4 Reasons To Learn To Love Those Terrible Family Vacation Moments
My two sisters, our parents and I had been driving around the moody Norwegian landscape for two weeks before we made it to the National Museum in Oslo.
We're a close family (hence why we're still going on vacation together as grown-ass adults), but I don't think you can stuff any group into a car for two weeks and expect them to still be rosy.
So as we stood in front of "The Scream" in the Edvard Munch room at the museum, we started arguing with each other over basically nothing and one by one stormed out in a huff. Mind you, we were in a museum, so all of this fighting and stomping was done in whispers.
This was the lowest collective point of any of our vacations. But it's also the story we tell the most, cracking each other up while recounting how ridiculously furious we were.
As much as we like to think vacations are a totally carefree time, more often than not they're peppered with these crazy moments of mishaps, stress and some amount of misery. Whether it's due to language barriers, cuisine issues or transportation problems, something is inevitably going to go wrong.
And when you're traveling as a group or with a partner, it's easy to get mad at each other with all of these factors on top of the typical stress of spending a lot of time with someone.
But rather than try to pretend like those bad moments with friends and family on trips don't exist, I've found it's best to really embrace and laugh them off, no matter how frustrated you are in the moment.
Laughter improves your memory.
It's well documented in research that laughter is, truly, the best medicine. Not only does it improve your mood, but it also makes your body function a little better. When you take the time to laugh at your mistakes and stress, you're helping your body and your mind.
Laughter actually improves your memory, studies have found, so you're less likely to forget all those fabulous vacations you went on as times goes on.
The next time you find yourself pissed at your friend for ordering something gross for dinner because it turns out he or she doesn't speak French quite as well as he or she claimed, just laugh it off.
Your bad moments are what make vacations real and can improve your next trip.
Without these stressful incidents, vacations are like a dream. But, honestly, how memorable are dreams? Vacations are still a part of life, and fantasies are quickly forgotten. It's easy to look at a beautiful picture from a trip and think, "That can't possibly have been real."
But then you remember twisting your ankle and limping up the rest of the hill to eventually get that picture and it's like, "Oh no, yeah, I was totally there."
Not to mention, it'll help you out on the next vacation. You'll think to pack more appropriately or figure out which foreign phrases you definitely need to know how to say.
It's not good to hold a grudge.
If my family and I had stayed mad at each other from that stupid fight in the museum, not only would it have ruined the rest of the vacation, but it would've really messed up our dynamic as a loving group.
And it also would've messed up our minds. Holding a grudge, according to research, is really bad for you. It can make you feel lonely, isolated and angry for long periods of time, as it increases your cortisol and lowers your oxytocin.
It's bad for your health to not forgive your travel partners -- even if they made you miss a flight or take the shot that put you over the edge at that club in Ibiza. You waste time you could be enjoying yourself by being grumpy. It helps no one to stay mad.
Just remember you got through those experiences together.
After my family and I stormed out of the Munch room in Oslo, we all independently came to the realization we were wandering around a museum in a foreign land where we didn't speak the language and had no cell service or WiFi or way to get back to the hotel without each other.
So within half an hour of blowing up, we found each other in the museum, and silently -- if reluctantly -- forgave each other and regrouped.
Practically speaking, you wouldn't have gotten to where you are without your travel partners, and chances are you'll all have a better shot of getting back safely if you stick together.
At the end of the day, you go on vacation with other people to spend more time together and to experience something new with people you love. When you're at the lowest low of the trip, just remember why you went there in the first place.