Travel & Children: Can you have both and still live the life of your dreams?
When it comes adulting, I'm pretty shit *micdrop.*
Sure, I'm a 33-year old woman who has a steady job, a happy relationship with a rad dude, and some awesome life experiences behind her.
I keep my house in a militant-like state of cleanliness; pay online bills like a champ (when I have the moolah); cook a mean quesadilla; and I stay within the boundaries of the law...generally speaking.
Yeah, I've got some #lifeshit locked down tight.
I also love doing tequila shots in hipster dive bars in foreign cities.
If the opportunity to move to another country comes along, I'll jump on that shit faster than a fat kid on a cupcake.
And when it comes to personal savings, I personally can't save shit. Unless it's for a plane ticket - and I even suck at that.
Lately, however, I've found myself entertaining the idea of committing to the biggest, most important adult thing a person can do:
Having a child.
Fuck. It kinda scares the bajeezes outta' me. I can actually feel my ovaries shivering with nerves as I type those words.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like kids. Sometimes I find myself staring at adorable babies, wondering what it would be like to have one of my own: big eyes, chubby cheeks, little Havaianas on his or her feet.
I respect kids and I have huge amounts of respect for the people who create them.
I'm surrounded by strong, hardworking and loving mothers who willingly and consistently give up everything for their kids. Every day, I witness women putting the needs of their families before their own and do so without a second thought.
I am in awe of these women who seem to show infinite resilience and compassion towards to their offspring.
They compromise diligently; they love unconditionally.
I just don't know if I can do that and still have the life I've dreamed of, the life I've been working towards. I'm afraid that I'd be a crap mum because I also want to be a traveller. And I don't know how to play both those roles simultaneously.
Now, I've heard of people travelling the world with kids. To me, they're like a mythical unicorn who poops extended visas and free plane tickets out of its ass.
They're the travel community's equivalent of a David Blaine magic trick: You've read about it, you're utterly amazed by it, but fucked if you know how it's actually done.
I admire these people who travel with their offspring in tow. In fact, I goddamn salute them. I just don't know how to be one of them.
I want to trek the Inca Trail and watch the sunrise over Machu Pichu.
To me, it's imperative that I spend time in India teaching and working with orphans.
My heart beats faster in excitement at the thought of diving the wrecks of WW2 bomber planes in the remote waters of Micronesia.
I get a loved-up tingly feeling when I think about backpacking across Europe for another summer... or exploring the Middle East... or cross-country road trippin' in the USA with my man.
And I'm trying to figure out if it's possible to do all this with a child by your side.
You know, without messing him or her up for life…or accidentally leaving them in an airport…or having Child Services called on your ass because you took your kid to Burning Man.
As I find myself being pulled deeper into my thirties, I'm increasingly feeling the force of these opposing directions - one towards child-free adventures, the other towards motherhood - and I'm struggling to figure out which has the greatest influence on me.
My identity of who I am is so wrapped up in travel, adventure and my steadfast decision to NOT buy a ticket for the Baby Express, that I'm afraid I won't know who I am if I embrace the alternative and jump onboard.
Will I still see all the places my heart desires?
Will I still have the adventures that I've been dreaming of my whole life?
And most importantly, will I still be me?
For now, the future is still loaded with travel and adventures (and plenty of tequila shots).
But perhaps, one day, there will be a mini travel buddy of my own to share those adventures with…and I'm starting to imagine it could be one helluva' journey.