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Traveling Baby Takes First Steps

Petra is walking!

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Petra Takes First Steps in Mexico

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico- Within the past month, a marked change has happened in my traveling family: my daughter, Petra, began taking charge of her travels. At one year and one month old, she said that she has had enough of just following mom and dad around, that she would not just passively sit still and watch the world go by — no, she began walking on the long path of self-determination that she will hopefully follow for the rest of her life: she began choosing where she wants to go.

There are now three of us giving input as to the wheres of this journey.

I can no longer just walk down the street, leading my little girl to wherever I want to go and expect her to follow passively; nope, Petra now travels where she wants to travel.

Traveling baby learns to walk

Petra walking

For a few months, Petra has been able to walk with Chaya or I holding her hands. At first, she would just go to where we lead her — no problems, life is good, there is as good as here. But a month ago, this all changed:

My baby began leading the way. Thump, thump, thump we go walking down the street. I am holding on to one of Petra’s hands, my wife the other. Petra is dragging us from one place around San Cristobal de las Casas to the next.

Petra meeting indigenous people in Mexico

Shops all of a sudden have turned into playrooms, grocery stores into gyms, restaurants into playgrounds, and each person has become either a potential playmate or an admirer as the streets have became Petra’s domain. It now sometimes takes an hour to walk two blocks with Petra, as she wants to check out every shop and storefront and call out to everyone along the way.

traveling baby and mom

Traveling Baby walking down the street with mom

When Petra enters a store, she does not do so without being noticed. If the shop is playing music, she dances and laughs; if not, she yells and calls out until the shopkeeper looks at her, smiles, and tells her how cute she is. Usually this comes without hesitation, Petra meets people easily, and people generally seem to like meeting her. Almost every time we walked down the street of just about every place that we have traveled as a family has lead to Petra receiving lots of attention, and has lead to her making lots of friends. Petra leads Chaya and I into shops and calls out “ahhh, ahhh, ooolllaaa, ooolllaaa” to the shopkeepers, or to anybody else around.

This is how you make friends in travel.

Petra leading Chaya around Mexico

Petra leading Chaya around Mexico

Petra is now a traveler, she is now not only enjoying the people she meets in travel, but the places as well.

Traveling Baby Learns to Walk

Petra is also starting to walk. For the past couple of weeks she could walk — she had all the muscle tone, coordination, and knew how to do it — but she just seemed a little frightened. On a couple of occasions she surprised herself with a step or two. But last night, she really walked.

Video of traveling baby walking

The walking started out with a few wobbly knee hesitation steps, but these seemed to have lead to a realization that she can do it. Good thing too, because it is my impression that Petra was getting pissed off about how her little friends could get up and walk all over the place and she still had to crawl. Petra can now walk, too.

I can only fear the trail that she is now going to leave on this planet. I am going to be playing catch up real soon.

It is all in the shoes

baby shoes

Baby shoes

There is a little girl that lives in the hotel that we are staying in who is around five months older than Petra, her grandparents are the hotel’s owners. The two kids play together all day, when they go into the dining room and the other one is not there they call out to each other. The other baby cries “Pitra!”, and Petra cries “Nena!” They have become pretty good companions.

A couple of days ago the owners of the hotel made a gift of a new pair of shoes to Petra — which are no small priced gift either. They were good shoes, they were walking shoes. The next day Petra was walking. It is all in the shoes.

Traveling baby walks conclusion

Petra Hendela Adara Shepard is traveling

Now my traveling family is officially made up of three travelers.  Petra is walking now. This morning she kept up on the trend and was walking across the kitchen as my wife cooked. Petra can now tread a trail upon her earth in quick bursts of rapid fire steps. We all cheer.

Petra is taking charge as she discovers her world, now, we are all in these travels together. This journey has begun.


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Filed under: Mexico, North America, Petra Hendele Adara Shepard, Travel With Family

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

8 comments… add one

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  • dad September 30, 2010, 4:44 pm

    You walk slow, smiley joe.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 1, 2010, 10:37 am

      I don’t know if she is going to listen to this, she seems to like to try to run as fast as she can haha.

      Link Reply
  • Oria September 30, 2010, 4:52 pm

    OHMIGODD:DDDD :insert freak out: She did it, she sooo biig,her hair is soo longg!!!
    she finally did it, im so happy:)
    hope everything is good and safe
    send a big cheek sqeeze to Petrita
    love love love

    haha so where next..south africa?

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 1, 2010, 10:36 am

      She did it! All of that practice at the Finca must have paid off.

      It is looking like we are going back to Asia when we finally decide to leave Mexico. It seems as if we are going to start out in the Philippines. Chaya doesn’t want to go to Ethiopia. I don’t understand why haha.

      Link Reply
  • Steve-O October 3, 2010, 11:07 pm

    Awwww… spoken like a truly proud papa…

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 4, 2010, 11:19 am

      Thanks Steve-O,

      Petra makes us proud every day. Right now she is destroying the dishes in the hotel kitchen — Destroy!


      Good to hear from you again.



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  • Erin E-M October 14, 2010, 1:39 pm

    She is so big and so beautiful! I love to see the videos that you post! You guys look so happy and healthy!
    So much love to all of you,

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 28, 2010, 7:52 pm

      Thanks Erin,

      Should bring Dave and Liam down for a little traveling.

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