“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”― Anita Desai
I didn’t think about making New Years Resolutions because everything that I come up with leads to one underlying goal, and that is to ultimately achieve happiness. I am one of those people that gets easily irritated. Part of the problem is that I pile on a lot of stuff on my plate, and it ends up overwhelming me to the point where I just want to throw my hands up and quit at life. I am also one of those hard headed type that prefer things to be done in a particular way and rarely am I just willing to be flexible. I liked to imagine that I am carefree and easygoing but, truth be told, I absolutely hate not having control.
In 2015, I started doing monthly reflections whereas I just pick something that I did each month to acknowledge so that I am reminded that my life is actually pretty great. That was the year that I took a big trip to Norway with my sister and got the opportunity to sit on the pulpit rock with only three other people. That was the start of my wanderlust dream. I thought traveling was what would make me happy, and while that’s true — I also think how I spend my time is what is truly significant.
A couple of years ago, I would take my traveling to another country or a different state without my son. It served more as an opportunity to have some “mommy-free time.” As my son got older, it started becoming increasingly more difficult to leave him behind, and therefore I didn’t think that I could possibly travel as much as I would like. The first time we did a weekend getaway with my son was the summer when we took a trip up to Maine. We stayed at this beautiful hotel and attempted to go to these fancy restaurants but my three-yr-old was acting like a typical toddler: loud, emotional, and defiant. I was so irritated that I was not having as much fun as I had hoped. I soon learned that when you’re traveling with a child, flexibility is key. A small child is going to do what they do best and that’s being children. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that perhaps going to a city such as New Orleans would not be as fun because all we would do is walk around a city and sightsee different shopettes, and admiring statues. Dining at a nice place would be lovely but it’s very tough to expect children to have fun, and truthfully, I was quite selfish when I demanded my son to behave accordingly as I dragged him from one eatery to the next. My voice became a constant nagging of “stop running!” “be quiet” “sit still” and “why can’t you just listen?” It wasn’t fair for him and it was ruining what’s meant to be a relaxing time.
I had to start thinking, “how can I continue my wanderlust needs while making it fun for my child?” Often times, I feel that parents either just choose not to travel with their children or they compromise in a sense that is always less beneficial for one over the other. You don’t have to go stand in long lines at Disney just so that your child can have an enjoyable vacation! So I started reading up on different travel ideas, and ways in which you can connect children with nature. Which brings me back to Norway. We planned a trip back to Norway because we have family here, but also wanted to give this an opportunity to really showcase a different approach to family traveling.
We’ve only been in Norway for two days and so far my son has had a wonderful time throwing rocks into the river that connects city that I was born in by a bridge. He particularly enjoyed being able to have the freedom to run all over the place without me yelling at him to ‘stop.’ The park is much different here in Norway than it is back in the States. He is exposed to the Norwegian language and thanks to playing with his cousins, he has already picked up a few words. He also got to stand on top of a frozen lake for a bit while we snagged some scenic shots of the last sunset in 2016. I think once I changed my perspective on what traveling ‘should be’ and switched my mindset to just thinking of something that is fun and easy for the family — it became less of a disappointing stress factor and more of a challenging but equally rewarding experience. Stay tuned for my trip itinerary.