We published this piece in Newfoundland Quarterly’s Summer 2013 issue. NQ is a fantastic publication! We thought it would be fun to publish some excepts from our article on the Trip For Three blog.
Expecting couples are given more advice than they could possibly handle. Well-meaning family, friends, and strangers on the street deliver pearls of wisdom on everything from sleep to feeding to diaper changes. The underlying theme to all this advice, whether spoken aloud or an implied understanding, is this: once you have a child, your life will change irrevocably.
And in many ways this is true. Late Friday evenings and lazy Saturday mornings are replaced with nightly marathon nursing sessions and multiple wakings to change and soothe. Leisurely meals become quick events where the baby is traded from one parent to the other as each tries to eat. Boredom becomes something you can barely remember and a concept you can no longer relate to. Coping and survival become the norm, as it feels as though what was your former life has been put on hold.
But the other truth we have discovered is that, regardless of how much does change in your life, the core things that you enjoy remain the same. For us, that includes travel.
Although the daily grind with a baby might make planning a trip to a foreign country seem remote, if not impossible, we are testimony that this need not be the case.
We learned that bringing the baby along on a trip is no different from anything else a new parent must adapt to. You simply figure out what you want to do, and adjust it to ensure that your new addition can comfortably and happily tag along.
We were bitten by the travel bug fifteen years ago when we acted upon a rash impulse and ran off to Asia to teach ESL in Taiwan for a year. One year led to a second in South Korea; and, upon our return to Newfoundland in 2000, our unspoken agreement was that we would incorporate travel as much as we could into our life together. And this is what we did, our plans unimpeded for the better part of a decade.
In the middle of planning a trip to Kenya in 2007, we learned that we were expecting our son. We then found out that the required travel vaccines were unsafe for a developing fetus and narrowly missed losing expensive deposits on a safari. So we changed our plan. We had never had to alter our destination before, and our sense of travel spontaneity was called into question. We began to wonder whether we would be able to travel after the baby was born.
Plan B took us to Ireland and through Eastern Europe, on what we figured was our one last travel fling for the foreseeable future. If travelling with a pregnant woman meant adjusting to nausea, fatigue and heat intolerance, we figured things would be much more difficult on this kind of trip with a baby.