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Summer Festivals in Germany: The Official Start of Summer

My favorite thing about living in Germany is the ease of travel. My second favorite thing are the festivals. Ok, it’s a tie between the festivals and the bakeries, but I’m going with festivals for now. Anywhere you travel, almost any time of the year, you are likely to run into some local celebration. There’s casual ones as well as themed ones. Some interesting ones I’ve found include festivals celebrating the Brothers Grimm, other countries, the marriage between Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora, and even cities in north Germany celebrating southern regions.

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This past Saturday was our local street fest. For me, it’s our marker that the summer has officially started. As a Floridian who has lived in mostly tropical climates all my life, I always took the sun for granted. After three years here, though, I see what the celebration is all about. People of all ages come out, freed from the constraints of their jackets, scarves, and long pants and enjoy summer.

For 1-2 miles, traffic was diverted. Our main street was lined with food stalls, shops, mini-beer gardens, and several stages with live performances. We packed up the family and took off looking for a late lunch. The crowds were heavy, but the lines weren’t long. Most people were doing what we were doing, enjoying the sun and scooping out the options. We made it all the way to the end to figure out what we wanted to eat. We only stopped to grab a balloon (or three) for my son.

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The typical German festival foods were there: waffles, crepes, bratwurst, french fries, garlic mushrooms, fish. We opted for something different. We ate spring rolls, and an Egyptian appetizer platter with bread and dip, plus grilled Chicken, couscous and salad. Then on to crepes before heading home.

Tips for Festival Attendees in Germany

  • Get your kids a balloon as soon as possible, it’s the easiest way to spot them!
  • Feel free to sit at a table or bench that other people are sitting at, Germans share tables with strangers all the time and it’s a fun way to make friends.
  • Drinks are usually sold in separate stalls than food. So, send one person to get drinks and the other to get lunch.
  • Drinks are also usually sold in glasses. You pay a small deposit when you get a drink in a glass, so you can either keep the glass as a souvenir or do what most people do and return them to get your deposit back.

Now that our local festival is done, I’m ready to check out other festivals this summer. Here’s a list of some interesting festivals:

Other Summer Festivals in Germany

  • Cathedral Steps Theater Festival, Erfurt: A theater festival probably doesn’t sound so fun, but with the Erfurt Cathedral in the background and plays specifically for children, it’s worth a visit. This year the festival will be held July 4-21.
  • Rhine In Flames: For one day each month a different section of cities along the Rhine River host a spectacular display of fireworks known as the “Rhine in Flames”. I’ve watched this in the city of Koblenz in the past. With Koblenz being the intersection of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers, and the city’s Castle Ehrenbreitstein being more wide than tall, it is unlike any firework show I’ve experienced. This year the show will be on August 10. Koblenz will also have the Koblenz Summer Festival at the same time, August 9-11.
  • The best festival of all: the one you stumble upon when you’re walking around and notice a large gathering happening in one area. These occur not only in cities as I mentioned above, but even in local sites and attractions. I don’t think it’s possible to spend more than 3 days in Germany during the summer and not pass at least one festival.

Have you been to one of the summer festivals in Germany, or is there one that you’ve heard of that you want to go to? 

This post is part of Friday Daydreaming at RWeThereYetMom.commander les lubrifiants en ligne pas cherST6030Street Storm STR-9970 Twin

Rare Weekend Blogging Flashback: Alphabet Meme

We just got back from a quick day trip to Cologne and I saw that Farrah tagged me to complete an Alphabet Meme. Seeing that it’s a Sunday and I’ve reserved my weekend blogging for more random topics, I thought why not. Here’s a rare chance to get to know the Ann behind Travel Turtle.

Attached or Single: Attached and happy!

Best Friend: Definitely my husband. Being an expat, I actually don’t have too many girl friends locally, so I can’t really think of any girls specifically. Though, in my past I’ve had great friends who have proved themselves reliable time and again.

