I had the very rare opportunity to go traveling without my kids last week. The occasion? We had a single flight voucher that needed to be used and my husband lovingly suggested I use it to go visit a close friend in Manchester, England. I love my husband! So after jumping through several hoops to figure out the limited days a week that there are direct flights from Athens, Greece to Manchester, England, I booked my flight and started my mental countdown. Then my life turned insane with several things scheduled every day, ministry stuff, and becoming a part time caretaker of a friend’s child. All good things, but as my trip approached I found I was feeling a bit worn out. I was getting kind of worried that by the time my trip came, I would be too exhausted to enjoy it. Then something awful and amazing happened, my back went out! My husband sentenced me to two days of intense bed rest while he did everything during the day until he had to leave for ministry stuff at night. One of my daughters ended up joining me with a fever and some other unpleasant symptoms. As the day of the trip approached, my back started feeling better and I was able to help my husband clean up some and pack my bag. As they dropped me off at the airport we had hugs and kisses galore, and I started walking toward my airline check-in line. I had an amazing trip, and there were so many unexpected blessings, but I just want to focus on a few things about traveling without my family that surprised me.
Traveling Without Kids is Easier
It’s true. You are probably asking why I would feel the need to state the obvious, but to me this wasn’t obvious. I had completely forgotten what it was like to travel without kids. I usually spend the majority of my flight making sure that my children are happy and healthy, for their benefit, and so that everyone else on the flight can have a relaxing journey as well. Without my kids there, the pressure was off, and I wasn’t on any deadline, so I didn’t even care that my flight took off 30 minutes late. I read a book (that was so good I was pretty much weeping), ate my snack, and chatted with the lovely Greek couple next to me.
I Remembered God’s Care for Me as an Individual
I don’t talk a lot about my relationship with Jesus on this website (because I have an entire website dedicated to that here), but on this trip I really felt like God was showing me how much He loves me. I was alone, and God took advantage of that fact. Normally I am waking up super early, and trying to hear from the Lord with blurry vision as my eyes are trying to adjust to being awake while I start reading my bible. We spent time together and He poured out His love on me. Imagine finally getting to be alone with your husband after a long week, now multiply that by infinity.
Crying Kids Are Not As Annoying As I Thought
There were other kids on the flight I was on, and I realized that when they were crying or yelling, it didn’t bother me at all. No, I didn’t have earplugs or earbuds in. When my kids cry on a plane I instantly freak out, but as a bystander I wasn’t irritated at all. Maybe next time we fly I won’t panic if one of my children has a bad five minutes. Maybe.
I Love My Family
Everywhere I went, whomever I spoke with, my family came up. It’s a natural part of my life, and knowing that I’m a mother of three somehow softens strangers hearts towards me. The great part was that I was visiting someone that loves my family almost as much as I do, so she wasn’t upset if I talked about them a little too much. I love you, Sarah!! Thank you for listening to a few too many Travis stories! I really missed my husband.
It Was Good For Me
Even though I don’t like traveling without my family often, this was a good trip for me. It reminded me that I am still an individual, even if I am part of a family. I also remembered what it was like to be super flexible because I didn’t have any littles in need of a nap or a meal. We were able to do literally whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. That concept has become very foreign to me.
Scones in England are Amazing!
We had cream tea in this adorable little tea house right outside the cathedral in Manchester, and the scones and clotted cream were delicious! It was so girly and wonderful. If you know me at all, you know how I feel about tea. You know those things you dream about doing as an adult when you are a little girl? This was on my list! I also met an amazing T-Rex named Stan, but I digress.
I Came Home Just In Time
By the time I got home 3 out of 4 in the family had Bronchitis, including Travis. I was able to take over and let him get some rest, after he took our youngest to the doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics while I took care of the other two. One of my friends told me not to regret my trip because I returned to a house full of sickies. It was good advice. There wasn’t a thing I could have done to prevent the sickness anyway, and since I was away I stayed healthy and was able to take care of everyone when I got back.
Overall, I had a great time with an amazing friend, seeing a part of the world I had never experienced before. Maybe it’s time for you and your hubby to start talking about a trip swap. He takes a short trip to visit a friend, and then a month later you get to do the same. This way everyone gets a well deserved break. Just a thought.