The Pre-Trip Jitters


Summer is here. School is out. And, in expat circles, it’s that season again. Time to make the yearly pilgrimage home. It’s that trip to reconnect with family and friends, visit beloved childhood landscapes, eat all those familiar delicacies unavailable in your home across the ocean, and give our children a taste of what life in their passport country is all about.

We’re about to depart on our own Odysseus journey. But this is no mere jaunt across the Pacific. No, we’ll be gone on a two-month, three-continent, six-country adventure. And, PS, I’ll be doing the majority of this trip as a solo traveling parent.


To say that I’m thrilled and excited and totally thankful is somewhat of an understatement. But to say that I’m also not crapping my pasts would be a total and utter boldface lie. 


I’m not particularly worried about the flights. This is not our first time at the long-haul trans-continental rodeo. I know flights are generally long, boring, uncomfortable, and sleepless. But there are good parts. But they end.  


I am worried about jet lag, but I’m not ready to talk about that because holy crapballs, I just can’t even think about the weight of two jet lagged children at three am when all I want to do is zzzzzz. 


I’m going to focus my anxieties on the logistics and the practicalities. Like, exactly how many shirts are enough shirts? I want to avoid having to stretch that baby-barf covered, ice-cream-smeared, snot-stained tee just ooooooone more day until we reach laundry facilities while not bringing everything everything everything because I’m a little worried about how I’m going to manoeuvre everything everything everything through an airport along with two exhausted but nonetheless adorable ratbags.


And how, exactly, do I pack for three different climates? Especially since a certain baby I know owns nothing warm and the polar vortex is descending on the great lakes region, and hi, that’s where I’m headed.


And what will I need in the overnight bag / carry-on bag? What if my milk peaces out mid-flight (I’ve been having supply issues after food poisoning round deux)? And why do bottles take up so much room? Do you have to sterilise bottles when your baby is five months old? How do you transport formula?


I’m finding myself up at night fretting about such critical issues as, “Um, how do I carry one baby, a diaper bag, a backpack, the carry-on suitcase containing all the diapers, and my child’s carry-on (of which she will no doubt tire of pulling) my camera, my computer, annnnnnd a stroller through Frankfurt airport when it's like, five AM body clock time? By my self? Anyone?


So, obviously I’m channeling all of my anxiety and nervous energy into online shopping. Because buying ALL THE THINGS will obviously solve my packing problems, right? RIGHT? (Don’t argue with me.)


PS, if you have any great tips about packing and traveling with bottles and what is critical inside the airplane and what can go in the hold, I’d love to hear them.