When friends heard that my husband and I planned to take our two children to Europe, they shook their heads gravely and predicted we'd live to regret it. It wasn't that Hilary and Jeffrey were too young to cope with foreign travel. At ages 21 and 18, they were hardly likely to demand constant potty stops or Happy Meals from McDonald's. Each had spent a summer on the L.A. Ulpan trip to Israel and come back enthralled with the adventure of being far from home. Naysayers pointed out that three weeks of enforced close contact between young adults and their parents can strain even the best relationships. But we were in the mood to celebrate: Jeffrey had just graduated from high school and Hilary from college. With Hilary putting down professional roots in the Bay Area, we foresaw that in the future it would be increasingly difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time. Yes, the trip through France and England definitely seemed worth a try.
We're back now, and all still speaking to one another. We all agree that our trip was wonderful, but Hilary is overjoyed that she's no longer sharing a room with her brother. It worked partly because we knew in advance that our kids shared our views about travel. Lounging at pool-side is not our idea of vacation fun. For us, the goal is to go everywhere and see everything, with museums and historic sites our top priorities. Did our off-spring want to peel away from the group to search out discotheques or other entertainment geared to their own age group? Both kids briefly hooked up with friends during the trip, but the vast majority of our time was spent as a family foursome.