I love to travel!
I love the adventure of seeing a new place, exploring what makes it different, learning about it’s history and experiencing it’s sights, sounds and tastes. I love sharing it with other people.
Travel has always been good for me… even on the trips where there were challenges and misadventures.
When we planned our family vacation with our foster children it never even occurred to me that they would be anything but excited!
I understand some trepidation about the long car trip but the chance to see the ocean, walk on beaches and explore the rain forest sounds great! They seemed to think so too at first.
It wasn’t until I was prying them off their devices and trying to get them to see the world around them that it dawned on me that travel had been a different experience for them.
With the Other Mother travel was stressful and often linked to trouble and trauma. They went to new places because they had to, and survival mode was how they coped. The Other Mother often didn’t know what was next or explain to them where they were going to be at the end of the day. It seems she was fearful and didn’t want them doing anything. It may have been different at some point but this is what they remember about travelling.
This information surfaced as I was asked, yet again, if I knew where we were going that day and where we were going to stay for the night. A short conversation revealed their fear of dirty hotels and no plan for the day. His anxiety was showing up in lots of little ways and there was no way to make it go away except to keep reassuring him that we had a plan. It’s a good plan. You will be safe. You can relax and enjoy yourself.
One day he was grumpy and kept asking if we were done and could go home every 10 minutes. This was an hour into our day. We were planning on being out until supper and I finally got fed up and told him to smarten up and face the fact we were not going back home until evening. I assumed he wanted to be home on his phone, which he had left at the house.
A bit of a melt down at the end of the day revealed he had been suffering through the entire day and hadn’t felt he could tell us. Had he been willing to voice what he needed it could have been rectified at the beginning of the day! He was not aware he had a voice in our plans and could speak up for himself! He assumed he had to suffer through whatever… that was what travel had always been to him.
So the visit to the ocean for the first time and walking on the beaches was lovely. The lush green was beautiful. Getting to visit a friend from school who moved to the island in the summer was a highlight for her and sea kayaking was a highlight for him.
The highlight for me was seeing them begin to enjoy travel. Challenging them with travel games to look out the window and see. Helping them explore and learn and look and taste. Watching their excitement as we used the metal detector on the beach and dug up rusty nails, bottle caps and coins. Hearing their chatter about the day as we settled for the evening.
This trip was about experiencing a new place … not about surviving until things were back to some semblance of normal. I think they caught a bit of that. It will take time to show them what travel can be like! I hope they get to see more of this amazing world we live in and enjoy it.
We’re back home. Time to process it all and get ready for fall.
In the midst of the mess