“We bought tickets to Hawaii two days ago. We got a great deal, Brian can take time off work, the kids are elated, our dog sitter is available. I feel like I sold my soul.”

That’s what I submitted to a 3-Sentence Confession writing contest hosted by David Miller, senior editor of Matador Network.

The back story?

I’ve wanted to backpack through Africa for twenty years. My plan was to take The Africa Trip in 2010, the year I turned 40, with my family. Our kids would be 11 and 9, a perfect age, I thought. But here’s a bit of advice that probably does not need to be said: Do not show your children documentaries or reality tv shows about Africa.

For some reason, I eat this stuff up, getting more pumped for a trip of adventurous possiblities. But when kids see people eating coagulated blood by the handful, malaria sufferers, a horrifying worm emerging from an arm, and a mud brick building full of skulls, it’s a big turn off. What was I thinking? It seems so obvious now.

I’ve tried to convince them there is so much more to Africa than what they’ve seen. It hasn’t enticed them. I’ve told them, “This year I get to choose the trip, you can choose the next one.” They’d rather stay home. Traveling with my family is what drives me, what brings me peace and contentment. I bring up Nicaragua.

“Remember, you weren’t all that excited about going to Nicaragua, but it was awesome, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah! Except for the ticks.”

Simon re-told the story of the tick infestation last week to Uncle Jason (we actually don’t often share it) and he couldn’t get through it without cracking up. It wasn’t very funny at the time but we roll with laughter about it now, and those are the memories I long to create with my family. Africa was going to be that good.

Africa is not going to happen this year. I need an memory eraser to wipe away all that shock-value footage my children viewed. What was I thinking? So I’ll compromise. This one is hard for me. Now to figure out how to make Hawaii what Africa was going to be…

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