Traveling Gay Dad: Taking Things At the Speed of Kids

By @ 03/02/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Gay parenting: a walk in the park!

Gay parenting: a walk in the park!

The two biggest joys of my life are being a dad and traveling. While I often travel with just my partner, I also very much enjoy taking time to show my two sons (ages 5 and 12) the amazing world we live in.

I learned an important lesson about traveling with kids many years ago. We were going to Europe and decided to take Joshua (then 5). Josh was all about trains, so part of the tour involved the high-speed trains he always talked about, including a ride through the Chunnel to London. It was a fantastic trip, encompassing much of Germany, The Netherlands and greater London.

Years later, what does he remember of the trip? The trains? The museums? The statues in London? The food? Heck no. He remembers feeding the ducks in a pond at the Munich Olympic Park. (He could do that three minutes from our house!) The moral is that you have to plan plenty of open, unscheduled time, to let the wandering attention of little ones call the shots sometimes.

The summer before last, I took both boys to San Francisco for almost a week. Sure, I planned lots of activities, from the Monterey Aquarium to Muir Woods to Golden Gate Park. But I also left a couple of days pretty much open. I knew they’d beg to play in the hotel pool (even though we have a wonderful pool in our neighborhood at home). I knew they’d probably want to do some of the ridiculously touristy things at Fisherman’s Wharf. And they did—and it was fun. But they surprised me, too. On our last day there, one of the open ones, I asked them what they wanted to do.

“Can we do something a second time, dad?” they asked me.

“Sure, what would you like to do again?” I responded.

“Muir Woods!” they both exclaimed, causing my jaw to nearly hit the floor—and my pride in being their dad to soar. I was so thrilled that one of my most beloved places in the world (somewhere I didn’t think today’s electronics-focused kids would particularly enjoy) had been their favorite experience of the week.

And what is travel if it isn’t about learning something new … even if that something is about your own family?




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One comment

  1. Haven

    Excellent piece, Paul! I cannot wait to take Ammon & Carter to Muir woods. Sean and I were there in 2006 before they were born.

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