Can you own a successful travel company and sow roots as you start a family? This jet-setting mom fills us in.
Every year in our May issue, we profile five fascinating moms—a handful of women with unique backgrounds, interesting careers and thought-provoking perspectives. There are times when they feel like they’ve got it all figured out and days when they’re counting down the hours until bedtime (first baby’s, then theirs). These mamas are inspiring, intelligent, industrious and—to be honest—not at all different from you. So read, relate and celebrate the bond that makes every mother’s story captivating.
While pregnant with her firstborn, Tara Harvey traveled to Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in Chile (where she summited a 17,000-foot volcano), the ruins of Choquequirao in Peru (where she also explored the famous Machu Picchu) and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northeastern Minnesota (where she learned firsthand the value of TUMS in the backcountry). The co-founder of South American travel company Knowmad Adventures is no stranger to exhilarating escapades, but the leap into motherhood was uncharted territory.
Like any mom, “I think I was pretty mentally underprepared for the change that a baby brings to your life,” says Harvey. “Freedom is really high on my value list and adjusting to the demands that nursing has on your schedule—or even just wrapping my day around two naps—has been a big struggle for me.”
Fortunately, as a result of her years spent living abroad in Spain and Thailand, she has a well-honed knack for adapting. “When traveling, you have to be flexible on the fly,” Harvey says, and she’s found the same to be true when you have a baby.
It might have been an adjustment—one Harvey “wouldn’t trade for the world”—but the family has slipped into a cozy routine. A part-time nanny comes in the mornings, so Harvey and her business partner husband, Jordan, can head to the office to run the company they started five years ago. In the afternoons, Harvey returns home to relieve the nanny. “The schedule works great for our family because it enables me to have enough ‘just being’ time with my son, Trey.”
It may seem like the ideal setup—and it’s pretty darn close—but it’s not perfect. “Parent-hood seems to be a constant transition—finding balance on one side, only for it to go off-kilter on the other side,” Harvey says. “I worry that I’m not as present with Trey as I could be at times … I stress about my inbox or the to-do list … and I need to be better about letting it go when I’m not at the office.”
The new mom hasn’t traveled internationally in a year and a half, which is a long time for a jet-setter like Harvey, but she has managed a few shorter jaunts, with tot in tow, to places like Texas, Florida and Colorado. “Even for travel experts, going somewhere with a baby can be pretty stressful,” Harvey confesses. “When your daily necessities involve some pretty big items, like a crib, highchair and stroller, packing can be daunting.”
Fortunately, she’ll be putting her passport to use again this spring when she and her husband set off to research villas in the wine region of Mendoza, Argentina, excursions around Iguazu Falls and trekking routes in Patagonia. (Yes, that’s all actually part of her job!)
Although she is eager for the day Trey can tag along, Harvey knows this sweet season will be gone too soon. “I can’t wait until Trey is old enough for us to be able to take him with us, but at the same time, I feel this sadness when I think about how fast he’s growing up.” If there’s one thing motherhood has taught her, it’s to enjoy the moment. “The time is so fleeting and beautiful.”
Name: Tara Harvey
Residence: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Occupation: Co-founder, operations and marketing manager at Knowmad Adventures
Children: Trey (1)
Favorite holiday: New Year’s Eve
Strangest pregnancy craving: Cheese curds
On her bucket list: Go heli-skiing in Chile