To my tiny travel companion:
These past two years have been a wild ride, haven’t they, Gemma?
Sometimes it takes all of our energy just to get out of the house, washed and dressed, and get anywhere on time.
And yet we made it all the way to Japan! And Jamaica and Croatia and Amsterdam and many other places that involve long flights and surprise snacks and epic jet-lag.
I traveled a lot before you were born. But I started late and clumsily. I always thought it would be such a gift to expose a person to a variety of environments and foods and living conditions at a very young age.
I read a story once from a traveler I admire, about how to raise world-curious kids. Pack well, don’t be afraid of challenge, focus on fun, and force yourself to see the value and humor in travel fiascos, she wrote.
Turns out that’s pretty good travel advice. Though it’s not always pleasant to take a long-haul flight with babe in arms, and it’s not necessarily relaxing to road trip with a toddler, it’s all worth it when you show me how you are making sense of the world through your experiences. You’ve made me slow down and appreciate European playgrounds (no matter the weather), public modes of transport, roadside diners on Route 66, beach hammocks, and rainy vacation days (they’re perfect for puddle-jumping).
Babies are pretty great at bridging gaps — language gaps, culture gaps, generation gaps. But your husky little laugh and natural curiosity have proven to be an ideal ice breaker from here to the Grand Canyon and back. With you, there are no strangers in a strange land — just people who are willing and ready to engage, lend a hand, and open up a world of possibilities.
More adventures await, my Gem.