Southside baby boomers take on Europe

Traveling with your 65 year old parents is a blessing and a curse.

The blessing: My parents are still well enough and healthy enough to travel. And I had the opportunity to travel with them. I'm thankful I got to experience a little bit of Europe with them. All jokes aside.

What's great about traveling with your parents?  The experience? Sure, that was cool. Someone to take pictures of me while in front of historic monuments? Of course. But what I really liked was the flip of power. I mean this in the most unselfish way.

They actually listened to me. And depended on me to get them from place to place. They really TRUSTED ME. They do not do this while in the states. Back here, I am their youngest child. The forever baby of the family. In Europe, I became the leader.

They have no sense of direction in other countries. I can call my dad at any intersection in the Chicagoland area, and he can navigate me through. "Hey Dad, I'm at the intersection of Canal and some street with a big shipping container depot. I can see the Sears Tower behind it. What do I do?"   "Take the alley to your left, go down two blocks, and turn right on Clinton. Turn on Adams and take 290 to Damen."

Suddenly, I'm the one weaving them through the winding streets of Florence and taking Piazza Santa Croce around until it ends in front of the cathedral. They needed me to do that for them.  It was a nice change of pace. I think they learned I'm much more capable that they gave historically given me credit for.

What I really learned is that I thrive when under pressure when out of my comfort zone. Yet my parents freeze, and then rely on me. Our relationship flip flopped! I'm the type that calls my parents all the time for tips and suggestions when I'm home. When abroad, my parents suddenly relied on me to go everywhere and know everything.

I don't put myself outside my comfort zone very often in order to understand that I really thrive when put to the test. This trip taught me that I can do it.


The Cons:

I did not foresee that I would be running IT support every waking hour. I suddenly missed flip phones. There's just too much to explain about wifi assist, international roaming, imessage, voice enabled LTE. I resorted to telling them to put the phone on airplane mode. Unplug. Live a little.

For being baby boomers, they act a lot like millennials. Constantly taking pictures, trying to google things, running up the data on the phone plan. Wanting to know the answers, but making me ask the questions. And ordering the simplest item on the menu because it's what they "know". Also finding the only Irish bar in Prague and wanting to spend time there. #southside.

Filed under: Family, Travel

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