Almost Fearless

Travels With Two

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We’ve closed up the house in Bucerias, tucked Stella’s brand new passport in with our own, and drove off across Mexico. There was camping in the scrub outside Ameca where we listened to the dozens of roosters and roof dogs compete with each other over who could be more annoying. There was the unexpected night spent in Zacatecas, which is one of the more charming Mexican cities we’ve seen, definitely worth a repeat visit. An uneventful stay in Monterrey where the hotel was unmarked and Drew unaware, stood outside the hotel and asked a police officer where it was — he said two blocks in the opposite direction just to mess with him — bastard — but the drive up was unexpected, there are mountains that disappear into the clouds and when you get downtown the city grime vanishes around a massive green park. There was feeding the kids olives, apples, and tortillas while speeding down the highway. There were tears, but not too many. We spent too much on tolls and gas. Ate our last tacos. Took a deep breath.

Then, we crossed into the United States.

Houses made of wood. So weird. Won’t they just fall apart? They all look a little beat up in a way I had forgotten about, slowly faded from the ravages of time and weather.

Other than that, this little highway we’re taking across Texas reminds me of Mexico. In fact, Mexico as a country looks quite a bit like the US if you’ve ever done a road trip of either one. Massive unpopulated areas that change so quickly: from forests to desert to mountains to farmlands. There’s such an uneasy relationship between the two countries in some ways, and yet we’re practically twins, part of the same continent, just an extension of each other.

Traveling with two kids is the same as one, but you can no longer be stealth, you’ve crossed into official “family” territory and even your friends who knew you before you had kids will patiently explain to you what it’s like to not have children, what they enjoy about it so much, as if you always and forever had kids. You want to say, “I know, I remember! It was wonderful.”

But then again, maybe you don’t really remember, there’s a curve in your hip where the baby goes, there’s strength in your arms, you walk down the street lightly touching your older child’s head to remind him to look out when someone brushes past. We’re traveling, there’s this new child with us, and it’s all the same, but it’s not. I traveled with Cole when he was Stella’s age, and despite it being harder — in a way — to have two kids, it’s also so much easier. We know what we’re doing, or at least, Cole has sufficiently trained us to not completely forget to feed them regularly, get them sleep, cut travel days short and make sure there’s something fun every day. In return, we get to still travel, be with our snuggly little monsters and perhaps, if any of this rubs off on them, raise them with some sense of adventure, even if that just means leaving the soft and easy life at the beach to travel and try life somewhere new.

We have a meandering journey ahead, but shortly we’ll be in Europe with a small flat in Barcelona. At least that’s the plan for now, more travel over the summer, a new city, a new language (Catalán) and our newest travel companion: Stella. For the first time, everything seems easy.

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”

THERE ARE RARELY HAMMOCKS.

http://christinegilbert.com

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