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Why We Bother Travelling With A Toddler

Whenever I go on a plane with my daughter, I am guaranteed to get the same question. After the niceties and admirations of her cuteness (trust me, she is freaking adorable), someone will always ask, “Is this her first time flying?”. I can understand their curiosity: she’s only one year old, after all, and traveling by plane is something many people will never get to do. The actual number of flights she’s been on in her short life so far is 13 (I just counted).

I have other mommy friends who tell me we’re crazy (probably true), or that we’re so brave (I would argue masochistic, but okay, I’ll take it). Plenty have commented that they would never travel as much with their child, and I totally understand that: traveling with a small child can be phenomenally shit.

First there’s the actual journey: airport queues, lugging 800 travel distractions on your back while chasing an over-energetic toddler (why the heck are they so fast?!), and fellow passengers who are less than thrilled at the sight of your screeching child don’t exactly equate to fun. Even less so when your kid is an expert at waking sleeping passengers with a swift pat on the knee while you’re not looking…

Then there’s the general day-to-day of a child. Alongside general sleepless nights, we’ve enjoyed a night of screaming and vomiting after catching a bit too much sun, and the realities of being stuck in a hotel room from 8pm every night because, you know, bed time. Then there’s taking your toddler on a beach holiday only to discover that her love of water doesn’t translate to the ocean. We’ve had it all.

Of course there have been times when I’ve wondered if it’s all worth it. When I’ve considered staying home and saving the money for a house with a garden, or some new clothes, or maybe even just a haircut. I’ve thought about how much healthier our carbon footprint would be.

But then there are the good moments that shine through all of the crap: our daughter running through Berlin Zoo, head thrown back in uncontrollable giggles; splashing in countless marble fountains in the gardens of the Alhambra; napping under a parasol in Ibiza, covered in sand and smelling of sunscreen. And in those moments I forget about the airport. I forget about our ludicrously early nights in hotel rooms that all look the same, or waking up before the breakfast buffet opens. We live in a beautiful world, and – in our family’s case – we’re lucky enough to be able to explore it. Sure, it’s not always pleasant, but those standout moments more than make it all worthwhile.

Our next adventure involves over 16 hours of driving, most of which I can guarantee will be filled with screaming. It’s not going to be pretty, and I’m more than aware of that. But when we arrive to see a beautiful Italian lake, and some of my best friends, I know that my eardrums will stop ringing – at least eventually. And it will be good. It will be so, so good.

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