Over the last two weeks my husband and I and our son Dalton and his wife Alexis and our daughter Ashley all went together on a European Family Adventure! We planned this trip to be our first family trip of just our own family because we wanted our daughter Ashley to get to know her new sister-in-law Alexis (since Ashley’s brother Dalton had gotten married while Ashley was gone on her mission so they just met for the first time when Ashley came home in July). And my husband and I figured what better way to let the family bond then to get the kids out of the county, away from their friends, and more importantly, away from their cell phone coverage where they couldn’t be texting or getting on social media sites or play Pokemon Go all day! Yes I realize it sounds like an extreme way to get your kids off their cell phones but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do 🙂 And other than the few times we ate lunch at restaurants that had free wifi (dang them!) we were successful in our attempts to get everyone to focus on each other and our surroundings instead of the phones. All in all it was an amazing trip that ended up taking us to some incredible locations and allowing us to see some amazing sites…and I can’t forget to mention the incredibly yummy gelato we may have eaten every day of the trip if not twice every day (or was it three times a day???…hey it was vacation…calories don’t count!).
Our trip began with flying into Barcelona Spain. We spent our first few days wandering around the city of Barcelona. Then we drove down the coastline to Valencia Spain where we took a tour of the Lladro factory where they make the most gorgeous porcelain statues. Then we headed back to Barcelona and the next day we boarded the Disney Magic cruise ship for a seven day Mediterranean cruise. Our ship took us first to visit Naples Italy and the absolutely gorgeous Amalfi Coast, then to Rome Italy and Vatican City, then to Florence Italy, then to Cannes France and Monte Carlo in Monaco, and finally back to Barcelona where we boarded our flight for home.
We just returned at midnight last night so the jetlag is brutal right now, but I couldn’t let myself get sleep until I posted my blog to share a little overview of our latest family adventure. Each day of our trip I took notes on the life lessons I learned so I could come home and write blogs about them to share with all of you. I will be sharing those lessons from my trip throughout this week with you in my daily blogs as well as sharing a few fun photos we took along the way.
The first great lesson I learned from our time together as a family was the importance of turning off the cell phones and allowing your family to genuinely communicate with each other. It is amazing how much more you communicate with one another when everyone turns off your cell phones. When I look back at the last two weeks I am amazed at the time we had for conversations and bonding as a family compared to what happens in normal daily life where everyone in the family is distracted by their cell phones. You just don’t realize how much you are all using them and letting them come in between you until you get in a situation where the phones aren’t being used. It was such a huge eye opener for me to genuinely recognize just how horribly bad our phones had become a complete barrier to our family’s ability to bond with each other.
For a family to truly communicate with each other on a regular basis you have to set some serious rules around creating set times that are designated as “No Phone Time Together” where you all agree to turn off the phones completely and just talk to each other and do fun things together. I have realized that if we don’t actually commit to that time and set hard rules around it that it will never actually happen. The value that comes from bonding together as a family can happen right here at home if we are willing to make it a priority. And I, for one, intend to do that going forward. I will forever value the time we had together and I want to create many more times like that without having to leave the country to do it! So I am gonna make it happen! You should too! #worthit
Have a great start to your week everyone! I am excited to share more with you about our trip throughout this week.
~Amy Rees Anderson