TGIF: Travel Adventures (and Happy Holidays)

A few years ago I took a trip with my eldest son to Washington D.C. I had hoped for a 1:1 trip with him as soon as he was old enough to really enjoy the experience, so when he hit Kindergarten, we pulled the trigger.

It was one of the greatest trips of my life.

There was something very special about a trip for the two of us as he was just starting to understand the world and was fueled by an endless curiosity. For him, having dad’s full attention on a new adventure was pretty cool. For me, being with him without the rest of the family shone a spotlight on his personality and uniqueness, and the trip was a great father-son bonding experience.

When folks have heard about our trip, they typically have a question (“It was just the two of you?”) and a comment (“Huh! That sounds really cool. I’d like to do that too someday”). But I don’t know any who have actually done it (‘cept the missus, ‘cause she’s pretty wise). And I’m here to tell you: 1) traveling 1:1 with your kid can be one of the greatest experiences for you both; and 2) the clock is ticking.

I’ve continued to travel with just my eldest son (we’ve made it an almost annual tradition), and each trip has been wonderful in its own way. But that first trip was the most special, because it was the first time we had a truly memorable experience with just the two of us. A parent having an adventure with a wide-eyed, excited Kindergartener is a pretty awesome thing.

If you have ever considered doing something like this, please do so. D.C. may be a tall order (free flights and hotel certainly dulled the bite for me), but here’s an added hint: the destination doesn’t really matter. The time 1:1 with your kid is most important, and as long as you do anything new and adventurous, it will become one of your most cherished memories.

My son and I both look back fondly on this trip, and I feel very thankful and lucky for this experience when he was still young. There’s a twinge of sadness that a window has closed, as I will never again have the chance to take my eldest as a Kindergartener on such an adventure.

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I’m at least wise enough to heed my own counsel. Any guess on where I’m headed this weekend with my youngest, now a Kindergartener himself? 🙂


Are we finally going to see a major, global market impact from higher U.S. rates? The WSJ thinks perhaps so. (Remember you may need to copy the article title and then paste in google to read it for free).

But what does that mean for the actual stock market, and my investment tactics, and my money? The WSJ isn’t saying, and I feel pretty uncertain. The good news is that Cameron from DQYDJ thinks being less certain is exactly what I should be doing, so I’m going to avoid major punts and just stick to my plan. Scott Burns from AssetBuilder would tend to agree.

One of my most important investments with (hopefully) huge future returns is my kids’ education. So it’s concerning to see the Economist’s learnings from the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results (spoiler alert: the U.S. didn’t fare so well). Someday we’ll catch you Estonia! If you’re feeling pretty clever, you can take a crack at the PISA questions yourself.

Singapore absolutely dominated the tables, and it’s worth remembering that Singapore was a complete disaster 70 years ago. The foundation of its economic miracle was investing in its human capital assets, and this is one of those cases where what works for a country will also work for an individual.

Right now we’re on a good track, as my eldest is doing well in school and wants to be an engineer (and my youngest just wants to do whatever big brother does). As I think about what kinds of jobs will exist when they’re grown, I was reminded by the Atlantic that I don’t even fully grasp all of the jobs that exist today. If you’ve got a little time, check their article out – some of the jobs they interview are pretty fascinating.

In the spirit of the season, I’ll finish with a link of the weirdest Christmas traditions ‘round the world. I really like the idea of Krampus – sometimes you need a little stick to go with the Santa carrot. And I’ll hand it to the Germans for an awesome tradition of hiding a pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve – whoever finds it first gets a little prize. Though knowing Germans, I’ll bet the prize is just the pickle itself.

I hope everyone is headed for a great holiday season. I’ve got grand plans to touch base again before Christmas, but I’ll go ahead and wish you safe travels, Happy Holidays, and (if you roll this way) a very Merry Christmas.


Happy Friday everyone!


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