Travels for Two

The Wall Family
14
Sep

Travels for Two – The Wall Family

I’m a single mom to V, who will be 5 in October. We traveled a lot when he was born, mostly because my work required it, he was a freebie, and I wasn’t willing for work to be the reason he stopped nursing. Sometimes I got a babysitter through friends who knew the area we’d be, sometimes through the hotel, and sometimes my mom was able to travel with us or meet us. All that to say the before he was 2, V had been on 40-flights! But the “fun” trips were few and far between. Two years ago we joined Home Exchange and have enjoyed a couple of weeks in rural Colombia and some shorter- and closer-to-home trips. He’s a good traveler: curious, a good eater, and amenable to inconsistent schedules.
I was laid off earlier this year, and instead of staying angry, I took stock of a few things:
  1. I’d fallen out of love with his Spanish immersion preschool, as it had stopped being a true immersion experience, and I still had another year until this October baby ages into public Kindergarten, so I needed to decide how to handle the daycare/pre-school situation.
  2. I was getting ready to close on selling a rental property, so I didn’t have to freak out about not having income.
  3. The house we live in is too big and full of too much stuff, but I didn’t see myself downsizing the “stuff” part without also downsizing the space.

So I decided to force myself to downsize – sell the house and everything in it. Keep some memories, seasonal clothing, and kitchen favorites in a few Rubbermaid bins (in storage in my mom’s basement), put some clothes in a travel pack, and use some of the proceeds to travel! I started googling and dreaming and realized that selling our house would make it possible for me to pay for the necessities like health insurance and 529, to set aside money to come back to, and to take an amazing series of trips.

I found Family Adventure Summit…randomly on Facebook during all this googling and decided that Mexico in late October would be one part of the trip. What a great opportunity to learn from families who have done/are doing the kind of travel I’m imagining. They can encourage us, warn us, laugh with us, get us excited, set us straight… I want all of it! Now I’ve booked the month of September in Costa Rica for some language immersion (I need to catch up to V!), Disney for his birthday, and a pit-stop back in Virginia before the Summit. From there we’ll make our way north, aiming for Los Angeles for a train ride to Seattle. We’ll spend Thanksgiving week exploring Vancouver before hopping on another train to Toronto, head to Quebec and Boston to visit friends, then spend Christmas back in Virginia with extended family. January will include a flight to somewhere in Europe, and we’ll make our way to Kenya for a safari in June 2019.

I think my philosophy for this trip is “let’s see what happens.” It will include lots of 1-way tickets, some friends, some strangers, some hostels, some nice hotels, lots of good food… I want to “crowdsource” as much as possible – destinations, activities, restaurants… so I’ve set up an Instagram account for just the trip (@vgoingplaces) and hope that the folks we know already and those we meet along the way will help us make the most of these 10-11 months.