Happy thoughts, How-to's

First trip with the baby

October 22, 2018

Long time no see! Last time I posted here was almost 2 years ago. A reminder to renew the domain for another year just came and I wondered: is anyone still here? Is blogging still a thing? Should I keep the blog? With time, my perfectionist took over the blogging part of my life and every post was a castle to conquer. A perfect, well thought, SEO’ed post with great pictures, not too personal, but not too generic at the same time. So I got stuck.

And then I became a mom and guess what was the first, most time-consuming hobby, that flew out of a window? Scuba diving. Sniff. Together with it – blogging.

But now I have a bit more time, some motivation and a thick nostalgia for my space with (mostly) my own rules. So here goes, a come-back post.

Straight into it: travelling with the baby. Trigger warning: it’s also about motherhood and the first draft was by my year-ago-a-new-mother-self which my now-self wants to hug and say everything will be ok. So this is also a love letter to all new moms who want to reconnect with themselves and do the things they loved doing before their lives turned upside down. Mostly, it’s about travelling with a baby, still, but you get the idea.

Travelling with a baby. I’m a traveller, at least I thought I was, but after having moved to a new country (pregnant) and going on maternity leave, my life zoomed in to this new mode and after my daughter’s birth slowly started zooming back out again. One day at a time, taking walks one street further each time. I have deliberately put all life on hold to just survive enjoy the early motherhood. Taking it one day a time definitely helped. Then, 3 months in, I returned to work full-time, which gave me new challenges and new scenery – going to and from work, seeing people and new things.

Then we moved houses and that kept my need for something new to look at occupied. But 3 months later it was clear that I seriously need to go somewhere new. Also, the baby’s paperwork was finally done and we were free to travel. We decided that we are going to do it. A trip with a small baby.

If you’ve follow my journey for some time, you probably know (better than I knew it myself) that I almost physically need to travel. Only after this trip I came clear with myself and admitted that yes, I do need to experience new things to calibrate my perspective, that yes, I do need to abandon my routine for a week to come back missing it. This was very important for not only sanity, but helped shift focus and keep appreciating what we have and bring joy to life. Hey, I even have ‘perspective’ tattooed on me as reminder of that!

Now, parents will probably nod at my use of words here. I deliberately say “travel” and “trip”, and not “holiday” or “vacation”. Because it’s not. Not with a 7 month old who’s teething, learning to sit up and haven’t mastered a skill of self-soothing to sleep. Not when it rains for 2 days straight and you take shifts to go nap for an hour in the “relax area” of the spa. Non-parents (as I also was just 2 years ago) would probably roll their eyes thinking either: “Oh it can’t be THAT bad, why do parents keep complaining all the time?” or “Then just STAY home to save yourself from all this trouble”.

The truth is, I can’t stay home. The reasoning is above. So I either go somewhere alone (which is a. not what I want, and b. breastfeeding), or we try going places so our daughter starts getting used to experiencing the world young. And that we train our patience and wallets so it’s a bit easier to accept as the new normal as she grows older.

Here is our first photo as a family of three. This was day 2 on a trip to Tirolean Alps and we were so happy and high on fresh air:

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Hi there. First photo of our family here 👨‍👩‍👧

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I am mostly sharing this (very personal) experience here to remember it myself. To have a reminder of how I had fears of travel, something I so deeply love and overcame them by going on this trip.

After becoming a mom, I entered this whole new world of unknown. If you know me, you know I battle fear with knowledge. Well, let’s just say, having access to THAT much knowledge and especially in the field of parenting (where people embark on holy wars about the pacifiers and car seat choices) has played a bad trick on me. I became paralysed with fear. The only way to not let it grow was to just go (swipe right on this photo, there’s more).

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This story is about our first hike with Mira: we took a cable car up the mountain, went around and tried to capture the breathtaking views, went to see what's further up, were rewarded by those pretty models, heard a sirrn-like buzz, ignored it, returned to the cable cart to find out the last one left 6 minutes ago, re-surfaced my long forgotten German, enough to understand the keeper won't be taking us down in the very last cart with him and that the only way down is hiking 6km, Mira slept through most of it, then,l the rain started and a godsend of a man on a truck came by and offered us a ride down, the rain was pouring all the ride and stopped for 10 minutes, perfectly timed so we walked to the bus stop and the next bus was in 2 minutes and the one after that was in 30 (!). So if this is not a sign, I don't know what is. The end! #tirolalps #neustiftimstubaital #mountaincows #landscapephotography #showMiratheworld #photographeratwork

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So I channeled it into selecting the flights that would work with baby’s nap schedule (ha!) and the hotel that would be the most baby-friendly of all hotels (hahaha!), packed everything needed (*laughs hysterically here* – I didn’t pack our hiking boots, guys! Neither have I packed sunscreen, warm clothes or umbrellas. Yep, packing for the mountains, nailed it). The hotel I chose (spent 2 days researching, literally, 6-8 hours of gruelling research) was more of an adult spa hotel for fancy peeps who want privacy, but sure, you can bring kids along, as long as they’re quiet. We LOVED every minute of it (except for the two rainy days), but we did feel a nudge of not exactly fitting into the concept.

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Travelling with the baby. On one hand I want to say it's totally doable, fun, it's quite easy to entertain her at this age and easy to feed (breastfeeding + simple solids), she naps in the carrier and I would like to think she enjoys seeing new things. She also learned to crawl and sit up in just the past 3 days, so I'm thinking it's the trip that stimulated all this and not just coincidence 😉 On the other hand, I feel like this is no vacation. It's definitely a welcome change of scenery, but not a relaxing holiday. I guess that's how it's going to be until they grow up, right? Parents, please share your experiences/thoughts on the matter. The pics are from yesterday's and today's 'hike' around the local villages. The last one is "Let's smile and people will think this whole thing is a breeze". #travellingwithababy #tirol #neustift #showMiratheworld #bondolinocarrier #bondolino

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I’m no travel mum inspiration influencer, none of those words. The only tip I have is just go. Every age will have its goods and bads, there’s never a perfect time, you won’t remember all the details, but the pictures will keep the good memories. Someone will probably get sick, something embarrassing will probably happen, you’ll probably spend ridiculous money on some stupid baby item you need right there right now (the €20 baby sunscreen, I’m looking at you). But it will all pass and you’ll come home more tired refreshed and happy that you went. You will probably hate the world for this idea right then, but years later, you’ll be happy you went. And the €20 baby sunscreen will be a great sentimental keepsake, because over your dead body you’re throwing it away until you use it up to the last drop.

Cheers, and until next time!

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