Travel Tales

The Husband and I find ourselves in splits whenever we remember the first ever holiday we took with Kidlet. We lived in Zurich then, and a rather long weekend came about, somewhere around Kidlet’s fourth month birthday. There was nothing much we could do to avoid travel. As you know, to be in Europe and not to travel during a long weekend is a travesty. Besides winter was approaching and traveling would only get more difficult in the Alps.

Travel Tales

So we took out the map and figured out the closest town that was out of town. Yes, we still wanted the comforts of urban life, thank you – so no log cabin in the mountains for us. Which basically led us to Basel – a one-hour train ride from Zurich, and in a hotel just hop-skip-and-jump away from the train station. Paranoid? You underestimate us.

We had booked for ourselves a ‘duplex’ room because a child who cannot crawl much less walk needs space! So we paid significantly more for a marginally larger room divided by paper-thin walls and a rickety staircase. We arrived and spread out all the baby paraphernalia on every visible surface – diapers, bottles, warmers, changing mat etc. And then immediately bolted out to stock up on any necessities from the nearest pharmacy and general store. And yes, we were technically just an hour away from home!

What followed was a weekend of ridiculous measures. We took Kidlet out for baby walks, timed between feeds and nap-times (Which amounted to what? 30 minutes in a day!). We walked her around the most un-adventurous circuit of train-station, hotel and main-street – roughly a stretch of less than half a kilometer. And since getting her out was such a challenge, the husband and I made the ultimate sacrifice: We took turns to go out! Oh, it was hilarious, we took turns to go out and see the same things, which were mostly a doll’s museum and a bookshop!

I think Kidlet happily slept through her first holiday and maybe it was for the best – else her melodramatic parents would never have ventured out on a holiday again!

Fast forward to yesterday when we got back from Goa. I think I may have underestimated clothes requirements for the kid, this holiday. But then, she really didn’t notice it that much. She was too busy loitering around the beach, play-area and whatever it was that took her fancy. And honestly I don’t think I spent one minute of my holiday fretting about how to entertain her or agonizing over any such what-ifs and thens.

How did that happen you ask? How did we transform ourselves from freak-every-minute parents into take-it-as-it-comes ones?

Honestly. It came slowly. The realization that our holidays could not be held hostage by fears. Could things go wrong? Sure. Indeed they do – more often than not. We’ve spent one miserable holiday in Goa holed up in the room, patting down Kidlet’s fever as she suffered a scary hand-foot-mouth infection. Flights back were fully booked. On one holiday to Sri Lanka, I spent my time acquainting myself with the pharmacies and doctors of Colombo as both Kidlet and her Dad lay prone with fever in the hotel.

There were also the missed flights and last-minute cancellations, which made us, return home morose. Holidays that, well, just did not takeoff!

I have come to believe that the essence of a holiday lies in not holding yourself down. To expectations, to plans – because look what happens to the best laid of them. As we leave our everyday lives behind, we need to let go and see where our travels lead us. Children actually make it easier to let go. Let them lead the way. See how they don’t really care if you got reclining seats or a free room upgrade. And they usually won’t notice if their parents forget to pack extra underwear or sunscreen – as far as they are concerned au naturel is the way to be!

And more pertinently: what’s a family album without a goofy-traveler section of its own? I can assure you that Kidlet will have a ready repertoire of travel tales to tell by the time her parents are too old to travel and would rather huddle around a fire and talk 🙂

Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai. With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago. On Twitter, you can connect with Nidhi @typewritermom

  • Loved it 🙂 I felt as if this article was meant for me. We are planning a trip during our anniversary in 10 days time. Our son would be 16 months then, so all our plans are around him, as you mentioned about your first trip. We have to let go, really!

    • Hi Reema! Congratulations on your anniversary – and good luck with your trip 🙂 I am sure you guys are going to have a swell time!

  • hi! loved this post 🙂 reminds me of our time with the first baby. Though I am proud to tell you that by the time the second one came along (a bit early and unplanned) we drove all the way from Rajasthan to Simla and beyond. With a 3 moth old baby and 1 year nine month old older sister! it was challenging! but quite a lot of fun too 🙂

    • Nidhi

      You go girl 🙂 I am totally in awe of you – how did you do that? We have still not ventured out on a self driving holiday – if we ever do it, I have a feeling it will involve a lot of hand held electronics and sedatives 😉 Kidding, kidding – hope to reach that milestone soon.

  • now thats an valuable info for me.. i am thinking of a trip for long time, but somehow didn’t pickup up the courage to finalize.. now i will rethink about it.. 🙂

    • Nidhi

      Don’t think too much – just do it 🙂 Let me know how it goes too..

  • 😀 I recently missed the train back home, with younger son in tow. The kids don’t freak out. They stand on the platform and remind you of the many times you’ve messed up on vacations, in loud voices. The good news is that when they are older (mine won’t see 20 again) they take charge like seasoned travelers.

    • Nidhi

      Haha – he really did that – describe all past travel bloopers on the platform ?! I can totally see Kidlet doing that to me in the near future 😉

  • Shatru Ladli

    I wonder if this is what mum would say about me? 🙂 Nice read 🙂

    • Nidhi

      Thanks Shatruji 🙂 Have I told you that your pseudonym is super ?

  • Wonderful post, Nidhi! 🙂
    Loved the transition… the then and now is such a contrast and sure, time is the best teacher!! 🙂

    • Nidhi

      Hey Shilpa – I agree, it takes time and it is best to let it take as much time as it needs 🙂 Sorry, it came out very complicated – but I guess you get what I mean 😉