Traveling Gay Dads: First Family Trip With My Partner (Montana Bound!)

A healthy fear of bears;)
A healthy fear of bears;)

By Paul J. Heney

Our first gay family adventure—should I be nervous?

In a few days, I’ll be taking what I am deeming my first gay family trip. I’ve traveled extensively with my two sons—and I’ve traveled extensively with my partner—but the four of us have never taken a trip together. Lance and the boys get along quite well, and this trip seemed like a natural. Until I pointed out to Lance recently that he’d never been around the boys 24 hours a day for a whole week. That got him thinking a little. And me as well, I suppose. Will we get along in the car? Will everyone want to do the same activities? Who sits next to whom on the plane? Will the lack of internet connectivity and television where we’re going drive someone (me!) insane?

This will be a family trip, and not to one that is venturing to what I’d consider the most gay-friendly corners of America … but I’m hoping that the people will be friendly and welcoming. We’re flying in to Helena, Montana, spending a few nights in Glacier National Park (one of my favorite places in the world) and then venturing westward to Kalispell, Whitefish, Missoula, the panhandle of Idaho and finally Spokane, Washington, where we’ll fly home a week after we start.

So I’m busy planning this week, packing things for temperatures that will range from a high of 90 to a low of 29 in the mountains. I’m checking out the ranger schedules, reading up on what trails aren’t too difficult, and tweaking which hotels we’re staying at. Plus today was a big trip to the store to buy a few surprises for the plane — hot wheels, Yu-Gi-Oh! cards (don’t ask), candy, etc. I bought a boatload of the boys’ favorite protein bars, too. When you have picky eaters, you can’t simply plan on buying whatever energy bars the local general store has.

Today’s stress has been about the sudden realization that my older son, Josh—who drinks nothing but 1% milk, normally a great thing — will have to actually drink water out on our hikes. I hate to see the look on his face when he realizes that.

I’m usually not quite so anxious about a trip, but I’ll be fine. A little nervous energy is okay — and better as a parent to be prepared for most situations. I’ll be blogging about our adventures here at MAW over the coming days, so stay tuned!

Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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