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5 Reasons Traveling With Your Kids May Keep Them Off Drugs: Ireland Photos

We travel all over with our kids. That’s where all and any extra cash goes (well, there’s also my problematic dress addiction).

We’ve taken them to Hawaii, Seattle, Toronto, The Grand Canyon, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Phoenix, El Capitan, Cachuma Lake, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Salt Lake City, London, Ireland and Africa. We are very smug about this and think we’re bitchin’, which really annoys people.

But travel is a family value and as long as we can get the scratch to go with our kids we’ll do it. Even if we have to bribe them by possibly bringing their friends along. (We won’t be bringing their boyfriends along because they won’t have boyfriends until they’re 30 and I need grandkids).

So here are the 5 reasons I’m convinced that traveling with your kids may keep them off drugs:

1. You’re spending time with them, which will make them feel valued. Kids who feel valued by their parents aren’t as susceptible to peer pressure or the escape drugs can provide.

2. You’re showing them that the world is so much larger than their little school enclave. That whatever labels have been affixed to them amongst their peers, both negative and positive, won’t stick when they grow up and move on. The whole wide world welcomes your reinvention at any age.

3. You’re teaching them tolerance by exposing them to new cultures and ways of living. Learning Tolerance goes a long way toward maturation, whereas I believe drug use effectively stops a person’s maturity clock when the drug use begins.

4. You’re exposing your children to new, exciting stimuli that could inform their life’s path. It’s very difficult to indulge in debilitating drug use when you want to do so many things: learn a new language, work for the Peace Corps, learn to cook new dishes, study art and the list goes on. My mom took my sister and me to Paris when I was sixteen and I developed a passion for French naval officers. I was drunk by the sight of them.

Finally we have  …

5. You can take them to visit a Turkish prison, then threaten to send them there like Brad Davis in 1978’s Midnight Express if you catch them with so much as flammable hemp clothing.

Just remind them that most prisoners aren't as gorgeous as Brad.  Sigh.

Just remind them that most prisoners aren’t as gorgeous as Brad was. Sigh.

Here are a few photos from our 2009 trip to Ireland. One of the best trips we’ve taken with our girls, despite torrential rains in August, and one I hope they’ll remember as fondly as I do.

Road to Ardtarmon2

The path leading to the Ardtarmon Manor home in County Sligo. It felt like we were driving straight into Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “Secret Garden.”

Girls and Nonna Ard

My mom and the girls in front of the manor house. It was quite old and dilapidated and the mosquitos made a feast of us, but we loved every soggy, rainy minute of it.

Ardtarmon 1

The path down to the beach from Ardtarmon.  When on it you just automatically start humming “Danny Boy.”


My sweet Irish rose, Clare.


Bridget’s “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” That kid slays me.

Grandpa's house

Our daughters standing in front of the house their great-grandfather grew up in. The house is historically preserved in County Donegal.


We went to a fantastic birds-of-prey show in the countryside.  At one point I had a bald eagle on my head.  My hair’s excellent for nesting and hatching.

Bridget Guinea Pig

Bridget on one of the local farms. I have to hide this photo from her because she’s currently on a guinea pig quest.

Clare hat

Clare on a boat trip across one of the many lochs in Ireland.

Clare and her daddy

Henry with Clare. He looks like a local.

Bridget and Donkey

Bridget makes a new friend.

Bridget cousin

Bridget with her wee cousin just before they had an awful row. Apparently Irish blood boils quickly.


What can I say about this photo? Hmm. We aren’t in the Third Reich, those helmets are for horse riding.

But if you’re concerned you have real issues with addiction in your home, these are the signs and symptoms.

This is a blog hop. Click on links below to read all the ladies’ fabulous journeys.


Write a comment
  1. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon 15 July, 2013, 13:45

    Travel is what makes us. Loved the pictures.

    Reply this comment
  2. Connie McLeod
    Connie McLeod 15 July, 2013, 13:50

    Stunning photos! I can think of no better way to parent than showing your children the world!

