Our nest emptied out over ten years ago, but the process was not instantaneous or immediate. At first our three fledglings were off to college, which meant that they were returning for summers and breaks. Then, one by one, they set off on their own to begin their new lives.
As those lives took shape they became more and more scattered around the globe, so that now we have offspring spread across eleven time zones. That’s nearly half the world!
Over that time one thing has been inescapable, flying. Whether it is us flying to see them, or the other way around, it is about the only way we can see our children. That means buying lots of tickets, so we are always on the lookout for great deals on flights.
It also means that we were pretty excited when we discovered JustFly. This easy to use website is without a doubt one of the best ways to find those deals. With our now adult kids living in Paris, New York, and Alaska, the savings can really add up.
We have to say that even considering the complications involved with having them so strewn about the world, we love that they all chose to live in such interesting places to visit.
Our oldest, after marrying a French man, moved to Paris a few years ago, so now we have a perfect excuse to visit the City of Lights whenever we can. Of course we loved getting to see all of the usual attractions, but having family there has afforded us the opportunity to now appreciate them in a much more relaxed way.
This unhurried comfort level has allowed us to have lunch on the Eiffel Tower, spend a day wandering the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, explore the Louvre in search of artistic oddities, or watch darkness descend from the top of the Arc de Triomphe at our own pace rather than run from one place to another in a hasty effort to see them all in one trip.
Now, after several times visiting, we are more familiar with the city and have had the chance to seek out some of the lesser known sites such as the catacombs, the Jardin des Rosiers, and Belleville. In fact, on our last trip we intentionally avoided all of the famous tourist places in an attempt to enjoy Paris like we lived there.
We must say that it felt like a smashing success, and for a brief time almost as if we were Parisians.
Our experiences with visiting New York City have been similar. Our second daughter has lived there for nearly a decade so we have grown to know the Big Apple as nearly a second home.
Back when we first were visiting we had to go to all of the usual hot spots, see the shows, and generally gawk at the incredible hustle and bustle of the City That Never Sleeps, but over time we came to see New York as more than a tourist destination, it is a place where people live.
We also discovered a bunch of very interesting semi-secret details about the city that even most New Yorkers don’t know, such as the fact that George Washington lived in the first White House right where the Brooklyn Bridge stands. Yup, our nation’s first executive mansion is now marked by nothing more than a small plaque on a bridge.
As surprised as we were to learn that, we were even more so when we found a tropical beach with an amazing panorama of the Manhattan skyline. Just take a short ferry ride to Governor’s Island and a sandy shore complete with plastic palm trees awaits.
The island was originally home to a fort, then was expanded by adding the dirt and rocks dug up from building the subway system, and now is a recreational park with bike paths, playgrounds, and incredible views, including a seldom seen angle of the Statue of Liberty.
In stark contrast to the big city, the youngest of our children ended up near the top of the world in Alaska. He is a pilot, and our 49th state is absolutely filled with aircraft, so it was a natural fit. In fact, there are many places that can only be reached by airplane.
That is what led him up there. His first job was flying to many of the native villages where his plane was their only connection to the outside world. We were so intrigued by this profession that we made a trip north just to ride with him and visit a few of the villages.
Without a doubt these are some of the most remote communities in America. Most have no roads or cars and absolutely everything is flown in. As much as he loved that work, he is now flying charters in a slightly more inhabited part of the state.
His full time home is Anchorage though, and that turns out to be a wonderful place to visit as well. It also serves as a fantastic base camp for exploring the rest of Alaska. On our many trips we have made our way up to Denali National Park, home of North America’s highest mountain, and down to the south coast, where majestic peaks meet the Pacific Ocean.
However, our favorite way to see Alaska has got to be by boat. Cruising the inside passage is truly a highlight of our travels no matter where we have been. With incredible scenery, seafood, people, and especially up close and personal encounters with glaciers this is a unique and beautiful part of the world.
It just so happens that JustFly also has exceptional deals on cruises too, along with discount rates for hotels and rental cars.
That means everything we need to visit any or all of our far flung kids can be taken care of all at the same time and all at the same place.
We’d call that almost perfect.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com