Caroline Keylock’s Guest List: Going Travelling for A Year with A Baby

Caroline Keylock’s Guest List: Going Travelling for A Year with A Baby

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Today is a big day for Caroline of Masters of Many. While most of are facing the usual Monday morning mayhem. Her and her family  are off travelling around the world.

Here Caroline shares her thoughts about the exciting adventure:


 

A few months ago we made the decision to travel as a family with our (then to be) six month old baby, starting with New Zealand, Australia and all through Asia, with a view to working out where we might want to live along the way. Or, to travel as long as we can make money and freelancing last, or our son Otis needs to be in some kind of structured education (in our view about 7 years old).

It’s been a big decision (one that was very much pushed by me initially), and as any new mother knows, life at this point of motherhood is filled with contradictions, emotional curve balls, and a whole lot of motherly guilt.

It strikes me that any big decisions in life, at least those that are worthwhile, are accompanied by these back and forth swings, ones that threaten you teeter away from that definitive ‘Yes, lets do it’ to a ‘but’…and ‘what if’…until the big dream is ultimately put back in the drawer. We’ve pushed ourselves passed all the ‘what if’s’, but I thought that my emotional swings back and forth might be useful for others trying to do the same, so here’s the full list of all of the rational and not so rational thoughts I’ve had over the last few months:

  • I feel proud of us as a family. That we’re striking out to do something that many have said we are ‘brave’ to even contemplate.

  • Followed swiftly by wondering if we’re actually bloody selfish, is travelling round the world more about us than Otis? Is that so wrong if the answer is yes?

  • I’m wildly excited about the new places we’re going to see, particularly the far flung, more unusual ones like Burma.

  • Which is then accompanied by some frantic Googling, as to which diseases Otis might be exposed to, and booking of appointments with travel health professionals to make sure we’ve got our bases covered.

  • I wonder where he will take his first steps, and think about all of the new foods that he’s going to taste when we wean him off breast feeding.

  • And then have a brief moment of wondering if we’re insane to think he’s going to be one of those kids who actually is open minded about food, and doesn’t only accept Ella’s Kitchen fruit tubes.

  • I am constantly aware of just how lucky we are to contemplate having this time together as a family, with no commute, and no compromises.

  • And then I think about the fact that Ben and I might not have a moment to ourselves for at least a year. And how the hell we’ll manage things like sex with a baby in the same room as us all the time.

  • I long for Otis to grow up in a world where he runs, climbs and surfs, rather than spending hours in front of a screen and hope we’ll find that life for him.

  • And then I add a reminder to the to do list to load up an iPad with kids stuff to get us through the 24 hour flight to New Zealand.

  • I get excited about the idea that he is going to learn about colours, sounds, even maths and history, from the real world around him, rather than measured by an SAT test that bears no resemblance to real life.

  • And then have a little panic that he’s not registered in any nurseries or schools or anything, so if we do end up coming back, we might be a little bit screwed on that front…

  • I think a lot about the fact that Otis is going to meet people from all walks of life, and ultimately have an understanding of different worlds (particularly less privileged) to his own.

  • And then I think about all of the people we are temporarily removing from his life. Friends with kids the same age that he might have been friends with. Our huge, loving families, filled with cousins who can’t wait to see him on each visit. And Grandparents who are clearly overjoyed that he’s around.

  • The last one is the biggie. We’ve made sure they’ve had far more time with him than might have been the day to day reality if we were staying. And they love him to death. And we recognise that we are breaking their hearts by taking him away. And that’s tough.

  • But then I think about the fact that the one thing I hope for Otis is that he chases adventure in life, and what makes him happy. And doesn’t feel like he has to stay living near us, that we’ll be his family wherever he chooses to be. And that our parents brought us up to think like that, and they should be proud for continuing to let us spread our wings.

  • I wonder what it will feel like when Otis grows up and does just that. I already recognise it will be bloody hard, but to be honest, getting him off to a start that inspires him to break the rules, to live life with gut instinct and being happy being his only guide puts every fear above to rest.

  • Roll on January 9th. New Zealand here we come.


    Follow Caroline and her family’s journey at mastersofmany.com

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