There was a time when our grown children were available to travel with us--they were just out of college, thinking about grad school or trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives.
Those days are history for some of us. Our kids have grown into their careers, married life and families. Their lives are busy; our grandchildren are heavily scheduled. When it comes to winter travel to exotic, far-away places, we are on our own. As it should be.
That was clear when we took off for a two-week trip to Morocco this February. There was no chance either child and his/her family could come along--we didn't even ask.
But that didn't mean we weren't connected. We didn't stay in touch with postcards (how quaint that would have been!) or phone calls but shared our journey via texted and emailed photos. Did Steve Jobs know about this connectivity when he came up with the iPhone? We sent a photo or two a day; we got back reactions--about the train to Marrakesh, about the blue-rinsed houses in Chefchaouen and the Medina in Fes.
For Paterfamilias--an old softy despite his A-type personality--the emails and texts with his children were the most meaningful part of the trip. "We were looped in and getting interesting responses from them," he told a friend. "We'd send a photo and they'd raise interesting questions in return. It was like they were on the trip with us."
We were all aboard the Marrakesh Express, although only two of us experienced the 7-hour trip from Fes to Marrakesh--which turned out not to be an express at all, but a delightful journey down from the Rif mountains, along the coast to Rabat and Casablanca and then up through the fertile plains to Marrakesh.
In Fes: All aboard the Marrakesh Express
The food, the old-world towns, the introduction to the North African-Muslim culture? An intense and moving experience. The familial comfort of the smart phone connection? Bigly.