Cake or Pie: Both, I usually have cake, though. Pumpkin pie over everything else.

Day of Choice: I would enjoy Sundays more if stores were open. Or I’d enjoy Saturdays more if I knew I could save the shopping for Sunday.

Essential Item: I hate to say it, but it’s my phone. I take pictures all the time, video some of the time, and have recently started playing Tetris Blitz.

Favorite Color: Red and blue

Gummy Bears or Worms: Bears, but only haribo.

Hometown: I’m a military brat, so I either consider it to be Miami or Orlando.

Favorite Indulgence: Sleep. What I would do to sleep for 5 hours uninterrupted. Or to wake up past 5:00 am.

January or July: January! It’s also my birth month.

Kids: Two cute ones who keep me up all the time.

Life isn’t complete without: The other members of my clan. Even if I complain about sleep, the other members of my family complete me.

Marriage Date: My husband and I are both math geeks. It only makes sense that we married on 02-04-06.

Number of Siblings: None. And because I’m an only it was hard for me to accept that we were having a second. Now that I see them together, I think it’s the best thing.

Oranges or Apples: Oranges! I’m a Floridian at heart.

Phobias: Flying, squirrels, and putting too much about myself on the internet.

Quotes: ‘‘Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild, With a faery, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” -W.B. Yeats. This was in my English teacher’s classroom and I always liked it.

Reasons to smile: Three and four day weekends, my kids smiles, a good dinner, a clean living room… not in this order.

Season of Choice: I like spring and fall.

Tag 5 People: I’m going to keep this open to whoever would like to respond.

Unknown fact about me: Stand By Me is my favorite movie. The first time I watched it, I watched it several times a day for a week. Then once a day. Then once a week. Then it was a movie I watched every five or so years. I’m watching it right now.

Vegetable: I’m a huge fan of green beans.

Worst habit: Not putting things away right away.

X-Ray or Ultrasound: Ultrasounds!

Your favorite food: Chicken, rice and beans from Puerto Rico.

Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

This post was part of OLD SCHOOL BLOGGING.

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Families and Business Trips Can Mix, Sometimes

A few weeks ago I went to a blogging conference. My whole family joined me. I sat in sessions, they explored Rotterdam. It was a switch from the typical working trip we take. It’s always been my husband who goes, and we follow. We go with him when he’s visiting a city I want to see myself, or when he’s heading back to the US and we tack on a trip to see our extended families, or when we just really want to go with him. We’ve done it many times, and we will do it again. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely not hard. If you are going to bring the family on one parent’s business trips, here are some tips to help you along the way.

We recently joined my husband on a business trip to Erfurt, Germany. There were lots of things to do to keep us busy.

We recently joined my husband on a business trip to Erfurt, Germany. There were lots of things to do to keep us busy.

  1. Know when to go and when to stay home. Most of the time, it’s easy for us to go with him. The other times it’s just not possible. He may be traveling with other coworkers in a rental car and there’s no space for all of us. Or his schedule is too hectic and it makes planning the logistics for three more people not worth it. Sometimes there are things that have to be done at home, so I need to stay here. We don’t go, or expect to go, on every business trip. Just the ones that work with all of our schedules. If it’s a trip that is more low stress for him, we go. Otherwise, we stay home.
  2. Know what to expect. Each business trip is different, each company is different. For us, I know that when my husband goes on a business trip he is expected to go out to dinner at least once or twice in a week. We don’t join him during these meals, but we eat together when we can. If there are social or networking events in the evening, the working spouse may not be available to help with bed time. If this is a problem for the trailing spouse, it’s better to just stay home.
  3. Know how to contact each other. It’s usually easy when we’re traveling within Germany. However, in another country using cell phones without the right plan can get expensive. I like to have a local phone number for his office that I can contact in an emergency.
  4. Know how you want to spend your days. Don’t go on a business trip and spend the whole time at the hotel. I suppose there might be exceptions to this idea, a business meeting at an all-inclusive resort with a kid’s club for one. (Oh, how I wish my husband’s business trips were in the Caribbean…) But, more often than not, the point of joining the working spouse on the business trip to is so that you can get out there and take the kids to see some new sites.
  5. Ask the hotel for early check-ins and late check-outs. Most business trips don’t start and end in alignment with hotel check-in/out policies. It’s hard, especially when you have younger kids, to check out at noon and spend the rest of the time waiting for the work day to end. Most hotels are understanding and give you a few more hours than regular guests. Even if you don’t spend those extra hours in the room, it’s nice to know you can.
  6. Be honest with money. Again, this is something different with different companies (and countries). In Europe many hotels charge higher rates for double occupancy than single. Don’t let the company pay for the trailing spouse. Ask the hotel to split the bill. One bill for the single stay, one for the remainder. Pay the difference out of your own pocket. Many people are tempted to let the company pay the entire bill, but it’s just not honest and not worth the possibility of losing a job.

