Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Erin, the newest mom to the group thanks to my little dude Nico, who turned eight months old yesterday.
I want to start out this little get-to-know-you session by confessing some of my expectations for travel as a mom.
You see, I joined the Our Whole Village team with a vision of how I wanted to introduce my son to the world. But — if I’m really honest — I assumed this would mean a pretty significant shift in how I travel…you know, it would be more kid-focused, and, well, by default just not quite the same for yours truly. Really, how could I explore the world, taste the world, and even drink the world (I’m talking wine, people) with a kid in tow?
Travel would go on, but it would be different.
Good, but different.
And then Italy happened — #OWVUmbria* to be exact. It would be my first proper trip with Our Whole Village, and really my first proper holiday with Nico. I knew it wouldn’t be a traditional family vacation — after all, that is why I joined Our Whole Village — but could it really compare to my previous adventures hiking the mountains of the Republic of Georgia, training it around India, or shellfishing off the shores of Spain?
I was wrong, though. My week in Umbria changed my new-mom perspective. Indeed, whether dining on multi-course meals of bruschetta, fresh pasta, and wine; turning cathedral frescoes into Where’s Waldo-like searches for angel wings; or navigating the Umbrian forest on the hunt for truffles, I realized I was able to experience travel to the fullest just as I did before.
But guess what? It was even BETTER.
Italy wasn’t just beautiful as it was the prior times I’d visited; this time, it was filled with magic. That’s because — along with experiencing it in new and unique ways — on this trip I was more engaged. I was getting to know Umbria through a different lens, and alongside the boundless sense of enthusiasm that is usually only discovered through the eyes of children.
Well, not really my child, of course — Baby Nico (or Baby Niki, as the kids on this trip called him) was more interested in tearing flowers off of window boxes in Spello and grasping (or gasp, breaking!) ceramics in Deruta, than any of the actual activities. But I did get a glimpse into the future as I spent time with other families, watching their children’s eyes light up as they passionately licked their melting chocolate gelato, and danced along to the music at the Umbrian Jazz Festival.
So, now I have a new confession: this preview of what’s to come has me so excited for my future of mom-travel. Because it turns out that my travel lifestyle doesn’t really need to change at all; that it can be shared, even amplified when experienced side by side with my child.
I can’t wait to show Nico the world, and, really, for him to show it to me.
*What’s #OWVUmbria? It’s the hashtag that we (and our trip participants) used on social media for all of our trip-related updates and pictures. So, if you’d like to see more of our adventure, just search #OWVUmbria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.