If you read my recent Bali/Lombok Trip report, you might be thinking, “Wow! Laurel and Tim go on all these great adventures and everything is perfect”.  Actually that’s what I thought when I re-read it.  We did have a great time.  But of course we had some challenges: carrying two sleeping children through Ubud at 95* and 100% humidity, sweating like crazy.  Miles insisting on eating a banana, and being no where near a market or a ripe fruit on any of the banana trees (which I think is what spurred on his craving, “nana tees! more nana tees!”).  Neither kid wanting to take a nap.  Miles waking up at 5:30am because he got over tired.  The anxiety of being at an amazing dance show and the sun goes down and my mom brain being like, “bed time! Get home now!”  Carrying an infant for 16 hours straight on a travel day.  Nursing so much on both of our travel days I was afraid my boobs would fall off.  Using the boob as a pacifier, which is not a good idea when you have a puker.  Smelling like sour milk from being puked on.  Blowout diapers in the car. In the plane. On the boat.  And then getting home and struggling to regain the ease and comfort of routine that is inevitably lost while away.  There are some parts of traveling with children that are no fun.

But then there’s the good part.  In fact, it’s better than good.  It’s a great thing about traveling with children.  Since toting a couple little nomads around the world, I have both witnessed and felt cultural walls and barriers melt before my eyes.  Everyone in the world has kids, and they are everyone’s greatest joy; it is something we share.  Where in my early travel days a sarong-hawker on a ferry jetty might have irked me with her pushy salesmanship, I now look on as she pats my baby girl’s cheek and connect with her as a mother when she tells me she has 4 little girls of her own.  I’m touched by the driver, who I might have once been suspicious of for a random stop, when he pulls over after an hour of driving so I can rock the baby and let her “drink”.  And when Miles sidles up to a father-son duo working on an art project in a local neighborhood and is welcomed to join in, I am reminded how in youth we hold no cultural stereotypes or hesitations.

And so, despite the week it takes us to recover from an outing, we’ll keep traveling while our means allow.  Especially if we leave all the gory parts out of the trip report and focus instead on the good memories and photos we gained.