Saturday, November 30, 2013

No one makes babies to make travelling easier..embrace it.

When Jason and I started adventuring together the general impression was that I brought adventure to the table. That might have been the case, but Jason taught me how to go wandering in the greatest of luxury and that luxury didn't necessarily entail champagne at every meal (just breakfast).

He brought the luxury of safety, time, space and a mutual respect for each other's boundaries; a treat bottle of champagne at the end of a day doesn't hurt either.  I think that until I started travelling with Jason and then with my girls, adventuring had always been a single minded pursuit of experiencing other cultures besides my own. Rushed, unnecessarily risky, tightly scheduled and mostly solitary.
At which point (the beginning) Jason is calling me Mrs. Griswald
So, while I might have brought the spark to go wandering Jason brought the quality of life that made the hardest parts of travelling...some of my favourite memories.
It's because of Jason that I started respecting the need for grown ups and children to run every few hours (napping baby time is excluded from this schedule - one must drive like the wind while the baby sleeps). Which meant road trips became less about the driving and so much more about the State Parks. Travelling to other countries became about renting a quality apartment that had some semblance of a neighbourhood structure nearby so we could enjoy a playground or park when the girls got rangy or when one of us needed a nap.
That isn't to say that a road trip adventure with two children isn't exhausting even with safeties built in but when Jason suggested that it might be less exhausting if we flew I wondered if it would be as pretty. Also, airplanes and airports sort of require tranquilizers for normal healthy kids...
Every choice has a cost right?
What I really loved about this particular trip was that we had the luxury of stopping at our friend Judy's home midway in both directions.

Here's the thing about Judy. She is a gentle, generous, home loving, foodie woman with a whole lot of brains. This means that having respite at her home took care of both of Jason's and my hearts, minds and everyone's stomachs.
The space of her property and surrounding area let the girls get their Wild on and gave me a place to run.
It also had its fair share of grave rubbings and hide and seek - scratching Jason's itch for strange activities.

We are lucky that she loves us so much as to let us invade like this. Judy's home has always been a point of respite for me and this trip was no different. It was the perfect pitstop to restore before hitting DC. That champagne was a great way to cap of the first day as well
Travelling as a family means a bit of a different trip now for the adults. We get our kicks in completely different ways. For example, as a working Mother about to turn 40 I feel like I have unlimited energy and an inability to cope without expending it.

I have never pictured myself as someone who exercised while she travelled but there was a ton of satisfaction in seeing these sights while flexing. Our flat was 5 blocks way from the National Mall route - I couldn't not enjoy it.

Korean War Memorial
West Wing run
There are certain aspects of city that we notice more now than we might have 10 years ago. As a carless family - cities with great public transit, pedestrian routes and bike share programs are endlessly charming to us.

Travel as a family is not about dining and drinking out every night anymore either. Gone are the days that I tour a city through it's restaurants and trip through the small empanada joints instead. In fact our key to success is minimizing the number of restaurant meals with the girls. Our one night out was a dinner with a local friend at a great recommended restaurant called Founding Farmers.

Spacious, delicious and distracted as the girls only have 90 minutes of sitting capacity. It is deeply satisfying to me that we got to see one of our favourite Toronto friends so far away when we have a hard time connecting locally.
We rented bikes and enjoyed the Tidal Basin with the girls. DC really has nailed the monument to men down.
When leaving Judy's on our way back home I stopped at one of my favourite New Jersey cheese makers to stalk up on great food for the longest leg of this trip.  The last 9 hours.  Always the hardest on everyone - fresh bread, homemade cheese and cured duck sausage.  We had tons of fruit to complement the car smorgasbord. 

It's our final and critical strategy to keeping sane on adventurous family trips.  Great whole food. Simple fruit, vegetables, cheese and bread.  Homemade is always better because nothing makes us all feel physically and emotionally unstable like roadside attraction food.

For what it does to us it is cost prohibitive.

1 comment:

wendy said...

your favourite New Jersey cheesemaker is the same as mine!