How to take a trip around the world with kids: Step 3 – FREAK OUT

You’ve dreamed about it, you’ve even practiced and then suddenly you look at your calendar and it hits you… 2 months! In 2 months,  a little more than 60 days, just over 1440  hours you’ll be out there with no safe harbour – floating with your family in the universe.

It’s not a dream for the faint of heart.

And to say that I’ve had occasional moments of complete Freak Out would be an understatement.

When asked, the thing I most often compare it to is my wedding.

Ish and I met in 1990 and have been together ever since.

wonderland 90

In the beginning...

High school sweethearts who were lucky enough to realize early that we had a good thing going and hold on to it.  We married in 1999. Nine years is a long time to get to know a person so when it came to the wedding I had no nerves about who I was committing to. But as any bride to be will tell you there comes a moment before every wedding when all of the emotions and scheduling and stress of planning the wedding bubbles  to the surface and like a volcano eventually explodes .

For me that was a casual family Sunday dinner at my parents house.  Just like any other my poor family didn’t even see it coming. But somewhere between “pass the peas” and “can I have a glass of water,” my volcano erupted.

I went to put a forkful of food in my mouth and missed it…completely.

As per usual in my house the family laughed. It’s what we do and in any other circumstance I would’ve laughed right along. Instead, the volcano? She blew.

Tears, big blubbery, snotty nosed tears that at first had my family stunned and then laughing even harder. (Seriously it’s what we do)

When they realized what was happening they calmed me down and we had the talk about the wedding and the stress and the emotions and it was fine.

We went on to have what was – up until my cousin Jason’s recent nuptials (tips hat) – the best wedding I’ve ever been to, and almost 12 years later we’re still happily married.


the happy day photo by Vince Talotta

Recently I’ve felt the volcano rumbling again.

I have the same certainty about our decisions, just the nerves that come with trying to plan it all and the normal fears about keeping everyone safe , healthy and happy.

I’m working hard to keep the lava at bay and so at night I try to think about the things I know for sure about this trip.

Here’s what I know:

I want to do this. Ish wants to do this. The kids are going to learn so much. We want this for them. We want this for all of us.

And yet. In the middle of the night when I wake up, heart racing, sweat beading I’m never quite sure if it’s because I’m excited or terrified.

We’ll leave in July and we’ll be fine, but forgive me if from time to time I spew a little insecurity or fear.  I promise not to blow…too often.

And if you’ve got ideas about how to keep the freak out at bay? I’m all ears.

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{ 19 comments… add one }

Jo-Anne Wallace April 25, 2011, 9:27 PM

Don’t freak out HGD. Everything is going to be wonderful and as everything in your life, will work out :)


Heather Greenwood Davis April 25, 2011, 10:02 PM

In my rational moments I know this. It’s the middle of the night thoughts that make it hard to remember.


Amorell April 26, 2011, 1:24 AM

Take a stronger sleeping pill girlfriend!


Amy April 25, 2011, 10:29 PM

Change can be scary and a little freak out can be healthy! It’s a normal emotion, but as long as you know you are doing the right thing then just keep on keeping on!


Heather Greenwood Davis April 26, 2011, 12:03 AM

It’s been such an interesting emotional experience. The emotions go from totally frazzled to completely calm in moments. I know this is just part of the experience. Thanks for the boost. :)


Amorell April 26, 2011, 1:23 AM

Aw Heather! You know this will be the best thing you’ve ever done and that’s why you’re all anxious. Loved the post and the lovely couple photos. Are you doing yoga–that might help with the nerves. Let me know how I can help you to prepare with 60 days to go.


Heather Greenwood Davis April 26, 2011, 1:36 PM

Did you call those photos “lovely?” You’re a kind person Amorell. :) I nearly cried from laughing when I found the older one. Will definitely reach out if you can help in next little while. Mostly it’s just about getting to the day I think.


Shelley April 26, 2011, 7:07 PM

Fancy pants photos. I love them!! Great pics. Man, I worry some nights if I’m not going to sell a certain story, so, yes, I’d be right there with you with the questions, but that’s normal. All will work out. It will be wonderful. And I’ll be looking forward to reading about your family adventures.


Heather Greenwood Davis April 27, 2011, 2:34 AM

Thanks Shelley. It’s true that I’m a worrier by nature. This whole thing is giving me a real clear sense of my analities. :)


Tasha Gibbs April 27, 2011, 1:14 AM

Heather, I have not visited in quite some time. I have missed you!! Girl, I applaude you on this ginormous undertaking. I KNOW that you will be just fine. The experience will be if anything one amazing adventure filled with unique stories and fundamental learnings. I hope that you have the safest of safe travels. I will be reading along…


Heather Greenwood Davis April 27, 2011, 2:35 AM

Where you been Tash?;) It will definitely be an adventure. Funny thing is I know the kids will be the most easygoing out of the four of us once we’re underway. It’s us adults who find it tougher to go with the flow. Working on it though. Thanks for reading.


SuJin April 28, 2011, 4:52 PM

Heather, I applaud your sense of adventure! So looking forward to following your travels!


Heather Greenwood Davis April 29, 2011, 4:28 PM

Thanks SuJin. Can’t wait to get started!


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Jen Maier May 9, 2011, 8:37 PM

Beautiful pics of two beautiful people! I can only imagine the stress but, truth is, anything worth having is hard work. Can’t wait to live vicariously!


Heather Greenwood Davis May 10, 2011, 4:29 PM

You’re right of course. Trying to remember that in the crazy moments. Thanks.


Auntietonya May 18, 2011, 4:37 PM

awww, heather, y’all so cute. it’s going to be fine. you will have a life-altering memorable bonding family experience that your kids will always remember. i see no down sides except for the usual downsides of family – a few arguments, a few recalcitrant complaints, etc. etc. and hey, at least you have boys. if i had to take my nieces around the world for year….i’d be having panic attacks. i’d be dealing with whining, periods, cell phone withdrawal and shopaholism and that might just be from me…LOL


Heather Greenwood Davis May 19, 2011, 12:09 AM

Ok that really made me laugh out loud. Have no daughters but having been one I know I’m getting off easy. :)


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