Whenever I see quotes like this about travel, my heart flutters a bit. I have always had ‘wanderlust’ in me – my dad took me on trips around the country growing up, and I was able to go to Europe and Australia in the years right before I had my first child. My husband and I were actually set to go to Spain, Italy and France when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter.
I was so looking forward to that trip – but about a week after the positive on the pregnancy test, I came down with pretty bad nausea. It was so severe that I had to go to the hospital a couple times for IV hydration and I was unable to work until it subsided. For those two months all I did was lie in bed all day while vomiting continuously. It was one of the most miserable times of my life and, of course, my doctor wouldn’t let me go on our planned Europe trip (not that I could imagine climbing onto an airplane during that godawful time).
Long story short, we cancelled our trip and realized it would be quite some time before we headed anywhere too far – especially without children.
I’ve traveled a decent amount post-kids, I guess, but obviously, it just isn’t the same. The trip we took in March of this year to see family in Washington, D.C. was no exception.
We scheduled the trip over my stepson’s spring break – but, due to the the crazy long winter much of the country had seen, we ended up getting more of a winter wonderland. Thank God the aptly titled “Frozen” DVD was released that week ’cause that’s how us Californians felt and that’s what we watched indoors. A lot.
The trip began with a bout of food poisoning for me and an airport shuttle that never came. So we booked to LAX with a neighbor driving our jam-packed SUV, quickly checked our luggage curbside and then I hit the pavement throwing up. On the red-eye flight I had to take several trips to the restroom because I was so sick. Meanwhile, the baby screamed every time I passed him off to my hubby – so sorry, fellow passengers trying to sleep. I felt especially awful for the couple sitting next to me! I think they for sure thought they would be coming down with a virus, ruining their vacation.
Once we arrived, we had exhausted, cold, complaining, coat-wearing kids who were stir-crazy out of their element. We did some sight-seeing and had some fun dinners out, but we definitely had envisioned a different trip full of warm weather walks, playing at parks and seeing the outside monuments. Despite the cold, we had a great time and celebrated our little guy’s first birthday with family, which was priceless.
The way home, unfortunately, also proved to be eventful just like our departing trip. It included a crying, exhausted toddler, tons of traffic on the freeway which got us to Dulles super late, a potty accident with our 3-year-old, and kids who barely slept on the nearly six hour flight. Yes, six long hours.
Some moments of the trip were challenging, some were peaceful, some were amidst laughter and good meals and family time. Was it worth it? Yes, absolutely. Would I do it again anytime soon? To be honest, probably not.
A couple months after we returned, I read Rebecca Woolf’s account of traveling with FOUR young children out of the country. I have the utmost respect for her for even attempting this! It made me feel better, knowing I’m not the only one getting glares from fellow airplane passengers and managing mini crises during travel days that drag on and on.
I’m glad we have kept traveling and not let fear or what people think hold us back. But I know I’m not putting my kids through anything longer than what our recent trip entailed. At least not when they’re so little. Yet I long to go back to Europe and I want to see so many other places I’ve not yet been.
How do you do this with small children? How do you satisfy that need to explore? Do you bring your kids along? I honestly have no idea. But I don’t think this wanderlust is leaving me anytime soon. I wonder if when they’re older and bigger we can go more places and see more things. I wonder if sometime soon we can leave them with family and get away. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder…until then, I can only dream and hope I’m on my way…sooner rather than later.