15 Back-To-School Confessions From a Dad Who Took His Son Traveling All Summer

Family Travel
by Rory Moulton Sep 1, 2015

1. My son’s summer reading list doesn’t look like the other kids’.

Guiding us through the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Photo: Rory Moulton

Yes, indeed, that is Lonely Planet and Rick Steves on my son’s summer reading list.

What’s not included: innumerable museum plaques and informational pamphlets, a dozen different metro and city maps, countless bus, train and subway schedules, menus in eight different languages, a week’s worth of London’s free commuter rag Metro and a whole plethora of other worldview-developing and vocabulary-building texts that were not on the recommended summer reading list.


Catching up on the gruesome and the gossip while riding the Tube, London. Photo: Rory Moulton

2. We neglected to do those summer study materials.


Learning firsthand how a sundial works in Evora, Portugal. Photo: Rory Moulton

But we got hands-on — medieval sundials, Renaissance-era astrolabes, WWII uniforms, scientific experiments, Roman ruins…

3. He might tell stories about a chihuahua on a train.


Welcome to Lisbon. Photo: Rory Moulton

Don’t believe a word he says.

4. In retrospect, he drank a bit too much Fanta.

Live every day like it’s your last; know what I’m saying?

5. We didn’t take many family bike rides.

But we made do.

6. Bedtime kinda got thrown out the window.


Catching a late-night comedy performance in Granada’s Plaza Nueva. Photo: Rory Moulton

He’s still adjusting to this early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine.

7. We ignored the whole food-pyramid thing.









8. I allowed my son several — gasp! — sips of beer and wine.


“No, thanks dad.” Dinner in the Albayzin, Granada, Spain. Photo: Rory Moulton

He still thinks beer and wine are gross. (Except for Italian Fragolino; he’d like some more of that please.)

9. The poor guy was subjected to frequent nudity.


Shelling on Ilha Deserta on the Algarve, Portugal. Photo: Rory Moulton

He still managed to have fun at the beach.

10. We spent an inordinate amount of time around dead people.

Cemeteries, sarcophagi, tombs, crypts and, the granddaddy of them all, Paris’ Catacombs.

11. Sometimes we did absolutely nothing.


Well-deserved downtime on the Place des Vosges in Paris. Photo: Rory Moulton

12. We ate out too much.


Picnic on the Seine at the Pont Neuf, Paris. Photo: Rory Moulton


13. We ditched mom one time.

Boys day at the Imperial War Museum in London! But where’s mom? Catching up with an old friend at the Tate Modern.

14. We didn’t go to all the big art museums.


Photos: Rory Moulton

Luckily, art was everywhere.

15. You might catch him staring out the window this year.

“So where are we going next summer, dad?” He’s a traveler now.

This article originally appeared on RoryMoulton.com and is republished here with permission. Interested in backpacking Europe with your family? Get a head start with my guidebook, Paris with Kids. Coming this fall: Southern Spain with Kids, London with Kids and Washington, DC with Kids.

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