Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Solo Travel With Kids

Yes, traveling with my kids by myself is still considered solo travel. Mainly because I'm still soley responsible for everything that happens: paying for things, having an itinerary, making sure we have places to stay, food to eat, gas in the car, navigating. I'll be the first to say it's NOT easy. There's a ridiculous amount to think about ahead of time, during the trip, and even after (oil change time). 

There's also a ridiculous amount to DO when you're traveling. From making sure everyone is wearing appropriate clothes and shoes for adventures to meals, it's all on you. Every single part of it. It's not like it suddenly becomes easy because you're not at home. Each and every time I take a solo trip with the minis, I feel it's harder than being at home alone with them. I go to bed each night bone tired. I have worries I wouldn't typically have because at home there's a support system in place in case things go to hell. Solo traveling means I don't have that safety net. If I think too much about it while traveling I'd likely turn around and come home. On our most recent solo cross country adventure, I had to force myself to put it out of my mind, which wasn't hard when we were hiking up mountains and dipping our toes in the Pacific. It's nonetheless nervewrecking to know every single thing while traveling lies on my shoulders.

I've encountered many parents who, upon hearing that I drove across the country, by myself with three kids and a dog in tow, eyes widen and stammer, "gosh, I don't think I could do that. You're so brave." What they likely mean is 'you're so insane,' which I am, so I don't take offense to it. At one point and time I refused to travel alone with my three. I once attempted a day trip to a children's museum two hours away from us. The minis were toddler, preschool, and elementary ages (to give you an idea). It was a fabulous day, but I'll never forget how exhausted I was at the end of it. I knew then that for the sake of maintaining some sanity, I would wait until they were older to travel solo with them.

Hell, even two years ago I called by best friend from high school and asked her to come on our fall break trip with us. I had it in my head that we had to go to New Mexico (still our favorite place we've visited, by the way) and there was no way in hell I wanted to attempt it solo. I like to think I discovered myself and was ready for a solo parenting trip just 8 1/2 months after that NM trip. The truth is, the pandemic changed me and the stress of experiencing a derecho (mostly the aftermath) took it's toll on me. Getting out of town was necessary. So, I pretty much threw myself into solo parent travel. Obviously, I wasn't turned off by it due to one specific reason.

It's so rewarding! There's no other experience like it. It makes me stronger, tests myself on all levels, so that I can grow, learn, and change. I come away with new exeriences each time, as do my children. This last road trip forced us all to do those three things (mentioned above). I already made a  list of all the things they learned (read that here), but I can't begin to make a list of what we came away with. Beautiful, meaningful memories that leave me feeling like an absolute badass. That's why I'll travel solo with my kids again and again.