The last tip I have is about packing for a business trip when the family comes along. And that tip is at Suitcases and Sippycups as part of their “What’s in my suitcase” series. Go ahead and take a look, and bookmark the site so you can see future installments of the series. But, before you go, let me know if you have other tips for families traveling together on business trips.Accessoires sexytranslate english to finnishcar cover 5 layeracheter les vicromasseurs onlineApple iPod nano 7 16Gb Purple

The Importance of Learning About New Destinations Before You Go

Before you spend any time researching hotels and things to do, spend some time reading about the place itself. Why does this place appeal to you, what there would appeal to your family? What is its history? What’s the climate like when you will be there? Get a feel for the lay of the land. Find out what vacation-destination has that interests you.

Why should you do this? It’s the key to planning a vacation that fits your family and the things you value.

I’ve spent a lot of formal education and working years learning about other cultures. It’s how I like to spend my time. I’m confident in my ability to get by when I’m traveling to a new place. I’m not the most well-traveled person I know, I’m not even close, but I get by. I’m pretty fearless traveling with my kids, and I’ve been known to say that being outside of my comfort zone is my comfort zone.

I recently learned, however, that just because I love other cultures, have a flexible travel attitude and a bit full of myself, doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy it as much as I could.

My story

We spent Easter weekend in Prague. I’m familiar with the city. As a travel agent, I helped many clients plan their trips there. As a study abroad advisor, I worked with professors to plan educational tours of the city for their students. I have good friends who are from the Czech Republic, friends who have told me about must see spots. I googled “kid-friendly Prague” and made a loose plan for our days. I was armed with knowledge from the broadest sense, from an educational standpoint, and from locals.

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The Charles Bridge in all it’s pedestrian wonder.

On the way to Prague I told my husband, “you know this is the first time since I was about 8 that I have travelled somewhere that I don’t know any substantial part of the history, that I had absolutely no clue to the language, how to say thank you. I don’t even have a general idea of what the city’s layout is. Weird.” Yes, I downloaded an app to teach me basic Czech. But, the 5 minutes a day I spent a week before the trip just wasn’t the same as studying a language. I knew that our hotel was in an ideal location, but I didn’t know what made it ideal. I figured that I’ll just know when I get there.

Then I got there. I realized that I knew nothing. And I wasn’t learning through osmosis. I didn’t know what made the Charles Bridge so popular; I didn’t even know that it was a pedestrian-only bridge. As we were walking around this city, this amazingly beautiful city, I wasn’t fully appreciating it. I wasn’t connecting to it. All I could think to myself was how beautiful it was, and what now?

