In nine short months, our world has changed. The days of travelling without a plan, taking off on difficult hikes with next to zero preparation and spending lazy afternoons in rundown bars have left us behind.
Travelling with a baby has opened my eyes to life on the other side. I now find myself being somewhat organised (to be honest my wife is the organised one, but I do my best). I eat early as this not only suits our baby’s sleep schedule but if I was to leave it any later than 7pm, my overpowering urge to sleep would take priority over food.
Before Charlotte (Charlie) was born, my wife and I made a pact to travel as often and as far as possible. This new addition to the family was going to fit in with our lifestyle and we weren’t going to become “those parents” who give up on their lifestyle completely because it’s all too difficult. Well dear friends, I can tell you that actions speak far louder than your pre-baby words. Travelling with a baby can be difficult… (but it is oh so worth it!)
We tested the waters a few months back with a quick trip to the Apple Isle of Tasmania before tackling an overseas flight. All went well. Charlotte slept most of the flight and seemed to enjoy her new surroundings. The day we returned home, we took advantage of our optimism and booked a trip to Fiji. With a flight time of only 4 hours each way, we figured the absolute worst that could happen is we (and those around us) suffer through a few hours of screaming before we land.
As our departure date drew closer we revelled in the usual pre-trip anticipation until a week out when, having just gone through a rapid development phase, Charlotte decided that her newest and most effective method of getting someone’s attention was to just lay there and shriek like a feral cat until you dropped everything a focused solely on her. Sweet baby Jesus the thought of our upcoming flight had turned from one of excitement to dread!
Truth be told, the flight went reasonably well. Charlie spent most of the time feeding, sleeping or just playing with the cord of my defective earphones. There were a few impulsive shrieks that snapped a coupe of people out of their mid-air slumber but all in all, things could’ve been worse.
Arriving in Fiji, Charlie was treated to things that she doesn’t get at home. For instance the novelty of a forward facing car seat made all of her Christmas’ come at once. The rubbernecking was out of control, looking from side to side as we passed villages and brightly lit trucks. Another surprising favourite was when the child-loving Fijians poked their heads into her pram without warning to give her an enthusiastic “Bulla” or to squeeze her cheek.
After a week in the tropics we realised that most of our anxieties around travelling with a baby were due to the human inclination to think that the worst is going to happen. We realise now that with some careful planning and thought, travelling with a baby isn’t as difficult as you might think. Of course you need to be realistic…our days of late meals and drinking wine into the early hours are behind us for now but hey, babies grow up and I intend to return to my indulgent ways in good time.
So, if you find yourself sitting at home and wondering whether or not to book a trip…my advice is go for it. Just book it, prepare as best you can and deal with things as they arise.