Every summer, parents who don’t have a town or a second home or a rented house all year round find themselves trapped in the bottomless pit of trying to organize a more or less balanced family vacation. Now that we have to plan it ourselves, I really appreciate the effort my parents made to find and pay for plans that filled entire weeks. Because whether or not you find something practical and affordable (what is good, nice and cheap we leave it to those who book at the beginning of January), you are going to spend many days searching, days in which it is three in the morning and you end up becoming a click gambler, trusting that the new window that will open will bring you a luxurious villa with a pool at a bargain price.
In the end, unless there is a specific destination that is very exciting, the search is usually limited to something that is not too far away, that is distracting and practical for children to play and enjoy and that gives adults a certain peace ( and four landscapes to show off on social networks). It is at times like these that it becomes clear whether adults or children are prioritized. My ideal vacation is urban and cultural, but that’s not what my young children are in the mood for right now.
Perhaps you will say: if you pay, you decide. But the trick to happy families is that we’re all happy most of the time. And I am much happier seeing them and my wife happy than trying to be happy browsing titles in the bookstore shakespeare and company while they run between shelves throwing books. Now it’s their turn. In a few years, when we don’t have to carry diapers, strollers, toys and a medicine cabinet full of creams, they will adapt to our adult tastes.
But every hour I spend searching for the perfect destination, I ask myself: Is it worth searching for days and discovering that everything is super expensive or already booked, queuing in small supermarkets full of tourists in flip-flops, paying exorbitant prices for everything, having the kids screwing around all the way there and back…? It’s good for a change of scenery, but if the journey is going to be stormy, you’re going to mortgage yourself for a week that will end up being stressful and you’re going to spend countless hours on the paperwork, it just doesn’t pay off that much.
So this year we will try an August in the city, that with the pasta and the days of paperwork that we will save we will live very comfortable in the summer routine, like the classic Rodríguez from movies like Temptation lives above. Now the temptation is not Marilyn, but the Instagram of others. But if we also take social media vacations, we will value even more the tranquility of enjoying a few weeks without rushing and having an ice cream without having to take a selfie with double chin.
*Martín Piñol is the author of 33 books, his children’s series ‘The kitchen of monsters’ has been published in several countries. His latest novel is ‘The Shadow Club’.
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