My husband, Scotty, and I absolutely love to travel. When we were dating, we took weekend trips almost every month to Charleston, SC, just because. It was a 9 hour trip, but we loved every second of it. After we had our baby, we decided we wouldn’t slow down our travel at all and would make our baby fit into our crazy lives instead of the other way around. Now, as we approach the birth of our second baby, we’ve decided to completely stop traveling and going on vacation for at least the next year.
Why such a drastic change of heart? It all came about during our most recent trip to New Orleans I surprised my husband with for his 30th birthday. Have you ever had one of those trips where absolutely everything seemed to go wrong?
For us, that was this trip. We had a nice and easy trip on the way there and made it to our first destination in northern Louisiana in record time. We decided to get a hotel room for the night instead of imposing on friends a day early.
That night, I woke up with horrible back pain that was eerily similar to the back labor I had with my son. I called my midwife and she asked me to come in so she could make sure everything was okay. The problem of course, is that we were 14 hours away. She told me to get to the hospital and make sure I wasn’t in labor.
5 hours later, I signed myself out of the hospital feeling like the boy who cried wolf. My back pain stopped almost immediately as soon as we got to the hospital and I realized I had overreacted. After having a preemie with my first pregnancy, I was terrified of every ache or twinge that felt even remotely like I felt just before having my son.
We ended up having an awesome day with friends the next day and I thought our luck had reset. Then, we set course for New Orleans, 5 hours away.
That was when it all really started to fall apart.
Our Air BnB was in a not so great neighborhood, despite having tons of great reviews. Our host recommends her guests walk to the French Quarter for dinner since it’s so close, so against our better judgment, we decided we’d give that a try.
That was easily the scariest walk of my life. With my big pregnant belly and my helpless 16-month old, we walked past drunk people throwing beer bottles into the street, numerous people asking for money, even people doing drugs on their front porches.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
The next day as my husband wore our son in his carrier on his back, a girl got into my son’s face in the street while her friend recorded it on her cell phone.
We decided we’d had enough and were going to leave a night early.
On the way out of town, we blew out a tire. My son and I were bitten by bugs for 15 minutes while my husband changed a tire in the dark…on his 30th birthday.
Finally, we made it to a hotel room just outside of New Orleans where we finally got some sleep. The next morning, we decided it would be a good idea to give our constipated son prune juice before our 14 hour drive home.
That day required four outfit changes. That, coupled with the time change and my pregnant bladder, made our drive home to North Carolina seem like the longest drive ever.
I should mention that this was our 3rd road trip in less than two weeks. We drove to Charleston, SC for a weekend to camp, drove home to North Carolina, drove to Pennsylvania for a dear friend’s husband’s funeral a few days later, came home for a few days, and then left for New Orleans.
It’s safe to say we may have overdone it.
It was on our crazy long drive home that we decided we were done spending money traveling, no matter how great the deal was, until our son was a little older.
My husband said at one point “we’re not making any memories for him. The only way he’ll know he’s ever been to New Orleans is if we tell him.”
That settled it. We had been getting our lives in order in every other way: purging tons of things from our house that we didn’t need, we were happy in our relationship and finally getting the hang of this marriage thing, we were being extremely frugal and traveling on a shoestring budget.
We vowed to stop traveling and focus on enjoying the town we live in, finding free or cheap entertainment, and save our traveling for at least a year from now when we would have at least one little one who would really enjoy the excursions we go on.
The thing is, I get a huge thrill out of finding our next amazing weekend trip and make a game out of finding the absolute best travel deals possible. Travel for us is always so cheap because we camp a lot instead of getting a hotel, we research food in the area and get great deals on our meals, and we drive instead of fly everywhere we go.
I’m a firm believer in living a full, happy life on a budget – and to me – travel is such an important part of life. You get to see other people’s normal. Where they go for fun, where they grocery shop, the towns they know like the back of their hand. It’s just so mesmerizing to me to explore new areas.
The problem for us is that we were traveling so much that I was starting to lose my appreciation for our experiences and was instead stressing about the packing and planning instead of taking it all in.
That’s when you know it’s time to take a break.
Maybe if I hadn’t been so over-road tripped, I would have been able to see the adventure in our hellish trip to New Orleans (okay, probably not) but because driving in a car for hours on end had become our new normal, I was way less likely to take any inconvenience in stride, and that’s not who I want to be.
I want our kids to see me make the most of every situation, no matter how trying, and come out of it with a smile on my face. I want my kids to learn to “not sweat the small stuff” by my example. I also want my husband and I to be able to shrug off minor annoyances and go on with the rest of our trip holding hands and happy.
That was not this trip. We had WAY overdone it, way overspent financially, and it was time to pull the plug – at least for now.
Sometimes, you need to realize when it’s time to push the reset button and say “okay, we’re not doing this right. We should be enjoying each other instead of hating the situation we’re in. What needs to change?” For us, that change is now “Netflix and chill”, hanging out at our local parks, and going to free festivals in our area.
I can’t wait to see what adventures we find in the next year as we take our travel hiatus, and I also can’t wait to throw two babies in the back of our minivan and hit the highway together again – rejuvenated and ready to enjoy the experiences life has in store for us.
Have you ever overdone it in life? What did you do to reset your attitude and get to a better place? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. – Are you ready to live a more simple, stress-free life? Here’s a great place to start: Subscribe to my e-mails by clicking here for my FREE PDF guide “8 Ways to Live More Simply!” PLUS you’ll receive my weekly newsletter with exclusive Simple Living Mommy content!
I promise to never sell, trade, or distribute your e-mail because that’s just crazy pants. You, my readers, are reason I blog and I value your privacy and trust!