Doug and I have traveled quite a bit in the (almost) 8 years we’ve been together. We started off with shorter domestic trips, but bumped up the notch to longer international trips after we were married. Even after we had Riley, we booked our first trip with her before she turned 3 months old. She is not quite 2.5, but she’s already been to 12 countries. We were not quite so adventurous after Casey was born, so she hasn’t been anywhere…yet…but we are looking forward to showing her the world too!
Whenever we traveled with Riley, our friends and family were typically impressed with our “bravery.” My mom would shake her head in disbelief that we were dragging a baby along with us everywhere, but then would shrug her shoulders and say something along the lines of, “as long as you enjoy it!” So needless to say, when we told these same friends and family that we were planning to embark on a yearlong traveling adventure, we expected the same reaction.
Except that most people were in disbelief that we would want to do this.
Isn’t it hard?
Why do you want to go for so long?
What happens if the kids miss their home and their friends?
Where would you even go?
How can you afford this?
So why are we doing this? We love traveling and visiting new places. We really enjoy learning about different cultures and foods. We’re also nerds at heart and a lot of the history in these countries is really interesting to us (after all, almost everything is older than the U.S.!). In the short time that we’ve traveled with Riley, we’ve seen how well she’s adapted to the change of time zones and being in new countries. They often say that if you experience the world through a child’s eyes, everything would be magical. It really has been so far, and we can only expect that traveling will continue to bring us *extra magical* experiences.
Some parents are very strict about their children’s schedules…to stray from their normal routines by more than 15-30 minutes are a no-no or else they’re worried of tantrums and meltdowns. I am quite a fan of structure (I was a first grade teacher, after all), and I am no stranger to daily meltdowns, but I also believe in teaching flexibility and learning to adapt to new environments. Our kids are young and will adjust if we give them time. We are embarking on this journey for the sake of ourselves, but we are also doing it for our children and our family as a unit. Who else can say that they spent 24/7 with their children for a year as they traveled the world? Here, we often have the help of our amazing parents to give us a break whenever we need it…on the road, it will be just us to bond as a family.
It will be tiring, it will be hard, and we will have to be extremely flexible.
But we wouldn’t have it any other way.