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How Travel Has Helped My Relationship With My Son – Which Is Always A Work In Progress

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How Travel Has Helped My Relationship With My Son

How Travel Has Helped My Relationship With My Son

Man, parenting is hard. But it isn’t hard because the game plan or rules are difficult. You need to make sure they are fed, clothed and loved.  That is essentially the ingredients needed, everything else is extra. It sounds so easy but it often is anything but easy. The hard part is when you get down into the nitty gritty.  The shaping and molding of a human is the hard part.  A human that has their own ideas, thoughts and yes – attitude 😆.

How Travel Has Helped My Relationship With My Son

Parenting Makes Me Feel Like I Fail On A Regular Basis

Kids bring you the most joy you will ever feel, the strongest and deepest love you will ever have but they can also be the most frustrating thing you could ever imagine.  They know how to play both ends of the spectrum to perfection.  Button pusher is their main career and they are hall of fame level at it.

Because of all of this I go to bed most nights feeling like I failed a little bit. I wasn’t patient enough or I wasn’t present enough or devoted enough.  And every night I go to bed saying I am going to do better tomorrow.  I tell myself I won’t lose my temper over something small and insignificant! The next morning comes and there they go again doing the thing you told them 10,000 times not to and once again right after you JUST TOLD THEM NOT TO.  It is a fight I continue to fight with myself on a regular basis.

How Travel Has Helped My Relationship With My Son

My Relationship With My Son

That is something I think all parents deal with so how does this relate to my son? A father / son relationship is a whole other animal.  Much like a mother / daughter relationship there is a different set of rules and expectations.  Fathers expect more out of their son just as mothers do their daughters.  We also tend to want a mini me, someone built in our image.  That puts added pressure on the kid and the relationship.

Well my son is not a mini me for sure.  If I am being honest my daughter is a mini me and we understand each other on a level that I just haven’t gotten to with my son.

Don’t get me wrong my son is an amazing kid.  He is often a favorite among every grown up friend I have and he instantly makes friends with other kids because he has no barriers.  It is truly amazing how open and accepting he is and his fear level on a social stage is a zero.  He can go into any situation and make it seem like it is something he has done a million times. I envy him in that aspect. He has no ego, no fear of being himself and he does it all with a smile on his face.

But his interests are not usually in line with mine.  He loves to talk about home renovations and architecture. He watches flipping house shows all while asking Alexa to add up the costs of the remodel – that is no joke either 🤣.  We are currently looking at houses to move in the next year and he wants to be involved in the entire process which is great but also frustrating.  Trust me those shows make him think we have a million dollar budget.

But you know one thing we can talk about non stop for hours?  Travel!


How Travel Makes Our Relationship Better

He is by far the most into travel in my family besides myself. He is also the best at doing it, no offense to my wife.  When we get to the airport he knows exactly where to go (my wife not so much sometimes – that will cost me for sure) and exactly what to do at security etc. And he really loves it, like I mean really really loves it.  He loves the airport, flying on the plane, exploring the destination. You name it and it is his favorite, even riding the subway is an excitement unknown to mankind.

My daughter also says she loves it and is a pretty great traveler but she wants to do fun stuff when we get there, mainly the pool or a theme park 🤦‍♂️.  My son is game walking the city, checking out buildings, parks and museums. He is okay with not being able to do something he wanted to because of time or weather.  He will walk as long as you want to walk without complaint and he just kind of takes it all in, in a way that is truly special.  There is something to be said about a child’s joy in the simple things and their excitement over learning new things.

When we travel together the expectations, frustrations and distance somewhat fade away.  We truly get each other on the road.  I think getting outside of your routines help.  Also getting away from the other sibling and giving all of the attention to one child is important from time to time. We flow in a way together while traveling that is almost musical. Gone are the arguments over homework or picking up after themselves.  Gone are the whining and complaining and temper tantrums. What fills its space is conversation, excitement and just enjoying each other’s company. It is almost effortless and our bond grows stronger because of it.  It is something that I look forward to each and every time we have a trip planned together.

Final Thoughts

I wrote this because I wanted to share what I find most special about travel.  The relationships you make while traveling and the bonds that you strengthen are the truly special parts to me. It gives me and my son something to connect over, a hobby that we can share. It brings us closer together and for that I am truly thankful. And without this hobby I wouldn’t be able to do it as much as I do or experience as much as I can with him.  It also gives me a few of those nights where I go to bed knowing I didn’t fail, knowing that I did my best!

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Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Mark,
    I am somehow amazed at your obvious willingness to share such deep and personal thoughts and experiences with your family. This is a unique chance for your readers, that have young children, to use this hobby/work/obsession we have to add quality to our life experiences. My children are over 50 years old and I can’t really influence them anymore about travel as you can, but they both are world travelers and enjoy that part of life. I only wish that I could have done more travel with them but one does what one can do.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Mickey – I try to be as open as possible since those are the type of things I enjoy reading the most from others.

  2. That was a very enjoyable writeup. I am childfree so I haven’t experienced all of this. But it was a fun read nevertheless. Thanks!

  3. Mark, Thanks for writing this. Raising kids is hard: absolutely agreed. I really wanted to take my kids just on Mom and Son and Mom and Daughter trips, but they are fighting it. I still have an amazing time traveling with two of them. Again, great read.

    • Thanks Yev – toughest job out there 🙂

      Hopefully you can convince them to finally try a solo trip but if they get along traveling together that is great too.

  4. Really enjoyed this article Mark. My son and I are about to go skiing for four days without mom or dogs. Just the two of us with no real plan. I’m excited (and a bit scared) to spend 4 days solo with our monosyllabic tween, but your article gave some great suggestions. Traveling with kids solo can be really rewarding.


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