From the age of 14, when I went to Greece […]
From the age of 14, when I went to Greece with my family for a vacation, I have been a keen traveler and have liked nothing more than packing a light bag, grabbing my well-worn passport and hopping on a plane to explore Europe or North Africa. For years, I often got lost in various locations where I didn’t speak the language, and I loved every second of it.
Of course, after finding out I was going to be a dad and then having Ben, all of that had to change.
Or did it?
In the early days, I wondered, did it have to change, or could the traveling evolve to include him? Sure, the adventures would be a little tamer than before—getting lost in Italy with no phone or way of contacting anyone is a good example of how crazy it sometimes was—but did the traveling have to go altogether?
The answer to that is a resounding “No!” In my opinion, learning about other cultures by immersing myself in them has been one of the greatest growths to my personal knowledge, and in some ways, it has shaped the adult I am today. The different sounds, smells and sights I’ve discovered while traveling have become some of the fondest memories and greatest stories of my life before Ben came along.
And if it has had such a massive impact on me, surely it would also be the same for my baby boy?
So, as a family, we got on an airplane and popped over to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca for a cheeky week by the sea. And although I’m an experienced traveler, I was now with a baby in tow and very nervous. I mean, there was first the early start, which would interrupt his routine, the check-in process, the flight itself and the hotel room, which was also unfamiliar.
The idea of a family holiday was a good one, but right up until the day we left, I wondered if we were making a mistake.
Turns out my little boy is more like me than I realized, as the journey there (the bit I was most worried about) was smoother than I could have ever dreamed. Not only was he calm and happy through the check-in process, but he was also just as calm when boarding the plane and during takeoff. He sat very relaxed on my knee and played with his toys, only pausing for a moment as the plane lifted; he looked around as if to say, “This is something new.” He didn’t cry once or get frustrated. He was so calm that even the stewardesses commented on how much of a good boy he was.
Talk about a proud father moment!
Then, we landed on the wonderfully warm island and made our way to our hotel, which was lovely, and the week we spent there will stay with me forever. It was so calm, and it was also the first time I had spent any uninterrupted time with my family since Christmas. Ben’s routine wasn’t disrupted in the slightest, and there were no issues at all—just us having a lovely time. It was a whole week where I didn’t have to think about anything other than my partner and my boy. I’m so lucky that we could afford to do it, as Ben loved the sights, sounds and smells just like I did when I first went abroad.
As a result of our week, I have thought about the whole nature versus nurture thing and wondered which one has made a greater impact on Ben’s apparent love for travel. I have no idea, but I do know that we will be going on another holiday very, very soon.