I look behind me, my four year old daughter is rolling a suitcase that reaches to her shoulder. My son is also managing a roller case equal to three quarters of his size. I myself am carrying a purse, carryall, carseat, and the infamous roller bag. We present quite the spectacle parading down the long airport terminal towards the bus that will finally take us to our car and home. It’s one in the morning and their little eyes are red rimmed and their feet are dragging but still they know we have to keep going.
My children are adept travelers even at such young ages. They have been on airplanes and trains and every other mode of transportation since they exited the womb. We tell them we are traveling and they start packing their backpacks with “necessities.” I tell them they probably won’t need quite so many Lego bricks and ponies where we are going but they know what they need by now and I let them pack themselves.
Because I have more time, I get to travel longer and often book my trips for more days than my husband can take off work. That means I travel alone with our two children a lot, only meeting him later in the trip. So, we have created a system. The older they get the more they participate and the easier it is getting. I love that they take the initiative and ask for more responsibility. They hold their boarding passes in their hands and hand them over confidently. It garners smiles. They address the flight attendant directly when asking for their drinks. They are my little travel buddies.
This trip took us to California. We went to the beach. We did an amusement park. We explored museums and gardens. We spent time with grandparents and visited with friends. We had eight full days of lovely time. We came home with sand in our bags and red cheeks. The kids are tired and I am exhausted. They were great through it all and the smiles tell me they had a good time.
I guess because of this we travel as often as we can. For us traveling is an adventure. It takes us to new places or to old familiar places where family and friends await us, greeting us with smiles and promises of fun. Whether we drive to the mountains or fly to the ocean, we do so expecting that we will be amused and entertained. We also know there may be complications and a few small trials. Through it all we have each other and the certainty that the next time, there will always be a next time, will be just as exciting. I just hope it doesn’t involve arriving at one in the morning.