Vacationing With Teenagers

Those of you who read this blog regularly might be wondering where I’ve been. My son, daughter, husband and I headed to Zion National Park in Utah for a short vacation before my daughter flies to the University of Barcelona for her junior year of college.

We only brought my daughter Caitlin’s laptop and when I tried to post anything on my blog, all the paragraph marks were inexplicably erased. That made the posts look unreadable (I’ve since cleaned them up) so I gave up.

During more than half the trip there was no Internet connection to be had anyway. We tackled The Narrows in Zion, which is the loveliest trail I’ve ever hiked. I use the word “trail” loosely. Actually, much of the trail is submerged in the Virgin River, which is why a 16-mile hike took us 13 hours over two days.

If this hike doesn’t sound like much fun, there are plenty of intrepid souls eager to slog through the water –some of it waist deep — so I had to get up the day before our adventure to wait in line at the ranger station to obtain one of the coveted overnight camping permits. (My husband had driven to Utah so I volunteered to get the permit.) When my son Ben and I arrived at 4 a.m., we were amazed at how many people were already in line.

So what, you may be wondering, does this have to do with college?  Believe me, I’ve been trying to find a connection. So here goes:  As kids reach high school age and beyond it becomes harder to find time for a summer vacation. My daughter was interning this summer at a Latin American institute in San Diego and my son juggled a summer calculus class while working for an engineering firm. Last year we never did manage to take time as a family to get away from it all and this year we were determined that would not happen again.

When teenagers scatter, there is less time to bond, but going on vacation makes us all focus on what’s truly important — our family. If you haven’t reconnected lately, give it a try.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.

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