This morning, I’m taking my husband and our girls on a trip to San Francisco. It seems strange to leave our son behind, but he already had his own spring break and he has college classes to attend. We haven’t taken too many family vacations since our younger daughter was born almost 12 years ago, and all but one were extensions of travel for other reasons like weddings and graduations. Three years ago, we “vacationed” at my husband’s apartment where he lived out-of-state for a year and a half. That was our last vacation.
This time, I just reached the end of my sanity with not seeing my husband for more than 24 hours a week for the entire month of March. I wrote about it in Life Upside Down or Commuter-Marriage Schedule Gone Haywire , but it actually got worse…and it’s still a bit up in the air. My husband was supposed to fly home Thursday, but he was too sick to travel and the plan now is for him to meet us at the airport in San Francisco. I researched places to go, shooting for somewhere warm and relaxing, but flights were outrageously expensive. I’m not sure when San Francisco popped up on my search, but when it did I knew that was where I wanted to go. As Joe Flower puts it:
Somehow the great cities of America have taken their places in a mythology that shapes their destiny: Money lives in New York. Power sits in Washington. Freedom sips Cappuccino in a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco.
Years ago, when I was 14, my family took our big trip “Out West”. We’d planned for it for a long time and delayed it a year to save up the money. Even so, we almost didn’t make it as the travel agent had not booked our seats on the flight! The five of us had to fly stand-by and we were nervous up until the very last moment when they declared that we could board. We arrived in San Francisco and headed to our “budget” hotel, chosen as a cost-saving measure since our trip would take us down the coast with stops to see Universal Studios, the Hearst Castle, and a battleship in the San Diego Bay before a flight to Las Vegas and day trips to the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon.
After settling in to our seedy hotel, my father discovered that we were on the very edge of the red-light district. As we left for dinner, we three girls were instructed to turn our heads to the left and not look back! I don’t remember what we did when we returned…I think we may have actually checked out and moved to a more “decent” location.
From there, things got better. We were probably only there for two days, but we hit as many tourist spots as possible and hired a guide to drive us all over the city and tell us about the history of the city and its various sites. I was completely taken with this beautiful city with its hills, cable cars, beaches and architecture. I also enjoyed my first “grown up” night out with my dad and big sister, which I wrote about in Memories for Father’s Day.
This trip, I get to explore the city with my own family. My older daughter is keen on touring Alcatraz since she’s been watching a TV show of the same name over the last few months. My younger daughter just wants to go to the beach…although I told her it would be too cold to swim. Then she learned about Ghirardelli Square and wants to know if we can see chocolates being made. I want to ride the cable cars and take a day trip to Yosemite. There’s something for each of us on this trip and I look forward to sharing it with you this week.
Find the Joy in the Journey!