Firstly to my wife Gay, I'd like to say Happy Valentines Day! We're in the middle of our big round-the-world trip with our 16 months old baby, which kinda started in Australia for 5 months (where I grew up) then went to USA for 1 month (San Francisco), Mexico for 1 month (Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Merida, Palenque & Cancun), Peru for 1 month (Lima, Paracas, Nasca, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco), and now Brazil (currently in Cabo Frio). It's definitely been a hectic journey, travelling long-term as both a couple and with a baby! It goes without saying that it's been difficult in many occasions and amazing in many more occasions!
Back in 2009 we already backpacked South-East Asia on a shoestring as a couple, which pushed us to our limits (mainly due to bed bugs from Borneo!), but we endured it together and came out with great experiences, and it was during that trip that I realized that if we can handle an intense 6-week backpacking trip together then we can handle almost anything! So that was when I decided I truly wanted to marry Gay and spend the rest of my life with her, and several months later I did propose to her and for some reason she said yes!
Unfortunately, we were really exhausted from that trip, and 3 years later we still haven't had much chance to relax since then! First we had a very rushed wedding within 3 months because the peak wedding season was about to start, and between the wedding and our honeymoon we used up pretty much all our money. Then within weeks after getting hitched we found out she was pregnant, and we went through 9 months of her pregnancy amidst family stresses while I also got an RSI injury from overworking, all of which resulted in us becoming really exhausted, and barely getting a few hours sleep each night.
Then our baby Luna was born, and we literally survived on roughly 1-hour sleep each night for several months, that REALLY pushed us to our limits! Plus we went through months of constant stress to arrange Gay's visa to Australia, and because of visa delays we ended up getting to Australia at the start of winter, which was about 20 degrees colder than what we were used to! Add to that some more family stresses, and the 2 years of continuous events had really gotten to us. It was the obvious time for us to finally settle down and buy a house and live the same routine every week. But instead of settling down, we seemed to think we still had some crazy left in us so we decided to take our baby on a 9 month round-the-world trip before settling down! Some would say we're crazy. others would say we're extremely crazy, but at least we think it's cool!
Travelling with a baby really is hard work, and the lack of good sleep makes it that much tougher, and obviously there are a lot of things we don't do on our trip since we have our baby with us. But it's also been great to travel the world just the 3 of us, and with our baby by our side, every day brings new adventures, whether we go outside the hostel or not! There's gotta be more people jealous of Luna than any other baby I know of! She learnt to blush at a boy while getting off a flight, she learnt to say her first word using a language that neither of us are fluent in, she learnt to walk when at 3800 meters above sea level altitude where it's hard even for us to walk! So our baby Luna has been having a great time on this trip, but we are the ones dealing with the daily stresses of travelling the world with a baby.
Things as simple as catching an overnight bus or flight can easily become a nightmare of 2 days without sleep, which then becomes dangerous if you are both too sleepy to take care of the baby! Or running low on drinking water in the middle of the night, which suddenly becomes a big deal because if our daughter doesn't drink enough during the night then she will be screaming till morning! So travelling with a baby is guaranteed to put lots of pressure on any relationship, especially in tough moments such as when your baby is sick and you don't even know how to say "doctor" let alone find a reliable one, or something in the trip does not work to your original plan (which obviously happens a lot!) so you invariably start blaming each other for anything that is stressing you at the time.
And one of the hardest aspects is not being able to have a family member or trustworthy babysitter to take care of your baby every once in a while, so you literally need to be taking care of your baby 24-hours a day, every day during your trip. So it doesn't leave any time whatsoever for just the two of us to spend time together, which is particularly annoying in our case since we had a baby so soon after our wedding!
It certainly requires a hell of a lot of patience and a really strong relationship to handle travelling new countries & new cultures with a baby, but in the end we're obviously going to have a lot of great memories of the 3 of us together! And which baby doesn't want to spend 24-hours a day with both their parents? Anyway, I wish I had more time to spend alone with my wife and without all these stresses but I guess we're just gonna have to wait until we finally settle down before that happens!
This is Pinay Travel Junkie's entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' February 2012 Blog Carnival themed "Why You Should Date a Traveler" (or in this case, why you should marry a traveler).
Hosted by the awesome Lauren of Epic Potato.
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