This month’s travel link up hosted by the amazing Follow Your Sunshine, Adventures of a London Kiwi SilverSpoon London and Eppie is “Journeys”. These journeys can be figurative, literal or metaphysical.
Actual Journeys I’ve Taken
I have to admit I was a bit stumped to start with. I thought about it for a while after the girls let us know the topic. I’ve taken lots of journeys of all kinds in my life. Some have been more memorable than others I guess!Baby travels
When I was 3 months old my parents took me to the US to start a new life. I guess you could say that was the start of my travel addiction journey haha.
Life changing experience
At aged 10 my mum took my brother and I to live in Australia for a year. That was a pivotal moment for me for so many reasons:
- Watching my mother, a single parent, decide to take 2 young kids to the other side of the world for a year continues to inspire me to take risks and challenges
- Living in a different culture for the first time that I really remembered and appreciated opened my eyes to the world. It gave me a deeper understanding about how other people live, about how we all have different backgrounds and experiences. And how it makes the world a better place to have such diversity.
Coming of Age
When I was 18 I took myself off on a gap year. Feeling quite the grown up (even though I know now that I absolutely was not!), I went to teach English in Quito, Ecuador. I lived with a local family who couldn’t have made me feel more welcome if they had adopted me! I hung out with local friends and quickly became fluent in Spanish (which I had just got a D in my A Levels for). After my 6 month placement I went travelling in Chile and Bolivia with a friend for 6 weeks and then to the US for a month.
To say that this experience was life-changing would be the Understatement Of The Century:
- To this day I am still in touch with the people who made me one of their own
- I changed my degree (major) from the very dry European Studies to the more interesting (to me) Iberian and Latin American Studies and loved it
- I took my sandwich year at university and went straight back to Ecuador to have another incredible 9 month experience
- My first job out of uni was a direct result of my company being a business partner of the company who arranged my gap year
- After less than a year of working there, one of my peers invited me to his leaving party… where I met Mr Wanderlust!
Mr and Mrs Wanderlust
Mr Wanderlust and I have had a number of memorable journeys together. From backpacking holidays around Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Borneo… To more conventional holidays in Egypt and Sardinia…To our honeymoon in South Africa and Mozambique…. It quickly became evident that our love for travel would unite us.
Just months after our wedding, we moved to Houston where we would stay for 3 years. I had had the flu for weeks and had been working like a dog to finish up at my job. I couldn’t even enjoy the business class ticket that I had been bought. My grandmother was less than impressed at our decision to move away and famously called Mr W a horror – something I repeated back at him pretty much every time we returned to Houston from a trip home!
Another journey 3 years later took us home with a dog and a new baby. 2 years later we were back on a plane, still with the dog and this time 2 kids in tow moving to the Middle East. That was probably our most traumatic journey yet – leaving family and friends who we had only just got used to having around again and nearly having to leave doggy Wanderlust behind… it wasn’t ideal but here we are and I am so glad we came.
Backpacks to Wet Wipes – The Journey of a Travel Blog
All of those journeys were so so interesting and have made me who I am but they are all very literal. After giving it some thought, I decided (741 words later lol) that I would rather write about the reason why I started this blog.
We’ve Got This!
As such avid travellers before and after meeting, it would be hard to imagine our life as a family not involving travel. Rather rashly, we completed a whistle-stop trip back to Europe with Thing 1 when he was just 9 weeks old. 3 days in London and 4 days in Malta for a wedding before a mammoth trip back to Houston. Everything went without a hitch. Thing 1 was the model baby. He slept at appropriate times. He smiled and gurgled at the appropriate people and was passed around from friend to aunt to grandparent without complaint. My milk supply was abundant to put it mildly (Mr Wanderlust used to call me Daisy) and I already had pumping down to a fine art. (My pump didn’t work which wasn’t ideal to find out about at midnight but thats another story).
We took several more trips that year to Calgary and the Rocky Mountains.
We went to San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, London (again) and Boston.
We finished the year with Christmas in Breckenridge and were left feeling quite smug about travelling with a Thing.
Pride Comes Before…
It went downhill from there. A trip to Turkey involved Mr Wanderlust sitting in the bath and I on the toilet while we waited for Thing 1 to fall asleep. Once asleep we crept back into the room to rink a glass of wine and eat some baclava in almost complete silence and darkness. Its ok, you can laugh. I know we’ve all been there lol. The trip continued to the coast where we had tantrums about baths (there were none) and we changed rooms several times.
A wedding in Croatia involved him eating almost nothing but Ella’s pouches for 5 days and me stressing about his naps. (The wedding was totally worth it though haha). A trip to Tuscany had us at the hospital after a fever for 3 days wouldn’t go away even with medication. Our day trips with carefully planned driving at nap-time backfired when he would take 45 minutes to fall asleep!
Travelling With 2 Things
Thing 2’s arrival did nothing to help things (no pun intended). Our holiday in Gran Canaria had meal times in the middle of nap times and after bedtime. We had a glorious trip to Portugal where it seemed like we might have got the hang of it and it gave me a glimmer of hope….
Our first trip after being expats was to the Maldives. It was well needed after the crazy few months we had had – packing up and moving at short notice, starting a new job, meeting new people, handling sick kids… It had all mounted up and we needed A REST. Even so, after 6 days of doing almost nothing and staying in the same place, Mr Wanderlust and I were feeling pretty bored and under stimulated!
So we decided the next trip should be to India where we bit off way more than we could chew and I ended up asking him to look into getting us home asap after 7 days. We completed the trip but we were both pretty scarred by the whole experience.
Subsequent holidays in Thailand, Greece and Salalah left us similarly frustrated. In Thailand I constantly felt conflicted – I didn’t think we were exploring enough but when we did it was too hot, we hadn’t planned adequately or the Things were tired and hungry.
Greece was a villa holiday with family and so good for hanging out with our favourite people. We were very relaxed but barely left the villa and did very little exploring. I think you need holidays like that but they only work if you are with other people. I couldn’t do a villa holiday for the 4 of us without us all losing the plot!
Athens gave us a glimmer of what could be but still involved the back breaking carrying of Things up the the Pantheon and around the City.
When we moved here, we agreed that I wouldn’t work to start with and that I would start thinking about what I really wanted to do when I grew up. I thought 6 months was a good amount of time for me to think about things and then start taking action. 18 months later I still had NO IDEAS and was feeling frustrated.
Now that I think about it, me writing a travel blog is the obvious thing for me to do. A self confessed travel addict married to another travel addict? Some EPIC holidays under my belt and a bucket list that only gets longer despite us travelling and travelling and travelling? Why would I not have thought of this before? Probably because I was so discouraged by the holidays we had been having. I had resigned myself to staying in a villa or a resort for the entire duration of our trips and never seeing the reality of the places we were visiting.
The Journey of a Travel Blog
And then came Bali. Bali was the turning point. We weren’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we were actually in it! Bali was where we found the balance and where I realised that we could have holidays that worked for all of us. The trip became the inspiration for the blog and balance became the blue print that we would use for all future holidays.
I’m not saying we have it all down. But ever since then we have a much better idea about what works for us and what doesn’t. Holidays are fun for the Things and for us again.
And that’s a good place to be.