Towards the end of 2013, quite a few people asked me if I had any big plans or hopes for the new year. And, being the typical over sharer that I am, I launched into my wide-eyed dreamy plans to travel the U.S. and document it along the way.
Surprisingly, most people were delighted at the idea of my travels. Some were envious. One person even said they thought I’d make a great professional traveler. Even more surprising though, was the number of people who made a sort of pitying face when I told them that I wanted to bring Jackson along with me.
“Oh honey. That’s going to be rough”
“Well, aren’t you ambitious!”
“Bless your heart!” (A deep, tried and true southern insult; we like to kill with kindness in these parts.)
And while I’ll fully acknowledge that I do love traveling on my own (and I hope to share some of my solo adventures with you here as well), it has been traveling with Jackson by my side that has given me a new appreciation for the world and it’s wonders. I’m sure all parents feel this way to an extent, but for me, seeing Jackson explore and experience new places for the first time has been some of the most joyful moments we have shared together.
I’ve been traveling with Jackson since he was about 3 months old and it has been amazing. It hasn’t always been perfect, but the more we do it the better I seem to get at efficient packing and keeping him entertained in the car for long trips…so we are going to keep doing it. It’s really that simple.
“But what about his autism?”
It’s funny, and I talk about this a little on my About Page, but when we travel…it’s like all of Jackson’s Autism triggers and agitators just melt away. He is thrilled to look out the window as we drive down the road…and ecstatic when we get out the car to see some place new. Travel allows Jackson to be somewhat free from his Autism, if only for a few days at a time, and I love that so much.
Jackson and my niece McKenna have been travel buddies for quite awhile, and it was so wonderful to have them both for a week on our recent Disney Cruise.
For those who have asked how I do it, often without another adult present, I just have to say that if you do anything enough it just starts to feel like your own personal norm.
Sure, it was stressful at first, but over time we adapted…and now I cannot imagine life without traveling.
It is the way that I grow with Jackson. This is our time, our moment…and I never want it to end.
Do you travel with your children? What is your most memorable experience from traveling with your kids?