kids: the natural antidote to wanderlust

I love traveling. Scratch that. Since having kids, I love the idea of traveling. Because with young kids, especially the toddler (not to point fingers or anything), a vacation is a "trip." That changes as they get older (I don't feel bad saying my one-on-one road trip with my son was overall more enjoyable than our cross-country travels with both kids in tow). For now, we focus on visiting family while saving fun stuff like Disneyland and Hawaii and, I dunno, Marfa, Texas for when the children are a bit older. Perhaps in college. Which is not to say visiting family is not fun. It is, but it's also far less expensive so maybe it has less to do with where we are and who we see and more about how much we spend versus how exhausting the kids are. Anyway, in the meantime, my son and I took our second road trip together, just the two of us, and we successfully flew cross-country and back again with both kids. A few highlights from those trips included:

A Japanese cultural festival in Bend, Oregon. I forget now the connection with these dancers but they were fun to watch. They gave an epic performance that my 7 year old son sat through with keen interest.

I also realized that while we've made the trip to central Oregon together countless times over the past 18 years, since I initially moved from Bend to Berkeley (after less than a year in Bend), this was the first time I attempted the 8+ hour drive on my own. Needless to say, we split the drive home over the course of an afternoon and following morning, my son and I stopping for a dinner of ice cream in Klamath Falls.

So what did I learn from our east coast travels? For starters, a red-eye with two young kids is miserable no matter how well they do and I hope to never have to do it again. Fortunately, that first leg of the trip was the most grueling.

We sought out the best donuts in Williamsburg. Naturally.

And capped off our return trip via Boston with a wee bit of art. Actually, a huge aerial sculpture by Janet Eichelman.

It was strange to be back in Boston after six years. It simultaneously doesn't seem possible that it's been that long while also seeming unbelievable at times that I ever lived outside California (this state has a way of doing that to you; it's far worse if you were actually born here). The weather was deceptively perfect, meaning we must have lucked out on visiting during one of the three to four weeks out of the year when the weather is not either painfully cold and snowy or miserably hot and humid. We saw quite a few old friends, colleagues, and even our old landlord, showing my son where he lived his first year of life. The people were friendlier than I remembered. I rode the T a lot when I was pregnant with my son and can only remember one or two times someone giving up their seat for me. And yet almost every time we rode the T someone gave up their seat so the kids could sit. I'd almost consider moving back if not for those long, brutal winters. Even so, Boston is still one of just a handful of cities I'd consider calling home.

No comments: