As a parent you often wonder what impressions you've made on your kids and what if anything they've taken away from experiences you've shared. Recently I had a chance to find out as my daughter Lilia headed off on a trip to Israel and Europe with her college sorority sister. Though I am still apprehensive because she is literally half way around the world, I feel safe in the knowledge that she is well prepared and experienced enough to take care of herself and have the trip of her dreams.
When Lilia proposed her trip to Europe with her sorority sister Carly- which is an independent extension of her Birthright trip to Israel-I asked her to put together a loose itinerary with estimated costs for flights, hotels, meals and activities. Having seen my road trip itineraries, she knew exactly what I was looking for and promptly went to work scouring the internet using sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia and Travelocity just to name a few. She settled on 3 cities-Amsterdam, Florence and Prague, gave me a very reasonable budget with stays in very decent hotels and a slew of awesome activities. How could I refuse her (especially after I nixed any study abroad programs).
Lilia and Carly booked flights and hotels on their own, comparison shopped and checked reviews...checking in with me before making and final decisions. I was impressed! And then like a chip off the old block-and without any prompting from me-Lilia put together her own trip bible. I caught her at the computer making hard copies of all her reservations and activities even mapping out walking routes. "Mom" she said, "my phone might go dead or I may not have wifi so this way I will have everything handy and we'll know exactly where we're going"...Be still my heart!
I know Lilia knows how to navigate through any airport and how to talk to the gate attendant if there's an issue. I know she can figure out trains, Ubers and taxis. She knows to keep her eyes peeled for shady characters, mind her money and credit card and safeguard her passport with a copy in her luggage just in case. She is ready because she's watched me handle just about any situation over the last 13 years through all 50 states. I know I can trust her and she will be fine. No one can guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen, but I feel confident that Lilia has the tools to sort through whatever may come her way.
And the ultimate compliment was hearing Carly's mom Mindy, letting me know how glad she is that Carly is traveling with Lilia. Carly can be a bit of a nervous traveler but Lilia's preparedness put Carly and her parents at ease. So you see, your kids ARE watching and observing and following your example so set good ones, for if you do, rest assured you will feel confident in them as they sprout their own wings and head out on the road on their own whether it's half way around the world, or just the next state over.