I spent my formative years traveling quite a bit. Driving across the country a handful of times, backpacking across foreign lands, even just moving to new cities. There is a part of my soul that is a traveler; it has been that way since I was young. I was born with a wanderlust trait, inherited from many family members that came before me.
Two Babies Equals Less Me-Time
Once I was pregnant and had twins, traveling the way I once had, ceased to continue. Flying with two infants is not exactly easy and with limited time off work, my air miles were filled flying to visit family members. So, buried deep under the many layers of being a new mom, my need to explore new places lay dormant.
The few trips away had always been for work, until this year when my best friend’s sister was getting married…in South Africa. To say I was torn was an understatement. To miss my dear friend’s wedding saddened me, on top of the fact that going to Africa has always been at the top of my travel bucket list.
It Takes A Village
My former self, the girl that spent three days on foot with the Hill tribes of Thailand, was in a proper battle with my current, mom-self. My parents generously offered to come out and stay with the boys and their dad would still be there, as he couldn’t take off work to come with me. I knew they would be fine, probably have the time of their lives being spoiled for a week by their grandparents.
But there were two things that prevented me from being able to let go. The first was letting go of control. I made almost every decision regarding the boys and to not be able to do such left me quite stressed. The second was being judged for being a crap mother for leaving her two toddlers to go across the world. This was not a trip to the Bahamas. It’s a full day’s travel to get to South Africa. Not easy to get back if there was an emergency.
Gratefully my husband and a couple dear friends, also moms, made me feel better about going on this trip. They spoke of using this time to get centered and also to show the boys that exploring new places is good for the soul.
Traveling is Therapy
In so many ways, traveling forces you to step outside of the small box in which you live. We can get caught up in the “must haves” of American life, and being in a new country will always re-ground you and help you re-establish the sense of gratefulness of the life you have back home. I want my boys to experience the education, excitement, adventure that travel brings and I am their example for doing so.
So I did it and spent a week in magic. It wasn’t easy being away, but I allowed myself to enjoy an incredible country, filled with incredible people. I reconnected with friends and made new ones. I also re-discovered that part of myself that is always looking at a map, wondering where to go next. It felt amazing.