Hi, I’m Jen. I’d say I’m from Pennsylvania, but I haven’t lived there for nearly 15 years (no need to be exact with numbers; I don’t need to date myself). I’ve moved to Maryland, Washington DC, Texas, and Brooklyn. Recently, I’ve moved with my little family of five (minus the animals) out of the city to Westchester, NY. And this is the place I call home.
Like a lot of couples, my husband and I traveled as often as we could, for as long as we could, before we had children. We slept on a junk in Halong Bay Vietnam, rode camels in the Australian outback, celebrated New Years in Iceland (and Zurich and Buenos Aires). We hiked in Croatia and got engaged in Stratford Upon Avon. Needless to say, we were on the move. Then we had kids.
Everyone told us it’d be hard to travel with children. We heard our lifestyle would change (and oh it certainly has), but by 5 weeks I had my daughter on her first flight (sure it was to visit her Grammy in Florida). I remember the flight attendant’s reaction to seeing my daughter. She looked frightened. She looked tired. She looked impatient. She asked me why. Why had I brought this tiny human onto the plane? Why wouldn’t I wait until she was older? And the answer is that I honestly had no choice. Circumstances were that my mother needed me and she needed her granddaughter. That started a year of constant travel. My daughter and I flew monthly. Sometimes with my husband. Sometimes alone. Sometimes alone with our small dog in tow. But we did it. And it wasn’t so bad. And we’ve never looked back.
With three kids five and under, my husband and I have still managed to travel the US and other countries around the world. We’ve conquered 18 hour flights and three day car rides. We’ve made some mistakes, but we haven’t let it stop us. Sometimes when I tell friends or acquaintances about a trip we’ve done or will do, I see that same reaction from the first flight attendant: shock, horror, fear, awe. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Just start. Hopefully you can take what we’ve learned to make your trips, whether big or small, on a plane or car, in summer or winter, as stress-free as possible (because let’s face it, with kids, there will always be a little stress (and that may be one of the most important things to know)).