Wild Child Travels was born out of desperation.
Though it looked fine from the outside, our family was unraveling as we fought to keep up with the demands and pressures of a typical fast paced North American lifestyle. As reformed vagabonds, my husband and I found ourselves subscribing to the myth that in order to raise responsible, well-adjusted children we needed to stay in one place and collect a steady pay check that provided security and a future. We did what young families do: got good jobs, bought a house and some furniture, potted bright-colored flowers on the front porch and lived for the weekend.
For a while, we thought we were happy.
At our lowest point however, my husband and I were each working two jobs, and our 18 month old daughter would wake every morning between 4am and 5am absolutely inconsolable, and my husband and I literally couldn’t stand each other. There is nothing quite as awful as starting your day with a screaming toddler while your partner blames her discomfort on your inadequacies. I would rush off to work, frazzled, to find solace and comfort in the pressures and deadlines I could manage at my desk.
The more we struggled to increase our income, the faster it seemed to dissipate into the ever-growing list of expenses. As a couple, we were so exhausted there was nothing left to offer one another expect blame and criticism. Days were a blur of wrangling toddlers into their clothes, battling to feed them a decent breakfast, rushing them out the door, dropping them off at daycare, before squeezing a full 8 hour work shift in, then dashing from the office to make the evening pickup, running home to cook a nice meal, and finally sopping up the water off the bathroom floor after bath time, to only then wrestle them into pajamas and bed, and groan through the two hours of bedtime rituals. Of course there were moments of joy in between the struggle, but the relentless march of time seemed to chase the fun right out of our lives.
Something had to change and the easiest fix was to push the faulty partner out of the picture. Angry words were yelled, egos swelled, and divorce came knocking on our door. But the look of devastation on our four-year old’s face, when his dad told him he was moving out, made us ashamed of ourselves. The blame and anger softened to heartbreak. Something about being cracked wide open, allowed determination to take root. Determination to save our most precious gift–our time together.
What were we working so hard for anyway? Another bike? Another 2 week vacation? More clothes? A bigger house with more stuff in it? Seriously, what was more important than loving each other?
It was that day, with the afternoon sun streaming through the kitchen window, a pile of dirty dishes cluttering the sink, and a sobbing little boy, that I chose to completely redesigned my life around our family. There was no amount of money in the world that could take away those enormous, painful tears sliding down my baby boy’s cheers, and the stabbing pain of guilt in my heart. I realized I could choose to focus on my husband’s shortcomings or I could cherish the way only he can make our two babes laugh the sweetest melody my heart has ever heard, and the simple truth that we love each other.
Things are far from perfect, but there is love and respect in our house again. We cut out the voices and opinions that weren’t serving us well, and are designing an intentional lifestyle around our children and the stage they are in. There is no rushing a toddler. We have slowed down the pace of our life to appreciate the small treasures woven into our daily lives. We’re making different choices, and the most exciting thing: we’ve given ourselves permission to dream again.
We have this crazy, unshakable desire to sail the world with our family.
Why not? As Mary Oliver said so beautifully,
“What is it you plan to do with this one precious and wild life?”
We’re taking this daydream pretty seriously and discovering how we can reconnect with the innocence, joy and wonder that comes so easily to our children. We have made it our mission to discover the beauty and mystery in each day we are gifted, and make the most of our time together. For us the best way to connect with our wild nature is through movement and travel. We’ll share those stories here. But for now, we remind ourselves our these simple truths:
Wild is our natural state.
Play is serious business.
They way we live our life is our greatest message to the world.
Don’t let them tame you.