Children and Travel: Five Questions.

Do these ever mix? Five questions to ask yourself.

Unsigned Street Art. Paris, France. January 2016.

For me, I’d go with it depends on what you are going for.

My niece is currently three and a half months old and will be boarding her first plane to another continent when she is about 5 months old. This has raised some travel questions for me. To clear things up, my sister and her husband are young – 23 and 25 – and the boy in that relationship has only been outside of the country once while on a cruise to Mexico – though they never left the boat so I don’t know if this counts as going anywhere…

Now that they are young parents who are looking to have more kids and relatively quickly, my mom has decided this is their chance to really go and travel – at least for a while. Each of my sisters and I got to travel for graduation, basically wherever we wanted as long as we stuck to a given budget. For the new mom of my siblings, this trip to London, Paris, and Amsterdam counts with the added benefit of her husband, her baby, and mom who serves as both the meal-ticket and babysitter when needed.

My mother is a fantastic travel planner (she has a ton of experience doing it, even if most of her trips move a little more quickly and feel much more jam-packed than I’d prefer), so she has everything squared away, especially taking into consideration the limitations of bringing along an infant.

So, pros and cons? Well, there are many of both so here are a few questions to consider:

Will the kid remember? This depends both on age and on what you do – not to mention how much you are doing. My niece will never remember any part of the trip; she is simply too young. However, I’ve been on multiple family road trips between the ages of 7 and 13 and I can’t tell you everywhere we went, which historical landmarks we saw or even which trip was which. I have some clear memories, but overall it isn’t until now that the appeal of the sights we visited mean anything to me.

But then, does them (the child(ren)) remembering matter? Again, this depends on the trip. For my sister and her husband (and in a large part, my mother), the trip is for them. Getting pictures of her in these cities (I mean seriously, Disneyland Paris!) is a huge part of the appeal of bringing the baby – my dad who is a photographer is joining them for a final few days in Amsterdam and is so excited!- but that’s really it for her. For this question, I think it’s a matter of managing your expectations. My parents were disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm and attention we paid on our road trips growing up, but the grueling pace should have clued them in to some of the issues of four young to teenage girls.

But then why spend the money? This is where I think it’s really important to judge whether or not to take kids traveling. Since my niece will only be 5 months old and still singularly breastfeeding, there really isn’t much expense to her traveling minus the extra baggage and laundry – babies go through a lot of clothes. However, if the child in question is old enough that a lot of money (for your budget) is required AND they won’t remember it, that’s a relatively large con to consider. If, however, they will remember this trip and you think they’ll be able to appreciate it later, it’s still really worth considering, especially if you won’t be able to do it again. Which leads us to…

Will you be missing out on an experience that’s worth more than the expense (for both you and the little one(s)) that you won’t have the chance at again? Again, this is where my sister and her husband fall. They may not get to do everything that they’ve ever wanted to do while in these places – I’m not sure the Moulin Rouge is in their future – but the chances they’ll be able to take a trip like this later is slim unless something huge changes for them financially. Putting off the trip, therefore, becomes a ‘now or never’ kind of deal. This is the point that you’ll have to debate alongside the finance issues; they are basically counterpoints on your pro and con list.

My final question is the one that – for some travelers – will get me into trouble but long talks with my sister has settled, at least in my mind.

Will bringing along the child(ren) you are planning to bring with you unsettle others around you? The honest answer is yes, it most certainly will. My niece is the quietest baby I have ever been around – she is church trained and while this won’t perfectly translate to a long flight, it’s quiet a feat. Still, I know that many passengers will begin to sigh and moan the second my family arrives at the boarding gate. But here’s what my sister asks whenever we discuss issues of children in public: should you care? Sure, a little – apologize if she/he cries through the trip, discipline them for running around or kicking chairs, but if you let this question be the one that stops you from going on a trip, that’s just stupid. There are kids everywhere so if someone is truly bothered by yours (as long as you try your best to keep them under control!) then that’s on them.

If you really want – I know some people do – you can build some friendly ‘just in case the worst should happen’ kits with earplugs and other apologetic goodies, but you should never feel compelled to. Also, be careful what you put in these taking into account allergies and other special considerations. I repeat: you should never feel compelled to make these.

On your side of these conflicts, remember not to take any shade or snark thrown out by others personally. Just enjoy you and your little one(s) out having adventures together. If they won’t remember, you can write a journal, take pictures, build a scrap/memory book for them to look at as they grow up. Who know, they may make it back to where you took them someday and get to relive the experiences they grew up hearing about.

