aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

A bit of wisdom for those dreaming of the big trip

I'm juggling the planning for four major trips over the next two years. In July of this year, our Venturing Crew is heading for upstate New York for some hiking and touring. Commitments are finally starting to clarify for this. Looks like 2 boys and 2 girls. Still need a female adult.

At the same time, I'm trying to get commitments and some money down now for our October trip to the UK. Looks like 3-4 boys so far. Need a second adult for this one, too.

Then, we're already planning on Sea Base in June 2014. There's plenty of time for planning the itinerary, but money has to start flowing in a serious way this fall, so Venturers interested in going have to start talking to parents now. There is room for 6-8 youth and adults on this one.

Then there's the rescheduled Congo Scouting Mission Trip to Tenke, Dem. Rep. Congo, in July 2014. I continue to schmooze people for possible commitments, for donations, etc. Here, too, some real money's got to hit the table this fall.

The stress is big-time, but it won't last for ever. Win, lose, or draw, we'll reach an end to this craziness and go back to one big trip a year (I hope), alternating years between high-priced trips and easier-priced trips. But all that said, the real stress is dealing with people who want to participate, but who can't commit. Money's a big worry, and I understand that, but we can help raise money. The real issues are school sports, social life, other ambitions. Youth today are overscheduled. They think they can do it all, and they want you to hold the gate until the last minute on the off chance they can squeeze in your trip. But it doesn't work that way. Especially for the big trips, you have to make commitments way in advance and be willing to follow through.

I try not to pressure kids. After all, the trip is for them, not for me. But here's what I know: you are passing up diamonds lying in the gutter to chase after pet rocks. Allow me to share a story from (not that) long ago.

In 2005, our Venturers were planning a 16-day, all-you-can-eat tour of Great Britain, for the ridiculous price of $1600 apiece. But when time came to reserve airline tickets (which must be reserved in your name and cannot be traded), one of our Venturers -- who really wanted to go, was faced with a dilemma. You see, she also really, really wanted to spend the summer in France as an exchange student. She'd been through a couple levels of the audition process and she was really counting on being chosen.

And what if you're not? I asked. By the time you find out Yes or No, it'll be too late to join up with us on our trip. How sure are you that you're in line for this exchange deal? Oh, but she wanted it so much. She had set her hopes on it. The time came and went to buy tickets, and she was shut out of our trip. A month later, she learned that she had failed to make the cut for the French student exchange. Now her summer's high point had become trying to get a job at McDonald's. Big whoop.

Well, these things happen. She knew the risks and accepted them. She made the best of her summer that she could.

I had dinner with her and her fiancé last week. They're getting married next month. He's graduating medical school and starting his residency. She's on track to get a PhD in Neuroscience. They are successful and happy and there are lots of things on the horizon for them. But she says she still regrets not going to the UK with us eight years ago.

Kids, you may want it all, but you can't have it all. In choosing what to include and what not to include, ask yourself this: What will you most regret not having done if you miss out on it? I can't answer that for you, but I've seen a lot of people look back and wish they'd taken the chances that they passed up in order to chase other things that weren't nearly as rewarding.

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