Historically speaking, I don’t ‘roll with it’ well.
I’m a sulker who harbors regret and runs what-if scenarios long after the disappointing deed is done. Yosemite and The Missed Golden Light of Dusk kinda sounds like a trippy episode of Scooby-Doo but is actually a miserable scene from a past Bogle family vacation. That disappointing California National Park day at the end of an East-West cross country road trip stands out as peak asshole in my timeline of traveling with kids.
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The truth of the matter is that sometimes you are in a place just once, for a single night or a lone afternoon, and sometimes that means facing disappointment when the weather is crap, the traffic worse, the kids miserable, or, in the case of the Flåm Railway tour in Norway last month, the entire experience overpriced and underwhelming.
The Flåm Railway sucks. There’s no dressing it up.
At least half of the 35 minute journey is spent in tunnels or approaching tunnels or coming out of tunnels, and the views when not in a tunnel aren’t anything you can’t see from just about ANY road in western Norway. The entire country is a gorgeous fjord and a winding mountain road and absolutely spectacular. There is no need at all to plop down $200 for your family to ride this god damn tunnel-infested railway.
We know this now. We didn’t know this then. So we’re $200 lighter and I was sullen for too long for my family’s liking during an otherwise bright, sunny Norwegian day. I mean, we were in Norway together for goodness sake! Get over it, Jeff!
Thanks to a pair of hilarious kids, I switched from sad to silly as the train went into and out of its 4 millionth tunnel. The girls and I set up shop in an empty train car and made our own silver lining by conducting a goofy photoshoot, creating an absurdly sarcastic fake interview show about the train journey, and cracked wise with remarks like, ‘Oh look! Here comes a tunnel! Yaaaay!! We haven’t seen a tunnel in at least 7 seconds!!’ during the return leg of this suddenly enjoyable train ride.
The lame Flåm Railway experience was made better by my daughters who are much more nimble in dancing around disappointment than I am.
To be honest, everything in my life, whether in Norway, in Spain, in California and at home in Pennsylvania, is made better by those two girls. They force me to find the joy in everything and to see the light at the end of every tunnel, even when all I can see is missed sunlight, lost money, and a really, really disappointing train ride.