Perfect Moment Makers recently caught up with our good friend, Carrie to do a guest spot for our blog in a new series we are calling “My Life & Travels”. Carrie is a teacher, an anthropologist, an adventurer and a mom. As a card-carrying world traveler, Carrie offered her experiences and best advice on exploring the many corners of the earth with a toddler. We’re excited to share part 2 of our conversation with Carrie!
If you’d like to read part 1 of our conversation with Carrie, see our previous post!
PMM: How would you recommend people getting the most out of their vacation?
Carrie: Understand that it is YOUR trip. While you can get all of the advice in the world make sure that you have a good time. Enjoy getting lost. Accept that the restaurant that your friends’ recommended has been closed by the health department. Worrying that you aren’t doing what you are supposed to be doing will not a good vacation make. Roll with the punches and move on.
My aunt once gave me some advice about bargaining. She said, first, she always assumes whatever she is buying is a fake. Next, she picks a price she is happy with and never goes above it. Someone will always get a cheaper price and someone will always pay more, but if you are happy with what you got… real or not, that’s all that matters. Vacations are very similar. Someone is going to have had a better time and someone will have hated the same location. As long as you did the things you wanted, as long as you had fun, as long as you saw and ate what you wanted the vacation was a success.
PMM: What general advice can you share about traveling with children?
Carrie: See the previous response about making the most out of your vacation. Inevitably, the one day that you need junior to take a nap he will be up the previous night and not sleep a wink during the day. Be flexible. Change your plans and allow room to shift things around. Be realistic about how much you can get done in a day if you have small legs that are trying to walk with you. It is certainly less than a group of adults will accomplish. Plan down time for the kids. Don’t stay in a hotel with a great pool and then not leave time for a splash, even if you are in Paris.
PMM: What has changed about the way you travel now that you have a child?
Carrie: I worry more. I worry about our physical safety. I worry that one or all of us will be sick and need medical care. I worry that we will be caught up in something (protest, alien attack, coup) and not be able to leave. Before we had kids we would head out to anyplace we could get a cheap fare. Getting a cheap fare usually meant putting up with questionable transportation, little English spoken, political unrest, unidentified food and barely recognizable health services. Now I think about things and plan more.
Recently we had tickets booked to travel to Bahrain. Then, the Bahrainis started protesting as the Arab Spring took hold. We watched the news, we talked to friends who were traveling there for work, we weighed everything and decided even though we were planning on staying at the resort we couldn’t put our little one in harms way. Before kids, we would have gone for the weekend.
PMM: What’s the best thing about traveling with your daughter?
Carrie: Seeing the world through her eyes and knowing that some day, whether she actually remembers being there or not, she will show her kids the pictures. She can say I was there. I did that. I love to look at baby Evie on the Great Wall and in the Forbidden City. I have amazing pictures of her playing in Roman ruins and riding a donkey in Jordan. She has more stamps in her baby passport than most people in the world will get in their lifetime. And she doesn’t care. It’s all fun and new. It’s all just another place to climb and play and see and touch. She just knows that some things are far and some things are close… but that doesn’t matter. We can get there. It makes all the hassle, and traveling with an almost 4 year old is often a hassle, worth it.
It makes you remember why you travel. It just isn’t worth it if you are simply trying to mark this place and that place off some imaginary bucket list. You have to experience it. You have to see it like a child. Love it for the smiles and the ice cream cones and the kittens that play with you. The walk that you took one evening, or the dinner where the kids discovered a love for Moules Frite. You have to put the planning and the money and the frustration aside… because Evie doesn’t know what went into the trip, she just knows how to make it fun.
We’d love your thoughts on our new series, please let us know in the comments! Watch for future installments of this new and exciting series.