I must admit, most the time I choose to travel alone. I think there are certain trips that require certain kinds of companionship, and the older I get, the more I find myself craving experiences on my own. Writers by nature are usually pretty solitary—and the interesting thing about travel is that even though you are almost always surrounded by other people on your journey, it can be isolating (sometimes that isolation is welcoming, sometimes not so much).
I had been planning on heading to Iceland on my own originally. I had booked my solo plane ticket and I had started preparing some research about which hostels I would have had to bunk down at the week I was planning on being there. But when my father expressed interest in coming along, I had to reassess what kind of trip I wanted this to be. My dad and I had long ago made the pact that we were going to see the Northern Lights together—it was something that had always captured our imaginations, and a good majority of my childhood summers were spent staring up at the cold, dark Montana sky in fascination.
So, Dad and I agreed to go to Iceland together. Let me just say, the older your parents get, the harder it is to travel with them. My father is still quite young (let’s ambiguously say in his mid-fifties), so I didn’t have to worry about any serious former injuries or the chance that something health-related might happen—or it was less likely to happen, anyway. However, it turned out to be a very different trip than one I would have ventured on my own.
No hostels! No hoofing it! 4-star meals and tours—all something I will probably never be able to afford again when I travel. We were able to have experiences that I never could have treated myself to even if I wanted. It may sound selfish, but to be honest, sometimes I resented it. There were a few nagging thoughts in the back of my mind such as, ‘You’re not truly experiencing the trip how you wanted to’ or ‘You didn’t come here to relax—you came here to climb some mountains!’
But that wasn’t the point. The moment I decided to include my dad on this adventure, it became another kind of one. And I’m proud to say that my dad is awesome, and we did end up scaling some mountains and hiking through some lava tubes. By accepting the reality that things were going to be a little bit different, I was able to enjoy this trip for what it was: a 4-star experience I will probably never have again.
So thanks, Dad.
And the Northern Lights? Pretty beautiful.
Have you ever traveled with your parents?
Picture is of Dad and me in some lava tubes. I was definitely more sore after climbing than he was!