You need the normal to appreciate the extraordinary.
The extraordinary to appreciate the normal.
Travel takes you out of your routine.
Out of your zone.
Puts you in learning situations.
Puts life in your face.
When I list the things I love about life. My life. I would say my family, my kids, being a Mum, yoga, meditation, my awesome friends, reading, wine, coffee and writing.
My love list.
Things to ensure that my life is a happy one. I hope you have one and I hope you know what is on there.
When I had my first child something dropped off my priority list. The love that I have for Julian eclipsed every other joy in my life and I couldn’t imagine not sacrificing everything for this little bundle.
So we stopped travelling.
Before Julian my husband and I had lived in London for a couple of years and traveled as much as our budgets (and credit card limits) would allow. All over Europe and we made it to New York as well.
When we got back to Perth we made trips to Africa and back to Europe and we honeymooned in Tahiti.
Travel was everything.
I felt trapped in my corporate job and it was the blip of happiness on my radar to allow me to escape from the mundane, from that day-to-day feeling of being unfulfilled.
But things get harder when you have kids.
Money gets tighter.
Opportunities to travel can be restricted.
Thoughts of screaming children on airplanes can turn your thoughts from wistful to frightened in a second.
We dipped our toe into the travel waters again when we took Julian to Broome and then to Melbourne.
Travel did not look the same.
He was fine on the plane but no longer could we lounge about on sun loungers all day or pound the streets of Melbourne for a shopping bargain. But my God did we try.
We got frustrated. Travel wasn’t giving us the same high. The same escape. My new job, my very precious one, came right along with us.
So there were nap times to fit in, over-heated babies to consider and tired little lungs complaining that we had done way to much shopping for an eight month old to contend with.
But there were sparks of magic.
He sat with us through an entire Australian Open tennis match that started at 7pm and finished after 10. The compliments on how good he was made us glow with parental pride.
Taking a billion snaps of him in the Cable Beach Pool for the first time as he squealed with laughter.
His excellence whilst travelling on planes, trains and automobiles ensured that we were willing to do it all over again.
Small trips. Short flights. Big expectations for low returns.
Because it’s not the same. Again and again we would try to make the holidays about us. We would try and make the holidays the way they were before….
and it doesn’t work.
That’s why everyone laughs when I ask for tips on how to travel with kids and says, “Don’t take them.”
Because travel as we know it has changed and until we get our heads around that we will not be fully open to the experience. We will not take the joy as it happens because we are expecting something else.
Expectations kill relationships but expectations also cancel out joy.
Fast forward seven years.
I have three children, the youngest is two and we decide to take them on a massive trip involving two across the world flights and two smaller ones.
Did we think about it too hard?
No. We booked it and knew we could handle it.
We have learnt to have no expectations going in and therefore we have no major apprehension or fear.
Things will look different. Things will go wrong. There will be disasters. Meltdowns. Tears.
But if you are open, if you let your eyes see really clearly, there will be joy.
Lots of it.