Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Why urban families make great travelers*

I've been an absentee blogger lately, partly because I have a baby who rarely naps, partly because I recently found a couple of mommy groups (yay!), but mostly because I've been busy planning our upcoming trip to, wait for it, Ireland! We're pretty excited. It will be our first big trip since we went to the South of France and Northern Italy two years ago, and our first ever trip as a family of three.

With respect to travel, we've met two kinds of parents: the kind that say that your traveling days are over once you have kids and the kind that say that it's no big deal, you bring them along. We are striving to be in the latter group.

Maybe it's just positive self-talk, but I feel like our downtown condo lifestyle is going to help us while we travel. Here are a few of the reasons why:

We have become experts at traveling light
When you don't live in a big place, you don't accumulate a lot of stuff. And when you don't have a car, you learn to leave the house with only the things you really need. Lately I've been loving our Boba 3G carrier, and have been leaving the stroller home most of the time, so that restricts me to what I can comfortably carry on my back. While we're in Ireland, we'll have a rental car, but it will be really small, so packing light is going to be a necessity.

We are accustomed to being in the company of strangers
When you're in a new place, sometimes you take a wrong turn and you realize you're in a rough part of town, surrounded by some pretty shady characters. That's not a problem for us, we practically live on that street now. Our neighborhood is not the sterile, homogeneous environment you might find in the 'burbs. When we leave home, we're never quite sure what or who we will see, and that can be part of the fun. 

We don't shy away from having our baby out in public
Although our neighbourhood does have its warts, overall it's a beautiful area where people from all over the city congregate to shop, eat and just wander the streets. We don't stay out as late and we don't go anywhere to fancy, but overall having a baby hasn't slowed us down in terms of getting out. We're accustomed to having him in restaurants and museums, and he is accustomed to falling asleep or waking up somewhere he's never been before.

It remains to be seen whether our son will travel well or it will be a colossal failure never to be attempted again, but I'm very hopeful and I think I'm going into to it with the right frame of mind. Just like at home, it's best not to dwell on what you can't do because you have a baby and instead focus on all the fun you can have with a baby in tow. This will be our first big trip as a family, and for that reason alone--being together as a family--it's going to be wonderful. 

*By no means am I suggesting that families from other kinds of neighbourhoods are not great travellers, I just don't have any first hand knowledge. I'm sure there is a list of why suburban families are great travellers, why rural families are great travellers, etc. 

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