The last few weeks in the United States were a blur as we prepared for our trip. Once we announced our plans to friends & family, it felt like a mad rush to say our last good byes with everyone. We first flew to Pennsylvania for Easter weekend and spent time with Rick’s family. Rick's parents hosted a picnic party for the family and it was super nice to spend time with everyone. After that, Rick and I went back to West Palm Beach while the kids stayed behind with Rick’s parents. It was our first time leaving our children for an extended period of time and much tougher than I imagined. It was good for Leo and Mila, as they had a chance to hang out with their grandparents, while we were able to pack and organize all of our belongings without any interruptions. After a hectic 5 days, we flew back up to Pennsylvania the following weekend to meet up with Rick’s best friend at State College for Penn State’s Blue/White football game. It was a great weekend hanging out and tailgating one last time with friends. Rick then went back to Florida to finish his job while the kids and I stayed with my in-laws for 3 weeks. After that I flew back to WPB for the last time to finalize everything and close out this chapter of our life in Florida.
Rick and I enjoyed the last few days in West Palm, taking in the morning sunrises, kayaking at McArthur State Park, attending the Jimmy Buffett concert and grilling out with great friends. Rick played volleyball with his crew at Marcinski while I enjoyed many coffee and lunch dates with my friends. We then set off for our 1200 mile drive from West Palm to Pittsburgh with a pit stop at Rick’s sisters place in Charlotte, NC. Finally, we reunited with our kids and finished every last detail before we left the States.
We only had 1 day/night to finalize everything. Looking back we wish we would’ve given ourselves an extra day as we felt rushed to get things done. The next morning we drove to Cleveland, OH where we dropped off the rental car, flew to Boston and spent the day in Bean Town. We were greeted with absolutely perfect weather. We spend the afternoon walking through Faneuil Hall and Boston Commons. We booked a night in a little B&B in Cape Cod and enjoyed some down time before leaving the USA. The last week seemed like a blur to us. Tomorrow, we’d take off for Europe. The first leg of our journey takes us to Hamburg, Germany where we’ll visit my sister and family for the week.
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you’re not sure when will be the next time you’ll see family and friends. There were some tears, but mostly it was of pure joy, gratitude and excitement. We are forever thankful for all of our family and friends who have supported us. We will miss you all and hope to meet some of you along the way in this beautiful World. Please stay connected through our Blog, Facebook and Instagram. We are in full Traveler State of Mind mode! Ciao!
Traveling has been our passion for a very long time. Prior to kids, we’ve visited many parts of the world and back then we made a promise, that once we had kids, we would continue exploring the globe. So when we had Leo, we put our promise to the test.
When Leo was 10 weeks old, we took him on his first airplane ride to Pennsylvania. We were both very nervous about it but to our surprise, Leo did excellent (he pretty much slept the whole time) and the "flying with an infant experience" was quite enjoyable. Since that first flight, we have taken him on over 100 flights, visiting big chunks of Europe and USA. Mila was born in 2015, and she too has enjoyed flying.
Here are 10 tips and observation on how to make traveling with kids a positive and fun experience:
1 . Prior to leaving, do some research about your airport. Many airports have kids play areas with playgrounds, so familiarize yourself with them, especially if you have a long layover. Your kids can play while you enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
2. Pack light. There is always a feeling that you need to overpack extra clothes, gear, toys when traveling with kids. Use packing cubes as we highlighted in our packing Blog, showing you how to maximize your luggage space. See if you have laundry services at your destination. Mom and dad, it’ll be ok if you have to wear the same outfit twice.
3. Get to the airport early and get your kids involved. Allow yourself plenty of time to ticket, check your bags, clear security and get to your gate. If you’re traveling with a toddler, get them involved in the ticketing and bag check process. Kids love to be included and showing them how you get your tickets and where the bags go makes them a part of the adventure.
4. Let’em loose! After clearing security, let your kids walk/run with you versus immediately putting them back in a stroller/child carrier. Give your kids an opportunity to use some energy. You’re about to be confined to a seat for the duration of your trip, find a seldom used gate and let your kids roam around (with your supervision). It’ll be good for both of you, plus you’re secretly exhausting them out for the plane ride.
