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Old 09-10-2009, 04:16 PM   #61
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To each his own. I'd rather have my kid with us as part of a family vacation than drop him off somewhere before I head to the airport. I've had plenty of child-free travel before we had kids, and I hope to have plenty more once we're empty-nesters. While my kids are young, I'd like to enjoy life with them, and for me that includes traveling and seeing new places.

All of this is dependent on not raising children to be center-of-the-universe brats, but that's a separate issue altogether.

YMMV
Lusitan, I admire your attitude. If you have the resources to travel with your kids, it can be such a great learning experience for them and fun too. I have a friend who does volunteer work in developing countries. Recently she took a sabbatical from her work as a physician to set up a clinic in Malawi. The project took six months and her whole family came along. The kids went to school in Malawi. They have had a unique experience, have new friends to correspond with, and truly understand just how privileged they are.

Disclaimer: I don't have kids.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:23 PM   #62
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Laudable; but then many of us might not consider the Louvre to be a tourist trap.
Exactly. I'm not a huge art fan by any means. But I can appreciate a good painting, even if it isn't a "name" artist. But seeing these famous works of art that you usually see only in reprints or digitally or in photos is impressive.

DW and I actually discussed exactly this - I wanted to see the Louvre, and she said she could care less about seeing it. It is just another boring art museum to her. So maybe I could take a page out of the Lusitan playbook and let her watch the kids while I spend a day wandering the halls of the Louvre. I doubt that would go over well...

(not directed at you, Ha) We are unfortunately constrained by the limits of "3 weeks a year" vacations, so that allows roughly 5 to 7 days actually in country on a vacation assuming we do more than 1 a year. If I'm going to stroll around a park with our kids, I can do that in my neighborhood now. I don't want to put them through 24+ hours of flying just to let them stroll through the park 4000 miles away from home. I'd actually like to see some of the sights of where I am.

I love to wander around foreign places too, and don't particularly care for tourist traps either. But places of true historical significance or otherwise amazing beauty are worthy of my attention while vacationing.

However our upcoming trip to Uruguay/Argentina (sans kids) will probably be a lot of "doing nothing". Drinking coffee or wine, eating steak, walking the streets, drinking more wine and eating more steak, watching tango dancers in the public square, receiving massages/spa treatments (DW). Chatting up some portenos. Viviendo la vida despacia.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:25 PM   #63
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Lusitan, I admire your attitude. If you have the resources to travel with your kids, it can be such a great learning experience for them and fun too. I have a friend who does volunteer work in developing countries. Recently she took a sabbatical from her work as a physician to set up a clinic in Malawi. The project took six months and her whole family came along. The kids went to school in Malawi. They have had a unique experience, have new friends to correspond with, and truly understand just how privileged they are.
I aspire to do something like this one day (take kids on round the world trip or be a perpetual traveler for a year). But it will have to be when the kids are older for the kids to gain any real perspective or experience.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:56 PM   #64
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Lusitan, I admire your attitude. If you have the resources to travel with your kids, it can be such a great learning experience for them and fun too. I have a friend who does volunteer work in developing countries. Recently she took a sabbatical from her work as a physician to set up a clinic in Malawi. The project took six months and her whole family came along. The kids went to school in Malawi. They have had a unique experience, have new friends to correspond with, and truly understand just how privileged they are.
That's one of my goals for FIRE -- spending extended periods of time abroad with the family. Backup scenario would be a foreign exchange program in high school for a year. But I agree, the exposure and experiences that this would give a child is really a great thing.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:01 PM   #65
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I'm not a huge art fan by any means. But I can appreciate a good painting, even if it isn't a "name" artist. But seeing these famous works of art that you usually see only in reprints or digitally or in photos is impressive.
Yeah, I'm the wrong guy to talk to about art museums. I live practically next door to one of the best art museums in the world, the Met, and I really couldn't care less based on the number of times I've gone there over the years. I don't spend my time looking at "world famous art" in my own backyard, I'm not about to fly thousands of miles to pretend I'm interested in some other country's version of it.

