One of the best aspects of family travel in today’s era is that it comes in a multitude of shapes and sizes.
For me, the father of two young daughters, it’s all about keeping the kids entertained while trying to teach them something, too. For parents of older kids, the challenges are different: Finding destinations with something for everyone, getting kids to expand comfort zones, squeezing in bonding time, and so on.
For parents of grown children, there’s another kind of family travel all together—one that usually brings together disparate agendas and ideals and methods of expression, all in the name of togetherness.
This last category is what makes a new ad from Expedia so special.
The video, part of the company’s “Find Yours” campaign, tells the story of a father coming to terms with his daughter’s same-sex marriage as he flies across the country to attend the wedding.
On the surface, the travel part is secondary; the 3-minute clip really is a tale of unconditional love. The more I watch the clip, however (I’m a sap; I’ve seen it 11 times and it has ushered waterworks on every occasion), the more I realize that travel is actually a critical component of this family’s evolution; ultimately it is the vehicle that leads the father to “find his understanding.”
The ad captures a wonderful and often overlooked fact about travel in general; sometimes, even if we’ve upgraded to business class and splurged on a luxury suite, the takeaway from a trip shouldn’t be so much about what we do as it should be about how we do it.
Put differently, an open mind is a terrible thing to waste; even if you bring one to a new destination, it pays to apply it to your usual traveling partners, too.
For the father in the ad, this meant allowing himself to embrace what made his daughter truly happy. For me, at least right now, it means staying flexible enough to change plans to keep my girls happy—whether that means a trip to see layouts at the model train shop or another afternoon watching ducks in the pond.
In my book, these merely are variations on a theme. Family travel takes us places, all right. The very best of those places are the ones you can’t find on any map.