5. When flying with a baby, if possible, try to choose an aisle seat. You will have more room for your legs plus, if your baby starts to fuss, you can easily stand up and walk up and down the airplane. With a toddler, it is easier to have a window seat. They love to look outside and you have more control as a parent.
6. With Infants, be ready to feed/nurse them during take off and landing. I always had my cover up ready and as soon as we took off, I started feeding to ensure they were comfortable. If your baby takes a bottle or a pacifier, keep it handy, since the air pressure may cause a pain in their ears (sucking on something helps with it). For a toddler, make sure they have their drink handy.
7. Always have enough food, snacks and drinks for you and your kids. It is important everyone stays hydrated so drink plenty of water. Many children are picky and won't eat food served by the airline crew. Pack enough diapers and wipes, and always have a change of clothes in your carry ons for your children.
8. Onboard, have your Electronics ready. As much as we try to reduce the amount of time our children use computers, iPhones, iPads, etc., these gadgets will keep them entertained during your flight. If you can, pack a dvd player and their favorite movies. It’ll keep them occupied. We also take a coloring book and some crayons.
9. If your child is acting up, do not panic. Stay calm and control your emotions. Kids feed off our emotions and energy and there is nothing worse than a screaming baby/toddler and an angry parent. Most passengers are compassionate for those parents traveling with kids, and the flight crew generally is ready to assist you when you need help.
10.Lastly, utilize baby/child carriers. If you are using a stroller, go with something compact. We recently bought the GB Pockit Stroller that folds into a small tote bag and can be stored in the overhead compartment on the plane. It is much easier than checking a large stroller at the gate. We learned the hard way on our first trip when we went to collect our stroller at gate check (it was super dirty plus and a few parts were missing). An Ergo Baby is a fantastic accessory to have while traveling with a baby. It's light, easy to put on and comfortable for both parent and baby. Currently, we are in love with our Osprey Poco Premium carrier. It is a backpack style child carrier that also has a detachable pack. You can store all your food and baby gear in it. It has been one of the best traveling accessories. We use it while flying, going for walks, hikes, or hanging out at the beach. We highly recommend it.
The flying experience can be one of exhilaration and exhaustion for parents and their kids. Using some of the tips we’ve described above can help make it enjoyable. And remember, flying is all part of the memorable journey you are about to create with your family wherever you off to.
What are we taking? Our Packing List for a Global Adventure
I have never been a fan of packing and I am not sure if I know anyone who enjoys it. Since I was sixteen, I have been moving around. First, away from my parents to attend high school in a different city, then to USA for college, and after graduation I probably moved another 4-5 times and it was never a fun experience. However, packing into two suitcases for four people for one year (or more) is a completely different story. A must for any travel adventure is a set of packing cubes. Check out our video on Youtube with Rick showing how packing cubes helped us stay organized. Each member of our family got 4-5 packing cubes that had to fit our entire wardrobe for the trip. Below, I have listed all of the items that we took:
Rick’s Packing List
• wind and rain proof jacket
• 2 pair of Columbia hiking pants
• one pair of Adidas golf pants
• 1 hoodie & 1 Merrell pullover
• 2 Under Armor Long sleeves
• 6 short sleeve t shirts
• 3 polos
• 4 pair O’Neill shorts
• 3 athletic shorts
• 2 hats
• 7 pairs of socks
• 7 pairs of underwear
• 2 swim/board shorts
• 2 pair running shoes
• 1 Pair Solomon Hiking shoes
• 1 pair of Teva Sandals
• 1 Pair Revo Polarized Sunglasses
Gosia’s Packing List
• wind and rain proof jacket
• 2 warmer pants
• one pair of regular pants
• 2 sweatshirts
• 3 long sleeve shirts
• 5 short sleeve t shirts/tops
• 4 pairs of shorts
• 6 dresses
• 3 sets of work out clothes
• 2 hats
• 10 pairs of socks
• 10 pairs of underwear
• 2 bras
• 2 sports bras
• 5 bikini sets
• 2 pairs of tennis shoes
• hiking boots
• Teva sandals
• leather sandals
• 2 pair of sunglasses
Leo & Mila's Packing List
• wind and rain proof jacket
• 4 sweatpants
• 4 sweatshirts
• 4 long sleeve shirts
• 6 pairs of shorts
• 7 T shirts
• 1 pajamas
• 3 bathing suites
• 10 pair underwear
• 10 pair of socks
• 2 hats
• 1 hiking boots
• 1 sandals
• 2 pairs of tennis shoes
• 4 onesies (Mila)
• 4 pairs of leggings (Mila)
Our carry on luggage consists of electronics (MacBook, iphone, Panasonic Lumix LX-10 camera, Panasonic HV-380 video camera, Sony action camera, iPad, Kindle and chargers), cosmetics, 2 diaries, first aid kit, one Pre-k book for Leo, teddy bear for Mila, crayons, markers, nail kit, 2 mini flash lights, resistance bands for workouts, 2 drift towels, and one beach blanket.
