This is not a story about lighter luggage or embracing minimalism.
While traveling with less stuff is great, I’ll be honest: my husband, daughter, and I are moving across borders with three stuffed suitcases, two backpacks, and a couple of handbags.
The past almost-three months have been beautiful and challenging, exciting and exhausting. We’ve explored new places, reconnected with old friends, celebrated the holidays in new ways, and redefined our day-to-day routines.
A solid six weeks of the trip was spent in my husband’s hometown in Colombia. We hadn’t been there in over four years. Back then, our then toddler daughter was walking but not yet talking. This time around, we celebrated her sixth birthday with a very pink, Hello Kitty-themed party thrown by her adoring relatives.
At birthday parties in Colombia, a photo is taken of every guest with the birthday girl or boy after the candle is blown out and before the cake is cut. After the cake, each guest is served a plate piled with popcorn, a couple of boiled potatoes, and a chunk of pork, along with a tiny plastic cup of soda. I offer these details as a tiny sample of how far from my comfort zone I, a mostly-vegetarian, earthy, yoga mama had traversed.
Of course, it wasn’t just the birthday parties that challenged my norms and prompted me to be more open-minded, accepting, and flexible—it was just about every aspect of every day.
This is the amazing thing about travel: we learn that we can adapt to anything. We are free to redefine our boundaries and recreate our ways of being in a novel setting.