So that’s my questions to consider no matter how old your little one is, so go on and make your pro and con lists, and good luck and safe travels.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Children and Travel: Five Questions.

How Do You Document Your Travels?

And I’m talking all forms from digital to physical and where you keep them.

A sneak peak at my travels on instagram – London. December 2015.

While we all love the act of traveling – getting to walk around new places, eat new foods, learn what we can of new languages and cultures – what we do to share those experiences, whether immediately or once we get home, can be just as important to us – or our families – as getting to go out and play. For each of us, how and where we store and share the evidence of our adventures varies.

Obviously, I have this blog to chart out my bigger stories and add in my two-cents about anything and everything that I come into contact with. Otherwise, my biggest – and most frequent – place to show off my travels happens on my Instagram account.

For me, Instagram is the quickest and easiest way to post about all my goings-on. I can post up single images or collages up while on the move with short hashtags and comments. I can also simultaneously have these images post across similar social media sites. Even if I post once I get in for the night while traveling – to use WiFi rather than preciously sparse data – the app is so easy to use with so many kinds of applications that it’s an amazingly easy go-to for up to the minute travel updates.

For digital files, my mom is a complete Facebook nut – she really isn’t online anywhere else. People back home always love when she travels with us because she’s a compulsive poster. Every night or two on a trip, she sits up and organizes a huge summary and sets of pictures to keep everyone at home (yet follow along) with us step by step. For her, Facebook lets her tag everyone and share the post information with all the people in her life. Every post she sends out ends up comments from so many people talking about how they feel like they are traveling with us.

In saying this, I do not mean to imply that I don’t also post about my travels on FB. It just takes me days – okay, more like weeks or months – to get around to really picking my favorite albums to post about. Yea, I’m much better at instagram.

My father is huge on pictures – he used to be a professional photographer before becoming a stay-at-home-dad to four girls (then a teacher) – which he perfects and tags before uploading anywhere, so he’s huge on Flicker and other photo-blog sites.

My other big piece of travel memorabilia is never throwing anything away, at least while on the road. I’ve collected boxes of museum tickets, play bills, travel stubs, and (yes) even developed pictures (and so much more!) from everywhere I’ve managed to get to. So while they currently are sitting in cases around my room, I’m planning on creating display shadowboxes which will show off my favorite moments (you know, once I can afford a place of my own to decorate!).

So, that’s me and mine, but I really want to know: how do you guys document and showcase your travels?

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

How Do You Document Your Travels?

10 Cool Things I Want to Try….

…. but haven’t yet.

The view from Arthur’s Seat. Edinburgh, Scotland. August 2015.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to many places in my life and do incredible things when in them; still there are many more places I’d love to visit with more than a few of them stemming from what I want to do when visiting them.

I’ve recently taken to running – a lot – and being active is now a huge part of my life (I’ll be touching on this in my Lifestyle post on Thursday) and, therefore, a big part of my bucket list when traveling.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have a huge bucket list all about places I need to go in order to see things – for example, The Northern Lights (giant yes!) – but this list is all about an activity to do – some more active than others.

1.Camp on Great Wall of China: I recently read that you can not only walk the Great Wall but bring a tent and stay overnight! I don’t know all of the rule associated with this, but if (when) I manage to get to China and walk on the wall, I would – knowing this – definitely look into camping out.

2. Camp in abandoned castles of Ireland: When I found out that you could go and camp inside abandoned castles in Ireland – and there are plenty of them! – and told my sister who I was with there, she was ticked! We had no idea that you could do this but now it’s on our bucket list. I really recommend doing research beforehand to find out which castles you can stay in but also looking at weather patterns. Ireland is wet and you do not want to get caught in a cold castle if weather is sketchy.

3. World’s largest tomato fight in Bunol (near Valencia), Spain: I’m 90% certain I’ve mentioned this stop before, but I so want to go! To avoid overly repeating myself, once a year in Bunol, a tiny Spanish town, thousands descend for the La Tomatina festival. This is the largest tomato fight in the world in celebration of a larger tomato festival. When I finally decide to take this plunge, I’ll starting to plan 2 to 3 years ahead of heading out – this town is tiny and fills up fast!

4. Dive in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: I’ve been so close to this one and 12 years later am kicking myself for it. I touched the water from the boat but due to a stomach issue, I wasn’t able to dive. Yea, I’m very upset with myself.

