Travel/Hiking/Getting Out With Kids

I’ve been getting a couple of questions, getting some comments, and hearing remarks from other families about how great it is when you have kids that are “easy” travelers, love to be outside, don’t mind walking/hiking. Most of these are in a tone of surprise, some have further questions, and I have heard a couple people say that they wouldn’t travel as much because they do have kids.

Let me say this, in the grand scheme of things traveling with kids is easy.

That’s putting it lightly. It’s obviously not “easy” and it is a little bit more complicated than if it was just you or you and your significant other, but it is definitely not as hard as people seem to think it is. Kids are not a reason not to travel. Let me say that again- kids are not a reason not to travel. In fact, they are a really good reason to travel.

This is going to be a post in two parts, the first talking about how we started and managed to travel/hike/get out with our two boys and the second will touch on the good reason about traveling with your kids.

When we had Colton we did a fair amount of day trips, getting out on the weekend and exploring our area. We did two long distance trips a year, one to see family and the other to a new location every year (both of which we drove to). We also did one long haul flight when he was a little over a year and a half.

Honestly, there has been no special secret to traveling with him, or with Andrew. We’ve just done it.

Has he had meltdowns? Yes, in fact he had the worst meltdown in a Dunkin Donuts in Berlin. Did it suck? Yes. Did people stare? Eh kind of (as much as they ever have in any other circumstance). Did it end? Yes. Did we quickly finish our food and head out, yes. It wasn’t an end to the trip, it didn’t change our enjoyment of the trip overall and it definitely didn’t change our minds to traveling in the future.

Yes, on the whole we have relatively easy going, up for anything kids, BUT I’ve found that kids are willing to go along on a good amount of things if you are wiling to take them. We do a variety of things on our vacations, some things with the kids in mind (Tiergarten in Berlin), some things with Mom and Dad involved (Mozart’s Birthplace in Salzburg). We make sure that we combine things throughout the day of kid friendly and mom/dad. We make sure that meals are as close to the same time when we are out as when we are home.

I’ve also found, specifically when it comes to hiking, being active, and being outside (also just being away from screens), kids follow their parents lead. Lately Colton, currently 3 ½ years old, has taking to walking almost 90% of our hikes. We recently did a “light/mild” hike through some Castle Ruins. We ended up walking almost 2 ½ miles that day and he walked almost all of that.

We’ve had some really long days while traveling. Walking, riding various forms of public transport, and while we’ve had moments of meltdowns (to be expected either way), they’ve both adapted really well to this sort of go, go, go. If anything I think they enjoy it, seeing all sorts of different, new things. They nap when they need to whether that is in a little umbrella stroller or on our shoulders and are generally really good on the fly.

Our weekly walks (once or twice a week) go about 1 ¾ mile and he walks all of it without being asked to be carried. Even Andrew at 2 years old is walking a good amount of these walks we do. We have always been outdoorsy, always chosen to walk a lot, hike, be outside as much as possible and I think that is a lot of why our kids are that way as well.

Basically what I’m saying (if this makes any sense), is to just go with it. Get out, experience the world, have a positive mindset about it and your kids will follow that. They model their behavior off of you as their guide, so if you are open to these new experiences, so are they.

Quickly I want to touch on WHY traveling is so good and important for our children. The first is that it teaches them a level of independence. Of learning how to handle new environments, new places, and new experiences. It also shows them that there are other places in our world. The world is a wide and wonderous place full of different people, cultures, and traditions. I think it is incredibly important to teach and show our children as many of these as possible. Our children should know more than what they grow up in, they should know of the world and if you can do that for them in some way, that is invaluable towards their future and their lives. I can touch on this in a separate post if you’d like.

And that is how/why we travel with our kids. Ultimately it comes down to just doing it. If you are wondering how to travel with your kids, more practical tips/or things that we take with us, let me know below and I’ll talk about that in another post!

No Camera’s Allowed

It’s no secret we’ve been doing A LOT of travel over these past few months and that is not something that will be changing anytime soon. It’s also no secret that I’m a major camera/picture junkie. I LOVE taking pictures.  I’ve always got my camera out from everyday little moments (seriously, my older son just looked so cute playing with a baseball bat in the store), to bigger vacation moments (this scene was just dreamy!). I’m one of THOSE people. I love having all of the memories to look back on, little snippets of our day to day to have for memories. This is especially heightened when we travel.

I’ve been able to capture photo’s at almost every place that we’ve traveled (every place’s exterior at least), but I have noticed that there are some locations that will not allow camera’s or photos. The most memorable were Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau, Berchtesgaden Salt Mines, Mozart’s Birthplace, and Salzburg Cathedral doesn’t encourage them. Each place has their own vast reasons as to why and I am not here to talk about the reasons (frankly I can guess, but just respected their rules).

With that though, it got me thinking. Every time I pick up my camera I pull myself ever so slightly out of the moment. Every time I go to take a picture of a place, rather than just take a minute in that place, I pull myself away. Yes, I’ve got a beautiful picture to hang in my home, to remind me of the wonderful places we’ve been, but I also have then taken a few minutes out of our time there (just for one single picture, not for all of them), to take the picture rather than simply enjoy the scenery.

I’ve been pretty good at balancing pictures and being in the moment at every place that we’ve traveled, but in places where “No Camera Allowed” is displayed, I honestly get a little thrill out of it. A chance to just look, to not feel the need to capture everything I want (which is A LOT). I am able to focus more on what I’m looking at, take a little more time at each point in a tour, and while I don’t know if the enjoyment level is really any more or less (as like I’ve said I love taking pictures) it’s definitely different.

