Sometimes we get an opportunity in life that is just too cool to pass up.
My daughter and I had that happen to us just a few weeks ago.
It was the week after Christmas. My parents, sisters and their husbands and two nephews were all taking a Disney cruise together. Bret and I had decided for a number of reasons that it wasn’t a good idea for us to go. With older kids and school schedules not only was it cost prohibitive for a family of five, it was also impossible for three high school students to miss a week of school.
As a Disney AND travel nut, I was beyond disappointed now that the packing had begun. I’d lent out my suitcases, given all of my Disney travel tips and was checking the weather reports daily for their ports of call. I hate missing out on travel but I love helping other people plan the perfect vacation so I’d convinced myself all was well.
But then Bret very innocently said, “Boy, you and Tate should see if there’s a room available for you to join them at the last minute.” I know he wasn’t serious, but the idea was born.
I looked into booking a last minute stateroom, hoping for a deep discount. Turns out, Disney doesn’t deeply discount their rooms, but there were a few available. The ones that weren’t really expensive were rooms I wouldn’t have considered two years ago when the trip was being booked and planned (Deck 1, obstructed view near some loud machinery), but now that it was four days before sailing and I was in cold Minnesota, those rooms sounded perfect.
I looked at my schedule. As an Assist U Virtual Assistant, I had a pretty flexible schedule. I had already taken some time off for Christmas, but I knew my clients would all be slowly gearing back up in the new year and that would think this was a neat opportunity of which I should take advantage.
My daughter attends an online school and has the ability to take time off as long as her net hours meet high school requirements.
Although the boys had gone on numerous hunting, fishing and canoeing trips with Bret. Tate and I had never had a trip with just the two of us. I loved the idea of spending a week with my teenage daughter where we could be together, but with extended family and plenty of activities we wouldn’t have to be too together, if you know what I mean.
The more I looked into it, the more it seemed like a great idea. That’s how I wound up booking an amazing cruise just hours before the bookings closed for the trip.
Being with the rest of my family was really fun and we had a great time in the sun that week, but I think what made it extra special was that it was a last-minute adventure. I realize that most people can’t do that with the schedule of their lives and it made me so grateful to be a VA and business owner. I have tremendous flexibility in my job and clients who don’t think of me as their employee, but as their partner with my own business and life. I have magnificent clients whom I adore and being able to take a week off at a moment’s notice is a huge benefit to what I do.
Benefits of last minute travel:
- Fewer expectations. I was happy to just be on the ship. I wasn’t worried about shore excursions, dining options or any of the other planning that I would have felt I needed to do.
- Cheaper clothing. While my mom and sisters had been enjoying picking up a few things here and there for the cruise, time constraints meant I had to go with what I already had in my closet. It’s not easy to find summery cruise wear in January in Minnesota!
- Complete relaxation. Normally before I am gone for a week, I spend two weeks preparing my home, my office and my clients for my absence. This time I was able to shoot off a quick email to my clients confirming that they wouldn’t be lost without me and I was good to go. Being 100 percent unplugged on the ship was more relaxing than I would have thought possible.
- Less expensive staterooms. As I mentioned, two years ago when everyone else in my family began planning the trip and booking their staterooms, Bret and I did price it out. To have similar accommodations with adult sized children, we would have needed two staterooms. The cheaper option I wound up booking at the last-minute wouldn’t have worked for a family of five as we would have been completely split up and I wouldn’t have been as likely to compromise as much on the obstructed view and Deck 1 location.
- No anticipation. I know with trips of this type, anticipation and expectation can cause the trip to be built up so much prior to departure that the trip itself becomes a bit of a let down, especially when teenagers are involved. By the time everything was booked and planned, my daughter had 24 hours before our flight took off to prepare. There was zero build up until we were actually on the plane. Before that we were simply in “get it done” mode.
Six years ago, when Bret lost his job and I was a stay-at-home mom, trips like this were a pipe dream for someone else to experience. We were struggling to make our house payments, let alone being able to afford a last-minute cruise.
We’re still at the beginning of a new year. How do you want your life to look in six years? What will you do THIS YEAR to make that happen? In twelve months we’ll be looking at another year gone by. How will you have improved your life?
photo credit: iStock photos