I love to travel! In fact, I think one of the first things I said to my husband once I realized he was the one and only (and this meant I wouldn’t be leaving Maine) that I needed to travel a lot. And, in the 12 years since then, travel we have. We’ve dined in Chicago, peeked over the edge of the Grand Canyon, danced on Miami Beach, sunbathed in the Caribbean, swam the Aegean Sea, watched fireworks over the Eiffel Tower, stepped onto glaciers in the Alps, ran a marathon along Lake Champlain, sipped wine on the fruit loop in Oregon, skied in Utah and much more! When I got pregnant, we vowed to continue traveling and instill a love for foreign landscapes, cultures and cuisines in our daughter as well. And in her first year, we have traveled.
Our 14-month old has been to New York City, Anguilla and St. John so far. Before she was born, I called it a vacation. Now it should more honestly be called traveling. If a vacation is sleeping in, a good massage, a glass of your favorite wine and a good book, then traveling is a cat nap, a quick back scratch, the house wine and reading your favorite magazine. Still not bad, but not quite the same. Welcome to vacation with a toddler. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a blast and you are so in love with your kiddo that it doesn’t matter. But if I could describe it to my pre-baby self, she’d be unimpressed.
So what’s changed?
She (pre-baby self) would book the cheapest flight, even those with tight connections and late night returns, and would never check a bag.
I booked the most direct flight that either allowed for a full night sleep or even better, a morning nap. If there was a layover, it needed to be long enough to get in a diaper change and a nap in the carrier. Price became secondary. And we checked everything except the bag our daughter’s stuff was in.
She would book a swanky hotel with a cool bar and walking distance to equally swanky restaurants. The room could be small as long as the thread count was high and the decor worthy of Instagram.
I would book condos or homes that had a separate bedroom for our daughter, in a quiet area away from bars and restaurants. I rented cars because taxis don’t have car seats. I cared less about the thread count and more about how safe the space was for a fast crawler and then walker.
She would eat out every meal and walk a mile or more for the perfect smoothie, cocktail, tapas, wine bar, you name it.
I would stock up at the grocery store and eat in most of the time. If we did eat out, it was for lunch or happy hour, and it was only in places that had high chairs.
She would read two or three books lounging by the beach or the pool.
I would read my Facebook feed on the couch.
She would sleep 9 or 10 hours a day and sometimes take a nap in the afternoon before heading out for the night.
I would be up at least once or twice and get up before 6am. If I did stay up past 10pm, the next day would be shot.
She would go for a run, a swim and look for a yoga class, sometimes all in the same day and with her husband.
I would be way too tired for all that. My husband and I might run with the stroller, heading quickly back to the rental if our daughter looked like she was falling asleep or continue longer than intended to keep her asleep.If we wanted a real workout, we had to seperate.
She would post pictures on Facebook of food, fancy cocktails, landscapes and cultural sites.
I would post photos of my daughter doing things that my pre-baby self would have found mundane, but that I find beautiful, fascinating and/or adorable.
She would look at the families with small children and think they were crazy to bring them on vacation. She’d feel sorry for the parents as they dumped their margarita to keep their toddler from swallowing a fistful of sand.
I would look over at the childless couple and think, they don’t know what they are missing.
Despite the 180 your life takes, it’s all worth it. Although I do miss sleeping in now and then. 🙂