Why We Travel | My Family Travels

Even the tiniest travelers can benefit from an exciting family vacation.

I was unceremoniously dunked in the Atlantic Ocean at the ripe old age of 2 months, and took to the water like I was born to it. So when we planned our first trip to Jamaica, I couldn’t wait for the sound of that giggle as we dipped our brave, 9-month-old daughter’s tiny pink toes in the big Caribbean Sea. It would be her second ceremonial baptism, a welcome into the world. So much for ceremony! Little did we know that our erstwhile Commando Baby would turn into Chicken of the Sea.

We never even made it to the water — Sophie took one look at the broad, blue expanse and sent up a yowl, clinging to me like a life raft. Our expectations of the trip differed mightily from the outcome, which ended up being a good thing.

Simple firsts — first palm tree, first outdoor meal — blew the dots off her dice. The waving palms fascinated her, and she’d point again and again as a frond would rustle. She lunged out of her high chair in awe the first time a bird landed at our table. The sensory overload of being in a warm and pretty place, surrounded by flowers, trees and people was a challenge. There was no feeding her — too much to see! We ended up giving her a few meals in our hotel room to make sure she would eat. Local food, too, left her agog. Sophie’s tastes of watermelon and bananas literally changed her life. Jarred baby fruit is no longer an option, by her decree.

Best of all, she has grown. Of course, her grandparents said she was bigger, but everyone’s noticed how much she’s changed. The new environment, the faces that smiled, the things to nibble on and look at have flipped a switch in her. She can’t stop noticing things or reaching out to people and hasn’t been bored a minute since our trip. I knew travel would broaden her horizons, but I’m so grateful that we started early.

We’ve brought home a new baby, someone we can’t wait to travel with again.

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