Season 1, Episode 4
(R: I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed at this moment. I mean I guess I always end up at this or at some point have to hit this stage. I am surrounded by clothes and things and I realized that I have to have all of this organized by tomorrow.)
Welcome to episode 4 of the mumboss podcast. I'm your host Rachel Maskell and this week's show is all about traveling. Traveling...we've been doing a lot of that lately. Last year we went somewhere different just about every month and this year it's about the same, if not several places in the month. How do we do it? Stay tuned to find out my packing tips and how to stay sane and enjoy life on the go.
At two years old Kaliana has a passport with more stamps than most Americans. She took her first international trip at 8 weeks and had already been on a road trip up the east coast before that. I recently wrote an article on Tropic of Candycorn about her first international trip and the thing that hit me while I was writing was how easy and fun it was to travel with her. We have to find things to fill up our day anyway so it's much better to be somewhere fantastic!
By the time you listen to this Kaliana's international trips will include...(in no particular order)
England a few times
We've traveled across the country and have been down south to Miami and back up again to NY. We've been to Colorado and traveled down the West coast too from Oregon. In other words, we get around.
(Airline steward: oh, so cute! ohh adorable, she is so pretty...
R: thank you
AS: do you know what side you are on?
J: this side
R: left side
Why is travel important to me? when I was younger I loved reading classic literature and pop novels to understand references other writers would pull from or people would talk about. I feel like travel is the same thing. It gives me reference to understand the world better. The funny thing is around the world now so much is the same with respect to trends in food and design, it's the architecture, landscape and stories that are different. There are little things and languages that vary too and it's all of this that I love about traveling...the similarities, the differences, the beauty and the passport stamps. Maybe it's a holdover from being a kid but the more stamps the better!
(K: singing ABCs)
One of the reasons I chose to be an entrepreneur is so my husband and I could travel together. We were already doing a good bit of traveling with his job at the time, I was working for him but I knew the setup was not a long term sustainable situation for the two of us, so I started thinking about my own career and what I wanted for myself. Initially I went down a path that was more in alignment with my education background, bio-chemistry, but I quickly realized that being a health practitioner meant that I would need to be somewhere that I could build a brick and mortar business and quite frankly the idea of that scared me and made me feel trapped. So, I dropped the idea and kept myself open to other new business ventures. Before I knew it I was helping other health practitioners with their websites, social media and marketing...and it's evolved from there.
Now both my husband and I can travel together and still work wherever in the world we are. Recently in Tulum Mexico, my husband took Kaliana to the beach and I stayed with the car in the parking area and did a skype call with a prospect who was currently in Saudi Arabia. It was a great call and now she is one of our fabulous clients. This is the flexibility that I crave and enjoy in my career and life.
Truthfully I have a love hate relationship with Skype and sometimes I want to throw skype out the window, as though that was even possible! But has made a huge difference for us to be able to work and travel from anywhere in the world.
(R: it is tuesday May, no, Apirl, no, what day is it...March 31st. I am recording this because I am having problems trying to connect to skype with Lydia. Oh I don't know the call has dropped about four times and this is the challenge of traveling and doing things on skype. Sometimes it's perfect and sometimes it's god-awful. This is one of those times where I am trying to have a decent conversation and I can't get through. So I restarted the internet. Thankfully I am at a place where I can do that. And I tried doing it with data but it doesn't seem to be enough cell phone reception here so I am trying again with wireless. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed.)
And yes, there are difficulties and challenges when traveling with a little one. These evolve and change as she grows up but the biggies include:
where to stay
packing and how much to pack
So let's break it down. Time changes...I don't think I really paid much attention to this when she was little. I have never been that good about setting strict schedules since my life isn't that structured which meant that for at least the first 10 months of her life I let her dictate her own rhythm: sleeping and playing when she wanted. The only thing I was pretty strict about was a feeding schedule since I couldn't tell if she was overeating so I kept her to every 3-4 hours per my pediatrician's recommendations.