When we went back to the room, I was a bit confused. Why the disconnect? Part of the reason was that although I had all this “things to do in Prague” superficial knowledge. I didn’t have the “why do I care” part figured out. My husband, who had been to Prague before and loved it, wanted to help me. He took over planning the rest of our trip. The first thing he did was book a walking tour for Easter Sunday. During this tour, with kids in tow, in the rain, and with a large group of people, I started to learn about Prague. As we passed by various buildings and bridges, the tour guide pointed out some historical facts or told an intriguing story. I slowly started to enjoy myself and the city.

What I Realized

On the way home to Germany, this was the big topic in the car. Somewhere in my cockiness, in my” worldliness”, in my zest for going with the flow and just doing, I forgot the essential part of why I loved traveling. I’m a firm believer in the journey is the destination. Part of that journey is learning. Part of that learning is finding out why you think traveling to a particular place would be a good fit for your family.

I hear people who travel around Europe come back and complain that all the cities are the same. There’s no real difference. And this makes me sad. Each place, regardless of how small or how similar it is to other places, has its own history, story, and uniqueness. If someone is traveling and senses that every place is the same, it means one of three things: they haven’t taken the time to learn about what the place offers that applies to their life, they’ve been traveling too much and need a break to process it all, or they shouldn’t be traveling at all because they just don’t appreciate it. (Ok, there’s also the fourth reason which is like my mom, they spend too much time in the shopping zones and those truly are similar from city to city.)

I’m lucky. Prague is a 7 hour drive away. We can easily return. Not everyone has that convenience. Actually, I don’t have that convenience everywhere I travel. We are all limited by either time or money or both. We have to make the most of our travels, and as families, we have to do what we can so that everyone will look to traveling as a positive thing.

Three days after returning from Prague, I started this blog. My goal from the beginning has been to encourage families to explore and engage in the destinations they travel to. I think it’s more fulfilling. There is no right or wrong way to travel, but I  the more you learn about where you’re going, the bigger the payoff.

This post is the first in a series I will be doing about managing expectations while traveling. This post is part of Travel Tips Tuesday with Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walkingon Travels click on the links to read more great travel tips! 

Have you ever felt disconnected to the place you were traveling to? How did you try to change it? Are you going to give that place a second chance? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.incase macbook pro sleeve 13 inchPrima micro

The Modern 13th Century at The Augustine Prague – A Photo Tour

When traveling with two kids two and under, there comes a time when one kid wants to nap and one wants to explore. So, on a recent trip to Prague, my son and I took to checking out our hotel, while my daughter and husband slept in the room.

We were staying at The Augustine hotel in the Mala Strana district. It is close to shops, restaurants, and public transportation. As I’ve mentioned before, my son LOVES public transportation. There was no way we could have headed outside without him running to jump on a tram. Instead of going outside at all, we went on a tour of the hotel.  I’m glad we did.

The Augustine is one of Prague’s newest hotels, but it is composed of 7 buildings including a 13th century monastery. It’s tricky. The decoration is modern, Czech Cubism to be exact. Yet, the oddly angled hallways with random steps and stairwells reminds you that this is an old building. And while the structure has been updated, the layout is still the same. This combination of old and new together made our walk very interesting.

Below is a photo tour of The Augustine’s hallways.

Augustine Hallway

In some places the floors slightly sloped.

 

Augustine Stairs

A funky staircase. From the windows you can see the Prague Castle.

Statues

This little alcove between floors had a nice life-sized statue.

Augustine Halls

These simple table lamps look to be as tall as my son.

I tend to love walking around hotels anyway, but The Augustine is unique. Walking around the hotel, even with a toddler, was really calming.

Do you have any recommendations for unique hotel experiences? Please let me know in the comments so I can dream of future visits.

This post is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.2014 honda accord sedan car coverapple smart case leather for ipad airdigsalenissan 350z car cover ukz350 car cover

Fun for the Whole Family – Organic Farms in Germany

“We went to a farm.”

“Hmm… that sounds… fun?”

This was a common conversation with my friends Monday mornings. It seemed that at least one of my friends would visit a farm with their family over the weekend. And while they seemed to flock to farms, I was doing everything I could to avoid them.

