I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along as it took me forever to summarize our European vacation. If you missed any part of it, you can find all the sections here. Up until our last night Michelle and I hadn’t taken advantage of having Gabby watch the kids so the two of us could have dinner together.
Thanks to Gabby, Michelle and I got to sneak away for a dinner on our own in Amsterdam. We went to the Andaz, a beautiful building. We took a quick look at the restaurant menu before deciding whether to sit down. They were a bit busy but there were still some empty tables. They seated us at an interesting table surrounded by glass facing a garden on all 3 sides. It would have been a great place to have dinner but after 10 minutes of waiting we still didn’t have menus.
We finally got up to go and nobody stopped us. We decided to stop in the lobby bar quickly and saw that they had a charcuterie and cheese platter as well as some good sparkling wines by the glass. That felt more our speed. We enjoyed a quiet meal staring out the window at one of the many canals, reminiscing on a great family trip coming to a close.
For many years I was an avid Stephen King fan. I still am, though not as much as I used to be. I can recall in many of his books reading a note he had penned to his readers about the bones of the story I was reading. It was one of the first times I really understood that writing was a way to connect with people. It may sound contrived, but I feel an obligation to you, the reader who shows up here looking for information. I want to do my best to share these stories, to help you on that most important trip.
If I’m being honest with you, my work travel wears on me. I know many folks who enjoy the break from their daily lives a business trip can represent. But, I find myself knowing that I got married and had children because I wanted to actually spend time with them, not away from them. That’s a tough proposition, week in and week out.
And then, there’s that moment. You’re sitting in a quiet bar across from a woman you fell in love with for all the right reasons. She supports you when you do something stupid like jet off to Australia for a few days without her, because you’ve got this desire to explore the world.
On that night, Michelle and I sat there enjoying one of our favorite meals, savoring the memories of a great trip. Bringing Gabby on our trip had been an idea that we thought would yield some more time for Michelle and I to soak in Europe on our own. It didn’t happen that way. Around every turn we found delightful experiences to share as a family. It wasn’t until that final night that Michelle and I celebrated the trip and a moment to ourselves. Our family enjoyed so many great experiences on this trip, and they’re lucky enough to be able to do it again and again. It’s the silver lining of a life spent on the road.
Maybe I try to plan too many trips for our family when the opportunity presents themselves. Guilty as charged. But, I want my kids to have those memories of a wonderful, diverse world around them. And, I know how lucky we are. Most people plan and save for years to enjoy a trip like ours. It’s the reason I try never to take the journey for granted.
It’s easy to complain about things not being quite right, a cranky flight attendant or a room that’s not quite perfect. But those things don’t ruin a trip unless you let them. Travel is a wonderful gift I repeatedly give to my kids, one that I hope these stories help you imagine and act on.
I feel that commitment, that draw to you as a reader to not just regurgitate travel tips or complain that my free breakfast showed up late. At the same time I’m thankful for the time my family gets to spend in faraway places, I’m thankful that folks find value in what I write here.
As we enter summer the Pizza family has a hectic schedule planned. There’s HersheyPark, family to visit in Canada, a week with family at Deep Creek Lake and Europe. Yes, Europe, in that summer where I said we’d stay home more and enjoy a slower pace. A funny thing happened on the way to that plan. The airlines opened up a bunch of award inventory and we had those miles just sitting there.
It’s been a brutal work stretch for me. Something crazy like 23 of the last 25 weeks on the road. But, summer is about family for me and I can’t wait! There will undoubtedly be days where we’re enjoying the heck out of some destination and I won’t have time to write. And, inevitably, I’ll run behind trying to write about our adventures. I can assure you I’ll be trying to smell the roses while I’m gone. I hope you will be, too.
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