Background: As I lay on my beach chair looking ahead at the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, my view is occasionally obscured by the little kid with sand all over his body, the older couple rocking swimsuits that someone my age would wear and the photographer with the monkey and iguana wanting me to take a picture. My prevailing thoughts were how people live and vacation so much different than we do.

What a fantastic trip! We did every touristy thing imaginable. From jet skiing to a snorkel spot, climbing a Mayan ruin, to getting a deep tissue massage at the spa. All of those things will surely be remembered. But people watching had to be among the top attractions on this trip. The last time my hubby and I went to Mexico, we left the kids behind, but this time, all of the kids came. One of the first things people would ask when I told them we were going to Mexico was who’s watching the kids. And much to their surprise, the kids were coming with us. Much to my surprise, when we got to the resort, it seemed like everyone brought their kids. Travelling internationally with kids, I realized, is only faux pas to someone who hasn’t travelled internationally with their kids. Exposing my kids to someone else’s culture, environment and cuisine was priceless. It opens the door for more international travel in their future.

The overwhelming amount of children at this resort was one thing, the adults they came with were another. There were parents out with their kids going to the night shows, having a blast, hot dress, drinks and all. A couple got married, friends were vacationing together. And then there’s the middle aged couple who were ending a two-week vacation at this resort. My thoughts: How much did that cost and what do you do? A vacation of that magnitude takes planning and discipline so that you 1) have enough to go on the trip and 2) you have money when you return so your lights and water don’t get cut off. And you have to be diligent to make an investment like that on a vacation.

On our way to the Mayan ruins (Chichen Itza) deep in the Yucatan of Mexico, we drove through small towns with houses built with sticks, some with portions of concrete. You can literally see into these people’s homes, there are no sleep number beds, only hammocks, no stove only an open fire just outside the walls of the home. It made me grateful that as a baby I opened my eyes in the United States of America with parents that loved me. As we toured the ruins there was an old woman, who had to be at least 80, walking around selling white handkerchiefs. This woman is putting a 65 year old American retiree to shame. She was playing the cute old lady card and that pushy Mexican salesperson card. And on the other side of the ruins there’s a kid no more than 10 or 12 years old, shouting “I’ll give you a good price!”, as we walk past his mom’s table.

Vacations are necessary. It’s important for the kids to experience things they have never seen or tasted so they become well rounded people (SN: sending the kids to grandma’s or their auntie’s house for a week is called a visit not a vacation). It’s important for husbands and wives to get away and make secrets that stay between them in some far away or stay-away location. It’s important for families to vacation together in order to expand the collection of memories that strengthen the ties between them.

References: Proverbs 31:11,14,27

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