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• Bonding: With three teenage children, Abecassis recognized a need for new collective experiences as a family. “Perhaps the most common experience all parents share is how quickly children grow up,” she says. “It won’t be long before they’re out of the house and having their own families.” This is especially true for a family, or an individual member, who has experienced a rough patch. “After a death in the family, divorce, or some other painful life event, every day is an opportunity for setting a new tone,” she says.

• Tangible history lessons: Ignorance of U.S. history by the native population is a problem recognized by many historians and new citizens alike. “For understanding how and why our country works, it is necessary to grasp how it came to be – from the ideas driving our founding fathers to bringing law and order to the Wild West,” she says. Physically being at historical sites – smelling the grass at Gettysburg or seeing the living conditions at the Alamo – breathes life into the past.

• Feeding the domestic economy: Many Americans set their sights on exotic and, sometimes, less-than-safe destinations overseas. Confusing roads to nowhere, foreign diseases and cultural missteps are all potential pitfalls in foreign travel. Why not stay in the states, which are safe and family-friendly, and help out an economy that could use your dollars? “America is arguably the most diverse place on the planet; why not witness firsthand what makes us who we are?”

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