Spain this Summer, or Later?

Spain this Summer, or Later?

It’s good to be back on the grid and writing again! For those of you who don’t know, I had a skiing accident in March and had to get knee surgery this past week. I tore my ACL, which requires a long and intensive rehabilitation process. It’s been a big set-back and disappointment on many levels, but I suppose in the big picture worse things could happen – so I’m trying to make the most of it by thinking of all the things I’ll have more time to do now, such as writing, reading and travel research and planning. Travel planning can take up a lot of time, so I figured in the weeks after my surgery I’d finally nail down a trip we’ve been talking about booking this summer to Spain, specifically Barcelona and San Sebastian. Problem is, I can’t quite commit!

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t it too late to book a trip to Europe? It might be. Plane ticket prices the week leading up to my surgery were not ideal, but they were doable, especially if we book our accommodations through Airbnb all the way through. Why so late in the game? My husband recently started a new job, and we had to wait and see how vacation time would work out. Yet the reality is we’ve known for at least a month now that we can plan a trip this summer. If we really wanted to make this trip to Spain happen before my surgery we could have. Or at least we could have partially nailed down some of the plans, like the plane tickets. If I’m going to be completely honest with myself, I think I’ve been using my accident as an excuse to procrastinate. Sure it’s delayed things, but I’ve come to realize that it’s not the only reason why we still have not booked this trip to Spain. The other reason is apprehension. In the wake of the Paris and Brussels attacks, I’m a little nervous. As a travel blogger I don’t like to admit this, but if I’m going to be honest, that’s how I feel.

The resounding mantra in the travel world is to keep on traveling. Don’t let the terrorists stop you from seeing and learning about this amazing planet, and besides, your chances of being in a terror attack are lower than being struck by lightning or getting into a car accident. We’ve all heard the statistics. And I understand all of it. But I have a family now, with two little girls to think of besides myself. It’s not like I’m backpacking in my 20’s or Honeymooning in my 30’s. The chances of anything happening are miniscule, but I guess my question is – is it worth it? Sure this is the world we live in now, and it’s important to educate our children by exposing them to new places and cultures – that’s why I’m a family travel blogger! – but it’s exactly because I’m a family travel blogger that’s made it hard to pull the plug. I have kids. I know my apprehension is going to upset a lot of travel writers out there, but like I keep saying, it’s how I feel. Or at least part of how I feel. The other part of me says just do it, anything could happen anywhere at anytime. We can’t live in fear. And, perhaps most importantly of all, we live right outside of New York! Are we not going to go into the city anymore? Of course not! So why would we not go to Europe?

The fact of the matter is I am torn. Part of me wants to go, and part of me thinks we should plan an old-fashioned American vacation. Something classic and beachy on the east coast, or something out west, maybe even a road trip along the California coast. I’ve been dying to show my girls Big Sur. The indecision is what has been really difficult, and I’m sure I speak for many parents out there – it’s not an easy decision to make. There’s a good chance we may still book the trip – my husband thinks we should do it – but whatever the case in the end, it’s been a struggle. I completely understand and respect both arguments, but I would be lying if I said terrorism didn’t affect the planning process. As a parent, how could it not?

I’d love to know what you think. Are the recent attacks affecting your travel plans or not?

(Note: the postcard above is from when I was in Barcelona 20 years ago…I can’t wait to take my girls there some day, whether it be this summer or some later point in time).



  1. April 6, 2016 / 3:15 am

    First wishing you a speedy recovery from your surgery – I enjoyed your ski trip articles so very sorry to hear you got injured 🙁 Secondly great article re the travel dilemma and I quite understand – in fact I have had the same apprehensions and also feel a bit guilty as I am primarily a travel blogger (though like you blog a fair bit about local attractions and activities nearer home). We had already booked our trip before the latest attacks. Most of the focus anyway is on seeing our family in the UK (parents, siblings etc but also our younger daughter now living in London) so in a sense we have no alternative but to fly over to Europe if we want to see them all! We’re also going to Lake Como (Menaggio via Milan) and then flying up to Berlin before a quick overnighter in London en route back to Perth. Like you though I have felt increasingly uneasy about events in the world and their implications for travel though of course the odds of anything happening are statistically small and it is important to go about our lives freely without fear. My elder daughter though (now a mum herself of 2 small girls aged 3 and 1) is really nervous about flying in any event and her anxiety has not been helped by recent happenings. Any tentative plans she had to go over to the UK to see her sister and extended family are on hold – she’d rather holiday closer to home and I can understand that. We all went over together a couple of years ago and it was hard work but fun!! Her husband’s maternal family come from Austria and North Italy so one day we’d like to do that all together! Good luck with all your plans whether you go later this year or sometime in the future and hope you feel much better soon! 🙂

