A plan for acing family visits |


Hiya folks,

I'm just back from a week away with my kids. We went to Istanbul. I realize this is an extremely privileged thing to be able to do. I pulled it off with a combo of house-swapping and airline points, but I am still a very very lucky human being. The wonderful thing about traveling to a place as foreign as Istanbul is that you and your children end up on the same footing—none of you speak the language or know how to navigate daily life there. So it inspires a kind of teamwork and camaraderie that it's hard to have at home, with all its chores and responsibilities and teachable moments. Also, getting away from daily work-life balance tension makes you more the person you actually probably want to be. You can see each other differently. My children actually laughed at some of my jokes—not even very good ones. Travel has it own stresses, but they are containable will-you-make-the-connecting-flight type stresses that are shared, rather than the can-I-get-this-task-done stresses that you carry alone. We can't all go to Istanbul, obviously, but this is a vote for doing something that seems more difficult and challenging as a family, especially among people whose beliefs you don't fully understand. Somehow the reach is invigorating rather than stressful. Hope you can try it, even if it just means going to a different part of Texas.

I'm at Belinda.Luscombe@time.com or @luscombeland on twitter.

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