For transporting the kids, we've packed one GB Pockit stroller, one Osprey Poco Child Carrier, 1 Piggy Back Rider, and a Bretax Car Seat and Greco Booster Seat.
Below you will find Rick’s short packing video. I am sure we will be removing and also adding some items as we go along. Believe me, you do not need much to travel the World. So far, we have really enjoyed our minimalist life style. It is very liberating knowing that you can live the life you choose with less. We are ready to fully embrace our new adventure and live each day to its fullest!
Link to Packing Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3UTt3b8pEo
Last week, as I was running around our apartment, organizing and packing the last of our belongings, I went out on the balcony for a brief moment, took in the view of the Intercostal Waterway, and reflected on our life in West Palm Beach. We’ve spent the last 8 years here, our children were born here, and we’ve created so many wonderful friendships and memories in this city. Here are the 7 things (honestly i could list 100) that I am going to miss about life in WPB…
1. The friendships we’ve built here. There are so many wonderful people we’ve met, it is always hard to walk away from the memories and experiences we’ve created together. This is probably the toughest thing when I think about our choice of a life of travel. From the mamacitas’, Polish mamas, friends from Leo’s school, our great friends from Chile, Rick’s volleyball crew at Marcinski, people we’ve met through Rick’s work, and my former work peeps, the list could go on and on. They will be friends forever.
2. Morning Sunrises…we lived in a two bedroom flat that was right on the intercostal waterway. Before the kids wake, we used to get up in the morning and enjoy our coffee on the balcony, and watch the sunrise every morning. Rick enjoyed a lot of runs early in the morning watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. It was the perfect start of a day…
3. The Beaches!!! Our apartment was only 1.5 miles away from the beach. Every day we could take a short 10-15 min walk and be right on the beach. Kids would run on the boardwalk and Rick and I would enjoy the amazing beauty of the ocean. John McArthur State Park served as our primary beach destination. Quiet and quaint, this beach was full of nature.
4. The Florida sunshine! There is something about sunshine that gets you going every day. The tropical climate is perfect for the outdoor lover. I’ll take the hot & humid summers any day of the week over cold, cloudy winters.
5. My morning runs to the beach. I had created a pretty sweet routine for Mila and myself. Every day after we dropped Leo off at his school, Mila and I used to go for a run to the beach and make a big loop (about 5 miles) from our apartment to the Ocean and back. Running along the ocean was so therapeutic and calming, I loved it so much! And so did Mila!
6. West Palm’s Cultural Vibrance. In a way, West Palm Beach is a mini melting pot. The culture here is very diversified and honestly, you can meet people from all around the world. I never was a big risk taker when it came to food; however, the variety and broadness of local restaurants, markets, and boutique style eateries and coffee shops has made me a true food adventurer. Just last week I had a pleasure to enjoy a delicious lunch with few of my girlfriends at a Ethiopian restaurant called “Queen of Sheeba”.
7. The Florida Keys! A 4 hour drive from WPB, The Florida Keys served as a perfect weekend getaway for us. The drive itself is worth the price of admission. From Henry Flagler’s 7 mile bridge, snorkeling & kayak adventures, enjoying the beautiful beaches at Bahia Honda State park, to fresh seafood dishes, the Florida Keys are a State of Mind. If you go, check out the Bayview Inn on Conch Key, LeAnn is the proprietor and will greet you with a smile and take good care of you.
West Palm Beach will always hold a special place in our hearts. It is an amazing place to live. We are grateful for the 8 years we’ve spent here. As we embark on our journey, we know this is a place we can always come back to and call home.