I love to travel. I have several future trips planned out in my head. Some of the trips are with my son and others are solo trips that I want to do when he gets older. My parents did not travel a lot, but even as a kid, I would day dream about seeing faraway places. In my twenties, I traveled several places alone. My mom was convinced that I was doing this to make her worry. Not true, I wanted to see new places the way I wanted to see them - walking around, getting lost, writing in my journal, reading a book and blending in with the locals.
Now here I am a single mother with a preschooler. My travel is limited to a 6-hour trip radius.. It's important to me that my son learn how to travel so when I can work out the funds, I take him places. Traveling has so much teach us - waiting, changing your perspective, adjusting, etc. The only way to learn to travel is to do it.
This summer, I took my son on a 6-hour train ride to DC. Our hotel was a 10-minute walk from the train station. We explored the National mall, saw museums, etc. It's been over a month and he is still asking about our next train ride. He slept 4 hours of the journey both ways. I worried a bit before the trip that he was not going to handle this well and it turns out that he did it better than me.
Car rides to the beach before now have been awful with my son. After three hours of being strapped down to a car seat, my son would literally start losing his mind - shouting, kicking, etc. This year, it's like he has figured it out and to confess, so have I. I surround him now with his favorite things and take advantage of those moments when he falls asleep.
More travel awaits us in the future. Right now, I just hope that he masters potty training so that we can end the diaper packing part of the trip. We talk about riding in a plane to California, riding another train somewhere else, riding a big boat on the water and possibly a submarine.
But, let me be honest. Traveling with a kid is scary. I try to convince another adult to come with us if possible so that I can go to the bathroom or run to the store for something without having to take him with me. Kids get very attached to routine foods which can be hard to find when you travel. Everything new has to be touched and explained. But, it's not all scary. Kids make you slow down and enjoy the trip in a different way. For example, in DC, I could tell that he was getting tired after lunch. So instead of rolling back to the hotel room, we made a picnic beside some food trucks and took our time.
When you have a kid - adopted, not adopted, single, not single, whatever, promise me that you will teach your kid how to travel. I promise that you will not regret it.