one of the transitions I’m not looking forward to. I scanned the list for possible vacation sites for the family. Of course the Azores would be nice, and I loved Athens. Haven’t been to Poland, and though I know my mom loved Egypt, I’m not sure I want to visit there right now. Budget is always a concern, but San Diego will likely make the list since I have some fabulous sisters out there. One by one, I read through them all. But, it was the unlikeliest of destinations that caught my eye; Kansas City. I read the description and couldn’t believe it had made the same list as San Diego and the Azores. No offense, Kansas City, but you aren’t the city I think of when I think “vacation time.” Then, I remembered a small life detail; Kansas City isn’t far from the college C is strongly considering. And, we need to make a trip out to visit the campus before final decisions can be made. Just like that, Kansas City made the short-list for 2012. Seriously? Kansas City?

This morning, I mentally traveled to the Azores in a desperate attempt to escape the cold, but I ended up in Kansas City. Certainly not where I thought I would land. But, no regrets. These are the transition years, and you just got to roll with them. Funny how even travel plans change with kids. At least Kansas City should be a bargain.

Did your day end up the way you thought it would today? And if not, did you roll with it?

©2011 Mary Lanzavecchia/Transitioning Mom

4 thoughts on “Seriously? Kansas City?”

  1. I relate so well to you. We saved our pennies and travelled as much as we could with our children. They all got the bug. My second son is heading for Spain this summer. And what a nice childhood you had.


    1. I am so glad you stopped by and shared! Where did you get to travel with your children? Do you have a favorite travel memory? One of my favorite aspects of shared travel is the shared memories. It takes only a word and we are all laughing together over a memory.

      That is exciting for your son, and for you. My older daughter left for Mongolia only two months after turning 17 this past summer. She spent a month there through a leadership program offered through the US State Department and the University of Wyoming. It was an amazing experience and helped her grow in ways that still amaze me. But then, that is, perhaps, travel’s greatest gift.


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