Discovering the world together can provide parents and children with memories to cherish, strengthening the bonds of love and respect—or not. Here, Hemispheres contributors share tales of family trips that didn’t quite follow the script, along with tips to help others avoid familial woes in far-off lands.
Not long after my daughter turned 3, I took her to London Zoo. Knowing there was a fee for kids 3 and older, I’d devised a plan: I sat Molly in her stroller, stuck a baby bottle in her mouth and told her to keep quiet. “Slump down a bit,” I said as we neared the gate. “And drink.”
Predictably, at the precise moment the ticket taker asked me Molly’s age, my darling girl grew tired of the ruse. “I don’t want this,” she said, holding the bottle over her head. I rolled my eyes as if to say Kids! and—a little too vigorously perhaps—reinserted it into her mouth. Molly stood up, thrust the bottle into my hand, told me I was being “absolutely ridiculous” and marched off in the direction of the monkeys. “She’s 2,” I said to the ticket taker.
“And a bit.” —CHRIS WRIGHT
– – – – –
It’s not as if I didn’t expect problems when I agreed to go to Burma with Dad. What I failed to anticipate was how much of a problem he’d have with the fact that I was an adult—even though I was in my 30s. Many times a day, he made me check for my room key, passport and sunscreen. Despite the 95-degree heat, he kept trying to make me put on a sweater. Oh, and then there was the moment (true, I swear) that he spotted my makeup bag and asked if I’d brought my coloring pencils. —SARAH WARWICK