    • April 6, 2016 / 11:11 pm

      Thanks for the well wishes Rosemary. Seems like you’re in my boat and see both sides to the argument which can make it all the more confusing. While I think you will have an amazing trip to so many great places and should go, I also understand your daughter’s anxiety. It’s not like one chooses or wants to be anxious, so I believe all reactions and opinions about current world circumstances should be respected. I’m jealous you’re going to Lake Como you will have a blast!! Have a fabulous trip and enjoy every moment of it!

      • April 8, 2016 / 5:47 am

        Thanks! Have arrived safely in London and enjoying catching up with our younger daughter again 😃 Weather typical UK though so adjusting to the cooler damper climes! Looking forward to our travels on the continent and will take lots of photos!

        • April 8, 2016 / 4:20 pm

          Yes take lots of pics, and I will be looking forward to seeing them later! Enjoy!:)

  2. April 6, 2016 / 6:44 am

    I love America but as a tourist things are scary there as well, the physical violence at political rallies and the hate talk circulating. I also fear the semi- regular shootings and i haven’t forgotten about the terrorist attacks in the US – too heartbreaking. Nowhere is safe so we have no idea what is best as parents. Spain and the Big Sur are both wonderful locations. Happy planning.

    • April 6, 2016 / 11:17 pm

      Thanks – and yes, my country is no exception, I hope that was reflected in my comment about living near NYC. And you have a good point about the shootings here too. Very sad this is the world we live in, and makes it hard to make the right choices always as parents.

      • April 7, 2016 / 8:30 am

        I think we all feel safer at home. I’m going to London in the summer and it mildly terrifies me but my mates live in London every day so I have to be realistic about it all. I also think the randomness of the Paris targets and locations just shows you can’t second guess any of this. It’s too crazy now.
        P.s. we have family in New York and we’d be over there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t a long haul flight. We will visit when the kids are slightly older, and hopefully have a ball.

    • April 7, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      Yes I hope you make it! There is so much to do with kids in NYC, but it’s also very overwhelming so I think that’s wise to come when they’re a bit older. Paris was so random I agree. Just adds to the chaos and confusion of it all.

  3. April 6, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    Take care.

    I’m definitely not letting anything get in the way of my travel plans. I’m not worried. But vacations should be fun and relaxing and ifyou’re stressed, then follow your gut.

    • April 6, 2016 / 11:18 pm

      Thanks Jay – I’m not sure what my gut is telling me which is the problem! But the clock is ticking so we’ll have to make a decision soon.

  4. April 7, 2016 / 2:43 am

    I must say, I admire your honesty, it’s so refreshing! Unfortunately circumstances from bad weather to horrific tragedy can strike any destination at any time, and it’s human nature (and the natural worry of a mother) to be wary, especially in light of the increasing threat of terrorism. Which ever decision you make, you are making it honestly. I wish you a speedy recovery and safe travels, no matter where you decide to go! On a side note, Canada is a fairly safe bet…..especially Banff….just saying 😉

    • April 7, 2016 / 4:34 pm

      Ha I was just thinking the same thing reading your post last night – it’s definitely a contender for our summer plans!! It really is so beautiful, and I keep reading more and more about Canada in general. I’ve only been to Vancouver (which was fab). Will be pouring over your posts if we decide to go:). And I so agree – anything can happen anywhere I keep reminding myself of that.

