Bond With Dad While Traveling

Written by Ashley Ball

Combine your travel bug with family ties. See the European countryside and grow closer to your father all in the same trip.

"The man with the hat is back. And this time, he's bringing his Dad."bonding with dad

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That's the tag line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Indy and his tweedy father (Sean Connery) travel across Europe in the name of archaeology and good; give hope to all of us eminences salt-and-peppers by romancing the same young Aryan villainess; avoid death at the hands of Nazis while recovering the Holy Grail; and become chums into the bargain. Awwww.
We'd all like to have a similarly relationship-building travel experience with our fathers, albeit with better food, accommodations and less threat to life and limb. A traditional vacation fails in that it doesn't provide us with a common goal.
Bonding feels natural if it occurs as a byproduct of the task at hand; we need a metaphorical Holy Grail to pursue in our journeys. Why not knowledge itself?
Princeton professor of theology Samuel Miller's advice-filled Letters from a father to his sons in college, published in 1852, speaks for those of us (read: all of us) who let learning opportunities pass by in younger years:
"The recollection of my... incorrect estimate of the value of some of my prescribed studies and pursuits, my loss of precious opportunities, always connected with self-reproach. A thousand times I have said, 'Oh, if only I had known as much as I know now of the value of certain studies ... how unspeakably more might I have profited by the privileges which I was then permitted to enjoy!'"
His kids still probably belonged to Ye Olde Animal Howse and chewed tobacco till all hours of the night. Who can blame them? They were stardust; they were golden.
But as adults, we've earned our Junior or Senior Year Abroad. We fully appreciate both study and travel, and we're in it to discover universal truths about man and nature, not just to revel in legal drinking (though a little of that never hurt anyone.)
A study tour with an exotic curriculum is the perfect setting for your own paternal-bonding film. Cast you and your father as classmates, throw in a mix of intelligent strangers as buffers and foils, and "profit by the privileges" of a well-orchestrated vacation with a closeness that's collegial, not forced.

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