Notes from the 9th month

On February 10th, 2016

I’ve been on a journey these last nine months. Yet I don’t have a tally of how many miles I’ve traveled, countries visited, or new foods eaten.

My journey has taken a different path. Where at journey’s end, I’ll emerge member of a special group of travelers: those who have gone before and now dispense their wisdom on me.

It’s a journey unlike any I’ve ever been on before. While I haven’t left the country of my native language these past months, I’ve gone far.

This journey is pregnancy.  And it’s made me analyze my notions about travel and its role in my life — specifically why I travel and if I should continue post-baby.

In the beginning, I didn’t look pregnant. Yet it was obvious my body had veered off its normal course into uncharted territory. As months passed, my secret became obvious. It felt like we’d pushed off the dock of the known world, striking west for new lands.

Along the way, not only did my body change, but my thoughts did, too. For the first time, I examined what travel meant to me and the role it played in my life.

Why do I need to travel?

The answer lay in the lines comprising state boundaries or dots marking cities on a map. How my finger felt as it traced ocean currents circling the globe. Excitement in my veins when I considered how a new city smells and feels upon arrival.

Travel gave me life and curiosity. It blew open the windows of my mind to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

I needed to travel the way I needed to breathe: to sustain my life. When I traveled, I was a better human: more patient, kind, and open-minded.

To not introduce travel into my baby’s life would severely handicap my child’s growth and development. Travel had to be an important part of my baby’s education — an education that was not confined to schoolhouse walls or textbooks. When I think of all the lessons that travel has taught me, being a good parent means I ensure my child has every opportunity to learn those lessons.

To do otherwise would be to disadvantage my child’s growth. Travel has given me love of knowledge, a blooming self-confidence, and courage to face adversity.

Raising a world traveler

The nay-sayers proclaim that: traveling with kids is hard. Once you have kids, say goodbye to travel, much less striking out beyond your home city’s borders. Road trips are pushing your luck, but air travel is nigh impossible.

To you I say, being uncomfortable is part of travel. It pushes your boundaries, forces you to be independent, and extracts valuable ore from your nature that you didn’t know you had.

I want to raise a human who is curious, patient and self-reliant. A human who tackles problems head-on without allowing fear to cripple them. I want my child to love rip-roaring adventures for they know the experience will strengthen them and later serve as priceless fodder for unforgettable stories.

I want to raise a human who is a globetrotter and avid learner of this world.

Travel will be my smelter in fashioning that person. It will aid me in creating a person who benefits and changes the lives around them — not twiddling their thumbs waiting on the world to change or blaming others for their incompleteness.

In a few short weeks, my body will complete its journey through pregnancy. But the bigger journey of introducing this new life to an amazing, bustling world will have just begun.

Laura Lopuch is a copywriter, incurable traveler, and blogs at Waiting To Be Read where she helps you find your next great book to read because life’s too short to read crummy books.

Photo credit: Laura Lopuch