"i can show you the world,
shining, shimmering, splendid."
I don't like being patronized, and I also don't like being wrong. I'm to the point in life now where I realize how much I don't know, but I care enough about knowledge and experience to want all that juicy goodness. People (in person and through testimony and indirectly) told me how impossible it was to travel with children. ("Make sure you wait to have kids so you and Caleb can travel. That all stops once babies come! And you'll have to wait until retirement!" It's okay, I used to talk about people and their future-babies completely out of line. I have since learned better. So I'm not bitter. I know these people mean well.)
Yes, is it true that having a minivan ("No, we're going to have an SUV.") full of kids changes your practical ability to travel like two honeymooners? Sure, yes. But is there a way, as adults, to pursue the good things you love in life, when you have the energy and resources to do them, even if you have to be a little creative? Even if you have offspring? I say yes, maybe even especially in those instances.
My parents never carted us to Europe for summer vacation, but we did get a more-than-normal dose of traveling as children. All across America, especially up and down both coasts, Mexico and The Caribbean are in our photo albums. My first trip to the beach happened when I was eight days old, and I flew on a plane across the country when I was four months old. But aside from my own family, there are a handful of people I've watched and learned from over the years. They've helped us have the gumption, realistic perspective and wonder to travel with our own little person. It seems less intimidating when people around you are saying with their actions "Look, the effort was worth it. You can do it, too!"
Nate and Jaclyn are renowned and scary-brilliant photographers. These two crazies always seemed to be one place or another, tethered to their home-base in Los Angeles. But a couple of years ago they made the huge decision to ditch suburban-city life and move away to the mountains. They pulled their two kids out of school (opting for home-school), bought them some hiking boots, and now they explore the place they call home as well as the rest of the earth. Their daily life and travel life are such beautiful adventures.
When I first heard of 'Taza' and her family she was living a stones-throw away in Washington DC. Shortly thereafter they moved their two toddlers to New York City. I love watching them do childhood in the heart of such a fast-city. They always seem to find the cozy places. But then I really popped an airplane seatbelt when I watched them travel throughout Europe as a family! They've been multiple times and it's inspiring! Toddlers Take Tuscany! And the Ukraine! And Prague!
Aside from the unity and gentleness in this family (simply put: they are all nuts for each other), I love these guys because they remind me to get. out. side. They're near the water or in the grass or under the trees constantly. When I see pictures of them it makes me want to go for a walk and inhale earth. With my family.
Jordan and Paul Ferney made the stupendously bold decision to move from San Francisco to Paris, France with their two little boys. That kind of spine is impressive when you're a couple, or even alone, but as a full family unit... I say bravo! I bow at your feet. And they sure seemed to have had a heck of a time being there together. What a magical experience from oldest to youngest!
Similarly to the Kaiser's, the Prouty Family sold their Southern California home and moved away to the mountains. However, they loaded their four young children into a trailer eventually ending up in Washington State. They saw some amazing things on their country-wide road trip! I wanted to jump into their images like Mary Poppins Pictures! Brave, creative and happy -- my kind of family!
I'm going to let Bethy do the talking (an excerpt from her blog): "In every place I've lived we've always explored and known our area. It's fun to travel and vacation, but the majority of life is spent near home. Growing up in New Hampshire we took in so much of the beauty there. We loved regular visits to Boston, Maine and spots all over the beautiful granite state. When we were in DC for a year it was the same. We took in that area and loved every bit of it. Just simple days - together as a family, grabbing something to eat, spending most of the day in the car and seeing somewhere new - enjoying what was near to us. Not trying to get all cliche here - but it's so easy to forget the beauty, fun, history and places to explore just outside our doorsteps."
So I say: whether you are single or married or a parent or anything else... Figure out how to travel if you want to! Even if that means wandering your own city a little more often. Be stubborn about it, and don't worry about what "they" say. Enjoy your family and world to the fullest!