One of the most common questions we get asked is how do you travel so much with kids? Well first off, we don’t travel that often. A vacation or two a year is the most we can afford in both cash and time off our jobs (and away from the Canadian Kids Hockey Schedule-not really a thing but any Canadian momma with kids in hockey knows what this is!).
But we do have a philosophy that has worked well for us: work hard. As soon as we save up enough for flights or a deposit we book our next adventure. And then we work. Hard. We pay cash for the flights and then we figure out the rest-often nickel and diming (or in our case saving loonies and toonies) our way to some pretty amazing destinations. We take extra shifts at work, teach more yoga classes (bootcamp for my hubby), cut back on household expenses where we can and sometimes just put it out to the universe to help us come up with the cash. And if the universe doesn’t answer, the people at Visa always do. We have paid for some trips in full up front and some we have still been paying off long after the flight home.
We’ve also found some on location tricks as well. We always find hotels that include breakfast and we eat…a lot first thing in the morning. Lunch is always a grab and go and there isn’t a country we’ve been in that we haven’t been able to take advantage of happy hour. Having kids with you means you can order dinner off the kids menu or we just split a meals. We often buy our own alcohol when we land so we can enjoy a glass of wine in our room without the high cost of room service and by staying in lower star accommodations we can travel more or for longer. And no souvenirs! Because we aren’t leaving for months at a time we try to enjoy our trip and not worry about every cent we spend.
As I write this the loonies and toonies are being collected, Peru (Machu Picchu) and Alaska have been booked (deposits in cash). The rest….hopefully the universe answers this time. But just in case I’m working overtime all weekend : )
I once read an article somewhere, someplace, sometime, that said you are not really a “traveller” until you have been to 30 countries. I remembered thinking two things: I need to get to 30 countries and does this person have a job, mortgage, car payments or kids??
At 15, I convinced my parents to send me to France for 3 months on a student exchange and a wanna be world traveller was born. After arriving in Switzerland, I lived in Grenoble and went to school. During our summer vacation the family I was with took me to Italy, Monaco and Nice. I spent a final week in Paris before returning home. After that first trip abroad, I travelled to Mexico and the Caribbean, making it to some of the lesser known islands like Curacao and Margarita Island (Venezuela) but something was missing at the big all inclusive resorts I stayed at.
I knew I wanted to see the world outside of a gated resort but then work, relationships and life took a different route. At 23 I got pregnant with baby number one and then two and three quickly followed. With 3 kids in 4 years the idea of travel seemed like a long lost dream.
By 30 I was divorced with 3 kids under 7. Eight months later I unexpectedly met the man who would eventually become my husband (and in 2010 the father of baby four). When he first asked me to go to Mexico with him (without kids) I was hesitant. We went and as they say the rest is history. Sitting on the plane and knowing that when I landed we would be in a foreign country was intoxicating. Yes it was to an all-inclusive and again it didn’t feel quite right but it did re-ignite the wanderlust.
Ten years later we have been to some pretty incredible places both on and off the beaten path. We have done all-inclusives with the kids in Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican and we have have been to some bucket list locations too-Prince Edward Island, Netherlands, Iceland, Costa Rica (twice), Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador and the Galapagos. Most adventures have a kid or two or four in tow but some have been solo or couple adventures.
What I have learned is that for me it is not the number of stamps in my passport anymore. Sometimes our adventures are far away and sometimes we find them in our own backyard-and for this yogi mama that is the perfect balance.
My name is Julie and I am a wanderluster at heart. I am also a yogi. And a cop. And a wife and a mother. Maybe its my Indigenous blood that stirs this intense desire to wander. Whatever it is I have worked hard to find the balance. Seeing some amazing places with my family while holding down jobs, paying the mortgage, the day to day responsibilities of raising kids. I am never going to sell off all our possessions and load everyone into a tiny house (I brought this up once and 5 people yelled no). I will never move to a foreign land to live amongst the locals. But I will lose sight of the shore.