As I write this, my daughter is spring-breaking in Riviera Maya, Mexico, with her best pal. The two of them have been thick as thieves since grade school, and have gone on a spring break trip together…usually to Mexico….for the last six or seven years. Next week my son heads to Vegas - his favorite break spot - with his pals.
They’re both in their mid-twenties, but still in that no-man’s-land between the lifestyle of a college student, and that of a young professional. This year, though, the trip to Mexico is a bit more troublesome than before, particularly since the gals are headed to an area just south of Cancun, which has had more than its share of drug-war-related trouble lately.
Mom gave the mandatory parental caution lecture before they left, and I weighed in with the “don’t leave the resort alone, don’t take a cab alone, don’t do a lot of drinking when you’re not actually at the resort” rant. Since my wife and I were both news professionals when the kids were growing up, they picked up the habit of staying in touch with what’s going on in the world.
I can’t help but wonder what my parents worried about when I went on spring break trips to Florida back in my college days in the 60’s, but I know they didn’t worry about drug overlords having a shootout, or kidnapping me. You could make the trip from Wisconsin to Florida in 24 hours, if you changed drivers often enough, kept an eye out for the cops, and made sure your stops combined fuel, food, and bodily functions.
I seem to recall the preferred route was US 51 south, all the way down to Cairo (which we learned was pronounced “KAY-ro”) Illinois before swinging southeast toward the Sunshine State. The Interstate Highway System back then was more bits-and-pieces than continuous four-lane concrete. By the time you got out of Illinois, you could run with the windows down.
Ft. Lauderdale was the place my college pals and I always went. Best beaches, best girls, best everything. I believe we crammed 8 people into one motel room. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of any motel we stayed at, or any bar we hung out at, during spring break. I do remember some of the young ladies, though.
I hope, like my parents probably did, that my kids get where they’re going safely, have fun while they’re there, and that they get home safely. More than that I probably don’t want to know.