The week after returning from vacation a number of things usually happen. You have to catch up on all of the sleep you missed; you have to get back into the routine of your normal life, and (at least in my case) you have to enter a state of depression due to getting back into the aforementioned routine in life.
Another thing that usually happens in that first week back from vacation is you begin to mentally catalog your vacation memories. Having done a great deal of this I have come to the conclusion that we were brave to go on vacation in the first place, not because of the current state of the world, but because we chose to go on vacation as a family.
My parents, two of my sisters and their families, one of my brothers and his family, my children and myself all went to North Carolina for a family reunion. And while we were there we all stayed in the same house together. Seventeen of us in the same house. The remarkable thing about that is that not only was there never a need for law enforcement, but we returned home still caring about each other.
Some of it could have to do with the fact that the house we stayed in was less a house and more a mansion. We had the chance to stay on a beach house in Nags Head, a small town on the coast of North Carolina. We were fortunate because this beach house was big enough that you could fit my house in the laundry room and still leave plenty of space for a washer and dryer. So, if we did get on each others nerves, we could still find some personal space without having to leave the house.
During a week of being together I think we all learned some valuable lessons about traveling as a large group. Some of those lessons include: A) You have to be patient; B) you have to be organized; C) No matter how patient and organized you may be, you're still going to get lost.
The second day we climbed into our rental vans and decided to do a little sight seeing. Not wanting to become lost and because the men were doing the driving (excluding even the possibility of asking for directions) we carried two-way radios in our rental vans so we could keep in constant communication. Having these radios proved invaluable on the occasions when we lost eye contact with the other van.
"Van One, this is Van Two, we're lost. Where are you?"
"This is Van One, we're lost as well, over."
"Van One, this is Van Two, describe your surroundings."
"This is Van One. We're on a narrow road with trees on either side of us and there's a bunch of people looking at us like we're stupid tourists, over."
"Affirmative Van One. We're seeing the same thing so we should be right behind you."
But aside from getting lost virtually every time one of us got behind the wheel, we generally had a good time. Not to say we had a great time, because in order to have a great time I think we would have needed multiple vehicles, all heading in opposite directions. That's because we were a group composed of adults, children, men and women, which means that no matter what you are doing, there's going to be somebody unhappy.
Which is fine. Because through it all we went as a family, we got lost as a family, and we came home as a family...all without police intervention of any kind.