"Our Family Travel Adventures" 850prc's Profile

Our family adds another traveler!

We have always done a great deal of traveling as a family. It provided learning and memories for us and our kids. And we are thrilled to announce that our family added another traveler. Our son married his longtime sweetie in a beautiful riverside ceremony. They've already done a bit of travelling together, and both have the wanderlust to be worthy of VirtualTourist parentage (see below, re their travels). We'll proudly watch as they begin their journeys together soon. On a selfish note, Bonnie and I really do like my son's new in-laws, and suspect that we might just do a few trips with George and Mary from time to time.

Bonnie and I still travel with our younger child, daughter, Sara, whenever and wherever possible. Among our recent threesome adventures are trips to Atlantic Canada in Sept '09, NYC in April of '10, and - oh yes - to the literal end of the world, a trip to Antarctica in March of 2011. We also went to India back in October '08. (lots of VT pages, please have a look!) Travel plans are always evolving, but it looks like we'll go to Norway this summer. Maybe someday soon we'll have a chance to travel again with our "newlyweds". Sure, they have adult lives and responsibilities and not everyone can be carefree retirees like us....but hopefully we'll get to have an "expanded family" trip someday. We'll be sure to make it somewhere special.

Jeff continues to love life working for the local Florida State University boosters organization. His sweet bride has an excellent and (her) dream career as a neonatal unit nurse. She is also about to return to grad school to become a neonatal nurse practititioner. Even though they lack the amount of time for travel that Bonnie and I have, they still enjoy getting away - they went to Costa Rica back in May of 2010, and then went to Iceland and Scotland (attending a wedding in Scotland) in 2012. They are always - like us - looking for other interesting travel opportunities, and they snow ski from time to time. They're both huge sports fans, so we are not surprised to learn that they chose a visit to Chicago for their honeymoon - including a day game at Wrigley Field. They are both responsible and focused young adults and we are very proud of them both.

Our youngest, daughter Sara, is now 24 years old, and graduated from high school in the spring of 2008. Let's hear it for the LHS "Class of 2008". Sara was named a commended scholar, and we are very very proud of her. Where does the time go? Oh well, make sure that when the time does go by, you've saturated it with loving family memories and adventures. So, continue having family adventures for your kids still at home. Sara's has a job. She works for a local animal hospital - a perfect fit. She gets her face licked everyday at work and couldn't be happier.

I haven't mentioned my parents a lot on my VT site, other than over on my Bermuda page. (We lived there when I was young) Dad passed away on December 19, 2011 after a short illness. We miss him so very much. My Mom is doing as well as can be expected, being 87 and legally blind, due to macular degeneration. Therefore, she seldom goes out to large public functions. Suffice to say we'll take very good care of her, Dad would have expected no less.

Bonnie and I have been married for over 32 years now. We enjoyed a long weekend getaway to the Darbyfield Inn in North Conway, NH to celebrate our 30th. And other than looking a little bit more gray, we are doing great. I couldn't ask for a better life in any way. :)

The attached photo shows our family - all together - celebrating Sara's birthday at a local Carabbas.


If you have followed my home family page for any period of time, you know well that our son has been in a long-term relationship with Meghan, a girl he first met while both were in the Florida State University Marching Chiefs.

We are thrilled to announce that they were joined in holy matrimony recently in St. Johns, Florida. Sara was a beautiful bridesmaid in the wedding, and is overjoyed with her new sister-in-law. Bonnie and I now have the wonderful daughter-in-law that we've coveted for so many years. And of course, our beloved son has found and married his soul mate, he has his life's partner.

Our newlyweds are so very good for each other, and words cannot describe how happy our family (and her family as well, per her parents) are with this union. We were all proud to become and forever be one family. who knows, maybe in a few years, George, Mary, Bonnie and I can add a new title to our repertoire...grandparents. It would/will probably be the first grandchild on both sides. It's a chapter of our lives that we are all definitely looking forward to. :)

Note, the photo below was shot - by me - after the wedding rehearsal. When we get the pro shots back, I will most definitely do a wedding travelogue. With all due respect TO the pro photographer, I will say that I used to - as a hobby - do weddings. I still got it. :)

Make your kids' dreams come true

As a parent, we can perform no greater miracle than to help our kids' dreams come true. Every son or daughter deserves to have memories of their childhood that they'll treasure forever. I want as many of my kids' happy memories to be of my making as is possible.

