I’ve blogged in the past about travel vaccines and what to pack in your travel remedy kit, but to be honest, the thought of doing any extended travel with kids seemed like a horrible idea. I barely wanted to take them to the grocery store let alone endure plane delays, language barriers, and foreign microbes.
So how did I get here – packed and ready to go for over a year of travel around the world with kids and my husband?
My love affair with travel
Ever since I can remember, I obsessed about travel. Growing up in a small obsolete zinc mining town in Pennsylvania, I dreamed of seeing the world. When I could get my hands on travel magazines, I’d tear out images of the Eiffel Tower, white sand beaches, and exotic temples to paste them onto my bedroom wall. I would call the numbers of travel agencies and request catalogs to expand my collection of snapshots into the great world beyond.
As a teenager, I traveled to the Philippines with my family and did a foreign exchange for a summer in France. In college I ventured on the obligatory backpacking trip through Europe and followed a love to Argentina.
The thing with traveling, is that it’s a bit of an addiction…or infection. Once you get the “bug” it thrives and feeds off of your experiences, driving you to go farther, see more.
So when I met and married my British husband, visions of tandem travel danced in my head. But what I didn’t realize when you get hitched to a foreigner (whether from a different country or different state) is that vacations are often spent visiting with family, not off exploring the globe. Still, my travel lust burned on…
How my travel bug died
One early spring, not long after we tied the knot, we visited my brother and sister in law in Paris to meet their newborn twin daughters. I, being not innately a “kid person” had a bit of a raised eyebrow attitude to the wrinkled, crying bundles. But my husband, on the other hand, turned to me with stars in his eyes.
“I want one,” he declared.
“Wha???” I said with brows now raised off of my forehead.
“Um, what about TRAVEL? What about everything I haven’t seen yet?” I thought as panic washing over me.
Later that day, I was perusing my in-laws book shelf, when I discovered a book called Traveling with Children. I’ve combed through Amazon to find it for you, but it seems to have vanished. Perhaps because of the dangerous myths it painted…
This book brimmed with stories of young families enjoying exotic adventures. Baby in backpacks while trekking in Nepal. Young children and their parents intermingling with traditional tribes in Africa. You get the picture, and so could I…
Suddenly I could see my future. My husband and I, madly in love, a bit dusty from being on the road, toting a newborn and a toddler as we ventured the globe. Who said I couldn’t have everything I wanted? Nothing had stopped me thus far.
Fast forward two years and cue screeching brakes sound.
Turns out, motherhood doesn’t come as naturally for me as other projects I’ve taken on in my life. Having a newborn at home felt like the equivalent of someone leaving a miniature terrorist in my care.
This feeling moderately improved when I became a mother of two, but suffice to say, I barely wanted to take my two small humans to the park for a playdate, let alone go to the airport.
World travel became something that my pre-kid me aspired to do in the distant past. I was happy to make it through the witching hour in one piece to sit down with a glass of wine and Netflix only to do it all again tomorrow.
Last summer we got ambitious. My family and I journeyed to the U.K. for a wedding, and then while the kids stayed with grandparents, my husband and I went on a solo trip to Norway for ten days. While we enjoyed the experience, the stress of packing and airports and jetlag and foreign things with kids reassured me that traveling and I were not yet on speaking terms.
We had planned to spend a month in Mexico for my sister’s wedding, and quickly reduced the trip to a long weekend as to not take any time from the happy routine that we loved in Los Angeles.
But something surprising happened in that little beach town south of Puerto Vallarta…
Travel whispered an invitation to me, which took root like a seedling and spread messy vines of possibility all over my neat, tidy, and orderly idea of life.
While bobbing around in the deep blue sea on our last day, I proposed a plan to my husband, and without missing a beat, he agreed.
When I announced to my friends and family back home that we planned to travel around the world with the kids for over a year, you won’t be surprised to learn that they scoffed and looked at me with incredulity.
“But you said you’d never travel again!” (True.)
“Do you really want to spend that much time with your kids?” (No, not really.)
The two reasons I cited again and again was this:
My kids are a good age for travel. And because we created a location independent business, we can work from anywhere in the world.
In reality, however, these were the tangible explanations I attached to the more difficult to describe truth… It’s time.
Call it a calling. Call it a voice. Definitely call us crazy.
My husband and I have always been spontaneous decision makers when we feel in our core that something is right. So the world called, and we’re coming.