I don't know if I've mentioned it much here or not, but we're going on vacation. Keith's cousin is getting married in Costa Rica, and we're all going! By the time you read this, we will probably be on the plane, headed South to warm weather and gorgeous sunshine.
We haven't traveled outside the country for a few years, and definitely not since Eleanor was born. The furthest we've traveled with Eleanor is weekend trips to Cincinnati. So we are a bit apprehensive about what traveling for an entire day with a 15-month-old will be like. It will involve getting up around 3 o'clock in the morning, two legs of airplane journey—each lasting about 3-4 hours, followed by a shuttle van trip from the airport to the small town where we'll be staying, which will also be at least 3-4 hours.
I love traveling. But preparing for this trip has been so different. One of my favorite parts of traveling is all of the planning that goes on beforehand. Learning about the countries, its customs, places to visit, makes the trip more real and exciting.
This time, I did no research at all. We were lucky in that the bride and groom took care of so many arrangements for us. Obviously, they had chosen a location for the wedding so our final destination was set. Plus, they gave us information about how to get there, and where to stay once we're there. All we had to do was send a few emails and our reservations were made.
Typically, I would also like to make plans for day trips to visit areas outside of the perimeter of our housing. But I've been stressed out lately. Learning how to be a parent (or trying to be a good parent, at least) is hard work. Plus changing jobs and the other bumps and hiccups of daily life makes me loathe to create additional plans and work once we're on vacation. I just want to be On Vacation. Maybe once we're there I'll be tempted by a trip to the jungle or surfing lessons, but right now, all I want is to hang out with Eleanor and Keith and the extended family. I want to sit in the sun and read for hours at a time. I want to have long conversations over bottles of wine and catch up with everyone. I want to nap in a hammock. I don't want extracurricular activities and, therefore, have planned none.
This trip is also different because, well, there's Eleanor. We had no idea what to pack. I have this image of us as pack mules trudging through the airport, slowly bending under our ridiculous loads of baggage, toys, books, diapers, and baby food until we collapse under the weight.
The reality, so far, seems much more reasonable. We think we have most of the items that we'll need, and are still only planning on 2 small carry-on bags, plus two larger checked suitcases. (It helps that we're going to a tropical locale!) I am fully aware that, after the trip, I will probably write a post entitled "These Are All The Things I Failed to Take Into Consideration Before the Trip." There will be a learning curve. But hopefully we can at least make it through the airports and onto our final destination without collapsing beneath the weight of our most-necessary possessions.
After all this complaining, let me be clear: I'm very excited about this trip! Our first family vacation—hopefully the first of many. I know that traveling with a child is going to be much more complicated. But I am also looking forward to seeing her eyes as she drinks in all of the new experiences. We're going to have a great time, and a lot of good memories.