Here in Lisbon, tonight, we are putting up our feet in the hotel suite living room after a day of walking 15,000 steps. We have seen so many sites and listened to so many stories, it’s hard to choose a story to tell you, dear reader. We will be here two more days before flying to Naples and starting on another trip. So tonight’s down time gives me the chance to focus on what makes a trip Grand. Obviously, it helps if you start with some grandchildren, though there would be other ways also.
Recipe for a Grand Trip (designed for grandparents who live far from pre-teen grandchildren):
- Be open to an invitation. In our case, it was “Would you like to join us for spring break in Portugal?” (Alternatively, you can propose a trip. It doesn’t have to be far.)
- Pack light. Wear good walking shoes.
- On their “monthiversary”* phone calls, talk to each grandchild about the research you and they are doing. What do you look forward to?
- If you are meeting at the airport, start sending texts to the children as soon as you leave home. When you see them in the airport, give them giant hugs.
- Include many modes of transportation. Count them as you go along.
- As you look at new vistas, try to see what they see. Encourage photography as a way to share perspectives.
7. If they find amazing things, pay close attention: like miniature cork lunch buckets, daisies in a field, a peacock in full feather, picking up a lemon from a tree, hedges made of rosemary, mason’s marks, Jesus in a nativity scene wearing a tutu, a snail (more fascinating than the neolithic dolman behind it), a chapel full of real bones, a street full of umbrellas, and so many more. Here are a few images from many I observed catching the eye of the children.
We still have many adventures to go! Looking forward to a day in Sintra tomorrow and a walking food tour tomorrow.
For discussion: Have you ever had a Grand Adventure? Feel free to define it anyway you like and to share a highlight.
* A “monthiversary” phone call is a way to schedule a special one-on-one time with a grandchild who lives far away. It is the number of their birthday each month of the year. If the birthday is July 7, for example, the phone calls would be Jan. 7, Feb. 7, . . . etc.