Mini Fam-Vacay with 2/3 of My Millennials

Mini Fam-Vacay with 2/3 of My Millennials  Liz Pearl © 201828277259_10215119614440967_598884055699662851_n(There is definitely something wrong when we find ourselves falling into the cantankerous trap; “but we don’t agree on venues and we don’t agree on menus”. Planning a family vacation can sometimes provoke angst amongst the members of the group. We have to take a step back and look at the big picture ‒ The Blessing of Family Vacations.  Posted in 2017 on

And so, a year later we decide on a new vacation planning strategy. The Millennials plan and we pay. It’s no surprise ‒ we had heard this MO yields a high success rate. There must be a Fam-Vacay app out there to input the data and yield the detailed customized itinerary. I don’t mean Expedia, Pinterest or Tripit or such; I mean a personalized algorithm that includes family dynamics, compromise and consensus and even our quirks.

Step 1- Determining the date:

Preliminary research of common vacation dates yielded poor results. Further inquiry determined that 4/5 family members were available for five consecutive days. We explored various permutations so as to include all family members but unfortunately we were not successful due to conflicting work schedules, academic schedules compounded by limited available vacation time shared with significant others. Scheduling with adult kids is complicated.

Step 2- Determining the destination and itinerary:

This essential component of vacation planning is determined by personal interests and previous vacation experiencesPremise: we are all adults with varied particular interests and have each developed preferred travel styles. After exploring various possibilities the group settles on Southern California…west coast here we come! We select a few popular SoCal destinations: Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu and Palm Springs. And we create an eclectic multigenerational California playlist…“Welcome to the Hotel California…” – Eagles, 1976 (Obviously that’s the Gen X pick), and “California Gurlz” – Katy Perry, 2010 etc…

My requests for the itinerary are limited to two, and with delight, they are both included.  My suggestions: Joshua Tree National Park – the southern California Park straddles the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert; and Mount San Jacinto State Park in the San Jacinto Mountains, where we took the jaw-dropping 360 degree rotating Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and enjoyed a sunset dinner with spectacular views. I loved both excursions: so much scenic potential for inspiring poses. Recently, I have added all of the provincial, state and national parks to my travel bucket list.

Step 3- Selecting lodging options:

This task was a partnership project among all the members of the group excluding me. I didn’t do the research, so I am not eligible for giving or receiving criticism; it seemed like a good deal.  Mix and match approach: one airbnb in hipster Venice Beach and one boutique hotel in Palm Springs. I have no intention of branching out into travel blogging hence not posting the specifics.

Step 4- Selecting food options:

Instagram and Pinterest images and reviews ad infinitum…the choices are endless, the colourful images are so crisp and fresh we can almost taste the tantalizing ingredients. Again, it’s a mix and match – assorted authentic ethnic restaurants and trendy new fun fad-foods and one-of–a-kind eateries. Just the right combination of taste and ambiance. Definitely Instagram worthy. Our favourite SoCal food spots include: Urth Caffe ‒“exclusively organic heirloom coffees, fine teas and farm to table wholesome food” (like Aroma on steroids);  Lemonade ‒“Cafeteria-style chain serving a seasonal comfort-food menu paired with many types of lemonade” (cool, cute and casual); and the picture-perfect Malibu Farm Pier Café – fresh • organic • local. Mmm. Ahhh.

Highs and Lows:

Let’s get the lows over with. 1. I tumbled down a relatively steep hill on a canyon hike foolishly, because I was not wearing my hiking shoes with proper tread. Ouch. Lesson: always wear the correct footwear and pack a mini first-aid kit. Wounded Warrior pose is not pretty. Fortunately, the scrapes and bruises have faded and the memory of family adventure remains. 2.  Desert and mountain weather conditions are often unpredictable including unexpected wind advisory. Lesson: hope for ultimate weather conditions but pack for variable conditions including the dreaded desert storm.

The highs: 1. Traveling with active Millennials yields a plethora of awesome vacation moments captured on Snapchat and Instagram shared 24/7 with friends and family and currently stored somewhere in the cloud for future reference. (The cloud seems to be a storage space larger than the basement). 2. Millennials love matcha tea and coffee, so many trendy cafes and tea rooms are built in to the itinerary. Also, late afternoon lazy wine breaks are a wonderful addition to fam-vacay. Note to self: perhaps Napa Valley wine route for next CA trip?

Traveling with adult kids is very nostalgic as not only do we reminisce about family trips when they were younger but we are easily transported back in time to fond memories of our own young adult travel experiences. (Not stored anywhere in the cloud).

Body • Mind • Soul

The west coast really is the land of artisan crunchy granola and fat free frozen Greek yoghurt and fruit smoothies. Mmm matcha green tea lattes antioxidant-rich that have a savory nutty flavor and aroma, and fresh roasted gourmet coffee with a steep caffeine boost. So many delicious choices to nourish our bodies including plenty of healthy market-fresh veggies such as spinach and kale – here, there and everywhere, and enough trendy sweets and treats to keep us smiling. Retro candy, caramel popcorn and salt water taffy are SoCal classic snacks.

Just a few days of the spectacular landscapes are the perfect remedy to replenish our souls. Great West Coast vibes. Breathtaking mountain, ocean, and canyon views recharge our waning batteries (insert preferred yoga pose here). Joshua Tree pose and Palm Tree pose. Walking, hiking, biking, roller blading (Millennials only) …we welcome the coastal cool breeze and the California warm sunshine and we wish for spring to arrive soon.

The beauty of our devices ‒ iPhones, iPads and MacBooks on vacation. We have uploaded energizing sing–along playlists, books and movies to keep us entertained; and we can access blogs and news to keep our vacation-mode minds awake. And yes, even work or academics as are required to allow us to relax, and soak up a few sunny days in California. A short vacation is like pressing the snooze button, gratifying but leaving us wanting to hit it again and again.

Family travel goals for next year: I’m hoping for all 5 of us and 7 days…

Perhaps that Pacific Coast wine route itinerary.


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