I’ve even noted this in my everyday. As I said, I’m always taking pictures in our everyday. Our kids are actually picking up on that, and will say cheese at any time or even pose sometimes haha. I love seeing what we were up to at various times of our weeks and it’s really funny to look back on. I’ve been trying to get better over the past year or two about just taking a step back from being like that, for a similar reason than the one’s I’ve stated above.

Now, let me make something clear…this picture bit has really nothing to do with Social Media or with Blogging. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. Always wanting to capture moments in pictures and in words, rather just being in the moment. This is nothing new to me. Social Media and my Blog has given me a way to share that with others, but it is not the root of what I am talking about.

I also want to be clear that I don’t think that there is anything wrong with this. I think that it is great and I fully plan on continuing on being that crazy picture person, BUT I definitely have enjoyed a bit of a reprieve every now and again and I think I need to do that more.

Looking through the lense or viewfinder can be incredible and you can see things and people in different ways, but It doesn’t really compare to just putting the camera down and being present at that moment. So here’s to less camera time and more in person/in the moment time.

Summer Vacation 2018 : Canada

We started a tradition last year that every year we would take one week in the summer to go somewhere we’ve never been, rent a cabin on a lake (preferably, but just a cabin works too), and disconnect. Somewhere without phone service, somewhat secluded, where we can focus solely on each other and ourselves. Last year we went to Maine and it was a whopping success. This year we decided to take it one step further and head out of the country and up to Canada. It did not disappoint. 

We decided at the outset of this trip that we were going to travel “easy”. We weren’t going to rush getting to places, we weren’t going to wake up super early just to drive somewhere, but rather just truly take our time with everything. This is key because what is the point of vacation if you are just rushing to get to places. How are you supposed to truly enjoy yourself?

We got off to a little rough start with some car trouble, but sorted it out early enough into the trip (and without any trips to any car places) that it did not impact our traveling or trip in any major way. We decided to split the 9-10 hour drive up into two days and our first stop was Syracuse NY. After a full night of sleep, in which Colton got to sleep in a “big” bed for the first time, we headed for the border. 

I have to say that part of America is absolutely beautiful. A lot of farm country, water, and a large area with not a lot of people. Crossing into the border was easy enough and after a few short hours, we were pulling into the driveway of the cabin we rented (found on AirBnB). 

I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful this location was. I’ve always heard of places being described as “picturesque”, and here we were, staying in the most picturesque location! I cannot talk about it enough, just perfection. The cabin itself was really well set up as well for what we were needing, and every wall facing the lake had a window in it. You literally never did not have a view of the water (except the boys room, which had a driveway window). I fell in love with the spot almost instantly.

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Our first full day in Canada we spent exploring the Capital area of Ottowa. We strolled along Parliament Hill, I got to go to a Chapters (yes I was excited over a bookstore, what can I say?), and we soaked up the beautiful weather and scenery. This was on our list of places and the only place that we actually wanted to go to. I love seeing different countries architecture and government, and while we missed our chance to actually go in to Parliament (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Parliament wasn’t sitting on that holiday), the pamphlet had a pretty good rundown. 

The second two days we spent at the cabin, just soaking up the lake, relaxing in the sunshine and just spending some uninterrupted time together. The boys got to “stretch their legs” and run wild and do things they hadn’t done before. They went fishing with Daddy, went on a short little canoe trip, got to see a snapping turtle, frogs, geese, and fish up close and personal. They loved their time there, which made the whole trip even better. 

 

 

For us, we got some much much needed time alone together. It is so important to carve out that time to be with your partner and it is not something that we do enough of. It is so easy to let life interrupt anytime that you have and this vacation gave us a chance to connect and talk and spend that uninterrupted time together that we have been needing. We also got a chance to have a little time to ourselves individually. My husband got to get up early and get some good fishing done (seriously the fishing there was incredible!) and I got to sit by the water and do some yoga and reading. 

After 4 blissful days it was time to pack up and head out, this time to Cooperstown NY. My husband is a huge baseball fan, and while he has been to Cooperstown before, he went during Hall of Fame week and wanted to have a chance to enjoy it without the hoards of people. It was “on our way” back, so we figured we would stop for a day or two. 

Let me tell you, Cooperstown is not for the casual baseball fan. It is for the die hard, to the core, true baseball fan. Casual fans will enjoy it, but it may get a little monotonous at times. They are baseball 100% and you better be there for it. I like baseball well enough to watch it, support my husbands love of the sport, and watch my children fall in love with it. I wouldn’t say I know everything about it, or even necessarily care to know every little thing about it (as this was proved throughout the day and a half we were there). I enjoyed walking through the Hall of Fame and seeing all of the history of the sport and teams. I enjoyed seeing the Astros in their rightful place at the top. I loved the feel of the town, the look of all the houses, the little bakeries and shops on Main St, and I suppose all of the baseball wasn’t too bad. 

Our boys both seem to be following daddy’s footsteps with a love of baseball (although it is still early days yet lol) and they really enjoyed just being able to walk around and watch the other kids play baseball around them. 

Overall this trip was an overwhelming success! We came back feeling refreshed, re charged, connected, and relaxed. We loved seeing the new places and sharing some new experiences together. I’ll treasure the memories and moments that we make on these trips forever.