I have been travelling for about 10 years now. Although I had done a bit of travel prior, moving to Europe just after I turned 20 really marked the beginning of my love affair with travel. I have just turned 30, and my head is still full of dreams, and my journals full of bucket lists, so I don’t see my love for travel ever changing. My travel style certainly has changed though.
Everyone’s life style and of course travel style will change as they mature and age, and I am no exception to that. I do have to admit, even though I can cope with sleeping in hostel dorms, there is something about having my own room (with preferably a spa bath) that I have a hard time resisting now that I am older. But despite aging and maturity and all that other stuff, the one thing that changed my travel style the most dramatically was Jacob.
When I was pregnant with Jacob I was pretty sure I would continue to travel even after having him. I’m pretty stubborn, and I’m a great problem solver, so not much can come between me and my passions and goals. But as any mother knows, the second you become pregnant it seems like the entire world takes it upon itself to tell you what you can and can’t do – for the so called good of the child.
Well I’m happy to say that I didn’t listen any nay sayers (especially my co-worker who said it is hazardous to a child’s health to leave the house for the first 6 months!), and at the age of 3 years (and 3 months) Jacob has travelled to 22 countries. So I think I’ve done pretty OK.
So what things has travelling with a baby and toddler changed for me…
I always have travel insurance
I never, ever, ever, ever travelled with travel insurance when it was just me. I’m a pretty cheap penny pincher type of person, and so far luck has been on my side and I have never required travel insurance. But ever since having Jacob I have changed my tune. It’s no longer a matter of what risks I find acceptable with my own health. I am now responsible for his health and well being as well. And I am not willing to take any risks there. I now make sure I have adequate travel insurance for every trip, and I since I travel quite a bit I usually get an annual multi trip plan like what is available from Southern Cross Travel Insurance.
I plan more in advance
I’ve always been a planner, but when you are on the road constantly for extended periods of time it can get difficult to keep up. When I was a solo traveller I would sometimes just wing it and walk around and find a hostel once I arrived at a destination. I no longer take that chance when I travel with Jacob, and I always try to have at least 3 days accommodation booked in advance, even when we are travelling long term.
I don’t carry a backpack anymore
My beautiful backpack from MEC which I have had since my very first trip hardly gets taken out of the closet now. Since Jake is still little (in age, not in size) he still asks to be carried quite a bit. I have mastered the art of balancing him on one hip while pulling a wheeled suitcase, but I’m not quite strong enough to have a 15 kilo backpack on my back AND carry a 15 kilo child as well.
I see a lot more sunrises
Anyone who has kids knows a thing or two about early wake up calls. Jake is early to bed and early to rise, and although having “STAND UP MOMMA” shouted at you at 6 AM isn’t always the most pleasant thing in the world, I have certainly been able to enjoy a heck of a lot more sunrises in beautiful locations all over the world. I love taking Jake outside or onto the balcony where we cuddle up together and call out all the different colours we can see in the sky.
I get to skip the queue like all the time
Move over business class people, I’ve got a toddler and I require more time to board the aircraft thank you very much. Never mind that my toddler is actually an expert flier and can board the aircraft quicker than anyone (cause he is constantly running!). I’m just lazy and I hate queuing. But seriously, when it comes to skipping queues, having a baby or toddler is the best secret weapon.
My activity planning priorities have changed drastically
Recently I was planning a trip along the Trans Siberian Railway (which fell through, sorry guys) and as I read through my guidebook with my trusty highlighter I had to stop and laugh when I realized just how many entries for rail and transport museums I had highlighted. A train museum!? OMG LETS GO! – is something the Jade of 5 years ago would never have said. But doing things that excite Jacob excites me. I love the wonder and excitement which consumes him when he is experiencing something he loves. Even the ordinary becomes extraordinary when I experience it through his eyes.
I put some things off more
I love travelling with Jacob, and even when he was too young to remember things, I knew that our travels would stimulate his brain and shape the person he will one day become. But despite that, there are some things I keep putting off. And thats because there are some things that I definitely want him to remember. So polar bears in Churchill, safari in Africa, great pyramids… you will all have to wait, because I definitely want Jake to remember all those things.