Traveling Insanity

Are you crazy?
This is the question that we hear most often when we are talking about an upcoming family trip or even when we are boarding the plane to our vacation spot with our two young children.
It all started when my husband and I decided to have kids.  With our pre-child rose-colored glasses working in overdrive, we vowed to travel often as a family, assuming our children would just merrily go along with whatever we had planned.  Amazingly, we have lived up to that promise.  Our children have been on virtually every vacation we have taken.  
But it is a bit crazy.  Sometimes when we are planning trips and having to get early hepatitis shots for our children, buying gallons of sunblock or scrambling for mosquito sprays that work but are safe, I wonder what the heck we are doing.  But then, when we arrive at our destination and we get down to the business of having fun, it is easy to remember why we do it.
And for every trip we have taken, there are several moments that would not have happened if our children hadn’t been there.  One of my favorite experiences was an afternoon spent at a crèche in Lymington in southern England.  It was raining and my son and I needed a place to go and hang out until the rain passed.   I saw a number of mothers with small children heading for a church, which advertised a daily crèche (play group).  So, we asked if we could join them and for 50 pence, my son and I played with a roomful of toys, drank tea (me) and juice (him), and sang songs and danced with the local moms’ group.   
My son has also been the recipient of a number of interesting souvenirs from people with a soft spot for kids.  In England, a rather gruff instructor at my husband’s training facility gave our son a small toy ship.  In Roatan, a complete stranger bought my son a light-up ball to play with and in Maui, a family ending their vacation gave us their beach toys.  All were completely unexpected, but much appreciated.      
Even more remarkable are the friends we have made.  On our recent trip to French Polynesia, we met a couple from Turkey who just adored our son.  We saw them frequently during our stay and ended up exchanging contact information with them.  They even offered to give us a tour of Istanbul when we go.  (We plan to take them up on it very soon.)     
Another interesting phenomenon is the number of mothers (and fathers) that come up to us and express sadness and guilt over leaving their children at home.  These are the people that we think are crazy.  They are the ones that should be footloose and fancy-free.  But hey, I guess we are all a little nuts!    
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