New travel companions

We’re picky about who joins us as we travel.  After all, we have things we want to see and our own routines.  We require enthusiasm and openness, ability to walk (and then walk a little more), and good company.  Twelve years ago we hatched a plan for the ultimate travel companions. Why not take our future grandchildren on a big trip – the kind of trip their parents may not take them on and one they’ll remember for years to come?

Eleven years ago each of our daughters had their first child, and we promised them we’d take those babies on a trip when the time was right.

As our grandchildren have been growing up, we watched for signs that they were ready.  Have they developed the qualities required to be great travel companions?  And then we realized: that time is now.

In preparation for The Trip, we gave them each a questionnaire to assess what they were interested in and where those interests coincided.  The great outdoors or inside museums? A foreign destination or somewhere nearby? How would they feel about trying a new cuisine?  Based on the survey, we presented them with four itineraries that suited their interests.

There was no quick decision. After many months of pondering and research they got together and made their decision: they chose the 10-day trip to the Netherlands.

Two days after school let out, we headed for the San Francisco airport with our new travel companions, Ainsley and Luke.

Our agenda was ambitious, but we started out with a walking orientation of our Amsterdam neighborhood…

…and to see the many canals.

That first day confirmed for us that our new traveling companions didn’t share many of our interests. Visit an old church?  NOT interested, was their response.  We were relieved and heartened to discover a common interest in food and the experience of cosmopolitan dining.  We tried French, Dutch, Indonesian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian, and Asian cuisines for our dinners.

Ainsley and Beth might have a simple asparagus soup for their lunch…

…while Luke sampled a charcuterie of five different Dutch meats.

Ainsley’s favorite outing was our visit to the Rijksmuseum.

She thoughtfully studied a number of paintings….

…and was particularly interested in the rare book library.

Not only did our traveling companions not necessarily share our interests, but also they differed from each other.  Luke was anxious to pursue basketball and bicycling opportunities.

The discovery of a basketball court across from our hotel was the perfect chance for Luke to do what he loved to do.

His dream to ride a bicycle in the Netherlands may not have been exactly what he was expecting.  To be continued in “The Humiliating Ride.”

Clearly there was more to figure out about traveling companionably with 11-year olds.


June 2018

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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14 Responses to New travel companions

  1. frejatravels says:

    It is nice of you to take them away and experience a new culture. Interesting about the questionaires. I have a 15 years old niece and I took her travel since she was 2 years old and she is really hook now and always want to discover a new countries, but she still a bit picky about her food:)

  2. Cute kids and fun pics that illustrate the ups and downs of traveling with pre-teens! What an experience for your grandkids and despite the ‘mehs’ during some of the outings, I’m sure there will be many highlights that they’ll remember for years to come. I’m in Denver now and will leave in a couple of days to take our grandson back to Portugal (he’ll be 14 next week) on his first trip abroad. Hopefully we can find a few things to spark some interest and maybe even some enthusiasm! Anita

  3. Betsy Eggers says:

    P.S. Do you have “Vondelpark!” on your things to visit while in Amsterdam? It’s a tiny house and co-op garden near one of the giant parks. Private, perhaps?

  4. Betsy Eggers says:

    I LOVE your destination decision (we took our 3 adult kids & their S.O.s) to Amsterdam 2 years ago on our first overseas adventure, hoping to meet everyone’s needs. Am wondering if you’ll be smoking unusual substances legally in public places?? Was that part of decision? (grins!) Come visit us!!

    • We also took our children to Amsterdam back in 1986 when they were ages 14, 12, and 9. They had fond memories of the trip except for their supreme annoyance with us for accidentally walking them through the red light district! If you can wait a year we hope to visit you – and we can swap travel stories.

  5. Looks like fun and a nice destination to share.

  6. plaidcamper says:

    An excellent adventure! Can’t wait to read more (oh, and a fine place to visit!)

  7. What a wonderful opportunity for you all to enjoy each other’s company. I’m guessing you will learn some new things as well as the grandchildren.

  8. Oh my goodness- this sounds like the new travel adventure. You will have to change some of your posts to ‘simpletraveltheirway’ – making memories for the newest generation. Good for you! – Susan

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