My daughter Sara is INTO wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. She's done it for years. Nobody loves wlid creatures anymore than Sara. And, she doesn't just love the fuzzy bunnies. In fact, the meaner and nastier the animal, the more she seems to love it. This is a kid who pets rattlesnakes.

Anyway, her hero for years has been Steve Irwin, Australia's Crocodile Hunter. She's always considered Australia Zoo to be "the holy land", so to speak.

When we went to Australia in June of 2005, it was a given that we'd have to visit the Aussie Zoo. I'd been writing to them for years about Sara, and they were waiting for her. They gave her a VIP, behind-the-scenes visit. We spent the entire day going through "authorized personnel only" signs and such. Sara was thrilled.

Steve and Terri Irwin were not there that day, they seldom are. And, in the planning stages, it was impossible to set it up where they'd be in town for sure when we were scheduled to arrive. But, they clearly left instructions for Sara to be given the royal treatment. And, they left several autographed photos and such for her.

Sara looked at me as we drove back to Scarborough that evening and said "Daddy, my dream came true". I almost cried.

Guess where we went (again) the next day? : )

Post script.... Sara eventually landed a job at a local veterinary clinic, and she absolutely loves it. She's been employed for going on two years, and she can honestly say that she gets her face licked every single day at work.

Adult friendship with your grown kids

There are two prevalent schools of thought about having teenaged kids grow into adulthood. I disagree with both.

The first involves trepidation. There is fear that they'll grow into adults with adult-sized problems for YOU. How many times have you heard some idiot say "your troubles are just beginning...." when you announce your son or daughter's 19th or 20th birthday? If you've spent your parenthood talking and being part of your child's life, chances are good that you'll never have this problem. Just MHO.

The second involves great angst in the realization that "it" is almost over. They're not children anymore. They may well be moving out soon. Your baby is gone. Some people cannot imagine life beyond the present, and dread every moment as it approaches. I can understand the emotion completely, and it nearly killed me when our oldest, son Jeff, moved out of the house and on to college. But, I was so very proud of the responsible young man he'd become. And over the last few years, we've added a new love to our relationship with Jeff... besides having a terrific son, we have a beloved and trusted adult friend.

For much of Jeff's time at FSU, he was a member of the Marching Chiefs band at football games. In fact, for his last two years in Chiefs, he was one of the drum majors. (The guys who direct the band on the field). Jeff was selected for this position in the spring of 2005 after a rigorous series of tryouts and practices. In 2006, he was honored by again being selected as a drum major. (There are 400+ students in the Chiefs and there are only three drum majors) Being a drum major at FSU was a goal of Jeff's as early as his sophomore year in high school.

That's one of my son's strongest attributes. He's so very focused, so much more so that I ever was at that age. He sets goals, he works for them and he attains them. I've never had to push or cajole him in any way. On the day he turned 21, ie legal drinking age in America, we took him out to dinner. When I asked him what he wanted to drink with his meal, he said "Diet Coke". When I gave him a puzzled look, he said "I have a big test tomorrow". That's maturity, folks. : )

The accompanying photo was taken last spring. My wife (Bonnie) and I joined our son Jeff and his then-girlfriend (now his wife!) at Bella Bella, a nice little local Italian place. (see the tip on my Tallahassee page) We had a great time out with one of our favorite "adult couples", my son and our (at the time) future daughter-in-law. We are also very proud that they almost never decline an invite to join the "old folks" out for dinner.

Jeff's overseas adventure, age 12

For my son's 12th birthday, he and I traveled to Germany, France and Luxembourg in March of 1996. We stayed in small pensions and toured many of the historical sites related to the first and second world wars. Jeff was especially impressed and excited when we found the grave of "Ol' Blood and Guts", General George S. Patton.

It was a great trip and Jeff learned a lot. I enjoyed just spending time with my oldest child. As the years after this trip have gone past, I treasure even more the chance Jeff and I had to travel to Germany together. And, not too long ago, one of Jeff's friends told me that he (Jeff) "talks about his trip to Germany in 1996" all the time. I'm glad to know that it apparently meant so much to him, too. It was part of the process, I believe, that's contributed to him growing into a fine young man.

Sara's 12th birthday trip

Our youngest child, Sara, is an animal lover. She does a lot of volunteer work with injured wild animals. For her "12th birthday trip", we took her to the Tambopata rainforest of Peru.

