Tour of Florida

Travel With Children Oct 05, 2011 No Comments

One of the things I love about travel is its ability to make me aware of my existence in the world and how I have the power to make that existence significant or settle in mediocrity.

Lately, this is what drives me to share with my children my need to explore.
I often feel that if Sweet Pea and Gypsy Boy can grasp an understanding that their actions affect the world, then they can recognize self pity, self indulgence and overall, selfishness and refuse to allow it to permeate. 

Indialantic, Fl. going kayaking with family. 

Therefore, travel truly puts us on the map and what we do with our position is a great responsibility.
This great responsibility was more evident than ever during our recent Tour of Florida. 

Naples, Fl. at a friend’s home. A fabulous solo hostess.

We camped and visited friends and family for 15 days – traveling down the east coast of Florida from Atlanta, Ga. and around and up the west  coast of Florida before returning home to Atlanta.  We depended on the hospitality of those friends and family, and when that wasn’t possible we slept under the moon at various campsites. (another post on that to come!)

Friends we had not seen in years opened their homes to us and made a place for us to lay our heads – trusting and inviting us into their lives no matter their present circumstances.  We had one friend invite us over for lunch and a pool play date even though we arrived the day after they had moved into their house.  They had not had a chance to unpack much. 

Bonita Springs, Fl. out for dinner with friends.

One friend had just returned from California with her family and was recovering from jet lag when we called.  The entire family – with a jet-lagged two year old on hip – prepared meals for us, toured us around their neighborhood on bikes and made a place for us to sleep. They sacrificed sleep recovery to spend time with old friends.  

We were welcomed into the home of a friend grieving the recent death of her husband.

Our dear cousins dragged their family of six (their four children are six years old and under) to the beach for a little kayaking.  That was not an easy task to prepare them all for lunch and kayaking on the beach, I’m sure.

Pompano Beach, Fl. the swimming pool was unpacked but not much else.

All of  these families shared in their willingness to host our family of four but they also have another very common thread.  They are all families that travel with their children. When I say travel I mean Alaska, Sweden, Italy, China, Costa Rica and the list goes on – all with children. 

Through their incredible hospitality, I learned that physical space and possessions are not relevant when lives come together.   I learned that a little discomfort (really, probably exhaustion for some of them) can be overcome when love beckons.

Fort Myers, Fl. biking. Notice the jet-lagged two-year old.

It is highly possible that they, too, discovered on their travels that ourselves are not just for ourselves but for those around us. That when we give ourselves away, we gain a renewal of our souls.  Everyone wins.

To be on the receiving end of such unselfish care from people who understand the significance of their existence was enlightening.

My take away from this trip?  Is to become as aware of my own existence – to show love to my neighbor, friend and family –  and pass it along to travelers in my life with the fullness that it was given to me.


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