I did it, yall. I went on vacation with 40 relatives, yes 4-0, and I survived!!!
Again…FORTY! lol. FORTY PEOPLE!
I’m an introvert, I love being quiet, I can spend large periods of time completely by myself not making a sound and not having any human contact whatsoever. So, this is key for introverts…we DO NOT thrive in large groups. The more, the merrier is NOT our motto.
When my mom said let’s do a family cruise, my first reaction was “oh dear God NO!!” I know, I know…it’s a horrible reaction, but listen to me…relaxation and large groups don’t always go hand in hand, and I know my limitations when it comes to this type of thing. I know I’m not alone on this. But my my thoughts were… what if there’s drama? What if they make me get up early every day? What if they make me do a bunch of stuff I don’t want to do? How are we going to coordinate a ton of people to do activities?? And then the vision of herding cats popped into my head.
With that said, I cannot tell you what made me agree to go on a cruise with a massive group of people, even if they were my blood (or the spouse/friend/companion of blood). But I did it. And I roped my boyfriend and bestie into going as well. You’d think having them there would be a relief, but this oddly just added to my cruise prep stress. What if someone in my family says something to one of them, and I spend the entire trip playing defense and running interference? What if Cousin So-and-So asks me to go to the pool, but my boyfriend wants me to go play shuffle board? What if my auntie gets too intrusive with my bestie, grilling her about her most intimate life choices? Will the group expect all 40 of us to do every single thing together? Will I be able to escape the group, boyfriend, and bestie to do my necessary introvert recharging? I didn’t know what to expect and the whole thing just made me nervous.
So cruise day approached, we met the group at the port, and the 5-day trip to Bermuda commenced. Hugs, introductions, and lots of reacquainting happened. We laughed, ate, danced, swam and soaked in the sun. And after five days together, I’m happy to report that the trip was not worth the stressing at all!
Let me tell you what you can do to make your family trip a success this summer:
- Start off with a good mood. Begin your vacation with the intentions of having a good time, not with the intention that all things will work out perfectly. Make the decision that your vacation will be relaxing, fun, therapeutic, revitalizing, or whatever you want it to be. Then make it so.
- Leave old family fights in the past. Or at least make the conscious decision to not bring them on vacation. Nothing will kill a good time faster than bringing up that argument about who took Grandma’s precious cloth napkins in 1963. Vacations are precious, time away from work can be hard, and trips can be expensive. Don’t waste precious time and money on drama that’s no longer important.
- Prepare yourself mentally and physically for all possible scenarios. This includes packing items for a contingency, and preparing your mind for the possibility that every day may not be perfect. If it may possibly rain, have a book on hand for the days you can’t go to the beach. Pack an umbrella or slicker, and have what you need on hand to be outdoors in potentially inclement weather. Don’t let a bad weather day stop you from enjoying your trip. The more you’re able to go with the flow, the less negative impact an unexpected occurrence will have on your vacation. We had a couple of rain showers…so those were good times for souvenir shopping or the indoor pool. For the day that the ship had a wind advisory cutting off our sunbathing, we opted for the casino and hot tub. Be ok with changing plans. Or better yet, don’t make plans and just go with the flow.
- Limit the number of activities that are done as a group. My mother was the group’s organizer, and she made it a point to say she wasn’t coordinating many things. She wanted people to feel free to do what they wanted, as too much planning makes people feel like they’re at boot camp, not on vacation. As a group, we took two group pictures, and ate dinner each night. My mother invited everyone to do certain activities each day if they wanted to join her, but nobody had any obligation to join her at all.
- Book your room away from the group’s room block. Now…this may or may not be necessary or even possible. For me, I figured it may be a good idea. For those moments when I wanted to absolutely get away, I could escape to my room on a different floor, in a different part of the ship.
While I was terrified initially, and I feared all things that could go wrong in a large group, my trip turned out to be a wonderful time, and I’m so glad I decided to go! If you have any tips, please feel free to comment!