We are fortunate in so many ways. First and foremost we have each other. Yup – it sounds pathetic and corny, but given what is happening in the world these days I need to say it. But that is not really my point here. We are fortunate because we both love to travel and are able to do so. In the early days I remember looking at my bank account before a trip thinking “Oh shit – this is not going to be fun.” But I did it. I traveled. I didn’t really care about the latest pair of shoes or handbag or for that matter going to a Michelin Star restaurant. I wanted to see the world. In the first few months of my relationship with Dr. H we traveled to London, Paris, and Puerto Rico.
I remember booking a hotel in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, which was just over $100USD/night. When we arrived at the hotel it was still under construction. Dead iguanas lined the road up to the hotel. There was one restaurant. I went out for a run every morning and brought back steaming hot cafe con leche and little pastries filled with guava paste. It was a wonderful trip.
Since that trip we have continued to take on many more adventures – Montreal, San Francisco, Miami, London, Paris, Dallas, Shreveport – all before we took the adventure of a lifetime and moved to the UAE. Since our move our travel adventures have become bolder – we have seen the Himalayas from Kathmandu; we touched Bayon Temple in Siem Reap; we rode bicycles past rice fields in Hoi An and navigating mopeds while crossing the streets in Ho Chi Minh City; we watch the waves of the . We have had 1,000 adventures in each and every trip.
Since having our daughter I wondered how our travel would be affected. I might sound selfish to some, but we never thought that having a child would mean that we would give up 100% of life that we knew it “before”. Instead, we would embrace this new person and bring her along on our adventures. And we have. Some shake their heads at us. “Bangkok, you are taking her to Bangkok?” Yes, we did, and she laughed at delight as she saw the fish outside of the Chao Praya river.
“Sri Lanka? Is that safe for a child?” It was. And she was greated with the warmest of smiles you have ever seen. She slept with the breezes of the Indian ocean caressing her face at night as the waves crashed upon the shore. She rode in a tuk-tuk in Bentota and waved at people as we speed along.
“INDIA??? Why are you taking a 2 year old to India. She will get sick.” No, she will not, because we will not be stupid. She danced in the streets at night at a wedding in Jaipur and road with the groom on a elephant, she laughed in delight at the monkeys running along the rooftops as we drove into town. She ate dal with gusto and chased birds on the lawn of what used to be a former palace. She cried when we left and looked out the window and said “Oh India… I want to go back.”
And so that is our thing. One of the greatest gifts we can give our daughter, and something we can all do together for a long time to come… travel. She will learn about the world in ways no book will ever teach her. She will learn that the world is harsh and cruel, but that it is also more beautiful that one could possibly imagine. She already loves the adventure, and gets it. A few weeks ago just before her 3rd birthday during dinner she looked up at us and said:
“I want to go to Indonesia.”
My husband and I looked at each other in wonder. We had never really talked about Indonesia as a place we were going to travel to in the coming year – Bali perhaps but I didn’t recall mentioning Indonesia. And then it dawned on us. She got it. Got what it meant to travel.