A long time ago I wrote about our most difficult travel experience (My Biggest Travel Fear.) To summarize, my husband got the stomach bug during a Disney trip. At the time I ended up moving two small children into a new hotel room in the middle of the night. I mean, you know you’re in an EXTREMELY desperate situation when you beg a hotel employee to help you set up a pack ‘n play at 2AM! And then I woke up the next morning to take an 11 month old and a 5-year old to The Magic Kingdom by myself. After that particular trip I thought “If I can handle this, I can handle anything!”
Well. I wasn’t wrong.
But…unfortunately, that story isn’t my benchmark for “if I can handle this, I can handle anything” anymore.
Let me stop here by saying, sometimes I feel like a lightning rod for travel problems. Thankfully, nothing that we’ve experienced has been life-threatening. I say all this with a grain of salt knowing my life has truly never been in danger through my travels. There have been inconveniences, yes. But in the bigger scheme of life- not real problems. Also, for every issue we have- we have about a million positive experiences. Based on the law of averages- we travel a lot, and so therefore we do have occasional issues that arise.
That said, let me tell you about our most recent nightmare of a travel problem. Again…I thought the Disney experience was bad- that was NOTHING compared to this one. Also worth noting- it’s taken me 7 months to share this experience. I’m sharing now not to complain or bring up negative experiences, but to truly share- if you have the right attitude, you can handle anything when traveling with kids!
7 months ago we took a trip to Ireland. I planned the trip for almost a year. I had absolutely everything under control and planned out perfectly. The only thing somewhat out of my control (short of weather…although, I’d even planned for all circumstances there!) was our health. But, even that, I attempted to control.
For the month leading up to our trip I turned into a huge germ-a-phobe. We rarely went to public places without an arsenal of hand wipes and essential oils to ward off germs. I made my kids wash their hands about 300 times a day and drink all sorts of immune system boosting drinks. During this quasi-quarantine Miller managed to fall down and split open his chin. We both wore masks in the ER. The doctors all thought we were super strange, but I explained that we weren’t taking any chances on illness before our big trans-Atlantic trip! I pretty much went crazy trying to keep my family healthy!
So imagine, if you will, the HUGE sigh of relief (and tiny dance party) I did when we all woke up the morning of our trip healthy!
Our travel itinerary involved a very long day in airports, followed by an overnight flight to Ireland. The kids slept okay on the plane. I did not. But never the less, we arrived in Ireland and the sun was shining. (You can read an overview of the whole trip, here.) We hit the ground running and had a ridiculously wonderful day. I didn’t give illness or germs another thought…
Fastforward to that night. Brent and I had been awake for roughly 40 hours (give or take the few minutes we managed to sleep on the plane.) Exhausted doesn’t even come close to describing the way we felt. That night we were staying in the most beautiful Bed & Breakfast in the most adorable village. It was a Sunday night and as we arrived into town we all appreciated the fact that EVERYTHING In town was closed (like more so than any town on Christmas in America!)
It took everything in us to get our suitcases to our room. In fact, while we were getting settled Miller fell asleep on the bed. I took a picture to document the cuteness. But then a few minutes later he sat up and threw up all over everything. Like everything. All our jackets. Half our luggage. Everything.
Of course my mind went into over drive thinking of how I would handle the situation if we were at home. But, we weren’t. Not even close. We had no convenient store to run to for supplies. No possible way to disinfect our space. There wasn’t even a front desk to call or a vending machine to purchase a gatorade from. It was the middle of the night- in what (at the time) felt like the middle of no where- in an unfamiliar country…and I had a VERY sick child.
Miller proceeded to throw up every 10 minutes for the rest of the night. He was more pitiful than I’ve ever seen him and felt rotten. I was absolutely frantic thinking that this bug would likely work it’s way through our family and ruin the rest of the trip. I spent A LOT of time praying that night because it was literally the ONLY thing I could do.
By some miracle the bug stopped with Miller (in hindsight, I’m thinking it was likely food poisoning…but of course I didn’t know that at the time!) He ended up feeling a little puny for a day. And by dinner he was fine. We ended up having an amazing time in Ireland and the memory of that one horrible night is all but erased in everyone’s mind except mine. Admittedly, I’m still a tiny bit traumatized. However, it’s a great reminder as I plan future travel…I can handle anything!