If you know me, you know that I love to travel! I love to explore new places, discover new things and experience new cultures. My husband is a kindred spirit too. We’d always say that having a mole in your foot makes you always want to be traveling or be “on-the-go.” We’d joke around that they’re starting to “blink” whenever we haven’t been out for a while.
The Gift of Travel
Personally, traveling is really a privilege that I have always been thankful for. Being born in a family who loves to travel, it is one of our bonding moments. The opportunities to travel abroad is a gift that our parents have blessed us with.
Being a lay missionary for 10 years also allowed me to travel even more. Sharing God’s love to the world allowed me to experience His love through different races, cultures and languages.
Altogether, I’ve been to 22 countries from 3 continents – Asia (Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Macau, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal + the Middle East), Europe (United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Spain and Amsterdam) and North America (US and Canada). Plus, I spent almost 2 years of mission in the Middle East alone (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait). The count of cities would be different. Also, the count for multiple visits to a country would be a whole lot more different.
Ever since being pregnant with Joaquin, we of course didn’t have the opportunity to travel a lot. We’ve only brought Joaquin with us to Singapore and Malaysia for some familytime & playtime with his 5-year old cousin, Marco.
I was looking forward to travel again now that Joaquin is a little bigger. But since my husband and I were very open to having another little one anytime in the near future, we also knew that we wouldn’t be able to travel much yet.
The Blinking Moles
My parents invited us to go for a family trip to Europe for August 2014 as early as last year. It was a reunion with my siblings and their respective families (from Singapore, Canada and the Philippines). It was the chance to be complete as a family and especially for all the cousins (they’re only 4 as of now but they haven’y been in the same country at the same time) to be together.
Wally and I actually begged off already because we “might” be pregnant already (#wishfulthinking). When June came, my parents asked us to go with them again. Since I wasn’t pregnant yet, we thought about it and wanted to go.
The moles in our feet were “blinking.” Hey, it’s a window of opportunity to go (especially before having another baby). And did I mention that it was for FREE?! Wally & I got all excited for it! Europe, we’re going to see you again!
Two new countries I haven’t been to yet. So, where in Europe were we supposed to go?
Yes, Viva Italia!
I haven’t been there yet. And the places we were supposed to go were just Oh-so-exciting. Rome, Vatican, Florence, Shrine of Padre Pio, Veron, Pisa, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany. Ooooh!
But that’s not all!
Olympia, Athens, Delphi, Greek mythology, history of the Olympics, majestic beaches and Parthenon! Aaaah!
The Oooohs and Aaaaahs double just thinking of all the Italian and Greek Cuisine awaiting us!!!
I am already drooling from the all food pics!
So why, oh why didn’t we go?
At first it was an all-or-nothing deal. Meaning that Wally, Joaquin and I would go as a family or we wouldn’t go at all. We began fixing the visa requirements and our schedules among others. But as the days were ticking, we realize that it wasn’t in the best interest of Joaquin to go with us. Why?
1) Our itinerary was slow-paced and we were gonna get our own private van. But still, we had a lot of places to go to. In 14 days, we would have gone to at least 10 towns/cities and stayed in 10 hotels too. It would be too tiring for a 2 year old. Not to mention the long haul flights (Manila-Dubai-Venice plus Rome-Athens and Athens-Manila). We’ve only tried 3 hours flight to Singapore and it was already a challenge.
2) He is still currently taking his medicines for his Primary Complex. This entails drinking medicines upon waking up (with nothing in his tummy) then wait for 1 hour before he eats anything. It would have been the 5th out of 6th months medication. And it was important that he does not miss a dosage. The flight from Manila to Dubai is 8.5 hours, then a 4 hours layover, then a 6 hours flight to Venice. Question is, when does he take his morning medicine? And which time zone do we follow?
3) He’d be too young to remember it. Yes, there will be pictures but there’s nothing like remembering the experience for yourself and looking back at it with such fondness and joy.
Plus, he’d get to stay with his cousins in Lucena for 2 weeks vacation anyway!
So Wally and I decided that it would be best not to bring Joaquin with us anymore. We were still excited. We were still fixing the requirements. We were still doing our research about Europe. We were still looking forward to the trip. We were still decided on going.
That was until, we shared in with our household. They expressed their personal opinions that they wouldn’t be able to handle leaving their children for 2 weeks. My sister was also discouraging us from leaving him behind because he was still a toddler. Wally and I talked about it and realized that we wouldn’t be able to bear 2 weeks without Joaquin too. We wouldn’t even be enjoying the trip 100% because we were sure to miss Joaquin all the time.
Suddenly, we couldn’t leave our darling behind. Suddenly, Europe was not too exciting. Suddenly, the all-expenses paid to Europe was not too enticing. Suddenly, we could wait a few more years to travel more. Suddenly it all made perfect sense. Suddenly, we were at peace with our decision.
I guess when you know your priorities in life, things do fall in the right place. There’s a sense of peace and calmness that we made the right decision. We’re still looking forward to going to Europe and to travel the world. And that will happen at the perfect time and the perfect way! :)