Two years ago, I wrote a post about married travel. At the time, I was just getting back from a trip to Greece and Istanbul. What I knew then is that we were starting down the road to having kids, and I had no idea where that would lead. I spent much of the trip pawing through Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, trying to decide if having kids was a good idea in the first place (distressingly, I found the “Why You Shouldn’t Have Children” chapter much more compelling than the “Why You Should Have Children” chapter, though now I see myself in both of them). I spent another chunk of the trip wondering if we had kids, if we’d ever travel again.
What I know now is this: I’m so glad we took that trip to Greece and Turkey. (And the trip before that, and the trip before that, and the trip before that.) As much as we were stretching our financial resources at the time, the moment pictured above is a treasure. I remember my hair wet from a late afternoon shower, the light of the setting sun on my back, heading down into town via insane alleyways with my husband in tow, laughing as we drank ouzo on the back deck of a gay bar, and watching the sun set over the water. That’s a moment we’ll always have, and one we can’t quite go back to. Now, when we’re out alone, we know there is a third who’s not with us. And part of our heart is always with him. In many ways it’s better, but it’s also just different.
What I also know now is that we just got the baby’s passport in the mail. (And you have not seen adorable until you have seen an infant passport.) When it arrived, we handed it to him to let him have a celebratory chew, before tucking it away for safekeeping. I know now that the kid is usually great on flights. At nine months, he’s now taken ten of them, and unlike me he’s not fazed by them in the slightest. And while flights don’t bother him, I know that he often needs a little extra love during the disruption of travel, and that home is his favorite place in the world. I also don’t know how international travel with an exactly-one-year-old will be. But I know we’re hardly going to be the first people to take our baby on an international flight, and we’re committed to trying it.
Travel is important to me. It’s important because it’s something I thought I would never be able to do and I pulled off anyway. It’s important because when I was a kid, I didn’t know anyone with a passport, and now my passport is full of stamps. It’s important because even though I didn’t leave the state of California till I was fourteen, my kid left at eight weeks, and (God willing) will leave the country just before his first birthday. All of that is why I read 36 Hours, Europe while I endlessly nursed an infant—dreaming of trips to Berlin at the same time I wished for being able to sleep long enough to actually dream again.
So today, at the end of risk month, and right before Labor Day, I want to talk about travel. Travel has been the biggest risk of my adult life. But it’s also one of the most fun conversations to have. Two years ago, when I talked about why married travel was important to me, and the risks I’d taken to make it happen, one of the most-fun-ever threads broke out on APW, and after a zillion recommendations, I decided we had to go to Berlin one day soon.
Let’s talk. Are you traveling? Where? (Small trips and big trips, please. These days, my preferred kind of trip is a nap-in-the-car distance away.) What is your relationship to travel? Did you grow up doing it? Did you start as an adult? Are you working up the nerve to start now? Do you hate travel and love staying home? Has travel been part of your marriage? And who the hell is traveling with kids, and what tips do you have to swap?
Travel is something I’ll never take for granted, and never stop being grateful for. It’s one of the biggest risks I’ve taken (far scarier for me than owning my own business), and it’s something I’m hungry for other people’s perspectives on. Let’s dive in.
Photo from Meg’s personal collection