The Himalayas called my name, and we answered. We have to explore new cultures, and we have children. We travel with kids. How does a Quad Cities mom end up in India and Nepal with her husband and two toddlers?
by Miranda Mendoza
For this, we must first travel back in time. In 2010, I had just finished my associates degree at Scott Community College. I longed for change and all that was foreign. I had traveled abroad in high school and the travel bug stuck. A few days after graduation I headed to Costa Rica with my best friend. After a few months we went our separate ways and I landed a job as a nanny in Bangkok, Thailand for a year. With the money I earned I traveled for approximately six months on my own and landed in India and Nepal. I lived in India for about six months and ended up staying in Nepal for around two years!
I had found home! The majestic Himalayan mountains, the savory food, the harmoniously proud people, the breathtaking views, and colorful culture had me from Day One. The last time I visited was 2014, when I was newly pregnant with my first son. I promised I would go back as soon as I was able.
And here we are!
I’m currently writing this post overlooking the Himalayan Hills of Rishikesh, India where I am participating in my 300 hr Yoga Teacher Training. When that is finished on Oct 2nd, we are headed to my old home, Kathmandu, Nepal!
Almost everyone told me at one point during my pre-baby years, “Travel while you can – before you start having kids.” I always resented that. Why do I have to stop traveling when I have kids? Granted, I found out it is TOTALLY different. Of course, traveling now isn’t as carefree and relaxing most days, there is definitely more planning involved, and obviously it’s more expensive than in years past, but still it is so worth it! I refused to back down from my goals of providing my family with world wide experiences and that’s why we are here.
FAQ on travel with kids:
Some people ask how we can afford to go, if I get scared, how I talked my husband into all this, and what do we even do in places like India and Nepal. Well, surprisingly the wonderful Quad Cities Mom’s Blog came about so I can answer some of those questions and hopefully inspire some of you amazing mamas to take a leap into the unknown with your little ones.
The question asked by all, how can we afford this?!
By day, I am a Realtor at Ruhl & Ruhl in Bettendorf, IA. I have a business partner who is also my mom, so that makes leaving a bit easier on my work end. My husband is a freelance photographer, so he has a flexible schedule as well. If you don’t have a flexible schedule or can’t work remotely, still go! Just for a shorter amount of time! We saved for an entire year to be able to do our trip which will be about 2.5 months in total. We only have one car, no internet or TV at our house, we eat most meals at home, and usually opt for free activities like hiking with the family instead of going to the movies, for example. Our priority is experience and my husband and I agreed on that early on, so our savings go to that.
Do I ever get scared while traveling?
I have traveled all of my adult life as a single female, so I don’t get scared taking my kids and husband. Going with him to India made me feel a bit more secure, as that’s the only place I’ve ever really felt harassed by men. This time I’ve experienced none of that. The respect here for mothers, especially of boys (I have two!), is very high. You must learn to become extremely aware of your surroundings at all times, and this will give you the confidence you need to move forward on your trip. In all my years of traveling, I’ve never had a truly threatening or scary experience. *Knocking on wood!*
How did I talk my husband into such a “crazy” idea of travel with kids?
My husband was easily convinced of this trip. He’s traveled a lot in his life. His mother is a big traveler as well. She is actually meeting us in Nepal. He was less convinced about the ease of traveling with toddlers. He wanted to cancel a few times throughout the planning year when the kids were having tough days. He’s the worrier/planner of our family, and I’m the optimist. We are a good balance of reality for each other. We’ve definitely had trying days thus far because…well.. Toddlers. But overall, we’re having an amazing time.
What does one even do in places like India and Nepal?
In India, just walking on the street is enough to make your head spin. Cows roam freely in traffic. There are people on motorbikes, cars, taxis, big construction trucks, food carts, people walking everywhere. My kids find dodging cow pies most entertaining. Rishikesh isn’t very kid friendly in terms of parks, activities, etc, but we do go to the Ganges River to let them play on the beach. In Nepal, we plan to visit my old friends, go to parks, temples (kids love running around there and ringing the big bells), experience a real safari in southern Nepal and go trekking in the mountains for a few days.
My advice. Get out there. Explore the world with your kids. Even if just locally for now, explore something new with them – you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime!
Miranda took over the QC Moms Instagram Stories last week! Make sure you look at her Winning Women Wednesday . It’s saved in our Highlights so you can still follow along as they went on a safari in Nepal!