The unexpected joy of young travel companions

We usually travel alone.  Sometimes a friend or two will join us, but we rarely have child companions.  That may be due to a lack of confidence on our parts.  Would we be their best travel companions?  Anticipating a trip with our grandsons, ages 10 and 11, made us a little nervous.  For them – and us – to have a really great trip, we figured we needed a solid plan and reinforcements.

Our decision to go to Costa Rica and stay at La Paloma Lodge, which has wonderful and talented guides, gave us a lot of confidence.  Only in recent years have we learned the value of experienced guides and what a difference they make in what we see and learn. We hoped the boys would feel the same.   The true test came with an early morning guided bird walk.  Observing birds at dawn isn’t usually a child’s first choice of activities.

The boys both caught sight of birds right away and learned to use the spotting scope.

They paid close attention to our guide and enjoyed tracking some of the rare birds they’d never seen before like the black-cheeked ant-tanager and a white-whiskered puffbird.

All of us seemed to enjoy the excursion.

In addition to the guides, we asked the boys’ uncle and aunt, Josh and Tanya, (our son and his partner) to join us.  Their presence allowed greater flexibility in scheduling and a chance for all the adults to have a little quiet time.  The boys were happy to have them along.

This was exactly the trip we had planned and hoped would happen – moments with the boys, Josh, and Tanya when we could all learn about the natural world of Costa Rica in Corcovado National Park.

After mornings of planned activities, the boys were ready for some quality time at the Lodge’s pool or the short walk down to the Pacific Ocean to play in the water.

It occurred to us that left on our own, we tended to spend our days walking until mid-afternoon.  We rarely thought of taking time to play in the water.  With the children as companions we changed our pace….

…and so did they.  In the late afternoons, we rested and read, while the boys spent quiet time drawing …

…or looking out the window of their room, watching for toucans.

They surprised us with their ability to be flexible.  We got up very early, and we were surprised when the boys put themselves into bed, exhausted, by 8:30 most nights. They adapted to a new meal schedule and to whatever was served.  We marveled at their transition from an American-style breakfast to a traditional Costa Rican breakfast after a few days.  It occurred to us that most of our adult travel companions have not been this adaptable.

Travel days were easier than expected.  Time waiting for a flight passed by as each wrote, read, or created art.

Our grandsons turned out to be much better travel companions than we’d expected.  The big question is: would they say we measured up as suitable travel companions for them?

 

 

February 2020

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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1 Response to The unexpected joy of young travel companions

  1. You all created some very special memories on this trip.

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