It was mid-September when I finally resolved to clean up the two dozen or so (still unopened) beer cans strewn across our backyard. It’s not what you think. They’d been left-over from our 4th of July party the previous month. The kids had pillaged the remnant ice in the beer cooler in the days following the party. It took them a few weeks to discover the endless fun the beer cans afforded them. An occasional explosion. Backyard beer bowling pins. You name it. Fort perimeters made entirely of beer cans. The cans had been rocked, thrown, shook, and more. It was a miracle most still contained their liquid. But there was no way their contents were salvageable. They needed to be dumped and disposed of. All three of my crafty little monsters were now napping. There was no longer a good excuse to keep putting it off.
Disposing of the contents proved no easy task. Stale beer shot out the instant I began peeling back the tabs. Thankfully, even though it was mid-afternoon, I still hadn’t bothered to shower or put on real clothes. I collected all the cans and one by one set off controlled explosions in our rock garden. My oversized t-shirt was splattered with beer and I wreaked of stale alcohol.
I was on the last can when our dog started barking. Crap. The plumber had arrived over an hour early to look at our leaking shower. There was no time to change my clothes, let alone rinse the array of foul smells from my body. And I had to answer the door and stop the barking before it awoke all my kids.
The young plumber barely gave me a second glance as I opened the door. But as we walked up the stairs I could hear my youngest crying in his room. One casualty of the barking. As we walked through my bedroom—it had been next on my list to tidy up—to the bathroom, I stared in stunned silence at the sight in front of us. My three-year-old, also known as the ‘surprise pooper’, was completely naked and getting off the toilet after most obviously (gauging from the smell) taking a dump. I hurriedly sent my streaking son downstairs and promised to follow shortly to wipe him. The young plumber looked utterly confused and horrified at the same time. I apologized profusely as I flushed the toilet and whiffed the lovely odors filling the air.
Welcome to our family.
That’s a pretty normal day for us. Life is chaotic, messy, and very, very real around here. Baby #4 has since arrived and his older siblings still specialize in wreaking havoc at the ripe old ages of 3, 5, and 7. And yet, despite the mayhem and madness at home, we choose to travel—a lot.
Our travel style is a lot like our lifestyle: Messy. Spur-of-the-moment. Exhilarating. Stressful. Beautiful. Chaotic. Exhausting. Real.
We are NOT travel experts. We are NOT parenting experts. We excel at doing stuff the wrong way and learning the hard way.
Some days traveling with us is like a family travel documentary of what not to do. There are arguments. There are plenty of nearly missed flights. And there is always a kid licking something filthy (air plane tray tables, bathroom stalls, you name it).
We could lock ourselves at home with our kids until they’re all toilet trained and impeccably well-mannered. Or we could travel with them. Yes, there are mishaps, shenanigans, and disasters. But, ultimately, we’re just parenting—with a prettier backdrop.
Countries We’ve Visited
The Americas: The United States, Canada, Mexico, The Bahamas, Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize
Europe: Spain, Portugal, Ireland, The United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland), France, Belgium, Italy, The Holy See, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Croatia, Montenegro, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece
Africa: Egypt, Morocco, Niger
Middle East: Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi), Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman
Asia: Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore