“When we bought our timeshare many years ago, I had one goal in mind: relaxation! I pictured myself lying on Pompano Beach, basking in the sun, sipping on a daiquiri, and watching the sunset with my new husband.

Our first trip was to Club Wyndham Santa Barbara, and it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I had envisioned. We had recently become a family of four with two very active toddlers. Instead of lying on the beach, we were playing in the waves, swimming in the pool, and building dozens of sandcastles. Instead of sipping a daiquiri, I was carrying sippy cups. And I loved every minute of it.

As our two boys grew, our vacations changed with their interests. We loved going to Bonnet Creek and exploring Disney World. Some years we would stay at resorts near our sons’ baseball, football, or volleyball tournaments. (We were definitely the envy of the other travel team parents!)

Now our sons are teenagers. Two new drivers, one car for the both of them. Countless discussions (well, actually arguments), endless eye rolls, and very little family time. I can literally annoy either teen at any time just by saying hello.

Of course, they prefer to be with their friends and not with us much of the time. But there is one regular exception: vacation time. As Club Wyndham owners, we’re able to choose vacations that are perfect for all of us.

We’ve hiked the Grand Canyon, ridden zip lines, Jet Skied, canoed, ridden bikes, and parasailed. (I may have stayed on the ground for that last one, but someone had to take photographs!) We have swum with dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. We did these things as a family… together… with teenage boys!

On our last ‘relaxing’ getaway, we rode Segways and went indoor skydiving. I’ll admit, I was scared. I don’t even like rollercoasters. But my kids talked me into it and I was not about to lose out on any chance to spend time with them. I know that all too soon they will be off to college and beyond.

These vacations have turned into the best memories a family could have. Many of our favorite times have been just playing cards by the condo pool and laughing about our adventures. Most of those laughs are at my expense — I’ve fallen off a Segway, been scared by a sea turtle, and gotten stuck in a kayak. But I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

It’s these memories that will always stay with me, even after my little boys have become men starting their own adventures.”

Ellen Zissis
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania