Somewhere, there may exist a fan club for long lines and being in close proximity to sweaty strangers. I am not a member of this club. I do not like crowds. I can handle crowds in places where they’re expected, like a sporting event or concert. When it comes to the zoo, the water park, the mall, an amusement park, I think I’m allergic to them. Being in a large crowd induces symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, annoyance and the sudden urge to punch the guy who just tried to cut in front of me in the face.
Yet, if you want to take your kids somewhere special during their spring break, crowds are part of the game. Everybody else has kids out of school and they all have the same idea. You and I are not geniuses, my friend.
My wife and I have become spoiled. We get days off in the middle of the week on a regular basis, so we are used to being able to take our boys places while avoiding crowds. Again, this doesn’t work when everybody is on spring break. It’s also more difficult in the summer months when all the kids are off. While most places are less crowded on weekdays than they are on weekends, there are always parents who either don’t work or who took a day off. They often bring their kids to the same places I’m going and get in my way. How rude.
There is, however, a solution. It involves radical thinking and a commitment to traveling with your children while avoiding crowds.
The past two years, we have had an opportunity to take very unique trips in the middle of the school year. Our sons were in preschool and kindergarten the first year and kindergarten and first grade the next. These are grade levels where missing a week of school is obviously not going to result in lower ACT scores or prevent their acceptance to the college of their choice. So, we were able to travel to Disney World and Hawaii. Both trips were in the middle of winter which made the warm weather destinations seem all the more special and we ended up with memories sure to last a lifetime.
All that touchy-feely stuff aside, the important detail here is that crowds were at a minimal during that time of year. Most kids were in school, so the parents were at work or doing normal, mundane things. Very few people were out having fun. This crossed my mind recently while I tried to restrain myself from elbowing the lady behind me in line for popcorn at the movies who was wearing too much perfume and violating my personal space.
What if we decided to home school the boys? This was an idea my wife had while they were younger, when she could still feel the ghost umbilical cord between herself and them. This was before we experienced the free time of a day off while they were both in school all day. Sure, it was a few years ago, but maybe I could turn her back on to this way of thinking.
Think of the freedom. Think of the lack of crowds everywhere we took them. Want to hit Six Flags? How does a Tuesday morning in May sound? Want to go to the zoo? Which day is not the free day? That’s when we’re going. No school field trips with kids four rows deep to see the baby polar bear. You’re going to be right at the railing. Careful not to lean over too far.
On top of this, with the money we save on tuition, we could afford more trips like Disney or Hawaii. If I take a few extra days off, we could take a decent road trip once a month. What better education could a child have than seeing the country up close and personal. Studying and reading could be done on the road. Maybe the purchase of an RV is in order. Hell, maybe it’s time to just sell the house and get a big ass bus like John Madden, traveling the country in our own top of the line mobile home. My wife and I are both relatively smart. We could probably teach them the material they would cover through about fourth grade by getting books and reference materials. That would give us a few years worth of traveling. Imagine all the places we could see.
Sure, my wife and I would have to make some major sacrifices. We would have to arrange for childcare/teaching on the days one of us wasn’t off. My wife would probably not like the bathroom facilities in a mobile home as much as our house. On a related front, I would need to become familiar with the ins and outs of human waste disposal. But I think the rewards might be worth it. Just for a few years, we could be vagabonds and then settle back down, put the boys in school, sell the RV and buy another house.
This could work. I’m going to put a down payment down on a mobile home. Then, I’m going to put together a Power Point presentation the likes of which my wife won’t be able to say no to. Maybe I should switch the order on those.
Either way, step three should probably involve creating a sleeping space for myself in the garage, just in case it doesn’t go over as well as I think it will.
2 hours ago