Having a Child Doesn’t Have to Stop You From Travelling
Before my daughter was born, I had no prior experience with children or babies. (Did you know: I never actually held a baby until my daughter was born — I know it sounds kind of sweet, but it was really because I was nervous and never felt comfortable enough to hold something so tiny and breakable). What seemed to scare me about children was that, on the surface, it seemed so difficult. I was afraid that having a child would somehow diminish my quality of life as an adult.
There is no shortage of parents out there who make it their job to tell you to prepare for the worst:
[blockquote]”Say goodbye to your partner, because once you have a kid, you’ll never go on a date again!”[/blockquote]
…apparently having a child destroys your ability to spend quality time with your lover.
“Get your sleep in now, because you won’t have any once your baby comes.”
…wait a minute — you can “save up” sleep for the future?
“It’s very hard to travel with a child.”
…depending on your child and your circumstance, this may be the case. With Ayla, she’s actually better on planes than in cars because she can walk around and interact with people.
“Having a child costs one million dollars.”
…if somebody were to tell you that your life would cost you over $6 million (see how much your lifestyle will cost here), are you supposed to just forego living? Life can and will be expensive in the long run, but does that just mean you shouldn’t live? It’s not like somebody hands you a $1 million invoice when you deliver a child.
However, over the past year I’ve realized something profound: the parents who look like they’re unhappy, the parents who’ve tried to convince me that having a kid will diminish my quality of life — they’re not me. I’m a different person, our family unit functions differently than those families, we have different priorities, different values, different rules.
Because of this realization, “say goodbye to your partner”, and “say goodbye to your money” became void concepts, or atleast not as drastic as I once feared them to be.
But there was one thing that I was a little afraid of: I was afraid that having a child would take away my freedom to travel.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Ayla changed everything, and we sometimes look back on when we didn’t have a child and get frustrated that we complained about the dumbest things.
We didn’t realize how easy travel was before we had Ayla. How about a 12-hour travel day from Lethbridge to Honolulu? You can certainly forget about sleeping, or reading a book (ha!) — you are now required to be “on” and alert for the entire trip. For your own sanity, it’s your job to keep that baby happy. Door to door, mi amigos.
However, with all of the travelling we’ve done over the past year with Ayla (Lethbridge – Yellowknife – Honolulu – San Francisco – Calgary – St. John’s – Calgary) we’ve been lucky; she is quite a good traveller and we haven’t had any major issues while travelling with her.
It’s certainly a challenge and an adventure, to say the least. But if you know anything about me, I like challenges and adventures.
Simple advice from a new dad
If I have any advice for first-time parents, it would be: don’t stress about what you see other parents doing or not doing, because you’re different, and you’ll be a different parent — unless you want to be the same. If something is important to you — like travelling — then make it a priority.
If it’s a priority, having a baby really won’t change that — you just may have to accept new challenges along the way.
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