    Reply this comment
  3. Carpool Goddess
    Carpool Goddess 15 July, 2013, 16:32

    Great list! We’ve traveled with our kids since they were babies and taken them all over the world. No drugs here 🙂

    Reply this comment
  4. Nancy Hill
    Nancy Hill 15 July, 2013, 16:45

    See the USA in your Chevrolet… Yes, we did the family driving vacation a few times, and we flew too, plenty of times, but my favorite memories are my daughter thinking Crazy Horse was way cooler than Rushmore, getting into the very high thousands playing COWS. Singing off key as a family at the top of our lungs and laughing at the poor clueless folks looking so bored in the cars whizzing past trying to get “somewhere.” Now I travel to visit my daughter and we can’t wait to be together again and take day trips into the country. “MY Cows, one two three…”

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 15 July, 2013, 18:55

      Nancy I hope I have the same relationship with my girls as we all get older. xo

      Reply this comment
  5. Caryn/The Mid Life Guru
    Caryn/The Mid Life Guru 15 July, 2013, 21:42

    Wow- you are much better parents than we were. It wasn’t because we didn’t value your 5 tips because we did. That is why we planned a family vacation once or twice every summer. But they were family appropriate vacations: Disney World; Park City,taking our boat to Lake Powell. We saved the fancy stuff for couple time.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 15 July, 2013, 22:07

      The funny thing is Caryn I feel like we should’ve taken the girls to Lake Powell to learn how to waterski (bc that’s what I did when I was a kid). I don’t think kids need to go to fancy places, I think it’s great to just go somewhere together. One of my favorite trips was our road trip up PCH to San Francisco. Lots of time in the mini-van on our butts, but it gave us a chance to get reacquainted. I bet your kids have fond memories of all of your trips.

      Reply this comment
  6. Helene Cohen Bludman
    Helene Cohen Bludman 16 July, 2013, 09:11

    What, you never brought them to Philadelphia?? If that ever happens to be your destination, I will volunteer to play tourist guide. 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 July, 2013, 12:28

      Hi Helene — now that you mention it we HAVE taken them to Philadelphia — our favorite trip was to the Benjamin Franklin museum (well, there was also Hershey Park). We didn’t get very much time there though. Perhaps another trip is due. Be careful what you offer!

      Reply this comment
  7. Ginger Kay
    Ginger Kay 16 July, 2013, 15:48

    What fun! I hope your girls (and mine) embrace the drug free and no-dating lifestyle.

    Reply this comment
  8. Karen D. Austin
    Karen D. Austin 17 July, 2013, 07:35

    What lovely children. They look a bit like mystical creatures (elves? hobbits? leprechauns?). I keep seeing evidence that Ireland is gorgeous. Thanks for giving me the chance to travel there from my desk chair!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 July, 2013, 12:29

      I do think my children are a bit impish. They certainly looked right at home in Ireland.

      Reply this comment
  9. Patricia
    Patricia 17 July, 2013, 17:39

    Loved the humor. You hit the nail on the head about traveling with kids. Bribe them, indeed. That’s funny and so true. Your girls are beautiful . . . beautiful blue eyes and glowing.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 July, 2013, 09:47

      Thanks Patricia. I’m annoyingly in love with them. But they’re not teenagers yet. Check back in a year.

      Reply this comment
  10. AlexandraFunFit
    AlexandraFunFit 17 July, 2013, 23:09

    When we were kids, our parents let us each bring one friend along on family camping trips. We loved that. Of course, there were 5 kids, so we sometimes had 10 kids on these adventures. My parents were obviously crazy. And I think I stayed in that same soggy house in your pic!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 July, 2013, 09:48

      You officially won the Best Parents Ever award. Any parents who would haul 10 KIDS around on vacation are saints. And it sounds like they gave you incredibly fond memories.

      Reply this comment
  11. Beverly Diehl
    Beverly Diehl 18 July, 2013, 10:43

    So no drugs for the kiddos, but what about the PARENTS? A little Xanax, a little Zoloft, make the flight delays a little more tolerable, hmm?

    Just kidding. The kids look like they are engaged and having fun, and those are gorgeous Ireland pictures. How wonderful that you have family as well as a cultural heritage there.

    Reply this comment

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