Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What type of traveler are you?

Big R and I have been doing so much traveling lately. We realized this weekend that we have certain way of traveling. Each trip we take has a specific style to it. I'm not sure what made us recognize it this time around. Perhaps because we were not traveling alone so we were cognizant of how we were doing things to respect or adjust to the style of others.

Big R and I enjoy allowing ourselves to immerse into a culture and its surroundings. We like to travel simply and respectfully, which is probably why we enjoy staying at small pensions and B&Bs. (Farmhouses are pretty fantastic as well.) It's often a great way to live with the people of the area. Not that the staff in a nice hotel can't help you feel some of the culture as well, but we have found that we prefer the personal touch that comes along with staying in the extension of someone's home.

Having little r has definitely added a new dimension to how we travel. He has changed things in many ways - both in good ways and in very challenging ways. We've learned to adapt and anticipate how to travel to make things easier for all of us. Sometimes it can be a little painful, but it always works out in the end. One thing for sure is that we absolutely will not stop traveling just because we have little r. If nothing else, he adds a layer to our trips that brings more memories and better stories.
Sitting proudly on 2,000 year old ruins
One way that little r has really benefited our travels is that he gets us up and out the door before the rest of the tourists have flooded the popular sights. Even Big R seems to be getting used to rising a tad bit earlier so we can see amazing attractions before the crowds of tourists arrive. It could be because little r is getting older, or maybe it's just that he's finally getting somewhat used to these adventures (or we are getting more accustomed to his needs), but he's finally starting to sleep better for us on these trips.

Here's our little bear snuggled up in bed after a long adventurous day

We have down to a science how to get little r to rest through the night and not end up in our bed, which nearly always results in none of us sleeping. Occasionally we are blessed with a late rise, but the usual wake up time tends to be sometime around 6:30 a.m. Most of the B&Bs serve breakfast around 7:30 or 8:00. We are often the first to sit down for breakfast and then we are out the door for our upcoming adventure.
Only in the wee hours of the morning do you get to be the only ones at the Brandenburg Gate - notice me pushing little r in the stroller without another soul in sight
We spend less time in museums these days, but that doesn't seem to bother us much. If there really is something we want to see, we figure out a way to make it happen. I do think that with little r, leaving the stroller behind has made a big difference. I am definitely worn out at the end of a long weekend from carrying him, but he doesn't stay in a stroller long enough or well enough to warrant dragging it around and dealing with all the stairs, tight restaurants, cobblestone streets, or public transportation. Our crazy little bear has gotten quite comfortable falling asleep in the Moby wrap. (Although we found out on this last trip that he's much mire willing when it's not freezing outside!)
Snuggled up in the Moby wrap in Daddy's arms while we enjoy a glass of wine in a piazza in Rome, Italy
When it comes to food, we never seem to have trouble finding a good place. Our trip to Berlin was the only one thus far where we had access to our cell phones and good Internet, so we rarely have the benefit of trip advisor or other food guides. Instead we search for a good atmosphere and a friendly face. Throughout most of Europe, restaurants will post a menu on the door so we can get a sense of whether a place has something for all of us and if it's affordable. Our favorite style of eating is to sit outside. Not that we don't enjoy a little indoor ambiance now and again, but there's something about sipping a glass of wine on a patio watching other tourists walk by that Big R and I really enjoy. It also seems to be an easier setting for little r as well.
Happy boys eating dinner at the train restaurant in Prague
Big R is always in search for the perfect picture - whether the lighting is right or not. I tend to gravitate toward the beauty and culture of a setting - a subtle flower arrangement, detailing on a door, or a musician singing on a cozy street corner. Little r is sure not to let us miss every train or truck that passes by, and if he sees a horse, whoa, Nelly!

I feel so blessed that we have been given this opportunity to live in Europe and see so many amazing places. I have no doubt we still would have traveled, but I'm certain we would have been caught in the same reservations as so many parents and have waited until little r was much older to see much of the world. That would have been such a shame. My mom always told me that my sister and I never slowed her down - she and my dad always traveled with us as well.

I realize full well there are things you really can't do as readily or at all when you vacation with a toddler, or any children for that matter. Restaurants are chosen more carefully and there are far fewer stops at a bar. The Thai massage or Turkish bath would be a bit of a challenge, and churches and museums are sometimes passed by without a look because your toddler has other plans. But you get to see the world through the lens of a child and some, no most of the time it is pretty fantastic :)

Our travel style will undoubtedly change with each experience - hopefully we'll get out more kinks and enjoy less hassles or tantrums. We'll continue to meet amazing people in the small corners of the world and dance with the shop owners in the most famous cities in Europe. What's your travel style?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Our traveling has basically only been to visit family, so not a ton of sightseeing-type stuff, ever. We've done zoos and aquariums, and pick family-friendly restaurants IF we go out to eat. I am not sure what it would be like to take a "real" vacation somewhere!

    1. Kelly, I have to encourage you to take a "real" vacation with your family if you ever get a chance. That can mean so many things. I have lived apart from most of my family almost my entire life because of the military, and we spent nearly every vacation visiting family. My husband and I try hard now to take our own vacations (of course, living in Germany really helps!), so that we can grow as a family as well. It is tough because family means so much to us, but you'll see that somehow you can do both.

  2. When my children were young (a lifetime ago), we traveled everywhere with them. My eldest (who was then two) traveled with me to client facilities and to my West Coast offices. They went overseas to Israe-l and France. By the time my middle child was two, they were going to Boston, Ann Arbor, New York, Florida, California, as well as a few other overseas destinations.
    I think it's the right thing to do!

    1. I couldn't agree more! I think traveling with your children is good for you and for them. It seems to get easier each time as we learn more about each other (us mostly learning the needs of our little one). I am so excited to give him these memories. Even though little r is still very young, I somehow know that he will still boast about the places he's seen later in life (or we can boast for him!).

  3. For me, it depends. I love B&B's but prefer a big fancy hotel over a motel 6! It also depends on where I'm going and why. But, I guess that's why I love to explore. It's always something new and different.

    1. That is a great point, Nicole. It really does depend on where you are going, and who you are traveling with. I tend to lean more toward the B&B and the pensions because that's more our speed, but it can be equally as nice to enjoy a nice hotel when the budget is right!