What 2016 taught me about traveling as a mom on my 4 trips to Portugal, Singapore, Bali and Prague.

What is the value of traveling, if we dont learn and recognize on the way?

It is great to travel and it is exciting, fun, challenging and not the least educational. Travelling as parents with a child is in truth a different experience and travel than when we have travelled alone or as a couple without a child.

It is exactly that, to travel as couples with a child that characterise our travels in these years and therefore also offers new experiences and realisations, that are good for me to chew on. For what is it that we as a family want to experience? What is it that we thrive with? What experiences moved us positively? How do we make sure that everyone has a voice in how we want to spend our vacation?

One thing is certain, we will only find out by trying. Nothing will be like it was last year, our decisions are taken on gut feelings, facts and experiences.

So what has the travels in 2016 taught me? What will I take with me – here in 2017, when we travel the World again?

The travels in 2016 were:

  1. Airplane flight to Porto, Portugal
  2. 2. 4 weeks travel to Singapore and Bali (Had the flight booked to Singapore + Bali plus for the Hotel for the first 4 days. The remainder of the travel we took by desire, needs and gut feeling).
  3. Spontaneous road trip to Prague, Czech Republic.

The 9 most important realisation from my travels in 2016.

Realisation #1
Carefree travel delight is of great value to me and us.

There are travels where freedom from care can recuperate and remove times and worries. Wipe them clean and makes you sink into a cushion of enjoyment, experience and genuine happiness.

Then there are the travels, where it is very exciting but also hard and challenging. Travelling that require cooperation and compromise, counting to 100 (or 100000) many times.

The carefree travelling was missing last year. We felt this especially since we returned from 4 weeks in Asia, with tinnitus, fever and a multiple of experiences and impressions that we had to process. And exactly that we did not manage. This could be felt in the family and we felt it long after we came home.

Carefree travelling is not utopian, they are a choice about the way of travelling and destinations and a multitude of choices which we took before and while we were travelling.

It is a fact that we will select something off so that our next travels and anything else needed to get a more carefree travel joy, as a part of our travels.

Realisation #2
Singapore is still the coolest City.

As I wrote in this post it was great to return to Singapore, which I had spent so much time in, in the 90ish, and hope that it would still be exciting to me.

Even if Singapore has become much more touristy, especially by Clark Quay and China Town (not to speak of Sentosa, which at that time was an Island which was being made into an adventure island), is there still so much everyday life of the city that makes my inner city barometer pings out.

The joy of seeing all the new things that had appeared in Singapore was great. Especially since we had the pleasure of experiencing Marina Sands and Gardens by the Bay.

Peter and Sebastian at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Peter and Sebastian at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Realisation #3
It is possible to change a discourse along the way.

We experienced to get stuck while we were away. In Candidasa, we hit our heads against the wall and ended up in a place we did not want to be. The wall was consisting of being in a city that made us sad without us knowing what it really wanted on Bali, if we should travel on and away from the Island – or stay and find something new! (– and what should it then be).

It was a hard to admit that when I’m travelling that I do not feel like I thrive. But it was important to acknowledge this so that it becomes possible to correct the course back in the right direction. The faster, the better the joy of travelling and the desire to be travelling comes back again. We succeeded thankfully. It is a lengthy process, which I am glad that we took. The process I will describe later in another post. The point is that its is important and is possible to change the course, you no longer want.

Realisation #4
I’m a bigger chicken than I thought.

Yep. I did not dare to take the boat to the Gili Islands. I, the else so cool backpacker did not dare! And I who had taken multiple boat trips to the tropical islands in Asia!

Lonely Planet and all the locals that we asked, warned us about going on special departures to Gili. And then my thoughts went crazy with things from capsizing and a 7-year-old boy who had not yet learned to swim. At night I was haunted by the terrible disaster with thoughts about how wrong things could go. We chose, in the end, to get this experience somewhere else in the world.

I felt like a chicken, and I actually had a hard time to recognise this. However when thinking back on this episode, I am happy that I followed my gut. Also if I today, when I think back on this episode, can see that the risk was very, very small.

But this was my very first overseas travel as a mother and I needed to take the challenges in portions I could handle.

Have I regretted that I did not go on the Island?

If you show me pictures of the family with children who enjoy the most amazing islands (Gili), then I wish I have had the gut to go. But, just because I pushed myself is my confidence as a traveller returned, and I feel my old backpacker strength again.

We will get this experience, this we have to experience!

Realisation #5
I am braver than I thought.

I had not travelled overseas with my son before. In the many years that had passed, I had created a picture that I ought to be “the fearless travelling mother”. I had lost my self-confidence and forgotten how strong I feel like when I am travelling.

That is why I selected Bali as the first overseas travel. I chose the destinations from where I would feel safe as the person I am and with the responsibility I have towards my son. I stood by my insecurities and exactly that made me regain my peace of mind and self-confidence again. And I discovered that I had come so much further than I had imagined.

Which just confirms once again that the travelling broadens the Horizons, not just for the World – but also internally.

Realisation #6
My son is the coolest travellers.

My son can far more than I go and assume. He has proven time and again the courage and determination for the coolest and biggest challenges. He did not once whine over the length of the flight and he managed a high fever in Ubud, as well as he dived between fish and corals in Amed.

He grew with each challenge and he came home as a much stronger and braver boy than when he left.

His enthusiasm for the many new animals, landscapes, people, and the appearance and their way to speak, a great thing to observe.

Lise and Sebastian in Porto, Portugal
Lise and Sebastian in Porto, Portugal

Realisation #7
Bali is not my dream Island

Bali is not my dream Island. Now I have been there. I have seen Ubud and their fire dance in the holy temple, the black beaches to the north, and Agung, the rice fields… and the amazing smiles, sacrifices and cling-clong-clang sounds, that rumbles smoothly over Bali.

But Bali is so much else that I would like to do without on my travels to come. Noise, tumult, worn areas and tourism. Noise… Did I mention the Noise?

Bali is a great starting point to travel with children. But Bali is not my dream island. I will show my son the Island one day.

Realisation #8
The Internet is great, but it also sucks.

I might as well be honest.

The internet is a big part of my life. I am a blogger, a media graphic designer and an online geek in all sorts of plans. I love to slide myself into the channel of the internet streams and leave myself and the World around me for a while. Even when I travel. Even if I am sitting on the World’s amazing bounty island or on the most beautiful mountain in Nepal.

I am just like that. I am sorry, beautiful World. I got to recognise it.

But, fuck I hate it at the same time. It swallows me, my presence and my experience of being present with the locals, nature, family, currently…

I still dream back to the travelling when the Internet was not an option… and I think I will choose them for the future.

The Internet is great, but even I will need to log more of when I am away.

Realisation #9
I have not had enough of travelling.

No needs for the explanation… the less I travel, the more I long to get going. The more I travel, the more dependent I become to see the World…

Yup – I am hooked… and I love it!

Peter, Lise and Sebastian, Prague
Peter, Lise and Sebastian, Prague