A Gelato a Day
I was born into an extended but very close-knit family of felines. And every year, one of us adult cats is charged with taking some of the younger fur babies on vacation. It’s a chance to broaden their horizons and help them learn about the world beyond their mother’s face-licking embrace.
I remember––back when I was a tiny whisker-twitcher––being escorted on a grand adventure by Great Uncle Wilbur, who took me and seventeen of my cousins on a three-week jaunt to Egypt. I was tail-thumpingly excited to be chasing mice around the pyramids, basking on top of the Sphinx and lapping saucers of sweet karkadeh in the clamorous bazaars of Cairo.
Great Uncle Wilbur effortlessly keep us all in check, despite the perilous curiosity of some of our party (especially Pickles and his persistent attempts to befriend a very grumpy camel). At the end our adventure, we all felt a little older, wiser and more knowledgeable about the world.
Recently, it was my turn to host the holiday of three wide-eyed little scamps: Snickers, Freddie and Algernon. But how would I manage these rambunctious rascals on the road? I turned for inspiration to A Gelato a Day, an entertaining new anthology of family travel writing edited by award-winning Vancouver scribe Claudia Laroye.
Claudia has been writing brilliantly about family travel for many years and her book “highlights the good, the bad and the not-so-ugly of the family travel experience.” But although her moving “Bittersweet in Banff” story about a trip to the Rockies with her father is a highlight, it’s only one of 20 rich and evocative tales of family travel penned by a diverse array of top-notch writers.
I loved reading Diane Selkirk’s gripping story of a sometimes-scary multi-year sailboat odyssey with her family; Grant Lawrence’s humorous Costa Rica trip with his kids—scorpion and tarantula encounters included; and Robin Esrock’s highly relatable tale of vacationing with his toddlers––starting with his four-year-old having a “full thermonuclear meltdown” on the plane to Maui.
A Gelato a Day turned out to be the perfect preparation for my own family travel adventure. It showed me that I didn't need to worry too much about planning, and that going with the flow and listening to my charges en route was the ideal approach.
In the end, I took Snickers, Freddie and Algernon to Scotland and the vacation was a huge hit. We all wore little kilts for the entire trip. Freddie developed a deep love for haggis. Snickers (eventually) learned to play the bagpipes somewhat successfully. And Algernon made friends with a hulking Highland cow named Ralph who is planning to come and visit us next year.
And I enjoyed the experience so much, that I’ve already signed up for another junior hosting jaunt––although I don't think I’m quite ready to match Great Uncle Wilbur’s epic 18-kitten odyssey.
A Gelato a Day is available right now at all good bookstores as well as via the usual online booksellers. It’s the perfect gift for parents, travel fans and anyone who might be thinking about vacationing with their family in the future.