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.
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.
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….
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.
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?