It really isn’t surprising that I’m a home-based travel agent. Travel has been a large part of my adult life. I believe it’s not just part of my DNA, but IS my DNA. When I’m not traveling or have a trip booked (or two… or three…), I don’t feel like myself. It’s as though something is missing. I have been known to travel as often as five times per year, and still want more. I look for every and any excuse to travel.
What is surprising is that I am a Mompreneur with a travel agency focused on family travel. At the age of 19, I was told the likelihood of me carrying a child was slim to none. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and had a three inch cyst removed from my right ovary, leaving it irreparable. That same year, I met my husband. On our first date, I laid it all out for him and told him to walk away if having children was important to him. For most young women, and couples, this would have been upsetting. For us (mostly me) it was a sign. This meant we were going to be “DINKs“ (Double Income No Kids) and have excess cash to travel.
My twenties were glorious. I traveled where I wanted, with whom I wanted, and when I wanted. My only limit was my imagination and my nearly empty bank account. I ate big macs in 15 countries; dove with Sharks in the Bahamas; skydived over the hoover dam; and saw over 25 bands live. And that’s only the tip of the ice berg of that decade.
Then it happened.
We had just gotten back from Hawaii. I was moodier than usual and could sense something was a little off. Finally, after eating two Big Mac meals for dinner on Valentine’s Day, I agreed I needed to see a doctor. A friend had suggested, “maybe you’re pregnant.” I laughed, but to humour her, I took a Dollar Store pregnancy test.
More than anything, I wanted to fail that test. I had a lot I wanted to do which didn’t include toting around a baby. I was in the midst of planning a two-month long trip to Africa to volunteer in a small village and meet our sponsor child, Sewarag, in Ethiopia, as well as join an African tour of like-minded people. I was also finally half way done my degree. And had plans to retire young, with a Winter home in Nassau, Bahamas.
My world stopped. I couldn’t breath. I was pregnant. I, who knew nothing about babies, was going to raise a child. I’ve always winced at the expectation to hold my nephews and niece, or friends’ children. Not because I didn’t like them, but because I was afraid of breaking them. And now, I was going to be responsible for one.
I canceled all plans for Africa, but continued with the domestic trips I had booked before I got pregnant. Traveling to New York City and San Francisco was a much different trip than I had planned, but we made the most of it and had wonderful trips. I started to prepare myself for a life with responsibilities and little to no travel, because once you have children, you can’t travel anymore, right?
It’s no shock, I didn’t last long without traveling. Before my daughter, Taylor, turned a year, the whole family flew to Halifax to visit my brother and his family. My parents, and other brother, came as well. Because I was on parental leave, Taylor and I were able to stay for nearly a month. On the way home, I arranged for an overnight layover in Montreal, to allow some time in sighting seeing in Old Montreal and to make the most of our trip.
Since then, Taylor who is now three, has swam in the Atlantic and Pacific ocean; flown a hand-full of times; and has met Mickey Mouse. My husband, Jason, and I have also traveled once alone, leaving her with the grandparents. And, I have travel once on my own, as well. Travel is no longer the same, but can be more fulfilling. Seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes is like experiencing everything for the first time.
Travel has become a large part of our family. A lot of people ask, “how do you manage to travel so often with a young one?” or “isn’t it exhausting traveling with a toddler?” This is why I started my business. I want to educate families and give them the opportunity to travel, because I strongly believe we all deserve break and children have so much to learn abroad.