Kids and Travel: A Guilty Plea
I haven't been a member of the Post Travel section a terribly long time, and thus haven't gone on many trips yet, but recently I was lucky enough to spend a week at a far away destination that I'll be writing about soon. There, I became acquainted with a new culture, a new language and a new feeling I hadn't experienced before: travel guilt.
Now, when you mention a term like that these days, it's usually in the context of tourists or business travelers feeling shame about the carbon footprint their excursions are leaving. But I'm talking about an older, possibly ancient form of travel guilt: the pang of conscience experienced by the parent of a young child who's forced to leave that child behind while on a business or pleasure trip.
It can be quite intense, I found out.
I like to think of myself as a good parent, the engaged sort who's as much a part of my son's life as any man with a fulltime job can be, and I've been lucky enough to have jobs that didn't require me to be away from him for days on end. In other words, I feel like I've earned the right to be away for a week. And yet, there were times during the past seven days when I felt such guilt and longing I hardly noticed the incredible landscape around me, a landscape that's pretty difficult not to notice (you'll see!).
My son, while not exactly thrilled to see me go, was hardly tortured by my departure and seems not to have been scarred a bit by my absence. What I mean is, he had a normal response to a person leaving his life whom he knew would see in a week. Me, not so much.
It's crazy, I know, but am I alone? Has anyone out there experienced something similar when traveling without a person who means a great deal? How did travel guilt impact your trip? And do you have any suggestions -- this would really help me -- for alleviating it in the future?
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