Traveling with kids can be one of the most daunting things you’ll ever do. I have heard so many people say they are going to avoid any kind of international travel until their kids are older. Many think I am crazy for dragging my little guy all over before he will really even remember it. Maybe I am. However, for every hurdle there is happiness. I am such a firm believer that these experiences, whether he remembers them or not, will help to shape who my son becomes as he grows up. It is not easy to travel with a toddler. Not even a little bit. Traveling, especially international travel, with kids can make you want to pull your hair out and question your own sanity. How could I possibly have thought this would be a good idea? Then, there will be those moments that make everything worth it.
For every good there is bad.
For every hurdle there is happiness.
For every time your child pukes all over you in a crowded bus, there will be a time they explore ancient ruins for the first time with the biggest smile on their face.
For every time you have to sit on a plane in a sopping wet shirt from spit up, there will be a time they hug you so tight on their first tuk tuk ride… and you squeeze them right back.
For every time your kids will fight, there will be a time they pull your arm along excitedly on an adventure.
For every time someone stubbornly won’t eat their dinner, there will be a time you find the most amazing little cafe where they devour their food saying, “Wow Mom! That was so good!”.
For every time your child cries because they want a food that is not available where you are, there will be a time you both will cry tears of joy for miraculously coming across a Krispy Kreme in the middle of SE Asia.
For every time someone gets sick on a day you wanted to see or do something incredible, there will be a day where the incredible just finds you unexpectedly and your kids will have the time of their lives.
For every time your little guy screams and kicks because he doesn’t want to leave an amusement park, there will be a time they laugh as a monkey eats out of their hand for the first time.
For every time your kid will not want to get out of bed when you have a plane or train to catch, there will be a time they wake you up early because they’re excited for the day.
For every time your lil sour-puss doesn’t want to smile for a picture, there will be a time you candidly catch them grinning from ear to ear standing in the midst of amazing scenery.
For every time you miss a bus because you had to stop in the bathroom to change a stinky diaper again, there will be a time where you cram into a tiny moto-bus and laugh till tears come down your face as your tossed around with every bump and turn.
For every time your kiddo will want to sit in the hotel and watch TV instead of seeing the sites, there will be a time they sit through a 90 minute local dance performance and they’ll hardly blink and clap their little hands in amazement .
For every time your babe falls down and gets hurt, there will be kisses and hugs aplenty.
For every time your child has an “accident” with no spare clothes handy, there will be a time they tear off all their clothing and run into the ocean naked because they’re too excited to wait 2 minutes to put on their swimsuit.
For every time you and your little one have long nights and early mornings, there will be times when strangers will say “You are so lucky to have such a happy little boy.” because he is genuinely happy to be in that place with you.
For every time you have to make an embarrassing, stupid, goofy face or dance just to make them smile for a picture, there will be someone who notices and thinks you are an amazing mother. (I hope.)
For every time your child screams from their ears popping on a plane, there will be a time they squeal with delight at meeting an elephant for the first time.
For every time you lose a favorite toy, shirt, or sippy cup along the way, there will be times you’ll make the most amazing memories to make up for it.
For every time your baby’s eyes are filled with tears because they just can’t find a comfortable sleeping position on that 714 hour flight (or so it feels), there will be a time their eye’s sparkle from seeing the ocean or feeling the sand for the first time.
For every time your lil one throws a tantrum in the middle of a marketplace, there will be a time when they say “I love you so much, mama” for no reason other than they mean it and they are so thankful to have such amazing experiences with you.
For every hurdle there is happiness.
The most amazing experiences come in the midst of the horrible ones. Or should I say, the horrible experiences happen in the midst of the amazing ones. Sometimes I do still think I’m a bit crazy to bring such a little guy along on my adventures, but that feeling slowly sinks away when I think about all of our memories we have created together. Even the bad ones become great stories later on. The things to be afraid of are not these awful experiences. I would be more afraid to miss out on the good ones that comes with them. I would say to any parent thinking about traveling, but who is scared about actually doing it… take the plunge. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll never question it. You can’t describe, even in more than 1,000 words, the ways that travel enhances and deepens your relationship with your kids and their education about the world. My son and I will continue to travel until he has to push me kicking and screaming into a retirement home (or until he gets old enough to the point where I’m more embarrassing than cool). I refuse to let these bad experiences dictate how or where or when we travel. I would rather be optimistic. The bad is not pleasant. No doubt about it. But… without these hurdles, we wouldn’t have the happiness that comes along with them.