Meaningful Mommy

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Our Upcoming Family Adventure to Croatia. International Travel with Children.

on May 5, 2014

“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.” ~Hodding Carter

My meaningful mommy post for today is about our upcoming international trip with our two young children. Yikes! Just writing that makes my heart race. Ahhh!! We finally decided we were ready! To just go for it!! (Insert Cheering & Happy Dance) We just bought 4 roundtrip tickets to Croatia. We’ll fly from Seattle, to Amsterdam to Zagreb to Zadar then a car trip and ferry to our first destination of Kuklijia. It will be 16 hours in 3 planes with a few lay over hours mixed in. Deep breath, deep breath…in & out….slowly…sloooowly…..It’s the fact that this our first international trip with the girls that has my stomach in knots (and the thought of that long in transit). So far our longest airplane travel with our girls averages 5 hrs. I will be researching and sharing ‘traveling with kid books’ I find and tips other parents have used to keep their little ones busy on long trips! If you have helpful info to share please comment! Thanks in advance!

Truth be told I am really excited. Super excited! Like a kid in a candy store excited…We feel the benefits of travel out weigh any problems that may arise. I’m so looking forward to the family time away from the ‘to-do’ lists, the stresses and the routine of home. Time for us to bond and become closer to each other creating meaningful memories. Time with Daddy. He works a lot and it will be a treat for the girls and myself to see him all day. I know it will be an unforgettable experience. Our world is vast, there is much to learn by going outside our immediate community, social circle and home life. So many new cultures, languages, people and places to explore. Our children being exposed to this is a gift we feel blessed we can give them.

Travel is in our blood. We used to travel often when we were younger, with our parents, friends, pre-kids. We have been patiently waiting for our daughters to be old enough where we felt comfortable taking them abroad. Well, I should say, my husband has been patiently waiting for me. They are now 5 and newly 3 yrs old. I know there are other parents who travel internationally with children younger than ours, but as with everything, we all have our personal comfort levels. My children brought out a need for safety anxiety I never knew before. We do feel that with the ages they are now they will enjoy more of the country, be able to pick up some of the language and (probably the most important is) I feel safer knowing they can verbally let me know what needs if any that they may have. We have always hoped to travel the world with our kids, even pre-kids this was a topic we talked about about. I’m thrilled that our time is now!

My husband and I are not strangers to Croatia. My husband is Croatian (though born in Iowa) and his whole family is from there. They immigrated to the United States in the late 60’s. My husband has been there 7 times and fluently speaks the language. I have been twice and loved it. My husbands grandparents moved back ‘home’ to Split (coastal city on mainland Croatia) and Vis (island) about 5 years ago. His father is from the town of Kukljica on island Ugljan in the Adriatic Sea and his mom is from the town of Komiza on island Vis also in the Adriatic Sea. We will be visiting both islands, as well as Split & Zadar, two major coastal mainland cities. All are incredibly beautiful, littered with many beaches, lovely old world charm, incredible history, local outdoor markets, wonderful cultural cuisine, and lots of fresh sladoled (similar to gelato). All perfect for kids!

So far my trip prep consists lists. Lists of to-dos, packing lists, kid lists and parent lists, house/garden lists, Lacy (our dog) lists, lists for my lists. First off is needing to get the girls passports. ASAP! My husband and mine are current so we’re good there thankfully. I need to get the girls each a small rolling carry-on suitcase. I’ll have them pack these with a few special things for the plane, some books, a doll or stuffed animal, toiletries, a few snacks and a couple changes of clothes. My older daughter has her eye on one with the Eiffel tower on it. (Daddy works in Paris occasionally and she has made us promise we will take her there sometime). We will also have our iPad, kindle and their headphones. Thankful for electronics in a case like this. We have lined up a house and pet sitter for our St. Bernard Lacy, so that is covered. Is that it? Hmmm…I’m sure there’s more…

Let’s see, the art of packing. Not to toot my own horn, ok, I will brag a bit here, I have an amazing ability to pack a suitcase. Really. I’ll be surprised if we check more than one suitcase for the 4 of us. (I’ll let you know). We will each have a small carry-on for any plane needs. I also like to keep our carry on bags lightly packed because we know we will buy a few things for ourselves/family/friends while we are there. You never know what treasures await! As for clothes our packing list consists of shorts, T-shirts, sundresses, sandals, tennis shoes, socks, undergarments, maybe one long pant, a light jacket, swimsuits, sun hats & sunglasses. We will buy shampoo/conditioner, sunblock, beach towels and anything we find we need while we are there. We will also need to pack my older daughters asthma meds and nebulizer just in case she has an attack. Her asthma can strike with a cold or over exposure to airborne allergens like dust mites. We will also bring some over-the-counter meds just in case. I will have a small first-aid kit in my purse. I know, total mom move. But let me tell you it has come in handy more times than I can count.

We will be in Croatia for 30 days. We figured since airfare is so expensive and it takes so long to get there, we may as well stay for as long as we can. My husband will have to work remotely for 2 weeks while we are there. I will be blogging from abroad about the food, culture, and really anything and everything we experience that is meaningful to us! Not really ‘adventure parenting’ (another post I wrote you can read it here) but it is a start. A trial run so to speak. Maybe someday we will have the opportunity for a long term family adventure. Baby steps for this bunch!

I’m thankful we can take this trip as a family, grateful we can visit the girls great grandparents while we are there and share my husbands family history and heritage with the girls. I hope it goes as well as I envision, with is nothing short of constant smiling, beautiful memory making, and holding hands on the beach…Who am I kidding, I know there will be tears and laughter, smiles and frowns, hand holding and kid chasing, both on the beach and through towns. But with the ups and the downs the memories will still be made and our family will still grow stronger. I can’t wait!! ❤

Komiza, Island Vis, Croatia

Be ready…there will be much more about this upcoming adventure in future posts! And I’m serious, if you have any advice or travel tips to share, please, please, please do!!

Thoughts?? :)

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