Vacation. Who doesn’t love the thought of a vacation? For the last two decades, every vacation that I’ve taken has been a family vacation. Family vacations are wonderful. We have all forged some amazing memories of family time on beaches, in campers, in forests, in lakes and along mountainsides. I recall camping near a cattle ranch and giggling with the kids all night as we heard the entire massive herd move about and moo. All. Night.  Long. There were canoe trips, swimming in mountain lakes, swimming in oceans, hiking through Irish parks, checking out cool museums, multiple plane rides and eating yummy food (I am flabbergasted that you can order chicken nuggets all over the world). Now, as my kids are older and leaving the nest, not only are family vacations harder to schedule, but my kids can stay on their own so my options have opened up in a big way.

I have friends who have taken trips with their girlfriends every year—even when their kids were tiny. They made it a priority to keep those traditions alive. I was always envious but, truth be told, also not comfortable leaving my family to go do my own thing. Looking back on those times, I really wish I had been more daring. Traveling with girlfriends is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And I missed out on many years of #girltribe fun. I’ll bet you can see where I’m going with this. I aim to make up for lost time!

My first girls’ trip as a parent came in 2018. I was invited to Girls’ Weekend. That’s what it’s called. No frills, nothing fancy, but don’t you love when the name of something describes it perfectly? Well, kinda sorta. I feel like “Girls’ Weekend” doesn’t quite bring to mind the level of debauchery and shenanigans that occurred. These friends are not little girls. They’re all moms too. And that comes with some major benefits. For who better to prepare a tray full of cheesy breakfast burritos than a mom who has been feeding her daughter’s soccer team for years? There may have been some alcohol. But the first rule of Girls’ Weekend is that nobody talks about Girls’ Weekend. I’m taking some serious risks by even telling you that there were breakfast burritos. I look forward to Girls’ Weekend every year. I hope to super-size travel with this tribe of amazing women by taking our annual weekend to Mexico next year.

“I aim to make up for lost time!”

As I write this, I’m getting ready to head out to meet my cousin in Las Vegas to see The Chicks in concert. We have two uninterrupted days to ourselves and I literally can’t wait! There’s something so liberating about revisiting the days when I was the only person I had to worry about. I am planning on getting my first sunburn of the year; eating decadently, shopping decadently and laughing a lot.

At this stage of my life, I’m looking forward to traveling solo. It is truly scary to think about having a long vacation on my own, but I’m excitedly planning a great trip for 2024 after my littlest chick leaves the nest. I figure that a solo trip to Florence will provide somewhat of a soft landing. For the first time in forever, I will be able to travel at times other than school breaks. I’ve never traveled alone other than for work. I close my eyes and picture myself walking down brick-lined streets, visiting every museum in the city, sipping wine on sidewalks—and I think maybe there’s something to indulging in a vacation all by myself.