The last couple of months have been totally helter-skelter. Our family has been walking through a trying time, and we’ve tried our best to take a step back, slow down, and refocus ourselves on what’s important. And quality time with each other is at the top of that list.
So over the past several months, we’ve found ourselves taking several spontaneous road trips. Travel is therapy for my husband and I; we try to take at least one international trip a year, and we rarely travel to the same place twice. Exploring new cites and new cultures is totally exhilirating for us and connects us in such a special way. Our travel memories we’ve created over the past 7 years of marriage are some of the most precious moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
But here’s the deal. Up until this past month, we had never taken kids with us on an out-of-the-country trip (or even any of of our longer cross-country trips, for that matter). It’s not that we’re opposed to it, but our kids are young and doing that kind of travel with them just honestly sounded like more hassle than it was worth. But at the beginning of August, we decided to change that – we did our first international trip with both of our kiddos.
We didn’t go anywhere too exotic – we went to Canada – but there were still lots of lessons to be learned. And we actually ended up covering a lot of ground in a pretty short amount of time. We started out in Toronto, travelled over to Montreal, then came down through Vermont, and stopped off at Niagara Falls before heading home. And this was all done in 6 days! It was a whirlwind, to say the least.
When JP and I travel, we’re very used to leaving our hotel in the morning and maybe being gone all day – walking around, seeing the sights, stopping to eat whenever. Ya know, just basically being totally selfish with our time. And it’s awesome. But obviously, when you’re traveling with kids, it’s a different story. We’re on THEIR time and THEIR schedule. We had to plan our days around being able to spend some time back at our hotel in the afternoon so that our youngest could rest. We had to make a more solid plan of what we’d be doing while we were out so we could plan accordingly. Should we pack a change of clothes? Bring snacks? How far will we be walking? Will we need the stroller and will it be a pain to have with us? (Montreal had lots of cobblestone streets. Totally charming, but a big pain to push a stroller.) Are the places we’re going kid-friendly? Overall, there’s just a lot more to consider before walking out the door in the morning.
And obviously, there’s a lot less leisure time for things like reading books or taking luxurious hotel bubble baths. Womp womp.
But if you’re asking me if it’s worth it to expose my kids to something new and different, the answer is yes. One-thousand percent.
We want to foster a love for exploring in our children. We want them to be curious about other cultures and the way other people live. We want their passports filled with stamps and their hearts filled with memories . To us, it’s worth it to struggle through the inconveniences, knowing that we’re expanding their little minds and helping shape them into people that have a genuine fascination and care for the world around them.
And a funny thing happened. I felt like our kids formed a stronger bond with each other through their shared experiences. Our kids have always gotten along pretty well, but I felt like I could see them actually forming a really sweet friendship and it totally melted my heart.
Don’t get me wrong, JP and I will definitely still travel alone because it’s SO good and refreshing for us and our marriage. But I’m also looking ahead excitedly to our next whole-family adventure. <3