  5. April 8, 2016 / 8:51 am

    Get well soon – hope you have a very speedy recovery!! I get exactly where you’re coming from with the travel planning, even without the terrible events in Brussels I sometimes feel apprehensive and concerned before we go on a trip (complete stresshead). Both locations you are looking at sound perfect though, whichever option you go with will be wonderful…. We travelled shortly after Brussels, I was definitely apprehensive but we had a great trip and those concerns disappeared as soon as we got on the plane!

    • April 8, 2016 / 4:24 pm

      I know Joy – so much of it is the built-up in the head pre-trip. Once you’re on the move it all dissolves. Travel definitely takes you away literally and metaphorically!

  6. April 14, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    I hope your knee’s better. Well, no, I’m not afraid and I’m going on two trips soon. But you’ve got a family, and I can understand why you might feel different.

    • April 16, 2016 / 8:14 pm

      Thanks for the comment Tanja – I think it’s great you’re not afraid and have planned two trips. I hope we make it to Europe soon and show our girls what an amazing country Spain is, and the rest of the continent for that matter.

  7. April 25, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. My sister has the same after she went skiing too. It seems a common injury. As for coming to Europe – you know my stance on these matter but maybe it’s because I live in London and have to be in the capital all the time – with or without Monkey. Being a mother makes me more cautious. Of course, if an attack happened and I was due in that city the following day I would have serious reservations, but I refuse to let it stop me. We’re driving to France in a few weeks and going to Italy in July. An attack could happen right here in my own hometown… But you have to weigh up what will make you feel safe for your family. That is all that matters and is the most important. If you’re uneasy, I would stick to your gut feeling. Hope you feel better soon 😉

    • April 26, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Thanks Ting. As it turns out we’ve decided to put our trip on hold because of my leg after all. Had I not had the accident I think we would have wound up booking the trip despite my reservations. I think. My knee will probably be fine for overseas travel by then, but seeing as every day is a different day and recovery is a while, in the end I realized I really didn’t want to take the chance. It’s a bummer but hopefully next summer. I understand and respect your stance completely. I feel the same way about living in NY – but maybe that’s it – maybe the familiarity makes it easier to not worry as much. I don’t know. Your road trip to France sounds like so much fun as does Italy this summer – you know how I feel about Italy!:).

  8. May 1, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    I get your points, and I’ve also had second thoughts about some of my travel plans this summer, so I can only imagine how it would feel to also have a family to think about. I try to tell myself that the risk is so tiny that it would be a shame to miss a lot of great experiences just because of fear. Though I must admit that a road trip along the California coastline sounds very tempting too. Looking forward to hear about what you decide:)

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:35 pm

      Thanks Mitzie and I agree – it would be a shame to miss a lot of great and unique experiences because of fear and a risk that is so tiny. I’m glad I posted this because I’ve really enjoyed reading peoples’ responses.

  9. May 2, 2016 / 2:09 am

    I understand your apprehension as a mom to a toddler and a travel blogger, myself. However, I strangely feel like we are safer when we travel because we are more vigilant, and we have our guard up at all times. Whereas at home, we often have a false sense of security. We are actually flying through Brussels this summer, and I’m not really worried about it. I think police and world leaders really step up security in the months following a terrorist attacks, making air travel and tourism destinations that much safer, in my opinion.

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:42 pm

      That’s a great point, Melissa – we are ever more vigilant when traveling. It’s sort of like the old car accident story and how people often get into accidents close to home because they feel safe and aren’t really paying attention. And I agree – security is ever more heightened in places like Brussels and Paris now. So much of it is psychological. As I said in another comment above, I’m glad I posted this to see everyones’ responses and thoughts on the issue.

  10. May 7, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    I completely understand! We just returned to the USA from Paris and I was nervous ahead of time about going AND bringing our two small girls. We booked the trip far in advance of the attacks so we had no way of knowing. While there, we never felt unsafe or questioned why we did it. In fact, we are hoping to be heading back this summer because we had such a lovely stay.
    Best of luck in your recovery and with this big decision!

    • May 8, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      Thanks so much! My girls are just dying to go to Paris! That’s so great you didn’t feel uneasy and may be heading back again this summer. It’s probably safer than it ever has been with heightened security, as someone made the comment above. Thanks for following me, I will do the same!

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