Sunday morning, we left bright and early for a flight to St. Maarten. With a flying time of just over three hours, it seem like a puddle jumper, compared to our six hour trip to California last month. At the airport, the customs agent commented how well traveled the kids were, as they flipped through the stamps in their passports. I didn’t think much of it, until we jumped in our taxi and I started looking myself. Stamps from Aruba, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Nevis, and Bahamas filled the pages. That night Jason and I were talking about how lucky our kids are to have experienced so many places, in such a short period of their lives. On this trip, we are visiting St. Maarten and St. Barths, and it took me 34 years to get here.
When Jason and I were children, our family vacations consisted of three hour long car drives to the Jersey Shore. In fact, coincidentally, we both realized that we had only been on an airplane twice, prior to college. I hold nothing against my parents for not traveling as much, but things were different back then. I feel fortunate that we can share so many places now with the kids, and I am fascinated when I see their reactions to visiting these new places, exploring countries and culture, and trying different cuisine. Looking back, my biggest regret was not studying abroad during my college years. I had the opportunity to travel my junior year, but I was reluctant to leave my job at the time. Instead, my travel began when I finished college, and started to work for fashion companies, with sales territories all over the country, taking me to places like California, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, to name a few.
It was traveling to the unknown alone, and mapping my way through different states in a rental car, sans GPS mind you, with tons of clothing samples stuffed in rolling cases, that really opened my eyes and sparked a passion to get away. Now with children, Jason and I always agreed that we would never let children hinder our travel, instead we want to try to take them to as many places possible. The last two years my job has brought my family and I so many unique experiences that I feel extremely fortunate for and will remind my children how lucky they are as well.
On this trip, and as hard as it is traveling with three young children, I am beginning to notice a change in them, almost as if they were well seasoned travelers. They understood the security lines in the airport, kept their seatbelt buckled when they were suppose to, packed their own backpacks, and even Gemma cooperated, which was a definite first. The big ones get especially excited now with our new ventures, and can’t wait to see what’s next.
We are all fully enjoying one another, and taking tons of photos along the way, because I want us to remember each and every moment. I think we have created a mental map of these places for them already. They are taking it all in, and hopefully they will recall even portions of our adventures. When they get older, I trust they will have a list of new places they want to visit, and pray they see every place their hearts desire.
So far, we’ve spent two days in St. Maarten, and leave for St. Barth’s tomorrow. We rented a car to drive around the island and discovered a beautiful beach called Le Galion. Protected by land on both sides, Le Galion was the perfect beach for the kids, because without waves or undertow, Ryder was even able to teach his little sisters the ropes. Even Siella could splash without swimmies, and Gemma hung with big kids as mommy and daddy watched from the shore. Looking back at days like these, I do think if I traveled as much as they did when I was a kid, I would probably live abroad right now. The world we live in is magnificent, and I want to see it all.
Off to St Barths…stay tuned!