Seeing the World

DH and I once hoped to raise our kids abroad. A few years ago, when DH’s career focus shifted from overseas to California and Texas, that hope dimmed. Such is life, plans change and opportunities arise at mysterious intervals.

So, we have planted our roots in our cozy, New England suburb and begun to blossom. But by doing so, we realize that if we aren’t providing our kids with an international address, then raising them with international outlooks means finding other ways for them to see the world instead.

When life puts up road blocks, come up with alternative routes.

Earlier this year, while focusing on our greatest asset, our marriage, DH and I did some couples counseling. As we began discussing ways to convert our dreams of raising global citizens into reality, a wonderful, ah-ha solution took shape. We concluded that, even if we couldn’t raise our kids overseas, at least we could expand their horizons by traveling overseas with them.

The dream waves were rolling but where should our maiden voyage sail? We needed a plan…

We need to start somewhere not half-a-world away and manageable enough for kids, ages four and seven. Because DH and I have taken many journeys together in the Far East but never Europe, we decided our first, international, family trip should be to Europe. But where?

My cousin and his wife just moved to Warsaw for two years and have invited us to come visit. That puts Poland on the list. We also have some good friends from business school, who live in Zagreb, Croatia—which would keep our trip in Eastern Europe—and some other friends in Basel, Switzerland, which would bring it west.

To add to the possibilities, DH’s company has an office in Ireland. If he has the ability to log some work hours during our trip, we all have the ability to spend more time in Europe. Not to mention, we live in a part of the US populated by Mahoneys, O’Shaunasseys, McDermots and Kennedys; where Saint Patrick’s Day is a close second to Thanksgiving. Adding Ireland to the list means seeing first-hand a country relevant to our cultural environs back home.

Finally, my sister-in-law and her fiancé are moving to London before summer 2013. Between our kids recent exposure to the 2012 London Summer Olympics and their attachment to their aunt, that puts England in the running too.

What a blessing, to find our options not limited by scarcity but stymied by abundance: Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, England, Ireland.

And so we reached a fork in our new road. We could spin our dreams all we wanted but if we planned to go in 2013, we better take action! But, when should we go and for how long?

Initially, we thought we might travel over April break—a ridiculous, one-week, public school vacation here in New England; too long to have no plans yet too short to do anything significant. Our logic being, if we traveled in the spring, air fare would be cheaper, crowds fewer and the weather in Europe good. Also, since our kids are so early in their academic careers (1st Grade and Preschool), taking a few extra days on either end to travel abroad would certainly enhance their educations more than hinder them.

But did it make sense to make our biggest plans of 2013 for the spring? That would still leave us with a whole summer to plan and the expenses of camps and all the activities that come with it. So, we have decided to make our big trip part of our summer plans.

Counseling success! We’ve converted our words into action. Next summer, we are taking the kids to Europe, starting in Ireland.

What’s even more remarkable than putting our words into action is that the primary driving force behind the action isn’t me–the one planted firmly at home with the kids, itching (and musing) on a regular basis to stretch the travel legs once more—it’s my career-centric, fiscally-conservative, over-worked husband.

DH and I have talked, ad nauseum, about the value we place on traveling, we have discussed it as an alternative to living overseas, and we are well aware that traveling requires an investment of two things we always feel short on: time and money. So, when DH took the helm and booked our travel, it was a genuine act of love, spoken in his true, native language.

We have a lot of preparatory work to do between now and next summer: there are library books to check out; new cuisine to try; a few foreign words to learn; a route map to plan. But at least one lesson is already learned: sometimes the best way of seeing the world is by staying put.

What’s your plan of action? Do you have an alternative route map to go by?

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wendy Lawrence
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 12:25:54

    That sounds great! We had the wonderful opportunity to take our kids to Europe this summer. We were between jobs so we had a month off while moving, and we rented a farmhouse in Spain. My 4yo’s new favorite foods are sardines and flan (not at the same time) and he spent the mornings gathering eggs from the chickens and exploring a totally new culture every day. And we spent plenty of time at our usual haunts–dinosaur museums, aquariums, etc., which was a fun way to see how much we have in common with another country. It was absolutely the best three weeks of my life–I revel just thinking about it! I hope you have a wonderful time!!!

    Reply

    • growingmuses
      Oct 01, 2012 @ 13:31:19

      a farmhouse in SPAIN!? wow, Wendy, that sounds wonderful. What kid wouldn’t want to spend a summer on a farm and what parent wouldn’t want to be in Spain. Tell me more!

      Reply

      • growingmuses
        Oct 01, 2012 @ 13:31:58

        you know, probably if I caught up with my blog-back-log, I’m sure I’d learn all about it, wouldn’t I? Can you share the link for anyone else who may want to stop by?

  2. slightlywonky
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 16:36:34

    SO EXCITING!!!!! What an amazing trip that will be. Don’t forget to come back, though…okay? 🙂

    Reply

  3. Bonnie
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 17:18:38

    I love your writing!

    Reply

  4. Wanderlustress
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 06:29:14

    We are half a world away now but you know you are welcome at our future posts, too. Keep planning!

    Reply

    • growingmuses
      Oct 15, 2012 @ 11:42:18

      Wanderlustress, you and the World Moms Blog family are always first on my trip planning radar. I couldn’t believe there aren’t that many contributors in Europe to meet up with. Believe me, we’d LOVE to make it back to Laos sometime soon.

      Reply

  5. cecile
    Oct 05, 2012 @ 12:36:34

    That sounds nice ! And we might go next Summer, too… I’m still waiting on that interview date (for citizenship, US I mean) so Christmas looks more and more out of the question… I’ll keep you informed !

    Reply

    • growingmuses
      Oct 15, 2012 @ 11:43:44

      I can’t believe it! You’re actually taking the leap and becoming one of us? No matter, you’ll always remain French in my book. I don’t think we’ll make it to France on this trip but it’s funny to think that we might see you again in Europe before we see you State-side. Miss you.

      Reply

  6. Trackback: Saturday Sidebar: What Was Your Best Ever Family Vacation? | World Moms Blog

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