“Travel makes one modest-you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”- Gustavo Flaubert
As we prep for our adventure around the world, I can’t help but feel like people are either embracing what we’re setting out to do, or they look at me like I have seventeen heads. “You’re doing WHAT? For how LONG? WITH the kids?”
I’ll let you in on a little secret… There is never a perfect time to do something like this.
It’s a terrible thing to wait until you feel ready for a big adventure. No one ever feels ready to do anything like this… especially with kids in tow. There’s no such thing as ready. There is only now. And we might as well do it now.
Travel is something Renzi and I have always loved to do. We’ve had incredible experiences abroad and have worked to instill this love of travel in our kids. While we’ve taken many vacations and trips as a family, they were not all created equal. Let me explain why.
When your kids are little, “vacations” are not vacations, they’re trips. Vacations are almost 100% relaxation. Trips with kids are almost 100% more work than when you’re at home. I’ve legitimately felt the need to plan a vacation after I’ve returned from a family trip… Can I get an amen on that?
I’m hoping this around the world adventure is a mixture of a vacation and a trip.
No matter how much prep I’ve put into planning a trip, there was always something that threw a wrench in our plans. There were always more bags to pack, more crap to lose on an airplane and more humans to accidentally leave somewhere (I’ve been known to become very HANGRY and get left behind on more than a few occasions).
Renzi and I have always just hunkered down and taken our boys with us on our travels. We try not to make traveling with the kids a big deal. We just go, see and do. Was it uncomfortable traveling with babies and young kids? OH YES. There was always someone who wanted a snack, someone who was tired and someone who was a tad bit too cranky. Was all the extra trouble worth it? HECK YES.
The memories I’ve made on these trips have undeniably been some of the best memories of my life. The laughter, the tears, the thoughts you say out loud about how you just might be crazy for bringing your kids…yup! I’ve loved them all.
People have also asked us if I’m nervous. You bet your monkey’s uncle I am! Don’t get me wrong, I am a pretty laid-back parent. I don’t stress too much, love spur of the moment plans and try to let stressful things roll off my back. When I think of the logistics of this “adventure” and all the things that could go wrong… it really strikes a bit of panic in me.
But, the panic I feel about this trip is a different kind of panic. This is something I like to call the “Good Panic Zone.” This zone is a feeling that could be mistaken for fear, but it always reveals an area where I’ll be growing, learning or reaching new potential in a positive way. When I think back on some of the most significant personal growth moments in my life, they have all stemmed from the “Good Panic Zone”.
I’m a realistic person. I know this adventure won’t be all rainbows and air conditioning (but I’m praying for A/C because let’s face it… no one wants to be around me when I get a hot flash).
One of my main philosophies in life is that you should find humor in every difficult situation. I know there will be moments during this trip where we’re going to want to break down, and it’s not going to be fun. But, I also know humor will help lift us up and pull us away from the ledge. I hope to be able to embrace the panic and find humor in all the strange situations (and hot flashes!) we may experience.
What do I hope my boys get out of this adventure?
I hope they embrace the panic!
I want our boys to have experiences that put them out of their comfort zone, and I hope those experiences bring with them personal growth that will help guide our boys as they continue to grow.
I hope they learn about the various people and cultures that fill our world.
There is so much to learn about the world around us, and I’m so excited Jackson and Walker are going to have the chance to soak it in fully. I hope our boys are able to see the similarities and differences between the way others live and the way they’re used to living.
I hope they learn to always be kind.
Every minute of every day for the rest of their lives, I hope my boys know that being kind is the best way to live. I hope they can see the good and bad in this world, and I hope we can instill confidence in them to foster ideas that help improve the lives of others.
I hope they are able to stop, look around and be thankful for all we’re going to experience.
You know how everyone is always saying “Seize the moment”? I think it’s actually the other way around. I hope the moments will seize us. I want our boys to know just how special this adventure is, and I hope they don’t take a moment for granted because, by this time next year, nothing will be the same.