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13 and Life to Go

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Thistles and Coos is committed to bringing you travel information that is relevant and relatable. We use our experiences to provide you guidance and quality insight. Through our journeys, we have documented what we like to call “Life Lessons” and hope you follow along and learn from our mistakes, successes as well as observations.

First, let me say that this is Life Lesson #13 which is exciting because 13 is my favorite number. No triskaidekaphobia here. #squirrel

Now back to the lesson…

When traveling be sure to include yourself in the pictures.

Having pictures of your family and fellow travelers is great; however, buy the selfie stick and include yourself. As shy and self-sacrificing as the photographer is, they need to be in the pictures. #skidrow

Here’s why.

When you watch our stories and how Natalie and I began this journey, you will also learn about us traveling with our husbands.

When Greg and I (Connie) got married, we were poor.

Two kids and 18 years later, we finally took our “honeymoon” and went to Scotland for two weeks. #amazing

One of my biggest fears is that he and I had traveled domestically with our children, but had not ever been “alone” with each other for any length of time.

This is a bit scary as we both have rather strong personalities. Will we get along? What if we get on each other’s nerves.

Trying to bring some levity to this fear and talk it through with some of my friends, I was discussing this at a local yoga studio in Nashville. Two weeks is really a long time to be cooped up in a hotel with each other. #noescape

So as I was processing this aloud, a friend of mine and fellow yogi, Michael pipes up and asks if he can give me advice…

By the way, Michael and his wife have been married for years - Yes! Any advice is welcome.

I assumed he was going to lay on me these words of wisdom that would rock me to my core and make my worries disappear.

I prepare for my mind to be blown.

In his nonchalant way, Michael says to me… “make sure you take pictures with both of you in them.”

I smiled and wait for the fireworks to go off in my brain as I learn the secret to marriage or life.

Wait, What - you said be sure we are both in the pictures?

He doesn’t see my confused and disappointed look and continues to explain.

He begins to tell me about one of his friends who traveled the world with his daughter.

They would go on these amazing adventures and had a strong father-daughter bond.

Michael begins to list all the places they visited: hiking in the Grand Canyon, swimming with sharks in South Africa, snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, just to name a few.

Michael continues listing all of these insane trips this father-daughter duo took and how they took pictures and had these professional photo albums made…

Of course I am politely listening and wondering where is he going with this?

Maybe it is just one of those “Dad” stories and I’ll just wait until he’s finished.

Keep smiling and nodding in agreement.

This is when he hits me with the unexpected twist in his story.

He says, “the reason why you need to be sure both of you are in the pictures is because my friend I have been telling you about, well, he died.”

Insert my guilt for not paying attention to Michael’s story.

Michael explains how the daughter had gone through all of the photo albums to find pictures of the two of them together during all of their trips. She was shocked to find minimal pictures of them together.

Of all the memorable trips and stories she had, very few pictures were to be found.

If you are like me and everyone I have told this story to… you are thinking, how awful, poor girl and now I am going to be sure I am in every damn picture! Bring on the selfie-stick. #IamthatTourist

I made a pact with myself after hearing Michael’s story and looking through my own photo albums to see who was missing from our pictures.

I am surprised to find who is missing.

We will be taking a lot of pictures with both us in them.

A side note, Greg isn’t too keen on taking pictures and rarely looks normal. I tend to get annoyed because I want the Instagram and Facebook perfect picture to post on social media.

What we ended up with were some candid shots of ourselves being us.

I look through our trip and smile or laugh. I am taken back to a place in Scotland, can feel the wind whipping through my hair, can see the slight annoyance in my smile, but I surrender to let it all happen and be present in the moment.

Your family is your family. All the good, the bad and the not social media friendly.

Time can not be made up and you can have your memories.

My suggestion is to pull out the cell phone and put it to good use - Take a family picture while on vacation. Even if they don’t smile, they will later when you pull out those pictures 10 years later.

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