Now that the spring is here (somewhat), it’s got me thinking about our summer vacation. My wife is from Cape Breton and fortunately, still has a lot of family there. (Score one for me!) Every year I get to go to one of the most beautiful places on the planet, never mind the country. Things there are a little more relaxed; in fact, it’s the only time of year where I’m able to dial it back a bit. Last summer during my week off, I only checked my work email 57 times! That’s pretty good, considering I normally check it every 8 minutes.
I love where I live (Acton), and I love where I work (Toronto), but there’s just something about that East Coast culture that I really enjoy. Something about that pace of life, and how at ease everyone is.
Here’s a great example, last year I overheard a conversation with three older gentlemen. They talked for 15 minutes about a horse that was going to race that night on the local track. I was captivated, no talk of meetings or schedules, how great is that? A side note: the horse had the best name ever “Magnum P.E.I.”
Yep, a week in Nova Scotia is very relaxing, but getting there, that’s a whole different story. My wife and I tried both ways with our two young boys – the air and the road. But being on the road with two little ones is far from a Jack Kerouac novel. This book I’m writing isn’t a coming-of-age masterpiece, more like a coming-to-rage (it’s not really that bad, but I liked how age and raged rhymed so I went with it).
2011: The Minivan
(3 year old and a 6 month old)
When you’re looking at a 20 hour or so trip, you have to be prepared for anything and everything. My problem is, I pack like a teenager. By the time we hit Mississauga, I had to fix our luggage rack; Tenzing Norgay I am not. By the time we hit Scarborough, we finished our snacks, and by the time we hit Kingston, we already had 4 bathroom breaks. Kids drink apple juice like its…well, apple juice. We were taking this trip in stages – what is this a road trip or the Tour De France? By the way, you haven’t lived ’til you’ve tried to feed a 6 month old in the middle of the night at a closed down gas station in Rivière-du-Loup.
2012: The Flight
(4 year old and a 1 1/2 year old)
The beauty of flying is you save some time. The downside is all that stress is crammed into 9 hours instead of spreading it out amongst 20. Nothing like going through airport security with a wife, 2 kids (one who was sick), 2 strollers, 4 bags, 1 crib, and your tickets clenched in your teeth. All that fun before you even get on the tarmac. Then when you’re in the air, you get to enjoy the cabin pressure. Both my boys cried for the majority of the flight. I couldn’t have felt worse for the others on the plane; luckily, most people understood. I think people just want to see that you’re trying to calm down your child and not sitting there with your headphones on cranking REO Speedwagon. For those on that flight who were giving us the evil eye, just know if I could have jumped and landed safely in Inverness, I would have.
If you’re planning a trip this summer with little ones and you’re not sure whether to fly or drive, I say this: They’re about equal; both fun at times, both difficult at times. Although I will say, the first drink you have once you arrive at your destination, will be the best drink of your life.