Though I was born in Venezuela to parents who emigrated there from Lebanon, once my family landed in Connecticut in 1981, we only left three times on quick jaunts to Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal to visit relatives. I didn’t leave again until I left for college in 1993.
My husband and I met in New York in 1999, and we were together seven years before our first child was born. In that time, we visited several states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Vermont); a few countries (Bahamas, Hungary, St. Lucia, Sweden); and moved from New York to Maine to Connecticut. We continued to travel after our first child was born, and we schlepped her across the country no less than three times per year for the first three and a half years of her life.
Our travels came to a halt when our second child was born. Traveling with two children overwhelmed us and continued to do so until he was four years old. When we were ready to come out of travel retirement, we planned a two week trip to France. We planned one week in Nice and the second week in Paris. To prepare the kids, who were then seven and four years old, we reviewed our itinerary numerous times. It would take two hours to the airport, then a six hour red eye to Paris, then one night in the hotel before boarding the high speed train to Nice, and finally a taxi ride from the train station to our Air BnB apartment. And there would be lots of waiting.
To combat all the waiting, I prepared a backpack for each kid and filled it with snacks, paper, markers, iPad, and travel games. The song “Home is Wherever I’m with You” was popular at the time and it became our anthem. I played this song for our kids over and over again while reviewing our itinerary. I emphasized over and over again, “It’s about the journey. It’s not about getting there.” And you know what, not once did they ask the dreaded, “Are we there yet?” They knew getting there was the reward but also part of the journey.