When I was in my twenties I travelled and lived abroad for quite a few years. It was such a great time, and I am so glad I did it. During one of my trips, we entered Laos from Northern Thailand and had to take a two day slow boat to get to the beautiful city of Luang Prabang. The boat was basically an oversized canoe with a roof. We all sat on benches along the side of the boat and faced each other. There wasn’t a lot of room. Our stops were random villages along the way. We got stuck once. We stayed over night in shacks that had rats. We were all young backpackers except one family from South America with two little girls around 3 & 5 and their nanny. I remember at the time I thought it was amazing. The family were on a big worldwide trip and had just come from Tibet. They kept medicine on hand and the little girls were perfectly behaved. I promised myself to do something like that with my little kids one day. But, now that I have a baby? Fat chance. I thought about this again when I read a recent article from a travel writer reporting from a remote corner of Cambodia. I’ve been to Cambodia, and remote in Cambodia is like the ends of the earth. I was surprised when the writer mentioned their one year old was accompanying them.
Now, I think travel to exotic lands is totally different if you are already living there, have family there, or are originally from there. But to set off to somewhere completely unknown & exotic with a baby or toddler is way out of my comfort zone – even for someone who hitchhiked in Mexico. I know it can be done, as those little girls were loving it and the family looked at ease. Not to mention that once in a while when I was living in Bangkok I’d see backpackers and their little kids backpacking right alongside them and they were perfectly happy too. But there’s just something that holds me back, and it’s the unknown. What if we can’t get to a doctor? What if he gets stung by something crazy? What if he screams the entire time due to heat?
What do you think? Would you travel with your baby to somewhere really exotic or is it a bit outside your comfort zone as well? I definitely want to travel with my child, but it will be when he’s a bit older. And for that cramped boat in Laos? He can do that one on his own one day.