My first Christmas after I moved away from home my parents bought me a luggage set. That was about the beginning of suitcase season as I call it, the stretch of the year where it seemed almost pointless to haul the suitcases back down to the basement to store them when we'd just be getting them out again next month.
My mother with each kid likes to "warn" me that we're going to find it harder to "run as much" as she says and will have to cut back. In some aspects it has gotten harder, but it hasn't slowed us down. Granted we're not taking off to Riveria Maya or cruising to the Bahamas, flying to Kansas City three times a year, taking off to California to rent a car for two weeks, or being nomads for two months and literally living out of our car and suitcases as we traveled between places. But in many ways I feel like we take off more than we did before. Just with shorter and closer trips. (I'm holding off on my western US National Parks Tour vacation for when the kids are teenagers but can't wait!)
It has gotten harder in some ways. I use to be able to throw our suitcases together the day before, fit everything we needed in my little Mazda, and make few stops along the way. The drives were quieter and cheaper and the time to get there was less. Now it takes me days to pack, I realized we're going to have to take the truck for sure for two of our three summer trips in order to have room to haul everything, and the stops. If one doesn't have to pee right now the other does. The drives use to be peaceful. Now as much as I still love the drives and sharing the experience with the kids the broken record of "are we there yet?" can wear on your nerves. As well as the fighting or when they're not fighting and decide instead to drive you crazy in that tiny confined space with a surge of hyped up loud energy. Oh and let's not forget how the cost has changed. Kids are hungry constantly. Especially when they're bored so whether it's buying snacks for the car ride or almost doubling your cost every time you stop for a meal it's definitely not what it used to be. Speaking of cost. Flying is almost out of the question now so rather than getting somewhere for vacation or to KC in a few hours it now takes a full day or two of driving. So yes in some ways my mother was right. It has gotten harder to travel whether it's a short weekend trip or a two week trip.
However, we've continued to take the trips whether it's an overnight trip a few hours away to spend times with friends, a weekend away for camping or the beach, or a 1-2 week trip to visit family or take a family vacation. Believe me it's work to make it happen, and I truly understand why those that aren't travel junkies like myself would rather spend their time off at home. Between budgeting it all in and the packing it stresses me out sometimes. Oh, the packing. I've developed a love/hate relationship with suitcases.
But at the same time I love to see the excitement on my kids' faces when we haul those suitcases out. My girls will fight in the car sometimes and can sound like that awful broken record, but these girls are good travelers. They really are. They've known it since they were babies. It doesn't matter if we're packing up to go camping, go to the beach, go to Grandma's, go to a friend's, or go on vacation they will happily spend hours upon hours in that car to get there.
So, yes, Mom, it got harder. You were right. But I will continue to do it and love it. Even the dreaded packing part. It is totally worth it! Worth it to give my kids those experiences and opportunity to build those relationships with the family and friends farther away.
Suitcase season for us usually starts around April; however, with a baby we had to put it off for a month but it starts this weekend. And it's a busy next 13 months. Here's what we have lined up: this May for Memorial weekend we're going to Erie, PA, June is our vacation to Hilton Head Island/Savannah, GA, Aug is our trip to KC, Oct we're planning a couple's weekend away to Pittsburgh for the Steelers/Chiefs game and sending the kids to grandma's to warm them up for March's longer stretch without us, over Thanksgiving we either want to go check out the holiday spirit in NYC or the Finger Lakes and stay with the kids in this indoor waterpark, Dec will be Erie, PA for Christmas this year, and next March for our 10 year anniversary and a friend's wedding we're hoping to leave the kids behind for four nights to go to Punta Cana, we'll celebrate Lincoln's first birthday in KC in April, next May we'll either be back up to PA or maybe meet a bunch of friends in VA for the winefest again, and next June is our New Hampshire trip to the highest peak on the East Coast. As of right now we're not planning on camping this summer so that leaves us at home in July, Sept, Jan and Feb. However, the girls love camping and fishing so if we can find the right match price and time wise for cabin camping maybe we can fit that in July, and we also usually make a trip to Fredericksburg, VA at least once a year so that will probably end up a weekend away one month somewhere.
So it's crazy, it's stress we create, it's expensive especially as a family of five, but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way!