IT'S A ....FLIGHT? HOW LONG TERM TRAVEL IS LIKE HAVING A BABY

I’m not even going to sit here and pretend that I am doing something half as important as bringing new life into this world. However, I am creating a life through traveling…my life. I find something daily that breathes new life into me, and makes me better and bigger than I was the day before. So for right now, traveling is my baby.

However…the point of this post is not to get all sentimental. The actual point is that, while I have not birthed a beautiful bouncing bundle of joy, I am strongly struggling with what (I have heard) are the symptoms of the aftermath. It turns out that long term travel ain't all glitz and glamour folks…so please, enjoy my misery and laugh a little with me on this one. Here is why and how I feel like I have actually labored instensely for this beautiful baby of mine called “travel.”

·      My pants don’t fit. Y’all…this is for real. I don’t even mean pants, either. My leggings…go ahead…laugh. Should I admit this? Probably not. Am I ruining the picture perfect social media version of myself? Maybe…but you need to know that when you stay in Europe for 2 months, bad things happen to good people. Well, okay. Good things happen…like truffle poached eggs, goulash, pumpkin tortellini, homemade tiramisu, creamy gelato, and wine…all the wine. Either way, the fact remains: my pants don’t fit.

·      I’m constantly wondering “Am I doing this right?”. I hear that parents (new and tenured) are constantly questioning if they are doing it right: wondering if they are feeding their kids the right things, sending them to the right schools, and so on. I am constantly questioning if I am picking the right activities, missing something monumental, and eating the right foods. I ask myself questions like, “if I didn’t take the bus…how can I tell someone else to.” Well, I can and I will (if my customer wants a budget option). It turns out that asking yourself if you are doing every.single.thing. right is enough to drive you crazy. So I am living, loving, learning, and moving on.

·      My hair is falling out. Ugh…my hair! The pants I could have dealt with, but this I did not expect. I’ll share more on this later, but I learned the hard way that my hair is not as resilient as my spirit. Between curling, straightening, and not conditioning my hair everyday, my hair turned to hay and started breaking off in clumps. It wasn’t pretty. I’ve invested in hair masks, serum, heat protectants, and everything else you can imagine. It’s on the up and up…but the scars remain. Lesson learned: don’t scrimp on packing the liquids when it comes to hair care.

·      Everyday feels like a first for something. The term “child-like sense of wonder” resonates with me here. Everyday I see and learn something new and I love seeing how the world is shaping me, just as I am shaping it.

·      If I’m not taking pictures, I feel as though I’m missing something. If I didn’t take a picture, did it happen? Towards the end of my trip, I’m feeling like a mom who just had my third kid. The first couple weeks, I was camera-crazy and snap happy like a mom who just had her firstborn. However, as I move on, I have to remind myself to record each location. Sorry, Amsterdam…your wedding slideshow is going to be quite lacking.

·      Its going by way too fast. I have seen first hand that those sleepy, snuggly, chubby cheek days go by way too fast! My trip is flying by now…but it turns out that my sleepy and chubby cheek days are actually increasing.

·      I never sleep…but then I fall asleep in the craziest places, at the craziest times. When I get to my apartments or hotels, I am writing or working. With the time change, 3 PM meetings are now 9 PM, and blog posts go up at 2 AM my time. Don’t worry though…I’m catching my Z’s…on the train, on top of my suitcase at the airport, and as soon as I board any plane (mouth gaping open).

·      When I want to sleep…I can’t! I’m so tired. More tired than I have ever felt in my life. I do realize that I will look back on this when I actually do have kids and laugh at how rested I was during this time…but for now, I am exhausted. The problem is that now my body has been trained that I don’t sleep. Sleep is bad. Must stay awake. So that’s what it does. Which is why I could be sleeping on the train right now, but I’m writing this instead.

·      The moisture is constantly sucked out of me. Yep…I said it. Although, I don’t mean it in a “my body is providing nutrients for human life” kind of way. Through flights, heat, cold, and the lack of readily available drinking water…I am constantly dehydrated and ready to attack the first Culligan man that I see in the U.S. (do they exist anymore?!).

·      Most of my clothes have some kind of stain on them. The rule “clean enough” and the “sniff test” are used almost daily. Gross? Sorry…I speak the truth. Washing machines have proven to be quite elusive, and even when I do get an opportunity to wash my clothes, I don’t always have time to let them air dry. So here I sit in my sweater that faintly smells like tacos. Mmm…tacos. Yeah, so I went for Mexican when I was in Prague.  Judge me.

So there you have it. If you thought that traveling long term is glamorous and well-manicured, I’m here to break the news to you that it isn’t. You may not sleep, you may gain weight, your hair may look like hay, but in the end, you’ve created something that you will always cherish. It may not be a baby, but yeah…it kinda feels like it.