The beginning of our family travels.
Really the decision was already made before Petra was born. I believe it was promised the minute we found out we were pregnant:
Yes, we can keep traveling with a baby.
After roadtripping for a couple months around the US, we felt we had gotten our feet sufficiently wet, and Petra was sufficiently sturdy at five months to venture further.
We had returned to the Northeast to visit Wade’s family for Christmas, and I wanted to head to Maine to make a quick visit to my family before we took off. Wade reluctantly agreed but on one condition: that we buy plane tickets to leave the USA before we went to Maine. My husband is convinced that everytime we visit Maine we’re somehow going to unwillingly get sucked in and stay. I’ve never heard of Maine magically sucking in screaming victims like a black hole, but I guess everyone’s got their phobias.
The actual destination was secondary, the important thing to Wade was that we get out of the US. We debated a little over whether there was yellow fever in Colombia and whether parasites in Ethiopia were worse than parasites in Guatemala. Finally, Wade suggested the Dominican Republic. He said that it was relatively developed, his friend Andy Hobotraveler.com was there at the time, it was a good starting point for going to Central America, where I wanted to go to visit family, and it is a sunny warm country, which is compelling when in New York in January.
So a day before we left to Maine we bought tickets to Santiago, Dominican Republic that left in two weeks.
In midst of the excitement of seeing the family and having them gaggle at how much Petra had changed in the few months we had been gone, I started to get nervous about leaving again. The responsibility of a new tiny, dependent member of the family felt overwhelming. I thought about how much I depended on all the stuff we had when we traveled with a car, and what was I going to do without it. I worried about vaccinations and mosquitos and why was I exposing my baby to these risks. I had never been that anxious about travel ever before.
Wade reminded me that all lifestyles carry their own risks. If we were to stay in the US we would be driving in a car multiple times a day with all the risk of car crashes. He reminded me that, just as he said when we decided to travel pregnant, I could go home anytime I needed to.
That was all I needed. We’d keep traveling as long as we all were still happy doing it. And the beach was calling.
About the Author: Chaya Shepard
After traveling on her own for three or four years, Chaya met up with Wade Shepard, the editor of VagabondJourney.com. They were married in 2009, and continue to travel the world together with their young daughter. From time to time Chaya blogs about family travel and life on the road. Chaya Shepard has written 102 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
Chaya Shepard is currently in: Xiamen, China
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