A Gypsy Summer - Travel, Kids & Transitions

by Caroline Stewart

Transitions are fucking hard.  We are creatures of habit, whether we like it or not.  Much of our strength and ability to act with confidence comes from stability of some form.

True, we can find stability in shifting times.  Or at the very least, we can appreciate the upheaval as it comes.  But there's no denying that there is an unsettling in change.

The funny thing is that I've always loved change.  Routine and repetition don't really float my boat.  I've always been drawn to change as a way to shift beliefs and shake things up a bit.

Because of this love of change, my life has been filled with big, beautiful at, at times, messy decisions.  And for the most part, I've handled them with an element of grace.

Sure, there's been overwhelment and most definitely those what the fuck have I done?! moments.  But I've always felt a quiet underneath it all - a sense of purpose and drive.

But I gotta tell ya, this travelling non-stop thing, with kids, while undergoing multiple other transitions in life, is NOT the shit.  Well it is, but not the good kind.

Now, I'm not saying that this past month travelling with my kiddos hasn't been incredible.  It is truly an experience that we will always cherish.  And I have loved creating the most special memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.

What I am saying is that HOLY SHIT was it hard on me.  Even with an incredible partner by my side who is gentle, kind and understanding, I felt totally overwhelmed pretty much all of the time.

Looking back on the experience, I feel like I should have known how heavy it would be for me.  I easily take on the emotions of everyone around me and am quick to take the blame for any stray tear or uncomfortable moment.

In my day-to-day life I deal with this empathic overload with a ton of alone time, lots of reflection and open convos with close friends.  The thing about travelling is that you don't really get the alone time or connection with these important people.  Even sitting in my beach chair with corona in hand I felt on pretty much all of the time.

I still wouldn't trade this experience for the world.  More than just connecting more deeply with my quickly growing kids, I found a sincere appreciation for vulnerability that I hadn't felt before.

There no such thing as control when the sands beneath you are constantly shifting.  And when those real and oftentimes ugly emotions arise, you have no choice but to share them openly or risk spontaneous combustion.  There's nowhere to hide from these emotions when travelling.  Believe me, I tried.

I was really starting to question my constant emotional shifting and perhaps even my sanity...until the drive home with my kids.  We talked about emotions and change.  I could see how my vulnerability and open discussion over the past month helped them to feel better about the turmoil that they often felt brewing under the surface.

My son, who is 11 going on 65 in depth of insight but so inexperienced in his empathetic awareness, particularly benefited from my openness.  I could see the relief written all over him when he shared that he finally felt like he wasn't the only one with all of these confusing emotions going on.

So, I guess the big lesson here is trust.  We've gotta be who we are and say how we feel.  And then trust that others will do the same.  It's all about staying in our own business.  There's no point trying to control the experience of others.  All this does is show a disrespect for their ability to make their own choices and separate us from each other.

We are connected through our vulnerability.  Openness is the only way to truly appreciate and accept the beauty of truth - the perfectly imperfect.  Transitions are still going to be hard, but perhaps with openness and honesty of what's really going on with us, we can move through them with grace and in a way that draws us closer together.  At least these are the learnings of this summer gypsy...