But now as she has gotten a bit older I can tell that the time changes throw her a little thrown off. If you remember in episode 1 she was up several times in the middle of the night while we were in England. Here's another clip of what it was like...
(K: iya, iya, i....i...iya...iya...iiiii....h.i.j.i.I.i)
When we flew back to NY from California, she was up late, waking up in the middle of the night and sleeping late. It takes about 4-5 days for her to settle in before she is back into a rhythm. I wouldn't doubt that her adjustment has a lot to do with my adjustment too. Am I back on the right time zone? Do I have our space set up so we can function well? Even the energy of the space has impact on how well she, and we, adjust.
Which brings me to my next point...places to stay. We are big airbnb people. I love it. It has made traveling with a family so much easier and it's really annoying that SF, NY, LA and maybe others are all fighting to make it illegal. It's ridiculous!
But anyway, that aside, finding the right space is not always easy and 'right' is kinda ambiguous. It's more like what can we function with at our price range and timeframe. Essential deal breakers for me are: location, depending on how long we are in a place and how much support I will have from James, I need to be in a place that is easy to get around to a grocery store, a coffee shop, essentially the essentials. The other major factor is...well I suppose that is it. I'd like to say dishwasher, washer and dryer and two rooms but that would be pushing it. The place we are in for this month is about 400 sq ft, no laundry, no dishwasher, and no second room for her to sleep in. Most places don't have the second room at a price point we're willing to put down right now. So we get creative.
(R: um, when our other place fell through we had to look for a place and this one came open. So we were like oh this is cool, it was a good price, the timing was right, the guy was nice but he said it's a five floor walk up, I don't think there are any other kids in the building, but you know he was cool with it, we were cool with it. And now that I am here I realize why there are no other kids in the building. It's not just the building it's the entire neighborhood. It's just not exactly a kids hood which is fine, but also again makes me wonder the sanity of my parenting decisions.)
I think one of my talents, that I learned from my stepmom, is how to make a home no matter where you are and as she gets older this is becoming more important. In each new space I create an area for her to have her books, her stuffed animals and toys.
(R: you know I have been rearranging the house to create spaces for Kaliana. Always fun. Move the microwave out so I have room for other things.
K: rain, rain go away come again another day. Little boy...
J: smells good
K: helicopter, helicopter
R: oh, all good...all good...)
We don't carry a lot of things with us but I keep a leather bag, about 12" x 6", with magnetic blocks, finger puppets, costume jewelry, puffy stickers, paper, pens and recently playdough. I add to this bag as I find little things that are easy to travel with and will entertain her for a bit. She knows where her bag lives and enjoys taking everything out, making a mess, and then moving on. Life of a toddler.
(K: I'm making messes)
Last year when we were in Istanbul we had a decent airbnb, but I discovered that how we spend our days out is a big influencer of where we should stay too. Istanbul is an incredibly busy city with lots of different types of people and places to see. Each day we did a load of walking and exploring but when we came back to our place, it wasn't well set up for resting. She had to be reeled in all day and by the time we came back to our abode we wanted to feel at home and relaxed. Instead we struggled a little to find comfort which put an unnecessary stressor on top of a fairly intense trip. Lesson Learned. Now we have apple tv too which is a great travel no matter where we are!
Packing. Oh the art of packing.
As a side note I traveled a good bit as a kid. My parents separated when I was 10 months old and moved at polar opposites across the states. My dad stayed in Georgia and my mom took us back to California. Thus began my training in packing.
I must have been in first or second grade by the time I was packing for myself. If we spent the school year in California then the summer was spent in Georgia or vice versa. These were long trips and my sister and I used to pack at least a week in advance, preparing our clothes that we would wear on the plane. Mind you, this is back when dressing up to be on the airplane was standard and a big deal. Especially for us because we were going back to see the other parent we hadn't seen at least for a couple of months.
Now a days I pack a day or two before we have to leave. Rarely do I do it the night before unless it's a quick trip or I am already feeling organized. Organization is the key to good packing so let's begin there...
