A Look Back In Time…The Vacation That Didn’t Follow Us Home (Anniversary Edition)

Stay In the Driver's Seat
Stay In the Driver’s Seat

So the other day, I realized that I hadn’t finished the multi-part series of our end of 2014 Winter trip to Arizona.  So, I apologize about that. This year has just flown by!  I will get to work and get the rest of that lesson out before the summer is over!

But in the midst, I came across an article I wrote in an earlier newsletter about my wife and my 10th Anniversary trip.  Since our anniversary is this month, I thought it fitting to follow the theme of vacation budget tips.  Since this is summer and hopefully some of you are travelling…maybe this could help you plan and prepare!

Have you ever gone on vacation, relaxed, came home and wondered where all the enjoyment went? Especially if the bills that started coming into your mailbox represented all the experiences you enjoyed….that you now have to pay for?

Well, Vicki, my wife went on our 10 year anniversary (in 2015 it will be 12 years!) trip to St. Maarten and guess what…it didn’t follow us home! I went through my own guidance and advice and made sure that this was another trip that we enjoyed away…and it didn’t come home with us in the form of bills to pay for all the things we did…just postponed!

Now, before I continue let me share some things about our family.  We live in South Elgin with our three…yes 3 boys: Ethan who is 7, Aidan who is 4 and Dylan who is 2. [Update, we now live in Elgin and my boys are 8, 6 and 4…wow time flies!]

So, this trip was a big trip for us.  It did not come easy to plan and stay on a budget.  But, we did it.  If you are curious how you can do this, check out my blog as I wrote some articles on it and I am currently working on an update video discussion.  Stay tuned or sign up to be notified when it is launched and receive my other articles, tips and tools.

Okay, back to the trip.  This trip was phenomenal!  In case you didn’t know,

St. Maarten is an island in the Carribean about 150-200 miles south of Puerto Rico.  It is the second of the islands from the north, next to Anguila and St. Barts.

This island is very unique in that it is actually two countries on one island covering 87km…okay that was a hard thing to overcome  everything was in metric system…for those metrically challenged like me, it is 54.06 miles.

To put that in perspective, from South Elgin to the Museum Campus in Chicago it is 44-47 miles, depending on which route you take.  This entire island housing two countries is only 10 miles larger than that radius!

Okay, this isn’t a geography lesson…

This trip was just what the doctor ordered for Vicki and I.  It was alone time, without kids (we dropped them off at Aunt Jody & Uncle Matt’s house!).

It was a time for her and I to reconnect, talk uninterrupted and focus on each other.  Just the two of us.  It was great.  You know, one of the things that I tell newlyweds is to remember, your wedding is just a day but your marriage is a lifetime. Focus on your partner and relationship every day!

I am grateful for that time and the date nights we implemented a many years back.  I am grateful for my wife and my kids, but most importantly because my wife and I are a team. A good resource to help with this is the book “Power of a Praying Husband [Wife] by Stormie Omartian.”

You remember when I said that this trip was great because it didn’t follow us home? Well it wasn’t because we had good control of our money while we were away.  In fact, there were times that I was pushing for more excursions, but Vicki was the level headed one and found ways that we can have fun without always pulling out the wallet.

When you have an accountability partner, someone on your team, someone who complements you along the way…you can do anything.  Life is too short to worry all the time.  Let’s all vow to do one thing. Plan ahead, build a good guideline, stick to it and have someone to keep you on track.

That is good advice for anything. Vacations, finances, parenting, school, work-life balance.  It takes two sometimes….make it count and make it fun!


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