Flashback to a year ago. I was living in Vineyard, Utah with my husband and 2 kids. We went about our daily routine: wake up, breakfast, gym, naps, play, dinner, bed. I stressed about my son not sleeping through the night. I was frustrated by my daughter’s winey attitude. I was very happy.
Eight months ago, my husband, Garrett and I sold everything we own to travel the world with our kids, Dorothy (3 ½) and Manilla (1 ½).
Fast forward to present day. I’m currently in St. Kitts (West Indies) with my husband and 2 kids. Our daily routine: wake up, breakfast, gym, naps, play, dinner, bed. I still stress about my son not sleeping through the night. And I’m still often very frustrated by my daughter’s winey attitude. I’m still very happy.
People often ask me: How’s traveling with kids? Coincidentally, this is usually asked when one is whining during airport security or about to jump into a water fountain.
Well, kids are kids no matter where you are. There’s going to be some really crazy, hard and stressful days. But that’s what I signed up for with this mom whole business anyway. It doesn’t matter if I’m taking them to the park back in Utah or taking them to a park in New Zealand. We have meltdowns and tantrums no matter where we are… good times.
But I’d say hmmmm….95% of the time, I’m so so so glad I get to share these experiences with them because experiences are better shared with those you love. The other 5% is when I just really want to lay out at a beach and read a book. Alone. (sigh)
Last week we had a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day traveling. I’ll spare you the details. But I very much wanted to quit and go home. But, then I realized I don’t have a house. These days, a house and home are very different to me. Maybe one day when I do have a house, I’ll put up one of those cheesy vinyl letter wooden boards that says “Family is what makes this house a home.”
My husband and I have traveled together since our relationship started 8 years ago. As a matter of fact, we met in Russia. It’s always been a priority and where we choose to spend our time and our money. We’ve gone on many trips alone since we’ve had kids thanks to some amazing Grandmas. But, this is different. This isn’t vacation. This is now our way of life. It’s one thing to go on a week long family vacation and then quickly get kids back in their own crib, playroom and routine. But traveling is part of our routine. Dorothy calls each new hotel, resort or AirBNB our new ‘house.’ We still have a daily routine, it’s just not always in the same place.
For now, our kids are still super young. They aren’t in school or any activities. It was a relatively easy time for us to pick-up and go. But, I’m almost positive our travels won’t stop when Dorothy reaches school-age.
With that said, I’m so incredibly grateful for the world schooling that they’ve experienced. Manilla learned what an elephant says by riding one in Thailand. I’ve taught my daughter her letters on plane rides. A mother is going to teach her kids, not matter where they are.
One of my proudest parenting moments since we left was when we volunteered at a school for orphans in Bali for a few weeks. We taught 20 kids ages six to nine. Every day, Dorothy and Manilla came and joined. It warmed my heart seeing my young kids bond with other children that had a completely different language, age, race, religion and culture. They sang, danced, played and participated. The Balinese kids were so kind and welcoming to them. It has been moments like these that I wish I could bottle up and share with everyone!
I’m loving what we are doing more and more each day. The older and more mature my kids get, the more fun this is. It has surprised me how much my kids actually remember from each place we go. Dorothy remembers the house dock where we had Manilla’s first birthday party in Tonga. She remembers our house in Bali with the frogs and geckos. She remembers the “house”(hotel) that we stayed at that had blueberry waffles for breakfast. Even now, Manilla is starting to remember things too. Although he can’t talk very well, but he gets excited looking at videos of him where he fed the fish every day in Thailand. He also remembers the hand gestures of how you get a dolphin to laugh.
Only time will tell if stays with them. But in the end, they may or may not remember anything we’ve done this year. But if we are a little closer as a family, a little more open-minded and accepting as people, and a little more grateful for this beautiful world and everything it has to offer, then it was worth it.