Once upon a time, I had a lustful relationship with travel brochures. Not just ordinary, sunny-vacation-lovely-resort brochures, but adventure travel brochures. Safaris in Botswana, riding horses in Mongolia, hiking to Machu Picchu: those were the types of adventures I dreamed about. I wanted to rock the casbahs in Morocco, I wanted to don a burkha and visit Yemen.
All those dreams came to a crashing halt when I got pregnant. I would like to say that I’m the type of mother to cycle tour through Europe with a toddler in a bike trailer. I would like to say that I trekked through Chile with my baby in a backpack. I am decidedly not that mother.
Instead, I am the mother who worries about taking her infants on long plane rides, the mother who worries about taking her toddlers across time zones, the mother who worries about her preschoolers contracting strange and exotic illnesses. To be fair, the latter worry was due to my contracting an oddly tenacious intestinal bug during a 2001 trip to Egypt, but the two former worries are, in the big picture, very minor indeed.
If I really wanted to take the kids to some exotic locales, I certainly could just book a flight and pack some rehydration salts, right? Except that I seem to have lost the desire to do so. I always thought I would be Adventurous Mummy, but now I’m more like Road Trip Mummy, or perhaps Very Short Flight Mummy. The travel brochure words that now excite me are “kid’s club” and “family friendly” and “children’s pool”.
I pack knapsacks full of colouring books and dinosaurs. I don’t even consider getting in the car for an extended period without a portable DVD player and a gigantic bag of snacks. I like our trips to be sedate, and carefully planned, with no greater thrills than drinking a glass of wine at a child-friendly restaurant.
But then last summer, we took the kids on a road trip. My older son learned how to swim independently and my younger son conquered his fear of water, and those two events caused me to reflect that they are growing, older and sturdier every day. They caused me to think that perhaps, one day, my adventurous side will come back and my boys will join me in spotting wild game in Tanzania.
One day, I will no longer be a Non-Adventurous Mummy.