Wanderlust. It’s like a drug. I encountered my first dose while living abroad at age 18 when I was introduced to a completely different culture, language, cuisine and fell in love. That was a crazy year and it opened me up to everything and made me realize how much the world had to offer me. I would spend the next 10 years exploring as much of the world as I could, spending a year in London, traveling around Europe, living in Israel and ending up in NYC.
And then I had kids. And believe me, having kids has not deterred my love of travel. We’ve taken our kids to Europe, traveled through Israel, toured the ruins in Mexico, explored the French country side and Riviera, driven through volcanic lava in Iceland and so much more. My kids have passports filled with interesting stamps and memories that will take them through life.
But now nine years into parenthood, I’m ready for an adventure. And I want to have one on my own. As much as I love traveling with my kids, I need some time to myself. To be able to roam through alley ways, nip into cafes and stay for hours if I choose to, go to concerts or old movies at night, take long boat rides, hike up mountains, see everything and follow a guide book if I so choose to. Or just hang out with the locals and wander through markets. Take photos, speak to the natives, find out how they live and see if there is anything I can do to help them live better upon returning to America. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I need to do.
So, I am. Tomorrow I’m heading to Hong Kong for a few nights and then to Vietnam for a week. It’s not the ideal amount of time I’d like to spend in another country, especially one as vast and interesting, but I have a lot to come back to. A family to take care of, a business to run, a life that requires my presence.
My family is very supportive. We’ve got our plans in control. We all know things may slide while I’m away, but we’ve got our bases covered and what will be will be. We’ve been planning my departure for several months and everyone is ready. I’ll leave lists which will ease the process as much as possible, but I’ve learned over the last few years that it’s okay for things to slip while I’m away. My kids may not make it to Hebrew School one day. They might wear mis-matched socks. As long as they are safe, warm (it’s freezing in NY) and happy, that’s all that matters.
But every time I tell someone I’m headed on a solo adventure, they immediately assume I’m traveling on business and how the heck am I leaving my kids? How can I not be traveling with my husband, and instead, a good girl friend who live across the country? Why is it so shocking, I ask myself, and why is it so unusual? My kids are now old enough that I know they will be fine. More than fine. Nothing will change and when I return, we’ll reunite and believe me, it will be a wonderful reunion. But then life will go on and my trip will become a distant memory.
But it will be my memory of a time where I ventured into the orbit to explore another culture far, far away and traveled the way I wanted to.
And it will be mine.
How have you managed to maintain your passions since having kids? I’d love to know – please comment below.