Hudson Valley Parent

HVP June 2016

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Page 8 of 47 n Hudson Valley Parent 9 "Once they start to become teen- agers, it becomes more difficult," she says. "They start having their own opinions. They lose interest. I remember going to Paris with my own parents when I was 13 and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty!" Gilmer also recommends involv- ing kids in the process of planning vacations. It helped make her fami- ly's own recent trip to France much easier than the one she took when she was Brennan's age. "It was actually his idea to go to France because he's very interest- ed in World War II and he wanted to see Normandy," she says. "It's such a solemn destination, you get teary-eyed being there. He might have been a little bit too young to fully understand the depth of what it meant to be there. But he thought the experience was very cool. It's something he'll never forget." Routine Change There's another reason why Gilm- er thinks her son enjoys travel so much: Brennan has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. As a result, he normally struggles with routines and following directions. But when the family is travelling, there is no routine. "He's very easy to travel with because I don't need to constantly make sure that there's something for I am a Hudson Valley Parent Nancy Gilmer: Tales of a travelin' mom By BRIAN PJ CRONIN N ancy Gilmer of New Windsor first brought her son, Bren- nan, overseas when he was just a year old. For many new par- ents, the idea of taking such a long trip with such a young child would induce panic attacks. Not for Gilmer. "Actually, that was the easiest trip we ever took," she recalls. "We just plopped him in the stroller and zipped him around Germany. He didn't have much to say." Then again, travel comes easy for Gilmer and her family. She founded World Wide Travel in Cornwall with her mother back in 1989. Since then, she's seen the travel industry under- go massive shifts as online booking sites have emerged. But some are starting to rediscover travel agents, which is a good thing. Gilmer's expertise doesn't just come from 27 years of booking other people's vacations, but from the extensive amount of traveling she's done with her own family. She estimates that Brennan, who is now 13, has probably been to Europe 10 times. Younger is better Gilmer hears from parents all the time who prefer to wait until their own children are older before travel- ing, so that they can fully appreciate the journey. She's found that the opposite is true. Brennan still vividly remembers a trip to Italy the family took when he turned 4, and she's found that kids who travel early learn how to be bet- ter travelers when they're older. him to do," she says. "There usually isn't much effort that's required, and things that require effort usually ex- haust him mentally. But when we're travelling he's carefree, creative, and in his own little world." Becoming independent Although hers is a line of work where a cruise around the Caribbean is actually research, Gilmer said that the main advantage of being a travel agent is its flexible schedule. Her husband, also named Bren- nan, is a carpenter. Both of them setting their own hours has allowed them to be present for their son when he's coping with the various challenges that come from growing up with ADD. "There're challenges in terms of keeping him focused, and making sure he's not so down on himself because he constantly thinks he's forgetting things," she says. It's also allowed them to see him become his own person and witness his transition from a child into a mature young man. "Kids are a reflection of how you raise them," Gilmer says. "Yesterday I asked him to go down the road and clean up some garbage that some teenagers had tossed out of their car, and he did! He...knew it was the right thing to do." With their neighborhood newly clean again, the Gilmers are looking forward to planning their next trip. "Well, we'd all really like to see Australia," she says. "But I don't know. That's a long flight!" Brian PJ Cronin is a freelance writer. His work appears throughout the Hudson Valley. "Kids are a ref lection of how you raise them." NANC Y GILMER

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