One way ticket in hand going around the world with my husband and three year old. We both left our secure, well paying jobs to check off the biggest ‘to do’ on our bucket list: take a trip around the world. We are now six months in and we are currently in Dubai. Sunny, unbelievably friendly and beautiful Dubai. I have gained tremendous insight and grown on this trip, but much of that is witnessing travel through the eyes of my son, Jack. It’s amazing what travel teaches you with a three year old. It’s brilliant, actually.
What travel teaches you with a three year old:
Patience. My patience has been stretched, bent forward, backwards and in between in ways I have never imagined. Waiting in a mosh pit of adults with no order for bus tickets when it’s nap time, try that on for size. Or the time found a way to do hand stands in between his seat on a plane. Patience. I am not a patient person in the slightest. The funny thing I have learned is that when I”m intense, wired tightly it does more harm than good. Not only does it stress everyone around me out, but there’s no enjoying the now. Patience is truly a virtue that cannot be overrated.
It’s easier to say, ‘just be patient’ than to actually put it into practice…
Play time is a need rather than a want. We can have schedules and make ourselves confined to doing and going constantly. It isn’t healthy. Every one of us is created and wired differently. Some will want to feel free and ‘play’ more than others. When we refrain from enjoying what’s around us we miss out. We really do.
In the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan this hit me like a brick wall. It only took five months into our trip for it to register. As I watched Jack running around in the sand, with no real direction smiling ear to ear then spinning in circles playing with his cars a BIG lightbulb went off. Holy cow was my desires to explore and have fun trumping his needs. Being aware of the needs and wirings of others is SO important. Not only was I lacking compassion for the little dude I was dictating what his fun was when it wasn’t fun for him to explore canyons, climb mountains or just constantly be going. That was me.
What travel teaches you with a three year old…
Humility. Whether it be the knocked and smashed jelly jar in the aisle of the grocery store or pointing to someone’s stomach asking if they are having a baby I have never been so humbled with my three year old. Titles, status and material objects place parents ALL on the same level. I don’t care who you are. I have eaten humble pie numerous times on our travels in ways that have made me wince or my stomach cringe due to cultural differences and language barriers. Humility, I embrace thee.
Humility has been accompanied by being judge free to other parents, kids and whoever the heck else I encounter. Seriously, we are all in this together. Whether your kid is running around aisle four of the grocery store or you’ve stumbled on the side walk tripping on your own two feet, judgement does no one any good. We all have our good days and we all have those super tough, kick your butt bad days. Passing judgment only makes us obnoxious and closes off all possibility of learning and growth.
No one can win when we pass judgement. No one.
With two suitcases, a backpack full of toys and our passports in tout all the people and places we’ve encountered pale in comparison to watching and experiencing travel with my son. It’s a gift that will be with me forever.
Humility, lacking judgement, patience and kindness are things we must pursue as we begin a new year. When we exert energy on things that are trivial it’s a losing situation for everyone.
With two weeks remaining in Dubai and Asia being the next hop on our trek, I am prepared to learn, be changed and grow. Little man is my instructor and it’s a beautiful thing.
Peace, love and goodness!