Looking at my calendar from this summer, I can’t believe how much is blocked out under “Family in Town.” On my flight down to Cayman, I already knew my mom was coming down to visit soon. Little did I know at the time my dad, sister, cousin and her husband would soon be buying tickets to Grand Cayman as well! And in a turn of events that brought tears to my eyes, four of my best girlfriends are meeting Mark and me in the Honduras. I was reading on another travel blog this morning about how stressful it can be to have family and friends visiting when you’re traveling, and while I totally understood all their points, I felt myself coming up with my own list of why its great to see familiar faces from home.

1.    You get to act like a tourist

This applies more when you’re stationed somewhere for a while then when you are constantly on the road yourself, but still, long term travelers sometimes develop “tourist fatigue” as well. I loved going to the museum and taking the Mastic Trail tour, and without my mom in town, I don’t know if I ever would have done such “touristy” things. It’s the same principle that kicked in when Mark was staying with me in New York. Sometimes it takes showing someone around your home to really appreciate it.

Georgetown Grand CaymanBeing a tourist in Georgetown

2.    It abates homesickness

Its been hard for me to miss graduations, birthdays, Father’s Days and more these past two summers, but I think of it as a warm up to when I’m really on the road and have to miss the big things. Seeing my dad last summer in Cambodia and seeing um, practically my whole family here this summer has made it nearly impossible to feel homesick.

3.    They become part of the journey

By coming and seeing a glimpse of what I’ve been doing all summer, I feel that my family, some of the most important people in my life, are more included in my journey, and can come to understand better why travel is such a priority to me. Especially last summer, when I was so adamant about backpacking around Southeast Asia by myself, it really strengthened my relationship with both my parents that they were so supportive, and especially with my Dad that he was willing to fly around the world to be a part of it.

Angkor WatTackling Angkor Wat

This summer, when I’ve come to Grand Cayman, in large part because of my relationship and also to begin feeling out a photography career, it makes me feel like everyone who has come down here supports both my relationship and my photography aspirations. It also tells me they wanted a Caribbean vacation.

4.    They come bearing gifts

Last summer, when I met my dad in Bangkok, he handed me a package that might as well have been pure gold- American tabloid magazines and new underwear (after a rat got into my bungalow and shredded all my dirty clothes- lovely). Last night while I was on the phone with my sister, I asked for, you guessed it, US weekly. And a sewing kit. You might think both those things would be available on an island as developed as this. Yes in fact they are, but as I explained to Olivia, a small 99 cent sewing kit from the states will retail for approximately $13 dollars here. Cayman dollars.

While a four hour flight to a Caribbean paradise might not be the largest investment, I appreciate every bit. And I hope as I’m pulled to further and more exotic corners of the globe, they keep coming! And that they bring the trashy tabloids.



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