I have taken my kid into other museums and had a great time, both at home and abroad, but I'll concede that art museums and late nights on the town are two things you cannot do on holiday with kids in tow (unless you bring a nanny along with you). But there are countless other sights to see in my experience.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:11 PM   #66
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So far, we've gone to Germany/Austria, Egypt/Jordan, Alaska (Cruise) and in November we will be in Japan with our toddler, who will be 2 by then. He is quite active, but he was actually easier on the trips then at home. He loved going to new places and so many people initiated conversations with us because of the baby.

Germany/Austria was downright easy because he was only 6 months and he was easy to carry around and my wife was breastfeeding. Don't need to worry about the water, food, healthcare, transportation etc. We've heard Japan is the same way from others who traveled with kids there.

That being said, Egypt/Jordan was difficult because we ended up getting sick for part of the trip (not the baby, but the adults on the trip including my parents). We were careful to bring his food, so he was unaffected. Although we had a wonderful time, we decided against going to 'third world' trips till he is older. The only reason we went on this was because of my elderly parents. They've always wanted to see Egypt and they aren't getting younger.

He's also been on a few 1-2 weeks trips to the northwest to hang out with the other grandparents.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:15 PM   #67
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we decided against going to 'third world' trips till he is older.
Good call; I also learned that lesson early on in the business, with a pregnant wife in Morroco.

I'll table the third-world countries until after the kids are grown, unless we know people there who we're visiting or are doing some extended-stay volunteer program of some sort ...
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:57 PM   #68
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I was sort of feeling similar to the OP. I had a great job, made lots of money, and bought all the toys I wanted. But something was missing still. I was never sure what it was.

Then I had DD. Sort of felt like a "reason to live" to be more engaged, to not just go thru the motions. I never thought I'd have kids, was always scared of them.

That worked for me, but your mileage may vary.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:15 PM   #69
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I was sort of feeling similar to the OP. I had a great job, made lots of money, and bought all the toys I wanted. But something was missing still. I was never sure what it was.

Then I had DD. Sort of felt like a "reason to live" to be more engaged, to not just go thru the motions. I never thought I'd have kids, was always scared of them.

That worked for me, but your mileage may vary.
I felt the same way. It was almost if my real life began when my first child was born, and got even better with the second one. My son is having the exact same experience with his baby daughter.

Ha
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:03 PM   #70
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I felt the same way. It was almost if my real life began when my first child was born, and got even better with the second one. My son is having the exact same experience with his baby daughter.
Without a doubt. Kids change your perspective on life, your motivations, your interests.
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:09 PM   #71
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Yeah, I'm the wrong guy to talk to about art museums. I live practically next door to one of the best art museums in the world, the Met, and I really couldn't care less based on the number of times I've gone there over the years. I don't spend my time looking at "world famous art" in my own backyard, I'm not about to fly thousands of miles to pretend I'm interested in some other country's version of it.

I have taken my kid into other museums and had a great time, both at home and abroad, but I'll concede that art museums and late nights on the town are two things you cannot do on holiday with kids in tow (unless you bring a nanny along with you). But there are countless other sights to see in my experience.
Oh man, I loved the Met the one time I went. I just wish I would have spent more time on the parts of it that I wanted to see the most, since you can't really see the whole place in a day. I could easily spend another day or three in there. That was probably the highlight of my NYC vacation.

I'll add a bit to the "vacation with kids" tangent. Two things that worked wonderfully for us: 1. A beach house rental for us and the extended family. We live 2-3 hrs from the ocean and rented in the shoulder season when prices are 30% or less of the peak season prices. Family was there to help with kids. 2. Cruise with our family plus mom and grandma. My mom and grandma watched the kids some, and they actually stayed in mom and grandma's cabin (we paid for 1/2 the cabin). Plus cruises have free daycare services most of the time, and so we used that too. Some days in port we left the kids with my mom and went out on our adventures (sneaking in places, climbing stuff, walking long distances through sketch neighborhoods, etc).
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:11 PM   #72
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I was sort of feeling similar to the OP. I had a great job, made lots of money, and bought all the toys I wanted. But something was missing still. I was never sure what it was.

