Avid readers may recall my family’s December 2022 vacation competition, when we each pitched a potential destination (within a given budget and timeframe, of course) and then voted on our favorite. Our younger son won with his beautiful PowerPoint presentation of Iceland and a promise of Northern Lights and breathtaking landscape (in case you’re wondering, I finished dead last with my Costa Rica all-inclusive. Whatever. My kids are idiots).
So, we purchased airline tickets out of Chicago, booked an Airbnb and wasted many a weekend searching for affordable snowmobiling and volcano tours (of which there are none). But in May, I learned I’d be attending a teaching conference in Seattle that ended less than 25 hours before our pseudo-Arctic adventure began. It seemed silly for me to fly home when I could just reschedule my flight to meet everyone in Reykjavik. So, that’s what I did. Obviously.
This meant that for the first time in nearly 25 years, I prepared for a big trip with only me in mind. I know! No pre-buying plane snacks for picky eaters, no making sure everyone has clean clothes and appropriate footwear and no triaging electronics chargers and sunscreen on the kitchen table. Tough stuff, offspring! You’re on your own!
And that made a huge difference in my stress level. Managing one person, it turns out, is way simpler than wrangling four young adults (and on occasion, a man-child husband) as they prep for international travel. Packing, passports, protein bars – not my problem.
I still wish our destination was a tropical paradise with unlimited Rum Runners, but fjords and glaciers are cool, too. Iceland, here I come. Alone.