Wednesday, June 15, 2022

On vacationing with grown kids. In Alaska. by Cathy Shouse

Our family of four has always enjoyed travel. But now in their twenties, our kids had pretty much canned vacationing with us. So last July when they approached us and floated the idea to resuscitate the “family vacation,” we were fully on board, and that’s an understatement. I felt like I’d won the lottery. Days away from the rat race with our kids? Sign me up! 

We opted to go big or stay home. After all, who knew when a family vacation might happen again? 

Alaska, here we come! 

There weren’t as many days off at the same time as we wished for. One kid lives 2,000 miles away from our Indiana home, in L. A. The other, still in college, had out-of-town summer work that ended a day before we left. We also hadn’t planned ahead at all! 

Giddy with anticipation and delirious from arranging all the logistics, we took off.

in August, we flew in to Anchorage, Alaska around midnight on a Saturday. The plan was for we three from Indiana to land and wait 90 minutes for the L.A. kid to connect. But due to our plane being stalled on the tarmac after landing, we all ended up departing two separate planes at the same time. It felt perfect seeing my kid land on the same airstrip we were on, side by side. I decided the trip was meant to be!

Picking up the rental car in the wee hours of the morning was not our best idea. It is Very Dark in Alaska when the sun isn’t shining. After a short drive in unknown terrain with no moon shining into our path or street lights showing the way, we switched drivers. To head to the small town with our Airbnb condo, we decided the kids had the best night vision.

They ended up doing a lot of the driving. Plus, gone were the days of sending them to bed early so we could get up at the crack of dawn and adhere to Mom and Dad’s agenda. Instead, we followed their lead, staying up late and sleeping in a bit. Heading to a coffee shop seemed to be their favorite thing, and we went along—literally.

We don’t even drink coffee, but walking to a nearby coffee shop together became a pleasant routine for the almost-week we were there.

The scenery was as stunning as anticipated. Equally exciting were the prices! Any differences in ages and interests melted away looking at the mountains and inhaling the fresh air, which was just special somehow, like it was extra clean. And who knew a homemade breakfast at a little resort diner overlooking a mountain could provide a much-needed recharge?

That isn’t to say it was all sunshine and blueish icebergs. Viewpoints and approaches to life differed (to put it mildly). There wasn’t the interest or the time to take the 12-hour cruise our retired friends treasured. But an hour train ride to a 5-hour cruise to see the glaciers turned out to be a great compromise.

I tried to curtail my too-long conversations “helping” the kids with their lives, what they consider lecturing. It seemed we’d come a long way since a Disneyland trip years ago. Back then, I was winding up for a good “chat” about the genius of Walt Disney when one kid piped up, “Save it for your journal.”

But their love of hiking created a new challenge. We all started on a trail in deep woods, with steep inclines, made slippery from dripping water. After going a short way, all I could think about was that old commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” We, the senior twosome, bowed out and waited in the car, still able to enjoy a breathtaking view.

After all, we weren’t trying to keep up with the kids--not that we could have. We were content to go together, at our own paces. My husband and I are finding that philosophy, of appreciating the next generation’s unique outlook, works well, whether traveling or in everyday life with grown kids.

Do you have special memories of spending time with multiple generations? If you do, I hope you’ll share!


Cathy Shouse writes inspirational cowboy romances. Her Fair Creek series, set in Indiana, 
features the Galloway brothers of Galloway Farms. Much like the characters in her stories, Cathy once lived on a farm in “small town” Indiana, where she first fell in love with cowboys while visiting the rodeo every summer. Please visit for more information on discounts and new releases or to sign up for her newsletter.


  1. Thank you for inviting me, Liz! It was fun reliving that vacation, and just thinking about time with our "kids" puts a smile on my face. Our annual time at the lakes is up next!

    1. Thanks for coming, Cathy! I envy you your trip!