7 Reasons to Skip Iceland

You may be feeling left out because all the cool people you know are posting National Geographic shots from Icelandic waterfalls.   Good for them. Don’t be sad that you are not going, too.  Let me explain why, in 7 reasons.   It costs the earth If I am going to spend $500 on a hotel room, it needs to at least pretend to be the Four Seasons.  Not, as I recently experienced, a blah guesthouse with shared bathroom in a nondescript, frozen Icelandic outpost.  There are much cheaper ways to feel bitter and taken for granted, if you’re into…

Toxic Marriage, Served with Contempt

My daughters gaped, open-mouthed, at the histrionic couple dining at the adjacent table. We were in France, at an auberge in the Dordogne during my annual single-mom summer trip. The intimate dining room overlooking an ancient mill was frigid with cheerless couples purportedly enjoying celebratory anniversary and birthday dinners of foie gras and duck confit, but each unhappier than the last. Kids are sponges, soaking up tidbits of relational distress. They are not above gawking at fighting couples, nor are they immune to the subtler cues of relational frigidity; a husband’s pontifications about a wine’s terroir- tedious and unappreciated. His…

On Family Vacations, Build Boredom into the Itinerary

Rain slashes the windows and the cloudy French sky is heavy with foggy mist.  Our planned horseback ride through the Dordogne countryside is out of the question today, so my two daughters and I are cuddled up in our little 3 bedroom camping chalet near Sarlat la Caneda, each to her own quietude. One girl is facetiming with a friend in California, the other is cozied up in her bed, listening to an audiobook and drawing.  I am enjoying an unexpected pause in our nonstop 6 Week Single Mom European Adventure.  We could be busy exploring myriad castles, prehistoric cave…

Staying Sane While Single Mom Traveling with Kids

It’s the end of week two of my six week Europe trip, and I started going a little nuts today.  I realized I hadn’t had an adult conversation in days, except for hijacking my daughter’s facetime session with her friend in Melbourne so I could talk her mom, who is a dear friend of mine.  We couldn’t really talk, because both of our daughters were squashed against us, trying to get into the video.  It’s been a little lonely. Texting, calling, sexting needs to happen when you are traveling as a solo mom for 6 weeks.  Like, seriously.  You will…

Best Costa Brava Beaches for Families 

(Cala Sa Tuna, Begur) The Costa Brava stretches for 85 miles along Spain’s north eastern coast, all the way to the French border.  Yes, its beautful, but there are a few spots that are exceptional for a family beach day. There is an algorithm for the ideal family beach.  It must have access to a clean bathroom, and gorgeous beachside restaurant or tasty snack cafe.   Quiet protected coves are great, with some shady options (just say no to roasting your kids in the baking mid day Mediterranean sun, even if the Spaniards do it). Also, it needs reasonable parking,…