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Dear Alma, Will I ever get to spend summer with my family?

Dear Alma, Will I ever get to spend summer with my family?
Dear Alma, Will I ever get to spend summer with my family?

Dear Alma,

I was with a bunch of orchestra friends and a few beers the other night when we realised none of us could remember the last family vacation. Like a proper holiday, up a mountain, beside a beach, or in Disneyland, somewhere that family comes first.

My pals spend their summer in Bayreuth, others in Glyndebourne, Lucerne, wherever. I’m an alternate player in the Vienna Philharmonic. That means eight weeks in Salzburg – not the worst place on earth, with pleasant family accommodation in a city apartment. I have also been offered a mountain chalet.

Nice, but it’s not a family break. I’m working, my wife’s frustrated, the kids are bored. They are growing up. I see them slipping away in their teens.

The money, by the way, is great. Ever since recording dried up, it’s our single biggest annual bonus.

So how do I break the cycle?

Summer woes

Dear Summer woes,

Yes I hear you. Working is great, having money to support you family is imperative. Finding the family balance and protecting your relationships, the most important of all.

First, in the short run, realize that vacation doesn’t have to be in the summer. A short weekend away during the year, or a 6 day trip to an exotic location. All of these can brighten your family’s mood. In Salzburg, work with your wife and kids to find a summer activity that would entertain them – a course or class or sport. Allow them to each have a friend come stay for a visit, including your wife, of course. Or maybe they want to stay at home while you are working for part or all of the time.

When our kids turn 13, they get to choose a location anywhere in the world to go as a family. They start to think about it years in advance, checking out travel guides from the library and watching travel shows. The only rule it that it can’t be a dangerous location. Otherwise they can work within our saved budget, and they plan the travel, activities and housing. It’s a great empowering tool, and fun to see them owning a part of our collective family experience. And a chance for me to do something I never thought I would do. Skydiving. Deep sea diving. Staying in a jungle camp. For teenagers, it brings them back into the family fold. If you feel like you are losing your teenagers, I would highly recommend this. We have had such a good time that they have asked for a second round when they are 19.

Next up for us is French Polynesia in one year. So far it means sleeping on a boat, taking a cooking class, and trekking to a hidden archeological site. I can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Summer woes, enjoy your summer in Salzburg. Go find Nannerl’s tombstone. For the kids (Salzburg can be kind-of snooze-worthy for teens) try the zip line (one of the longest in the world), mountain biking, archery, the ropes course, or laser tag. You can even fly your own airplane with a little training.  I often do Geocaching with my family when we are in a new location – tons of fun and can bring you to all kinds of new locations. It sounds like you are in as much of a rut as your family. Get out and enjoy, and take a chance on something new and exciting.

Questions for Alma? Please put them in the comments section or send to DearAlmaQuery@gmail.com

The post Dear Alma, Will I ever get to spend summer with my family? appeared first on Slippedisc.

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