Coming and Going: Moving with Kids
On my study abroad trip to South America last year I didn’t know anyone, so I was really lucky to end up with Lindsay as my roommate. We’re both students in our 30’s in the sea of 20-yr olds. We both missed our kids horribly. As independent adults we had a few meltdowns about the loss of control that comes with going on a trip someone else has planned. We slept in, ate local foods, hiked all over Peru and Brazil, sought out the local culture beyond our bus tours, and only got in a little trouble. Two weeks of travel can be all it takes to create a bond that lasts, and we meet for workouts and de-stressing time regularly.
One year after our trip, Lindsay came over for her last dinner at our house. I won’t see her again for months because she’s moving to Jamaica this week. Her husband Ryan has already been there for a year and now Lindsay and their 2-year old are joining him. Part of me is jealous, and part of me is just sad that my friend is leaving. A third part is determined to get down there with my kids and spend Christmas on the beach.
As she’s on the final countdown to moving I’m watching with interest. It’s kind of a preview of what we’ll have to do next year when we move to Cozumel, but the circumstances are different. Ryan has a job that pays for their move and their housing is provided where ours is all up to us. I kind of wish someone would pack my stuff and move it for me, but then there’s that loss of control issue I mentioned.
Although Lindsay and I are both moving to islands my family will be driving to Cozumel, so we have agreed that if it doesn’t fit in the car it doesn’t go. A few big things that are valuable to us will go into storage in Grandma’s basement, but most of our furniture and belongings will be sold or given away. I tell people who visit that if they see something they like, speak up now.
Many things are going to be given a 1-box rule, meaning you can take one box of your favorites but the rest has to go. We’ve already covered this with the girls and are doing a trial run this summer. They can put the things they love most in the “keep” box, and the rest we’ll pack up in the basement. In a few months we’ll go look at what‘s been packed away and see if there’s anything they’ve really missed. I’m hoping this will help them adjust and show them that they don’t need so many toys. I don’t want them to feel like moving to Mexico cost them everything they love.
I look at my books and dread having to make myself adhere to the 1-box rule. I am addicted to the cheap deals at Half Price Books and Amazon so the shelves are full. After our last move we swore we’d get rid of some of them because books are heavy and we just don’t want to haul them again. I bought a Kindle, but I hate to buy everything again so some of it will go and not be replaced. It’s going to be my hardest packing decision.
Most everything else I am not really attached to. A few large paintings might be problematic, but they can be stored if we can’t fit them in. I plan to rent a furnished house or apartment, so I’m not worried about furniture. We don’t buy new things so almost everything we have is second (or third) hand, but there is a lot with life left in it that I hope can find new homes.
The most important thing I want with me on my travels is my family. Years ago on a visit to my home town Jason couldn’t help but notice how excited I was to be back in the Ozarks, and he asked if I wanted to move back. I told him I didn’t want to drag him somewhere he didn’t want to go. Then he said the best thing ever: “It doesn’t matter where we live. My home is where you are.”
This changed the way I think of “home.” It’s not a physical place; it’s a feeling, a comfortable acceptance and knowing that you have those that you love most close to you. It changed what’s most important in my travels from where I go to who I go with.
Luckily I got over my reluctance to drag Jason places against his will and since then we’ve realized that we want to go a lot further than Missouri. And of course the kids are part of “home” now, too. Traveling without them I have a good time, but I see a million things that I want to show them. I look at things and think “Oh June would love that!” or “Rory would climb that rock in a flash.”Going to an exotic place and experiencing things in another part of the world is only part of what makes travel fun. Being able to take my family with me makes it a learning experience that never fails to open my eyes and make me feel like a child again.
I can’t wait to take my kids to Jamaica this winter and see my travel buddy again, but until then, home is simply wherever we are together.
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