I’ve traveled a lot in my life both within and outside the US. I love to travel although I also love returning home. Anyone who is Type A could use a little travel in their life to learn to let go. So much is out of your control when you travel and if you don’t learn to loosen up a little, you’ll end up having a stroke.
Travelling alone is great. Nobody to worry about but yourself, you can get the prime territory everywhere you go. Taking a trip with your four year old son changes things.
- The window seat no longer exists. Or rather it no longer exists without a big blonde head in the way. This is true on the airplane, trolley, busses and pretty much anywhere a view is possible.
- You will spend only fleeting moments doing what you find interesting. The aviary, pretty vistas, bookshops and the like will all be looked at wistfully as you walk on by. Seriously the pleasure in getting to see or do what you want is completely overshadowed by the constant nagging of the bored toddler attached to you. The times you deem it worthwhile enough to still do will be seldom and carefully doled out.
- On the other hand, be prepared to spend inordinate amounts of time looking at things that you have no interest in. The amphibian and reptile house, play grounds and candy stores will all become time vortexes.
- No decent restaurant posts their kids menu online. Choosing a place to eat becomes a battle of finding food you want to spend your vacation money on while not wasting it with things your toddler won’t eat. Researching online is useless as most of the better places don’t post the kid options. This is likely in an attempt to discourage families from dining, but you have to eat somewhere. When I travel, I try my best to avoid any restaurant I can eat at at home which means trying new things and places.
- Everything is more expensive. Keeping the kiddo entertained costs money. He isn’t appeased by a day sitting reading a book and waking around town looking at buildings isn’t going to last for long. Thankfully the park and beach are free, so we only actually bought entry to the zoo and amusement park.
- Tired is no longer a strong enough adjective. Exhausted is better, but still falls short of how bone achingly worn out you become not only being out and about, but having to carry the toddler and all the gear that goes along with him. Relaxing, taking a nap and zoning out in the hotel to TV are things you only can dream about.
- If you think you have packed enough, you are wrong. Traveling with a small suitcase and a carry on used to be sufficient for a week long excursion. Not any more. Not only did the kiddo have his on suitcase, but he took up my entire carry on bag and part of my suitcase as well. For as small as they are, they sure do require a lot of stuff.
- You will go home and thank your parents. Remember when your mom and dad took you to an amusement park and watched while you rode the same ride 30 times in a row? Back before there were smartphones and Facebook? Yeah, well they were really excited and filled with joy to see how happy you were the first 6 times. After that? They were bored. Very, very bored. Thank them. Thank them a lot.
But you know what else I learned on my first trip as a mom?
It was more fun, I smiled bigger and felt happier and more filled with joy watching Wyatt explore the city, ride the same ride 30 times in a row and say hello to a Komodo Dragon than I’ve had out there on my own.
Having a kid means that the world no longer revolves around you. It isn’t about you any more. It’s a about them. It’s about opening their eyes to the world and the people/animals/plants that inhabit it. It doesn’t matter if I get a window seat because watching his amazement at being above the clouds is so much better. The aviary? It will still exist once he is grown and showing his own kids the world. For now, I’m happy to watch the light dance in his eyes as he spies a bright blue frog behind the glass.