What I’ve Learned About Family Vacations

Contributed by: Jeff Dobyns, CFP®

mammoth cave - vaca


I packed up Gracyn and Hunter for a weekend of adventure. Destination: Mammoth Cave National Park. For those of you who haven’t been there, it is the longest known cave system in the world and it’s right here in south central Kentucky’s cave country. We met up with two of my college friends who work with Edward Jones and their families. Our idea was to take a break with old friends and spend some time hiking and enjoying the beautiful weather. The kids had such a great time swimming at the hotel pool, hiking in the caves, and horseback riding.

When we got home on Sunday night, as we were lying in bed saying prayers, I asked the kids, “What was your favorite part of the weekend trip?” I was waiting for something like “the caves,” or “the hikes,” or a chorus of  “THE HORSES!” You know what they said? They liked making waffles at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast buffet. That was the highlight of our weekend adventure!?!

I was re-telling this story to a good friend who has run a wildly successful, privately held company. To my surprise, he had a similar story. One year all of his children’s friends were going to Cancun, Cabo, and other exotic places for their Spring Break. His family was staying much closer to home – visiting various state parks and campgrounds in Kentucky. Years later, the whole family agreed that that Spring Break was one of their best trips together.

From waffles to camping, it got me wondering about what we “think” is important and what really is. When you come in for meetings, I’m often talking to you about your goals in life – both now and decades down the road. When you’re imagining your future, think about those waffles. Maybe there’s a little life lesson in my trip to Mammoth Cave.

Any opinions are those of Jeff Dobyns and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

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