Then I had DD. Sort of felt like a "reason to live" to be more engaged, to not just go thru the motions. I never thought I'd have kids, was always scared of them.

That worked for me, but your mileage may vary.
It's a huge life decision. The flip side would be having a kid and then finding out that you didn't really want to be a parent after all. I'm sure there are plenty of those people out there.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:25 PM   #73
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The flip side would be having a kid and then finding out that you didn't really want to be a parent after all. I'm sure there are plenty of those people out there.
I'd love to hear from one, because I've never heard anyone say that. Although I suppose someone could think it, and keep it to themselves.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:34 PM   #74
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I'd love to hear from one, because I've never heard anyone say that. Although I suppose someone could think it, and keep it to themselves.

A number are in jail.... after killing them... I don't think I want to talk to them...

From what I have seen... most of the normal ones are men... but I did meet a woman who wished she did not have kids... but she seemed detached anyhow...
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:10 PM   #75
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A number are in jail.... after killing them... I don't think I want to talk to them...
I think it's safe to say those people had other issues besides "not wanting to be a parent" ...
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:56 PM   #76
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I felt the same way. It was almost if my real life began when my first child was born, and got even better with the second one. My son is having the exact same experience with his baby daughter.

Ha
Very true with me also. I think you can be perfectly happy without kids. Maybe happier in some respects. But, when I became a mother I felt a huge connection with something more important than myself. Still feel that way. My son is the best thing that ever happened to me. And I think my husband felt the same way. I feel very connected to him even though we are an ocean away. Even though I am certain he does not feel this way. Yet. One does not truly appreciate one's parents until one is either a: a parent, or b: older and more philosophical. My son tells me he never wants to have kids. I think this is because he realizes what a huge undertaking it is. Better to have kids when you are young and don't intellectualize things too much...
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:35 PM   #77
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The flip side would be having a kid and then finding out that you didn't really want to be a parent after all. I'm sure there are plenty of those people out there.

I'd love to hear from one, because I've never heard anyone say that.
There is considerable societal pressure against such confessions.

In any case, whatever the objective facts may be, we all subconsciously rationalize our decisions and become convinced that they were right for us. See further Dan Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness.

Research shows that people typically regret inactions more than actions, and that is probably the best reason for deciding to reproduce.

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One does not truly appreciate one's parents until one is either a: a parent, or b: older and more philosophical.
Or until c: one or both parents die.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:06 AM   #78
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Or until c: one or both parents die.
Tell me about it.

Just lost my dad a few weeks ago, only a month and a half away from welcoming my first child into this world. As I gear up for becoming a parent, I really miss the opportunity to ask him all sorts of questions - and will for years to come. Speaking of regret at "not" doing something, I regret not having kids a few years ago. Why? Because I dated my wife for six years before getting married to her. Had I gotten off my duff and popped the question a little earlier than that, my dad would have enjoyed a few years with his grandchild, and I would have had the benefit of his wisdom.

Then again, getting married and having kids just to make someone else happy isn't a recipe for your own happiness if that isn't what you want at the time.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:20 AM   #79
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Don't be afraid to travel with kids: think of the alternative. Some friends of ours who have kids about the same as ours (3 and 5 for us, 2 and 5 for the) mentioned recently that their kids had never been on a plane (!). Really? Our kids have been to Puerto Rico (2 times, plus in utero once for each), Colorado, New Mexico, soon to be old Mexico, etc. not to mention all the camping trips in the Northeast/New England. Have fun with that first plane trip, guys...
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:13 AM   #80
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We always took our kids on vacations from being born onwards. We stuck to places where we could drive to while they were very small, then when they were aged 4 & 5 we went to Spain for 2 weeks it was just great. Since then we've been on flying vacations in lots of places in mainland USA plus Hawaii (twice), Australia (twice), Martinique, Canada and England (many times).

They are aged 27 and 28 now and still enthuse about the wonderful vacations and associated experiences they had growing up.
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