So, I guess you won’t be travelling for a while, eh?
If there’s something my husband and I share in common beyond our passion for outdoor adventure, it’s a condition we deal with about once a year called “the travel bug.”
Paul’s travels have been extensive, from backpacking trips through South America and Europe, long solo trips in Iceland, New Zealand and the South Pacific, and forays to Ethiopia and Norway. Together we have backpacked throughout the Caribbean, trekked in Nepal, and explored the far reaches of our own country, from Nova Scotia’s coastline to the Arctic tundra of Baffin Island. My first and only solo trip (so far!) took me to Costa Rica for a three amazing, soul-soothing weeks of hiking, yoga and exploration.
So, as we enter parenthood it has been a regular part of our conversation to plan a trip internationally before our baby reaches his or her first birthday. We feel that the best way for us to learn how to keep doing the things we love is to keep doing them. I am also a firm believer that children, no matter their age, benefit from being exposed to different cultures and environments, even if it is only on a visceral level when they are so tiny. By committing to travelling abroad with the wee one (of course assuming all goes well in the next little while), we can get used to the idea and have this become our norm.
But, I can’t tell you how many times in the last half year I have heard someone tell me or suggest that we can put our travel ambitions aside once the baby arrives. These statements have come from people from all walks of life – from people who aren’t travellers themselves or who couldn’t fathom even a baby-free backpacking trip to adventure-seeking people who have chosen not to have children because they feel it would compromise their lifestyle (this is at the very root of The Adventures in Parenthood Project, by the way). I get the sense from some people that if they really spoke their mind, they’d tell me I’m totally foolish for thinking we can make it happen. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment, honey.
But I know it can happen because I have seen it, thanks to my adventurous friends, online resources, and people I have met on my own travels abroad. An article that particularly inspired me was one I found on a doula’s website called Birth Takes a Village. In Backpacking with a Baby, Charlotte Watson recounts her family’s journey through Eastern Asia when her daughter, Beatrix, was 6 to 12 months old. I particularly appreciated Watson’s candid accounts of what they experienced: different cultural perspectives on breastfeeding, experimenting (and finding success) with elimination communication, learning to adapt to warm temperatures and discovering Beatrix’s level of adaptability. In the article, Watson also provides some great tips for travelling with an infant.
So today, as I dream about taking my little bundle on an adventure abroad next winter, I turn to John Lennon and his famous song lyrics. Maybe I’m a dreamer, and maybe my parenting choices will vary from the norm, but surely I’m not the only one.
Here’s to taking babies abroad, to opening their little minds, bodies and hearts to something different early on and, perhaps even most importantly, learning from the way they interact with the world around them.
Have you travelled with an infant or young children? Please share about it in the comments and recommend more links of inspiring stories and websites!
Check Out More Inspiring Stories and Websites:
Backpacking with a Baby – Minimalist travel with a miniature person
Have Baby Will Travel – Their mission is to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with their babies, toddlers, and young children…
Walking on Travels – when you won’t let your kids stop your wanderlust
Around the World with Luca – Biking the world with a 2-year old
Baby To Go – Because babies want to see the world, too!
Suitcases and Sippy Cups – Packing, passports and the pursuit of family
Baby Loves to Travel – Global travel with your kids should be simple and fun
Adventurous Moms – The travels and adventures of two moms and their little boo
Heather and Sierra’s PCT Thru Hike Journal – This mother and daughter successfully hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 2012
Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Happy Families – Ever heard of Kinderhotels?
Top 25 Travel Blogs by Parents – A round up of more great sites!