I was 11 when I first went on my first family vacation abroad. We went to various countries in Eastern and Western Europe, East and Southeast Asia, North America, and North Africa. There was culture, great food, and great hotel accomodation. It became an annual summer event even after I left Hong Kong to study in the UK (I was 15) and later, Canada.
When I started to make my own money, I started to go on vacation with friends and my boyfriend. It was a different mentality going on vacation on my own dime. On the one hand I felt free, on the other hand I was constrained by the costs. But it was adventurous, and not bound by any rigid schedule. I went on vacations with people who were compatable travelling companions and had a great time. Lots of sightseeing, shopping, walking, eating.
Then there was vacations with a baby. Daniel was six months old. We travelled across the continent to visit family and lugged with us tons of baby gear. Catching up with family was great, but I hardly had time to relax. During the trip, we rented a condo with an view of the Pacific Ocean and took off on our own for a few days. It was a blissful few days.
We vacationed with Daniel again before he turned 2. He could walk and talk. Which meant he could whine and throw tandrums, and he certainly did. We still had to bring lots of gear. And we soon found out how difficult it was to stay in a house that was not baby proofed and did not have any toys.
I managed to sneak in short vacations without my child. It was a guilty pleasure. I could finally dine at upscale restaurants and order drinks! But I did miss the little guy every day and carried a picture of him with me.
I decided to be brave and took my 3 year old boy and my 4 month old baby on vacation. On my third trip to bathroom on the airplane to change the kids' diaper it suddenly dawned on me what a disaster the whole trip was! On this vacation both kids fell ill.
I have conceded that my relaxing and fun-filled vacation days are over. For the forseeable years to come.