The photo included with this chapter was actually featured on both the website and catalog cover for the travel company Journeys-International, based in Ann Arbor, MI. BTW, if any of you are ever contemplating family travel to an exotic location, I'd advise that you contact Joan Weber at Journeys International. (They specialize in Nepal, if you're into that "top of the world" thing). And check out Journeys' family travel webpage. They still have a photo of Sara there.


A chance to talk about everything

Getting away from home changes the environment enough that everyone can talk and learn from each other.

While in Arizona, my wife and daughter had lengthy afternoon conversations as we sat to watch the sun set at the Grand Canyon. Now, chances are that they were talking more about the squirrels hanging around the motorlodge than the majesty of the Colorado River's millenia of work. But, the topic doesn't really matter, does it?

Sometimes, it's "just the two of us"

Sure, we travel as a family a great deal. But one of the secrets to the Chamlis household happiness lies in the occasional "mom and dad only" trip that Bonnie and I take.

Usually, but not always, these trips coincide with our wedding anniversary in October. Among our anniversary trip destinations have been Iceland, Europe, San Francisco, Fernandina Beach, Lake Placid and New York City.

Among our more recent "mom and dad only" trips were NYC and Washington, DC. We also spent four days in Savannah, Georgia, at the lovely MacMillan Inn, celebrating our wedding anniversary. In June of 2006, we visited New Orleans for the American Library Association show. OK, it was kind of a business trip for me, but I had plenty of time to celebrate my 50th birthday and to have fun with my wife in "the Big Easy". BTW, if you visit New Orleans, you MUST stay at the Elysian Fields Bed and Breakfast. Tell Leigh that Pete from Tallahassee sent you.

We also BOTH enjoy sports. One recent little two day "mom and dad only" trip was down to Tampa to see the Rays play baseball. After the game, we enjoyed a free concert by the Barenaked Ladies. We are planning to do a roadie weekend to Kansas City in July, to watch our beloved Rays tangle with the Royals.

The attached photo was taken on the back lawn of the Darbyfield Inn, Conway, NH. Bonnie and I spent a long weekend there in October of 2010, celebrating our 30th anniversary.

Sometimes, letting the kids stay at home is a very good idea. : ) Maybe our newlywedded son and daughter in law have kids, we'll be good grandparents and give them the same occasional respite.

  • Intro Updated Jan 14, 2013
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Comments (612)

  • annwag's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    Thank you so much for your Namibia tips; I am leaving for Namibia next week and I found them very helpful :)

  • Arial_27's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Thanks for the birthday wishes last June! Been so busy I hardly sign in anymore. I'm back in Canada though, almost 2 years now. your family is all doing great. Beautiful photo, your kids have grown up fast :)

  • Daja123's Profile Photo
    Dec 24, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

  • Saagar's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM


    • 850prc's Profile Photo
      Jul 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      At the Skansen Pensjonat in Bergen. :)

    • Daja123's Profile Photo
      Jul 18, 2013 at 3:08 AM

      Belated birthday greeting Pate = hope you had a fantastic day with lots of sunshine! Lots of hugs! Darja

  • omidamini's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Happy birthday.

    • 850prc's Profile Photo
      Jul 13, 2013 at 7:17 AM

      Thank you so much, my friend. I had a great day.

  • aadil's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Proud visitor to all seven continents! Presently giving thought to the eternal question.... where to next?

    Space of course ...... the next frontier!!! Book one of the Virgin Space Shuttles for a ride into exclusive territory.

  • aadil's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Belated but very Happy Birthday to you, Pete!!! May all your travel dreams come true!!!

    • 850prc's Profile Photo
      Jul 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Thank you so much, Aadil. I had a terrific birthday. How are you doing, my friend?

    • aadil's Profile Photo
      Jul 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      I'm fine, thanks a lot.

  • Myndo's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Oh my - I am late! Wishing you a very happy birthday Pete! All the best from Switzerland :-) Corinne

    • 850prc's Profile Photo
      Jun 29, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      Thanks so much, Corinne. How are you, Ruedi and Simon? Did I hear somewhere that you were going to be giving him a sister or brother?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Happy Belated Birthday Pete! Hope you had a great day celebrating with your family.

    • 850prc's Profile Photo
      Jun 29, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      Thank you so much, Malena. I had a wonderful day.

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