About Mara & her Blog
Mara is a winner of Top 25 Travel Blogs by Parents
What's one of the funniest experiences (good or bad) you’ve had traveling with kids?
My funniest (and worst) experience traveling had to be arriving at a "luxury" apartment that we had rented for a month in Boston. Our son Tommy was one and we just starting a grand 13-month traveling adventure with all the foolish optimism we could muster.
The landlord greeted us at the door with an oily smile. The first thing I saw was a wide opening leading to a steep set of stairs. They were unfinished and dirty. We had no safety gate—it hadn’t fit in our car. Tommy had learned to walk the previous week.
Despite the fact that it was June, the landlord was intent on showing us the gas fireplace (he made no mention of air conditioning, a calculated omission).
I glanced in the kitchen cabinets and saw stacks of saucers but only one pot. A cigarette butt sat at the bottom of the garbage can. In the bathroom a ponytail holder hung on a hook in the shower and the bathmat was dirty. Before I could say anything, the landlord’s phone rang and he vanished without saying good-bye. Needless to say, it was an interesting month.
If you could share one piece of travel advice with other moms, what would it be?
My best piece of advice is this: Just go.
Whether you are, heading across the world or across town, traveling with kids takes effort and energy and there are always reasons to stay home. But it's pretty much always worth it.
How do I know? I spent 13 months traveling with a one-year-old during the course of which I learned how to get by without any babyproofing whatsoever, how to keep toys to a manageable minimum, how to eat out with a toddler, and how to introduce myself to strangers, how to pack so that the most critical items were always accessible.
Travel may be less glamorous, more work-intensive, and sometimes more costly with children than without, but it is also more deliberate and meaningful. At the outset of our long trip, I flattered myself that I was going to show my child the world and teach him to love travel, but in hindsight I realized that he did these things for me. How? By helping me to focus, always, on what was in front of me.
If you could take your kids anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I think all members of my family would agree that if we were offered a private jet we would fly off to Paris, where we spent a magical two weeks in 2008. Upon arrival we'd head straight for the top of the Eiffel Tower before heading for ice cream on the Ile Saint-Louis.
As far as places we haven't yet visited, Australia probably tops the list. From the Sydney Opera House to Kangaroo Island to the Great Barrier Reef, there are so many things we'd love to see. And we all love the thought of being in a different hemisphere where the seasons are opposite, the landscape is utterly new, and even the stars are unfamiliar.
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