As frequent travelers, we don’t typically travel with friends or anyone outside of our nuclear family. So, we were excited, but a little apprehensive about sharing our travel time and budget with anyone. We are a high energy family that hits the ground quite literally almost running. So, when the opportunity presented itself to vacation with my parents who are a little more laid back than us, I was excited, but hoped it would be a positive experience had by all. Living on the other side of the country I am always looking for ways to keep Miss Moe connected with family. Some things I know about my family – they take things slower than we do, and are more spontaneous (they want to figure out what they’ll do – day of depending on how they feel and the weather). I, on the other hand, want to know what I’ll be doing three months in advance. So, this was an area of personal growth for me – I envy their spontaneity and thought this may be the perfect way to show my planning-little self that the world will not fall apart if I don’t know what I am going to do every minute of vacation. Some tips that helped make our vacation a memory of a lifetime:
- Keep expectations in check.
- Meet in the middle on energy levels – my parents picked it up a bit and we slowed it down a bit.
- Be willing to compromise, but make your must-sees reasonable and known early.
We had a great time together creating memories, laughing, and enjoying one another. We initially planned to separate some to accommodate different interests and energy – but didn’t end up doing so. It was nice to know this was an option for everyone if they so desired though. I learned a great deal about the value of spontaneity and not having to see it all in one week. By not planning what we’d do with our time, some of our greatest memories sprung up, including:
- Meeting the President and First Lady of Ireland.
- Conor Pass on the Dingle Peninsula – we heard about Dingle while in Ireland and changed everything up to make the day trip. Mr. Moe’s favorite part of the whole trip was driving Conor Pass.
- Stumbling upon the fairy garden in Adare as the sunset created rainbows was something we could never have planned for. So perfectly Irish!
Spending time creating memories with my favorite people was more than enough. Time spent together was worth more than seeing a castle or two!
We also learned several interesting facts about Ireland during our travels:
- Traveling in the soft season sets up for unpredictable weather, but limited to no lines or crowds at major sights (e.g., Cliffs of Moher, churches, castles, etc.). If there is flexibility in the schedule have inside and outside plans that can be moved around and go in the soft season.
- The Irish are enamored with some of our leaders (President Obama and President Kennedy).
- Staying in one place (Adare) gave us a home base – but most day trips took 3 hours of driving round trip. Next time, we would likely do a half and half to limit the packing and unpacking, but also limit some of the driving.
- Roundabouts – when used correctly, actually seem to be very helpful in keeping traffic moving.
- The Ring of Kerry is beautiful, but Dingle Peninsula was less busy and just as pretty.
- You can literally point your camera in any direction and you’ll end up with something worthy of a postcard.
- Sheep are some of the coolest animals on the planet.
- The people of Ireland are incredibly nice, and pub food is the best food. The pubs are family oriented (as long as you stay away from Temple Bar which is less so).
- Ring of Kerry Tour: We did do one tour. We generally don’t like any sort of group travel because the experience feels manufactured. However, to give Mr. Moe a respite from driving on the opposite side of the road (with a stick shift) we thought we should go ahead. It was enjoyable, but the stops were timed and the shops and food stops were expensive and we felt like cattle. If we had longer in the area – we definitely would have done it on our own.
Final thoughts: If you get the opportunity to travel with someone you adore – take it, but pack your patience and be willing to compromise on all but the absolute must things you want to see. Lay those expectations out early – I was insistent on seeing the Book of Kells, the Parent’s wanted pub grub, Mr. Moe wanted to drive a stick shift, and Miss Moe wanted to shop. We checked off everyone’s must do’s. Be willing to compromise on the rest. Sometimes, the things you don’t plan for are what make the very best memories!
~ Mrs. Moe