If you don’t yet know Nicole from Work In Sweats Mama, you’re in for a treat!
I haven’t the foggiest idea how we met, but it was even before we collaborated in The Mother of All Meltdowns book. We have many mutual blogging friends and we must have just found each other, magically, one day. And then it was like she was there all along on my blogging journey. She gets me so often. I get her. We have kids nearly the same age. We both love to travel. In fact, I’m completely proud to have her here today, to tend to the blog while I’m on my first trip in…three years.
Nicole, thank you for being here today. I’ll let you take over now with your amazing words and photos..
I was 18 the first time I stepped onto a plane. Not a child anymore but not quite an adult.
As we raced down the runway, panic and exhilaration spread from the pit of my stomach to the base of my throat. My heart galloped in my chest and echoed in my ears.
I kept my eyes open, childlike delight outweighing adult fear.
A seasoned pro now, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles. Lost count of connections, delays, and inconveniences.
I cram a week’s worth of business attire and workout gear into a tiny carry-on. I breeze through security, laptop and liquids out in the blink of an eye.
Pat downs and mild turbulence don’t faze me. Pumping breastmilk at 30,000 feet, merely a means to an end.
Herding two jetlagged kids through an endless terminal, a walk in the park.
(OK, I may have exaggerated a wee bit on that one!)
But no matter how nonchalant I’ve become about getting from point A to B, my heart still races every time I pack my bags for a new destination.
My inaugural flight almost 15 years ago gave me a taste of freedom. And a raging case of wanderlust.
I want to board a plane, ascend into the clouds, and travel the world.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to amazing places for work, and I take advantage of my free time.
When officials stamped my passport with German efficiency, I ran winding paths to castle ruins, bathed like Roman Gods, and gorged on spaetzle and flammkuchen.
In Quebec City, I stepped back in time. I wandered on cobblestone streets, inhaled crepes drowning in chocolate, and met friends with hearts warm enough to vanquish the brutal cold.
I rack up experiences and miles, but I’m never satisfied.
What I really crave are solo adventures with my husband. Family escapades with our daughters.
Not to cities. Not to see buildings or museums or manmade marvels.
I long for trips to national parks, islands, and backcountry. Places with no cell reception. Views and vistas uninterrupted by power lines and skyscrapers.
Unexpected waterfalls in the desert.
Hoodoos standing sentry.
Moments of quiet reflection.
Sugar soft sand and crystal clear water.
Peaks set on fire.
Boardwalks in the clouds.
Black sand and bare bottoms
Bare feet and big dreams
Like every parent, I want my children to have more than I had as a child. Instead of material things that break and are quickly forgotten, I want to give the gift of experience.
To share places special to me. To embark on new adventures with them.
My daughters flew before their first birthdays. Nestled to me, they nursed, transitioning easily from the ground to the clouds.
Later, I watched as they pressed tiny hands against airport windows, shouting excitedly each time an airplane took off.
I smiled proudly as my oldest strapped on her Pottery Barn backpack, determined to shoulder the responsibility of her books and stuffed animals.
They won’t recall our earliest trips together. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got photos as proof and memories etched into my soul.
When they’re old enough to remember, my heart will soar.
Straight to the clouds.
Nicole Goodman is a full-time working mother of two and the caffeine-driven mind behind Work in Sweats Mama. After business hours, you’ll find her chasing her fearless 21-month-old, verbally sparring with her precocious four-year-old, avoiding housework, seeking an endorphin high on long runs, and slurping down a gigantic fountain Cokes.
Her idea of the perfect vacation involves lots of GORP (good ol’ raisins & peanuts) while backpacking in the National Park system, although trail running and stand-up paddle boarding in Hawaii are close seconds. All pictures in this post are from trips she’s taken with her husband and daughters.