I have managed to give up all of my addictions through the years. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink caffeine (very often) and I don’t eat meat (red or chicken). People say “WHAT?! But everyone MUST have an addiction right?” Yep, and mine is travel. I am seriously addicted to travel. I think about it all the time. I constantly have itineraries floating in my head, dreaming up new places to go and planning my next escape. You can name almost any country in the world and chances are I either have a detailed itinerary in my mind of what I want to do and where I want to go, or at the very least I have a list of a few things that are “must do’s” for that country. And this is one addiction I have no intention of giving up!
I have been to only 31 countries so far. So might say “only” with sarcasm, but to a travel addict this is only a small amount of what NEEDS to be done! I had given myself a goal to reach 30 countries by the time I was 30. I didn’t succeed, mostly because I got held back by my long stint in India and constant travel there. But if I get busy I could just make 40 by 40… I think we would have to go travel for 6 months to make that really happen though. But it’s a good dream (and goal) to have.
I can’t even tell you what my top 10 list of must go to places are, because I have TOO many and they change from week to week. I want to go everywhere! Lets see.. right now in my mind are the following:
- A family trip and safari to Kenya where my good friend Stacie lives (I love how everyone says we can’t do it…oh how i like a challenge!!)
- An extended weekend get away in Mexico (Tulum, Cabo or Mexico City perhaps)
- A week or more in Costa Rica (Cian is obsessed with Go Diego Go, so I think he would love this trip!)
- A 3 week trip to Vietnam
- A trip to DC to visit a friend who will soon be moving to Beijing
- Back to Beijing (or course, before said friend leaves). It has been 12 years, I am due for a re-visit surely.
- I also really want to get back to India before my last few expat friends leave.
- Morocco.. maybe we should go there instead of Kenya…is it easier to get to? Would it be cheaper? Would Cian enjoy it more?
- Cuba. I have just gotten it into my head this week that Cian really needs to go to Cuba and that he would just love it.
- Thailand (again) for Songkran – but maybe another year or two when Cian would really enjoy it.
It just never ends! This is what I live and breathe.
Travel is different now though. We have a child. Everyone said “oh there go your travel days” when I said I was pregnant. What?! I don’t think so folks! We don’t live in the dark ages. If I can fly with a child, I can still travel with a child.
Our son was born in India and lived his first 19 months there. We aren’t scared of runny poo or vomiting. We know how to manage the mosquito situation. We know all too well about lack of infrastructure and lack of child friendly resources. Travel is definitely different with a child. I can’t spend 14 hr days exploring a city. I have to be back home for bed time for Cian, at least at a decent hour. We have to build in kid friendly or fun activities for Cian during the day. We have to travel with snacks. No more snickers or bag of chips if we accidentally forgot to stop for lunch. And we have to move just a bit slower with a bit more baggage. But as long as you know these things, then it’s totally fine. And the reward of seeing a country through your child’s eyes is just amazing and worth the long flights and sleepless jet lag nights.
Maybe we are blessed with a very easy baby who loves to travel. Or maybe we created an easy baby who loves to travel by taking him travelling. No idea. But our son wakes up every day and says ‘where we go today momma’ and after being out all day long he always says ‘no back home’, which is where the name for this website came from. Last week I was convinced that he was a traveler just like his momma. He spent a week saying “ho chi men”, which of course I took to mean that he wanted to go to Vietnam (hence the trip planning that started in my mind again), but really he was saying a quote out of one of his books “hunter chasing me”. Oops. Momma fail!
I am having serious withdrawals. I have not used my passport in almost 1 year. I haven’t gone anywhere on a “vacation” since we moved to the US. We have visited family in Texas and Oklahoma and made a few trips to the Bay Area, but none of those were actual trips, if you know what I mean. I need to go somewhere foreign, I need to not understand the language. I need to feel the challenge of travel. I need the sitting in airports people watching, looking at all the duty free things that I no longer need to buy because it is cheaper in the US anyway. I need the long days exploring a new city where my feet ache, but my mind and camera are full. I need all the impossibly amazing conversations we have with people who adore Cian and want to try to talk to us even though we don’t speak the same language. I need the adventure of trying to figure out where my meal is coming from. I need the challenge of packing all of our belongings in small suitcases (or backpacks) leaving room for things to bring home. Its all one big amazing experience, the ups and the downs.
So what does a travel addict do? Talk about travel incessantly to anyone who will listen? Of course! Continue planning trips in her head even though we have no vacation time or budget these days? Yes! Bug her husband constantly about when they can take an international trip? Yes! And of course, she must also start a blog that is dedicated to travel! Welcome to No Back Home.
We have been doing a lot of local explorations in lieu of international travel, so I hope to write about some of those adventures and dig out some of our past adventures abroad. I am super excited about writing about travel again. I don’t know where any of this will really take me. Maybe nowhere. But I figure at the least I will have a place that I can write about all the trips floating around in my head, talk about our trips we have taken, our local LA explorations and most importantly, try to convince other people to get out there and travel.
In my view, there is no greater gift to give your children than the gift of seeing the world. Not everyone can afford to travel the world, but everyone can foster the desire and love for adventure (even through local activities) and a love for learning about far off places.