First, as much as possible know the weather and be mindful of the location and how it is impacted by weather. I have missed this a few times or have allowed myself to feel more hopeful than realistic and it always ends up biting me in the rear end.
Then it's about the activities. My trips tend to be pretty urban based right now and sometimes include formal gatherings like weddings so that has to be factored in too. I prefer traveling to warm places because I love my sunshine but all the clothing takes up less space too. Knowing the activities gives me a spectrum to work from.
Then the easiest way to pull it together is to lay it all out. Mix and match outfits as much as possible and MOST importantly, don't pack something you never wear thinking that you'll wear it on this opportunity. You won't. Lets be honest, if you don't wear it at home, you're not going to wear it when you're out. Stick to what you know you look good in and feel comfortable with. I can't tell you how many times I thought I would wear some dress or top that I always thought I just needed the right opportunity only to end up keeping it in my bag for the whole trip, taking up more space than I wish.
Which brings us to how much should you pack. I haven't quite got Kaliana's down yet, I usually bring most of her wardrobe that is weather appropriate since I know she goes through about 2 sets a day and now with potty training I have to be mindful of having spares.
For myself I make sure that I bring outfits that can mix and match which helps with space in my bags as well as space to be creative when there. A couple pairs of shoes, a scarf and bangles and I am usually set.
(Music from Farmer's Market in LA)
So now that our bags are packed how do we function in new spaces and places when we get there? It really depends on if we are staying with others or have our own place but either way it's important to quickly set up her area otherwise she'll determine her own space! Sometimes when we're subletting or airbnbing a place I have to clear out the old energy of the place with essential oils or baking cookies (just kidding) but seriously it's a lot about gracefully coming in and making it home.
The other challenge is the sleep situation. When we travel we usually all end up in one bed. We started like this when she was a little one. I remember when I was pregnant my accountant, who is a male, told us we should get a king size bed because cuddling is the best part. She's only had her own room or own space when we're staying at my mom's in California. Which is an uber treat.
But now that she is getting older she takes up more space, wiggles around, and is pretty annoying to sleep with. She mostly sleeps through the night except when we've just landed down in a new place and then who knows...it becomes exhausting.
(K: hop on the bed, hop on the bed. Will you help me on the bed? Will you help me on the bed?)
What's the impact of all this travel? Sometimes it takes its toll. It requires a good bit of energy, organization, and a solid grounding practice to help me stay sane. Some days I daydream about a place to call home again. And then I wonder if that's really what it's cracked up to be. James and I have talked a lot about community and the benefits of a support team around which does mean being in one place for a significant amount of time. But where this place is and when it would, or could, become a reality are unknowns and I'm not sure how or if I want to go about making it reality just yet.
What does feel incredibly beneficial for Kaliana with all this moving around is her lack of attachment to physical things. She can part with her 'friends' her stuffed animals and books without much fuss, if any, and then see them again with excitement and joy.
(K: the end. Oh how about this one. Giggle.This book. I like this book.
R: what's that book? Do you remember what that one is about?
R: yes, exactly! "Sophie the Giraffe"
K: yeah, turn the page...)
I love this about her and how it must be building a great foundation for life and change. There is an ease and fluidity about her that I truly appreciate. I know I can do more and be better about creating routine, and giving her some consistency, that's my homework. I've been getting better but it takes diligence too and it's usually the first thing I let go of but the impact of not having some regular structure may be more than I think...at least according to my pediatrician.
For now I have to take each day as it comes. Speaking of which, the next show...the years go fast but the days go slow. Time is a funny thing and for our 5th episode, just about halfway through, we are going to mix things up a bit and have fun. It's playtime!
(K: singing doe a deer)
Thank you so much for listening. It's been so amazing sharing my life and thoughts like this with you. So now it's your turn to share. If you liked the show please share with your friends, subscribe on iTunes, rate it, send feedback or a virtual shout out is always appreciated. Most importantly keep being awesome and rockin' #mumboss
(K: done, I'm done mama
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About this episode
This episode was recorded in New York, England, Venice Beach, and Sacramento.
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