I’ve written about it before, having children did not stop me from wanting to travel. The time I told my husband I’m going to visit my parents in the Philippines (we were living in Japan that time) bringing a barely year old baby, he thought I was crazy and was only asking for unnecessary extra challenge in my life since he will not be there to support me (because of yeah, work commitments). My friends thought it was not time to travel yet, the baby won’t remember it anyway so could be a waste but I still believe that traveling with small kids is still worth it.
My daughter Pristine first traveled with me while she was still on the boob. It could sound horrifying to other moms but really, traveling with a baby is easier than traveling with a toddler. The toddler could run and you need to do some chasing or invest in a safety harness
leash (gasp) but a baby is safely tucked with you. When a toddler is hungry, you need to find an available cafe/eatery. A (breastfed) baby has access to food 24/7 – mommy mobile cafeteria for the win!
The moment my baby was ready to fly and we were able to do so financially and physically, I brought her along and years after that hoping that by exposing her to these amazing experiences she’d love traveling as much as I do, and by her early teens we could go off and have some real adventures.
I did not have to wait till she is in her teens. Last year before she turned 12, we were off to Prague together, alone for the first time.
Traveling – we know it could make or break relationships. I didn’t know what to expect traveling with her and I lowered my expectations because after all, she is just a child. What if we she/we both hated it and it would be the first and last? Thankfully, long story short, we did ok!
And here are 7 reasons why I loved traveling with her and look forward to more.
1. She is already self-sufficient and I don’t need to wipe her butt.
She was a few weeks shy of turning 12 when we first traveled alone together a few months ago. She can pack her own things, take care of herself, and because she’s past the toddler stage, I don’t have to worry about diapers (no more butt wiping, yay!), milk bottles, breastfeeding in public, look for baby friendly restaurants and most importantly, I don’t have to carry her around when she’s tired or sleepy.
2. She is eager to learn and learns fast.
I encourage her to read subway and metro maps and show her how to buy tickets using foreign currency. She quickly picks it up and immediately wants to try to do it by herself. She even lets me sleep on the train while she looks out if it’s already our stop.
And with that confidence, I feel that travel also makes her a little (street) smarter.
I don’t want a child who is too much into books (there’s nothing wrong with that) alone and don’t know how to survive in the streets when the situation calls for. I want my child/children to be street smart. To be able to stroll in a new city and not become a victim of pickpocket,etc. To be able to navigate a new city using maps, common sense and most especially, guts.
3. She sees things with fresh eyes.
In the eyes of a child, everything is new. They look at things knowing they will find something new and different every time they look. Looking at her reminds me to become more like a child at times, no matter how old I become.
4. She’s always curious.
Pristine had been my little inquisitor way back then.She can ask a million questions. You think she’s through and then she’s got another million. I admit, I sometimes get tired listening to her seemingly endless banter when my brains turn into mental mush at the end of a long day but I know I should be thankful, she opens up with me, is honest and don’t keep things to herself only.
She asked a lot of questions when we were in Prague. I readied myself for answers.
5. She’s genuinely happy to go to new places.
I’ll let the photos do the talking!
6. Someone is available to take photos of me!
I don’t have to pull out a selfie stick (I don’t have any yet) or ask strangers to take photos of me when I’m with her. She’s more than eager to take photos of me, including those I am clueless about.
7. Someone is there to comfort me.
Pristine’s empathy and concern for me is unbelievable. She is that person who can laugh when I laugh and cry when I cry. When I made several epic fails even before our plane took off from Dubai, she comforted me in ways I couldn’t imagine a 12 year old would do to an adult. Here’s a thing about Pristine, if you’re sad, she will do anything in her power to lift you up. Your problems are her problems.
Also? She calms me when I freak out during turbulence.
Confession: I love to travel but still have fear of flying.
Travelling in a group can be fun and solo travel can be one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences to have. But sometimes it’s also good to travel is just with one other person. But finding a travel buddy who’s compatible with you can be difficult. I’m glad I found mine in my daughter.
All the time we were in Prague, I dragged her everywhere and she did not complain except for one thing – her shoes were not keeping up with all the walking on our last day. Not her fault. Her mother was not wise enough to invest in good shoes (boo).
Note to moms: don’t buy cheap kids boots from Carrefour, LOL.
If there’s one thing I am thankful for, for having a baby at 27, it is being able to enjoy having a travel buddy before 40 when my knees are still young and strong enough to explore the world. And my travel buddy doesn’t complain with all the walking we do!
My husband is my ultimate travel buddy and now we bring our boys along for the ride, they are a lot younger though at 3 and 1, I think a love to travel is an admirable thing and I want to give this to my boys xx #uaemombloggers
Family travel with small kids is definitely challenging but it’s precious experience for everyone. Love it.
I think she’s at that wonderful age where she can truly enjoy the finer joys of travel. Lucky you!
Yeah, perfect age and hopefully it will just get better from here.
Wow Grace, it was lovely reading this post. Pristine is adorable, masha Allah. We share something in common- I’d love to travel too and I am afraid of flying.
Glad to know I am not alone. I wish to be braver as I get older but I think it’s the opposite!
Children are so well-traveled these days – especially expat children. Lovely to see how well Pristine is such a great travel buddy!
They are so lucky!
I certainly looking fwd to have my precious gal be my travel buddy soon like you! She’s now my best shopping companion…we can shop for hours for gal stuff without worried about the “bored” eyes (guys) looking at us 🙂
Thx for sharing your lovely experience with your 12 yr old…prep me in advance for the upcoming experience i could have with my 10 yr old 🙂
The bond between mother and daughter is a gift. Enjoy your time with your daughter too!
that note to moms cracked me up! seriously. i love your sense of humour. and yeah, i didn’t realise how important investing in good shoes were until i had to walk everywhere and my poor feet bore the brunt. painful lesson, for sure!
It was definitely lesson learned the painful way!