Folks, I haven’t had a vacation since last August.
And as a thrice-divorced client once told me, “Don’t worry about your family, they’ll be fine! Just keep working, and they’ll always be there when you get home.”
So with that in mind, we’re heading to Atlantis. Yes! Atlantis!
They say it’s a myth, but I just knew this wonderful underwater city existed…
I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to learn that the “Atlantis” we’re going to is a resort in the Bahamas, and not a secret, mysterious city that exists underwater, like in the above photo.
What the hell am I going to do with this Bare Velocity 5mm wetsuit? Not to mention all the tanks of oxygen…
Yes, we’re going to Atlantis.
It took a lot of back and forth, but eventually we settled on this resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
It was where we initially started looking, but then Ramon just absolutely rocked my world, and threw our plans into disarray.
You know those “Live Chat” pop-ups that exist on most sites, including real estate websites? Well the Atlantis website has a live-chat pop-up, and somebody named “Ramon” asked me if he could help, so I thought, “Okay, sure!”
I wrote, “Ramon, I see on the website that kids need to be at least 3-years-old to use a lot of the facilities in this extremely ‘child-friendly’ resort. My daughter is about 1 1/2 years old, can she not play with the Lego, watch the movies, or pet the turtles?”
Ramon responded, “Thank you for your interest in Atlantis. All the activities require that children must be at least 3-years-old.”
Somewhat defeated, and I guess, unsure of the reason for the requirement, I said, “But my 1 1/2 year old daughter plays Lego here in Toronto, and watches movies.”
Ramon repeated, “Unfortunately, all the activities require that children must be at least 3-years-old.”
So then I turned into a jerk and said, “Geez, Atlantis is marketed everywhere as this ‘family-friendly’ resort, I guess it’s not, eh?”
And amazingly, Ramon responded, “It is, just for families with children over 3-years-old.”
So I said, “Great, I’ll go to Florida.”
And Ramon said, “Thank you for choosing Atlantis!”
Hurt, and vindictive, I replied, “But I’m NOT choosing Atlantis, Ramon!”
He told me to have a great day, and closed the chat window, on me!
So with Atlantis out of the picture, we started to look for other places to go to – preferably ones that were more family-friendly.
My travel agent (yes, I have one…) suggested the “Sandals” for families, known as “Beaches.” I guess the marketing people weren’t feeling original on the day they picked the name, but I digress…
Quite happy with Sandals in the past, my wife and I were encouraged by the idea of an all-inclusive resort, by the same company as Sandals, but for families! The only problem was the locations.
Something called…………Zika Virus?
Turks & Caicos, Negril, Ocho Rio…
…zika, zika, zika.
And look, the odds are low, and depending on who you ask, it’s not an issue.
But with Baby Fleming V2.0 in the master plan, why risk it?
So with the islands out of the question, we started to look where most other people look: Florida.
I’m not a huge fan of Florida, I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because everybody goes to Florida, and I’m not really an assimilation/conformity kind of guy. I’m also very binary, so I think if you’re going to do something, you should go all out. And if I’m going to take a week off work, I should make it count, and go to a tropical island, rather than some random B- resort a swamp-like state.
So we started looking around, randomly Googling “best places to vacation for families in Florida,” and I realized just how many SEO experts, sitting in how many coding-caves across the world, were waiting for a sucker just like me.
We found a couple of places online in the Florida Keys that looked good, but when I showed my wife the series of over-water bridges and highways that connect the Keys, she freaked out. I suppose all the facilities that are temporarily shut down because of Hurricane Irma didn’t help me plead my case…
Google took us everywhere from North Captiva Island, to Longboat Key and back.
But when my wife found some random resort that wasn’t even on the ocean, but rather on a small lake that looked like a swamp, I was so depressed by the idea that I said, “We need a new plan.”
I came home that evening, and my wife was beaming.
“I got it! I have it all figured out!” she said.
And like the advertising gimmick has taught us to say over the years, she shouted, “We’re going to Disney World”
I forced a fake smile; who wouldn’t? I love my wife, I’d go to Nunavut if she wanted to.
But the idea of going to Disney World didn’t set well with me.
You see, I’m a seasoned traveller, and I know that the one distinction you need to make at the very start of planning a get-away is to decide whether you’re going on a trip, or a vacation.
The two could not possibly be more different.
Who wants to do a vineyard tour in Italy? Sound fun?
Well, that’s a trip.
That’s a grind. A “schlep,” if you will.
It’s a long flight, it’s in a different time zone, and you’re constantly on the move, from town to town, riding buses, in and out of hotels, packing and unpacking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful journey; a fantasy for many! One that I’d love to embark upon one day.
But it’s not a vacation. It’s a trip.
Now you might not want a vacation. You might look at your cousins, who visit their grandparents’ condo twice per year, plop by the pool, sit on their phones all day, and then head to a strip mall for dinner every night, and think, “I have no interest in that.” And I can’t say I blame you.
To each, their own, no doubt. And there is truly something for everyone.
But right now, in my life, and looking at what’s best for my wife and child, I think we need to avoid a trip, and take a resting vacation.
So……..Disney World. Right.
Buses to monorails, monorails to shuttles, shuttles to golf carts. That’s a non-stop schlep, and the thought of doing that every day for a week made me cringe.
This trip is for me, but more importantly, it’s for my daughter, and for our family. I don’t see my daughter as much as I’d like to, and at 17-months-old, it’s now that I can really “connect” with her, spending 24 hours per day together, for eight days.
As much as I liked the idea of Maya laughing at Goofy, or being wowed by Mickey, I know in my heart that she won’t remember any of this. She’s just too young.
And buses, monorails, shuttles, and golf carts are going to wear her down. Not to mention, wear my wife and I out.
My wife came to this conclusion on her own, thankfully! I feared the plan from the get-go, and ultimately nature took its course.
So now what? Where did we go from here?
I know this is the classic definition of “first word problems,” trust me. The irony of not being able to find a suitable place to vacation is not lost on me. This is just a story, so call it what it is.
But after two weeks of back-and-forth on locations, we finally came full circle.
And you know who made the decision in the end? Our daughter.
Like most children her age, Maya seems to be completely and utterly enthralled by just about anything. She could find a leaf on the ground outside, and play with it for an hour.
We were in Winners one day, and Maya was entertaining herself by picking up shoes, looking at herself in the mirror, and well, just about anything or anyone she came across. My wife looked at me and said, “I’m pretty sure we could take her anywhere, and she would have a good time.”
We watched her move around, from item to item, fascinated by everything in her path.
And we soon realized that we didn’t need “Lego World” at Atlantis, or their “Sea Adventure” program for children 3-and-up for Maya to have a good time. As my wife said, “We’ll probably walk from the room to the beach, and she’ll stop every ten feet to play with a stick.”
So in the end, we figured we may as well just go to Atlantis!
She can play with what’s allowed to, just as Ramon told me during our epic live-chat session.
She’ll make her own good time, as she always does, wherever she goes.
The weather is better than in Florida, it’s a direct flight, and believe it or not – it costs less than Disney World anyhow!
I am bringing my laptop with me. It’s unavoidable in this business, but I’m looking forward to some quality time with the two special ladies in my life!
I won’t be posting new material until next Monday, but I won’t leave the blog to get stale – I’m going to turn back the clocks on a couple of old videos for Wednesday and Friday!
See you back on Monday the 30th!