Travel Binge Before Baby Brought Balance
Our newest family member is 9 days old today, and let's just say that in the last 9 days my heart may have grown many sizes, but my world has shrunk significantly. In fact, I haven't even made it the 1/2 mile down the road to the grocery store since she was born, let alone anywhere further than that. This isn't a surprise or really even a bad thing. Since this is our second child, I have been down this road before (or not down the road, as the case may be), but it is a significant shift to our routine all the same. Being pregnant doesn't usually stop travel until you are very close to the end, but having a newborn who needs care, nursing, changing, snuggles, consoling, etc. 24/7 (emphasis on the 24) is a whole other ballgame.
Sure, we technically could go get on a plane with her, but what would be the point? We would then be tired walking zombies just hoping for a couple hours of sleep in a different location, so we might as well do that in the comfort of our own home and save the miles/cash for a time when we can actually enjoy and appreciate our surroundings and vacation.
Don't get me wrong, other than in the moments that we are really, really tired, we are loving having a new baby to snuggle and love on, and none of these normal adjustments have been a surprise to us. In fact, so far they have just reinforced that we made the right decision last year to really go on a travel binge before the baby.
Back in 2013 or 2014 we knew we wanted our family to expand in 2015, so we took advantage of where we were at that time in our lives before our world changed significantly. In 2014 we had steady employment, a relatively self-sufficient 4 year old traveling pro, and the relative freedom that comes with both. Our daughter was great if we traveled with her, and she was fine if we left her behind with grandparents for a few days. She was still in private Pre-K, so there were no school attendance issues to contend with if we missed days while on the road. We had the resources (time, money, energy, and miles) to travel more than ever before, and we took full advantage.
I think by April of 2014 I had already been to Europe three or four times that year, which is totally insane for my otherwise mostly normal life. We then went around the world in style (on miles) for my husband's 40th birthday, spent the summer exploring Hawaii, Alaska, DC, NYC, etc. and had many more trips in the fall and into the winter months. I would have to go back and count to come up with an accurate number, but I know we had well over a dozen legitimate trips that year in addition to some mileage runs and out-of-town work commitments. As I said in this post written at the end of 2014, it was insane and a little tiring. We might have overdone it a tad, but it was done knowing that 2015, and the foreseeable future after that, would look very different.
By the end of 2014 we knew that we would become a family of four in 2015, and that my 5 year old would be starting kindergarten in the fall. Both of those big changes were absolutely going to dramatically alter what type of travel was both realistic, and honestly, desirable. It's now late July and I haven't flown since mid-May, which means I have already been on the ground longer than I have been in many years. Yet, even if someone offered me some truly free international-first-class-shower-in-the-sky-suites type of trip right now, I wouldn't go. I wouldn't even want to go.
My travel binge that I went on last year is still sufficiently holding me over until the time is right to again take the the skies. When you have a family, every season of life you go through is so different, and I think one of the keys is taking full advantage of where you are in that moment. Last year we were in a season of flexibility and a bit of self-indulgence. This year we are firmly in a season of family responsibilities, tight budgets, and the routine of caring for two children who have very distinct needs. Neither season is is better than the other, but enjoying the good parts that come with both was key to having some semblance of balance, even if the overall balance at times looked like a binge.
Right now I'm firmly binging on baby kisses and snuggles, and there's no place I'd rather be. The skies will wait, and I will be back...just not quite yet.