Friday, August 30, 2013

Intending to travel

Intending to travel == Hobo MamaOnce again, our only vacation this year has been to see family. Sam and I have been talking about this recently — we realized that ever since having children, the only traveling we've done has been short jaunts around our home base, or longer trips to visit the grandparents.

Before we had kids, we'd shake things up: a visit to our parents here and there, but interspersed with farther-flung adventures — to Atlanta, to Denver, to Seattle, to New York City, D.C., London, Paris, Berlin.

Contrast that with this year's trip that brought us through the overly familiar states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. I mean, no offense, Midwest, but…yeah.

Now, I totally get it. Having kids has brought with it consequences: Less money to blow with an unfortunately correlated increase in travel costs, distant relatives who want to connect with our offspring, and a whole mess of more inconvenience in traveling. This has made our trips a lot less frequent, and a lot more focused on seeing family to the exclusion of traveling for fun.

But the problem is — I'm boooored.

When we were growing up, both Sam and I lived far from extended family. That didn't stop our parents from taking trips elsewhere, though. With my family in particular, I can remember traveling to pretty much every state and a variety of countries. (Being a military family helped get us part of the way to our destinations.) Sometimes one or the other set of grandparents tagged along or met up with us along the way. Much of the time it was just our immediate family, and I didn't see our parents expressing any guilt over that. Sam and I have started wondering what memories our kids will have of traveling with us, and what memories we want to instill.

We've been keeping an ever-growing list of places we want to go with the kids — someday. It includes a road trip through the American West and Southwest that would include the Grand Canyon, as well as an East Coast trip that would include Washington, D.C., and New York City. We also want to go back with the kids to one of our favorite vacation destinations: London. We miss it. {Sniff.}

But it's been so daunting to think of traveling with kids so far or for so long. We keep thinking, We'll save it till they're older and will appreciate it more.

But now: We're tired of waiting. We're tired of shuffling dutifully between the family homes and never cutting loose on our own.

We're afraid we'll wait so long before we start traveling with the kids that we'll lose our opportunity.

We've realized there's no right time to travel with kids. That, even if they don't appreciate it or remember it, or if only one or two of them at any given time are the exact right age to enjoy the trip, that Sam and I will enjoy it — that we don't want to give up decades of our lives when we could still be enjoying travel.

So we've started planning out what we can do. Since our parents fly out to see us every year or so, anyway, we figure we can get away with visiting them every third year. We don't want to waste the years our children have with their grandparents, but we think we can combine our two desires by possibly having our parents meet us at a scenic place near them.

For instance, when Sam was growing up, every other year his family would go to the same cottage on the coast of Maine. We could pick a place like that for our family to hang out and relax and for our parents or any other interested relatives to meet us there.

In the other years, we're figuring out how and when we can fit in some of our dreamed-of vacations. I realize money and time and family obligations will all have a huge effect on what we'll be able to fit in. Finances and unforeseen scheduling snafus will dictate some of what we manage, but I have hope and excitement now that we're planning to start traveling again — with kids.

Did you travel before having kids? Do you travel with kids, or do you wish you did?

Intending to travel == Hobo Mama
All right, guys. Room service will be here in a minute. I ordered more dinosaurs.

5 comments:

Momma in Progress said...

At first we did the only "vacationing" to visit family thing, too. Then we got military orders overseas. We had a 3 year old, a 1 year old, and I was 6 weeks pregnant. We pretty much were going to travel with them or not see anything. It worked out well, and now we tend to take more "real" vacations whenever we can. Also, totally with you on the London thing. Even my 7 year old tells me she would MOVE there given the opportunity.

Claire T said...

We have travelled internationally since my daughter was four months old. I am a New Zealander, hubby is Japanese and we live in Singapore so it is a necessary evil. We mix it up travelling to NZ and Japan (10 hrs and 7 hrs) and shorter hops around Asia. We are blessed that Miss Three and a half likes to fly, loves new faces and places and is a very adventurous eater. We find any flight of more than 4 hours should be at night as our daughter tends to get a bit ratty on long day flights.
We tend to stay in apartments rather than hotels - not for the kitchen as in Asia especially it is easier and cheaper to eat out- but for the ability to remain up after our daughter goes to sleep.
We find Asia is awesome with young children. Most cultures treat young children indulgently and there is no issue if your toddler wants to wander round the restaurant etc. it is a very different vibe from the European children should be seen and not heard model.
We are looking forward to travelling more extensively as our daughter gets older. It isn't all rainbows and skittles but the benefits have far outweighed the odd bad flight. We get a lot of uninterrupted family time and my husband and I are loving sharing places we love with our daughter.
Sorry for the novel but I love seeing other parents sharing the world with their children.

Jacqueline said...

We're in the same boat! Declaring our intention to travel in conjunction with a decision to homeschool. We're staying in the states this year, but hope to venture international by next year. My take on the whole "they won't remember it" thing is that regardless whether they remember or appreciate it, the experience will shape them. It will shape me and my husband, our perspective of the world will shift and therefore our life at home will be impacted. Roscoe doesn't remember his trip to Disney World 3 years ago (he's 5 now) but he DOES absolutely remember the goats that he met and it catapulted his interests into all things goat for the entire year that followed. I too have had an itch to get out and see and do, and I realized that there's no time like NOW! We are choosing extended stays in guesthomes, houses, apartments, etc. that way we can settle in, explore at our leisure, and really experience the culture/life of the areas we pick. Good luck! I'll enjoy following along.

Richard Cole said...

Traveling with our infant son, Ewan, has deeply enriched our travelling experiences. He is a focal point for local people, who are more friendly and welcoming because of him. He breaks the ice and attracts attention with his beaming smile, blond hair and blue eyes, but in general this attention is to our benefit, as we have often experienced an enhanced level of service because of having a small child in tow, often in areas where few foreign babies are seen. This was especially the case in our trip to Bali where we were treated with great affection and warmth, Ewan always the centre of attention, doted on by everyone, even teenage boys, who thought nothing of picking him up to show him something exciting or comfort him. Staying at an ashram we were treated like members of an extended family, Ewan adored by our hosts who delighted in his every smile. We couldn’t help but stand out with our white skin and Western appearance, but instead of being stared at or ripped off, we were welcomed with open arms.

stoneageparent said...

Becoming a family has not stopped us pursuing our hobbies or exploring in any way. Ewan has fitted into our lifestyles as much as we have into his. Travelling with our children has also deeply enriched our travelling experiences. Becoming a mum has inspired us to travel even more, in order to broaden our children’s experiences, open their eyes to other ways of living, introducing him to our beautiful world in an exciting, adventurous and gentle way.

We have had a mix of trips some involving flying and some involving adventures nearer home. Not many under fours think wild camping in the woods in the rain, awaking at dawn to sunrise at 3000 metres after calmly sleeping for hours in the sling, trekking through tropical rice-fields or eating a camp-cooked meal metres away from puffins, are ‘normal’ experiences. They have taken these experiences in their stride, happy as long as his parents are close by.

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