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Kiboshing Greece: How Having Kids Changes Travel

In 2009, about two years after our big India adventure, Navdeep and I had settled into a groove. We were both busy with work — him teaching English and creative writing at local universities, and I freelancing for places like MSN.com and ABC News. We were living in Jersey City, and pondering buying our first place.

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But then we got itchy feet. We figured, before really settling in, let’s take a big trip again. Well, a little big trip. Navdeep said four months, I said one month, and we settled on two. So we did all the research and discovered that May was the perfect time to jaunt off to Greece. Our plan: island-hopping via ferry, spending some quality time in little hamlets throughout the country — and especially in Santorini, an idyll I’ve dreamed about visiting forever.

We were researching itineraries and ticket prices when it happened. I started feeling really funky — like way weirder than the average summer cold. And that’s when I broke the news to Navdeep. I just knew it. I was pregnant. I told him it was true even before we bought a test. But we bought one anyway. And of course the test told me what I already knew. And given the adventurous nature of our planned romp, we knew we’d have to put it off.

Just nine months later, Kavya arrived. But in between, I managed to convince Navdeep that we needed a babymoon anyway. So, very reluctantly, he took his first — and thus far, last — all-inclusive beach vacation (read what he had to say about the babymoon). We opted for the Dominican Republic, because, let’s face it, a resort is a resort is a resort, and the DR had the cheapest flights from Newark. As parents-to-be, we were all about saving a little money, and we were in the thick of our apartment-hunt by now. (Which, unbeknownst to us at the time, would also take about nine months!)

All this is not to say we didn’t enjoy our tropical vacation. I ate up a storm, and Navdeep drank for the both of us. We read books, swam in the ocean and the pool, caught the Michael Jackson impersonator’s show. We lounged — and I took countless naps. (Let the record show: so did Navdeep!) But it just wasn’t the same. And that’s when knew: travel would never be the same.

Still, traveling with Kavya has certainly been an adventure. She got on her first plane — cross-country to visit Dadu and Dadi-ma — when she was just three-months-old (and she took her first dip in the Pacific at the same tender age). We’ve braved San Diego without a car — and every bus we got on, little old ladies would yap at us, and particularly a then one-year-old Kavya, in Spanish. We tried our best to keep up. Who are we to shatter little-old-lady illusions?

We planned a big, fat, fun-filled family trip to Hawaii, managing to see three magnificent isles in two action-packed weeks. There, we booked houses so that our trip had a more homey, leisurely feel. And despite toting a two-year-old with us, Navdeep and I still managed to squeeze in a helicopter tour of an active volcano, underwater-scootering and even a skydiving adventure on Oahu.

In more recent months, we’ve taken countless short jaunts down the shore with Kavya, quiet little November weekends in Cape May or beachy boardwalk days in Atlantic City. And Navdeep and I have managed the occasional get-away without Kavya — like our writing retreat to Provincetown last summer to the Fine Arts Workshop, or our anniversary trip to New Orleans.

Our last California adventure — in November for Thanksgiving, since I won’t be allowed to fly around Christmas, which is when we usually go — inducted us into a whole new category of family travel. It was Kavya’s very first visit to Disneyland — and mine, too!

This time around, as we prepare to welcome our second kid, we don’t even have the downtime for a real babymoon.

We’re both working fulltime — with Navdeep teaching five classes! — and Kavya’s in pre-school five full days a week. But still, Navdeep and I will manage a few days cavorting on the winter beach in AC — with Kavya in tow, of course. I’ll be waddling by then, for sure, but that’ll be part of the fun of it.

And to be sure, traveling with another little one in tow — our new arrival, expected in February — will no doubt change things again. But we’re ready for the adventure, which will no doubt include another big trip, sooner rather than later. Navdeep and I have started making our travel bucket lists already!

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What has your experience been with the transition from independent or couple travelers to having kids? 

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