There are two kinds of travel. Only two. Travel with kids and travel without. I’m a fan of the latter. Traveling with kids is a lot like how I imagine a circus going wheels up and trekking to the next town. There’s snacks to consider, sleep schedules, encounters with wacko strangers—and then of course entertaining them during long boring car, plane, or train rides.
The last two weeks my husband and I remembered what it was like to travel sans kids. We took a plane to London (a ten hour flight) and eyed each other when we’d come across some obstacle we knew our kids wouldn’t have faired well with. First it was the plane food (they would not have liked anything served), then we knew they’d never have slept well in the tiny seats, and the amount of walking required to get to various destinations would have been a battle.
Once that feeling of comparing every moment to child-filled travel wore off we experienced a state of travel nirvana.
Travel nirvana is when you realize you can do anything you wish. I plotted parts of a novel, made corrections on stories, and edited a novel on the plane ride to London. I read a whole book on the plane ride back. Every breath I took became less tight, every step less heavy. We didn’t worry about getting lost, because we had plenty of time to get there.
And when I got there they had glitter toilets. If ever I felt the decadence of travel, it was sitting on this designer throne. I bet this looks exactly like the Queen’s.
Some people hate to travel, childless or not. There are lots of reasons to be annoyed.
Long lines? Yep. But I could daydream new plots and watch people for ideas.
Yelling, screaming kids? Sure, but they’re not my kids.
Rude pushy, shovey people? I worked hard to avoid them, but when I couldn’t they left my mind as quick as they appeared. It’s not like I’d have to deal with them ever again. So I consoled myself with breathtaking views of Eastern Wales, walled cities, and thousand-year old churches.
I touched an arch that was a thousand years old. And don’t tell anyone, but I snuck a few feels of some old things in a museum too. It said “don’t touch” if my kids where watching I’d have probably behaved. Probably.
I rode a boat in a canal built by the Romans. I walked the path from the British Museum to the flat where I’d lived over a decade ago. It was a lot like a salmon swimming upstream to spawn—we remembered the way as if we’d never left. And sure, my flat was torn down and luxury apartments were being built in its place, but our favorite restaurants were still there. It tasted awesome.
After the trip was over, we flew home. We thought of all the things our kids would have loved to see, which is how we knew it was the right amount of time to be gone when we started missing them. Next time we go on a trip it will be with them.
Even though we don’t always hit the travel nirvana state with children, when they are there they bring a special energy with them. A few times we longed for that energy.
Until we’d see a tantruming kid, then we’d get over that feeling quick.
I love comments! Every time you post a comment a wary traveler will reach a higher state of actualization.