This guest post is from Laci Hill. Laci is a mom and an avid traveler. See her travel tips below. You can follow Laci's journey on Instagram (@globalmotherhood).
I remember two conflicting emotions when we found out we were pregnant with our first baby, our son, Anchor. I was ecstatic, as we had tried for three years to conceive after a miscarriage. The accompanying strong feeling, however, was uncertainty. We had spent two years living in Asia already, flying internationally every six weeks or more, driving, sailing, or even walking to very remote villages in extreme climates; the idea of doing this with a baby had me instantly overwhelmed. Would literally everything change about our life after welcoming our greatly expected little one?
After months of processing these feelings, I came to a conclusion that was probably my greatest lesson of motherhood yet: our children need parents who are fully themselves in order to become the little world-changers they are destined to be. So, we decided we were going to keep going strong and change our pace as needed in specific seasons or moments. We were going to keep traveling and prepare to do this with a baby. Many people warned us that this was not possible, that adventure simply ends once you become a parent and that this change was all a part of the sacrifice of motherhood. Our response to them was a further steeling of our will to continue pursuing the deep inner call of our life into the wild. We would not be dissuaded.
The first baby thing I bought was a Guava Family Lotus Everywhere Crib
. Children need consistency, things they can always depend on to be the same, their north stars. Parents are obviously two major constants in a child's life, but because Anchor's environment would be regularly changing (often from one extreme to another: desert to high mountains, tent to five star hotel, etc.) we felt he needed a place he could rest or retreat to that never changed. So we decided to forego a traditional wooden cot and use a travel crib both at home and on the road. Buying the Lotus was probably one of our biggest parenting wins of all nineteen months of his life. Anchor has been to eleven countries (many of them multiple times), on over 75 flights (too many to even count, honestly), traveled on trains, planes, automobiles, camels, and horse-drawn carriages... You know what has traveled with him on every trip? That crib. From bassinet to cot, to unzipped toddler bed, the Lotus has been the perfect safe-haven. We've destroyed many a diaper bag, stroller, baby gear of every kind... But the Lotus will not die. It looks almost as new as the day we bought it! We are now pregnant with baby number two and I've begun to unpack the bassinet to wash and ready it for another tiny explorer. Who knew that the bed I bought as a comfort for my child would become one of the most consistent anchors for myself in motherhood as I travel the globe with my babes...
This brings me to a few tips for traveling with young ones:
1. Buy the Right Gear: There's a Norwegian saying, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." I feel this applies to any environment. We've been on a journey to find the perfect baby items that can handle the daily mundane tasks like grocery shopping and
going to the park, as well as the extreme and maybe less common situations of camping out in a nomad's tent in Tibet. For us, the latter are our more common experiences, but having the right gear makes all the difference in seamlessly transitioning from one environment to another.
2. Relax and Enjoy the Ride: Children take cues from their parents. They aren't naturally fussy little dictators, stressed out by any tiny little change in environment or schedule unless you've built them to be that way. So, when you're boarding a long flight with your toddler, relax and act like it's totally a normal life experience. Determine to take deep breaths, to laugh instead of tensing up, to let messes happen at dinner, to care more for your child than for the experience of other passengers. And if other people get upset because your baby can't handle the changes in air pressure, or doesn't want to buckle their seatbelt for takeoff or landing, or is simply being a normal human child (all of these things equal making noise of some sort); just consider it karma, payback on behalf of their parents for all the times they raised hell as a grom.
3. Lastly, Travel Often and Travel Early: The earlier and more often you adventure with your kids, the sooner they adjust (and the sooner you adjust) to and even develop a taste for a nomadic lifestyle. Our son has been traveling regularly since he was in the womb and the whirring of a plane engine is as normal to him as riding in a car is for most children. As a parent, you decide your kids' natural habitat; so make those choices early on and build into them a taste for the wild. And if traveling early and often is simply not in the cards for your tribe, just refer to tips 1 & 2 whenever you do get the chance to go.