5. …and climb across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (also Australia): Again, this was a stop I missed in my Australian tour. I was in Australia with a student group and while the experience was amazing – farm and house stays, special access to the opera house and an aquarium sleepover (to name a few things) – getting 40 of us students to climb the bridge was just not happening.

6. Float a lantern at the Yi Peng Festival in Thailand:  If you know anything about these festivals, you’ll know I am not taking about the real one. This festival has a real cultural and spiritual meaning in Thialand, so the first floating is restricted. A few days later, they have a second ceremony for visitors to release lanterns of their own.

7. Jump around in one of Iceland’s many natural hot springs: Iceland has many natural hot springs and I think it would be fun to go out and hike and then jump into one of the less manufactured ones. This may also be an excuse to get out to Iceland, but either way, these look amazing!

8. and speaking of jumping in water, take a swim in the Dead Sea: Surrounded by Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank, the dead sea is one of those famous places that everyone knows something about. Between the legendary healing properties – not to mention the history surrounding it – this is one soak you would not want to miss. Also, I played waterpolo and know how nice it is to swim in saltwater pools, so taking a few strokes (for science, right?)? Yes, I will.

9. Hike Machu Picchu in Peru: This one is pretty much on any adventurer’s list and if you’ve seen the pictures, you know why. It’s a challenge with a reward of stunning sights not only of the buildings but the views surrounding the peaks.

10. Revisit Hawaii for a fully active vacation: For this last one, I’m keeping it broad. Hawaii can really go two ways depending on how you vacation: relaxing in the sun or taking advantage of all the activities at your finger tips. My family has a timeshare here – which sadly we’ve only used (in this location) once – so we had a pretty leisurely trip. We did so some active days hiking up mountains, swimming in lakes, zip-lining, and paddle boarding, but there was so much more I wanted to do. Also, now that I’m in better shape, going full out would be so much fun!

So there you have it, my active travel list. I’m sure with more research I’d have tons more and I would love suggestions of active travel or fun activities, but until next time:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.


10 Cool Things I Want to Try….

Notes on The Broad, Los Angeles.

The first trip…

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From the Broad windows. The Broad, Los Angeles. April 2016.

This past weekend, I managed to make it to The Broad museum in Los Angeles. This is a small privately owned collection of modern art collected by the members of the Broad family.

We had tickets for 5pm on Sunday – the last ticketed entrance time – with a 6 pm closing. Therefore, this was definitely the first trip because we didn’t manage to make it all the way through.

I feel like I need to admit here: I’m not a huge fan of modern art – most of it just doesn’t resonate with me. Mostly, I just find individual pieces interesting – I love the over-sized furniture room but mostly because it like being Alice in Wonderland (my love of this story has been documented here well enough).

Otherwise, I loved the word pictures – basically just words/phrases on canvas (probably because of my bookish background and ability to make it myself!).

Our favorite room (that we managed to get into) has to be the lower level music room. Officially, this is a piece by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson called The Visitors, completed in 2012. The lyrics of the song are based on a poem by Ásids Sif Gunnarsdóttir as arranged by Kjartansson and Davíõ Pór Jónsson.

You can read up on the piece yourself, but basically you walk into this room which holds eight videos and speakers which show individuals playing said song, each set up in a different room. Wherever you set yourself up in the room, you’ll be able to hear and watch specific screens louder/more clearly.

We agreed we could have sat in this room moving from place to place for hours on end!

My biggest piece of advice is to go early.

The museum isn’t that large and, if you want, you can get through everything relatively quickly, however, the room that you’ll really want to visit – and the real reason I need to go back – is the widely acclaimed Infinity Room.

This is a room of mirrors which seems to go one forever, and every picture I’ve seen is amazing. The issue is that the line for this is long and the sign up fills quickly. Later arrivals can always check for available standby positions for no shows – which was recommended by one worker – but the chances are unlikely.

I love the look of the building as a whole. Once again, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m a huge architecture fangirl. What I love about this building is how you can look out through the cutouts which not only give you an interesting perspective but brings in nice life.

There are also windows within the building which allow you to look into the archived areas. This was another huge fangirl moment for me as someone who has studied the cultural and creative industries.

But for now – with this first visit – that’s all I have, so until next time:

This is Leave in the Wind, helping you soar.

Notes on The Broad, Los Angeles.