An Authentic Vacation

By Lloyd Graff

I just read a nice article in the March Atlantic Monthly by Kayt Sukel, a solo mother (Dad’s in Iraq) who took her three-year-old son Chet, to Petra, Jordan, for a vacation. Her point in the article was that an adventurous vacation, even for a young woman and son in an Arab country is worth the risk.

It brought back memories for me of taking my family to Petra in 1999. Nine people squashed into a minivan, crossing into Israel’s’ West Bank at the Allenby Bridge in Jerusalem, meeting our Palestinian driver and Jordanian guide Osama (we called him Sam), and racing down to the fabulous ruins of Petra we had seen in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade.

We got to Petra grimy and exhausted, registered at the hotel and had a Turkish bath that included a quick, rough massage. This was pre-Intifada so we felt pretty safe in an Arab land as Americans. It was wonderfully exotic but a little spooky too.

I have always hated the Disney theme park approach to travel with children. Go to a National Park or a foreign country on a deal, instead of the sanitized travel experience of Disney. I know millions of people love the Disney experience, but I think the woman who dragged her kid to Petra was right on. Go for the real thing not the light.

Kayt Sukel and son Chet in Jordan

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2 thoughts on “An Authentic Vacation

  1. Linda

    I couldn’t agree more! Go for the real thing – the world is really a fascinating place – full of adventure, fun and wonder. It is good to expand your comfort zone and go where it is a little bit spooky. If you want interested and interesting kids, drag them somewhere different. Sorry, but Epcot just isn’t the same experience.

  2. Oscar at Mikron Corp.

    Lloyd, I share your comment about true vacations at 100%. Disney has brough some great material and values to american culture but when it comes to expanding ones horizon and fostering cultural richness and sensitivity in youngsters, nothing beats the real thing. This includes the rough rides through magnificient scenery, two star hotels, the dust and the sweat.


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