Updated: Apr 12, 2021
I left the United States for the first time when I was 18 years old. It was such a
thrilling experience for me, and it was then that I realized I LOVE to travel. Two years after my first and second international trips, my husband (boyfriend at the time), received orders to move to Germany, so we did the typical Army thing and got married in order for me to move overseas with him. It was an exhilarating yet TERRIFYING thought. I mean heck, I still lived in the house that I had lived in my whole life. I owned a business. I was only 21. But the wanderlust that consumed my thoughts eventually won that battle of "should I do this?" and so I moved out of my parents house to Germany with my brand new husband to start an entirely new life.
Germany was a major culture shock for me. I had to make small adjustments that took awhile to get used to such as asking for stilles wasser to ensure I wasn't going to be drinking carbonated water at dinner, carrying euro with me at all times (let's be honest, after three years of European living, I still had to make way too many impromptu ATM runs), and unlimited speed limits on the autobahn. After finally getting unpacked and adjusted to living in our new house right off base, my husband and I couldn't wait to start our European travels. We started with smaller road trips to places like Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France just to name a few. As time went on our adventures dwindled because, well... life.
I found out I was pregnant just after hitting our one year anniversary of living in Germany. Oh man, I was FREAKED out. I didn't ever really picture myself as a mother. I was young, selfish, and way too on the go to have a child. I ran a very busy and successful waxing business from home, I was involved in women's sports, I was still partying with my friends every weekend, I had just had surgery on a broken hand. I was dealing with a lot. As I began telling family and friends about our major surprise, everyone would tell me that life would slow down for me. That I wouldn't be able to do much with a newborn or small child. But pregnancy lasts nine months so I felt like I still had a ton of time to do whatever I wanted to do before I was going to be consumed by motherhood. Let me tell you, as slow as it seems, pregnancy flies by and you'll have a raging toddler in just a minute, but that's a story for another day....
We traveled a bit during my pregnancy, going to the D-Day Festival in Normandy, France and hiking the Vintgar Gorge in Ljubljana. But I was more of a workaholic, just to ensure we had the money for outrageously priced diapers and wipes, and so my husband and I could travel home to Tennessee and Indiana for baby showers that our families had for us. I was already feeling like I would never truly travel again. My mind gave in to thoughts of “my life is over” just like everyone said it would be. The feeling didn't last too terribly long though.
My daughter was born in Germany and before she was even a week old we were off to see Neuschwanstein Castle. I made a couple of trips to Czech with her when she was a newborn, and we took our first major trip from Germany back to the States when she was four months old for our families to meet her. I ended up having to stay for a few months and have surgery on my still broken hand (yeah, the same one that was broken a year before). While we were in the States, we took a few small road trips and eventually made our way back to Germany to reunite with my husband. My daughter was a year old when we finally starting to plan bigger family trips to places like Greece, Slovakia, and Poland. I finally felt at peace and like my life had a purpose (second to being a mama, of course).
Now at a year and a half old, my daughter has been on twenty flights, has traveled to seven countries, and eleven states. We've moved home and settled down in Tennessee, and our friends and families are always so interested with our travels, HOW we do it or why even bother with it because it seems like such a hassle with children. The idea behind The Wandering Wild Child, is to show other mothers (and dads!) that traveling and seeing the world is totally possible with your mini-me in tow. I'm here to give all the packing hacks, destination advice, and road trip and airport navigation tips. I’ll never forget how stressful it was to make sure I packed all of her favorite toys, just to realize she only wanted to play with an empty water bottle.
Whether it’s hiking, beaching, camping, or whatever it is that you enjoy doing with your family, The Wandering Wild Child will be a great guide for helping you navigate traveling with littles. I want to inspire other mamas to get out and see all that life has to offer, share the moments with your babies, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Now, what's next on your bucket list?