Farms, they just aren’t my thing. When our friends would bring that option up to us, we would suggest anything and everything else. Then one day, we were tricked. And the plans we had settled on, well, they changed at the last-minute. Instead of the beautiful park walking distance from our apartment, we were going to go to a farm.

The whole drive there, I was nervous. I’m not an animal hater, but I’m not an animal lover. I didn’t want to pet anything, feed anything, milk anything, and I definitely didn’t want to clean up after anything. Our drive took us out of our city, past several cute german towns, on and off the autobahn, more cute smaller towns, and finally into a large area where we could scream as loud as we wanted, and no one would hear us.

We found the farm and walked in and I was immediately happy that we were there.

Yes, there were animals. Cows, goats, donkeys, probably other things to; I wasn’t even paying attention. The farm was filled with families! There were kids from my son’s age (2) and up!

Immediately we all noticed that there were plenty of riding toys for the kids. There was actually enough for each kid to have more than one! (And so my son and his friend immediately grabbed two each. One to ride, and one to drag.)

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There was a field filled with playground equipment (a see-saw, a trampoline, swings, slide, climbing toys).

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They kids could play on big tractors.

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And while the kids ran, jumped, slid and played, the adults could sit outside with a cup of coffee and a slice of organic cake sold at the cafe on property. The cafe even had a small area of handmade goods on sale.

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The best thing about all of this? It’s free! The snacks were typical cafe prices, but all the activities at this farm were free of charge. The crowd is definitely more local, but the staff speak great English. I highly recommend a farm visit for any family looking for a relaxing day for themselves away from a city, and some fun activities for their children.

Oh, and I didn’t have to milk any animals!

For more information on this farm:

We visited the Hof Zur Hellen, located less than hour from the city of Dusseldorf, Germany. For a small price, you can arrange a tour with the farm to learn more about organic farming. The website is in German, but translates nicely with Google Translate.

I never knew that a visit to the farm could be so fun. So tell me, is this how farms are everywhere? Have you visited a farm, what was your experience?

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Our First Overnight Trip with Baby, A Tale of Planning Gone Wrong

My plan was to rent a car, pack it up, head out, allot for an extra hour in a two-hour drive, arrive into Frankfurt early enough to look for the US Consulate, have a nice dinner, and check into our hotel.

My plan had other plans.

When my husband and my dad got to the car rental shop, it was closed. They called me to try to find an open one, anywhere near us. After an extensive search, I was finally able to find a place on the other side of town. They rushed over, rushed back to the house, and rushed packing up the car. We left several hours later than planned.

That’s ok, though, right?

We did not own a car yet in Germany. We had lived here for only 8 months at the time, which meant our US license was no longer valid. We took the opportunity of my parents visiting from Florida to rent a car and go to Frankfurt to apply for my son’s passport.

My dad drove. With his brand new and very first grandchild in the backseat, my dad set off very carefully. He slowly approached every sign and crossroads. He often waived his priority, unsure of the road rules in another country. Plus, he was still getting comfortable in the rental car. Once we were on the autobahn his concentration switched. There was no priority to waive on the autobahn. Cars were zipping past us. And as they were, my dad was thinking of his brand new grandson seated in the backseat.

Then it started to snow. Hard.

Did I mention my parents were from Florida?

It was the first snow of the season. Early and unexpected. My dad turned off the radio and all talk ceased. He stayed to the right to let the faster cars (all the other cars) pass. A cry from the back interrupted the calm and quiet inside the car. My son was awake, it was time for him to eat.

He wasn’t the only hungry one. We cancelled our plans for dinner in Frankfurt and pulled into a rest stop. And here we experienced another first. Using a public changing room. Fortunately, my husband handled that situation.

While my husband and son were in the changing room, I took the opportunity to look at the shop. My parents and I chatted for a bit. We decided it was too late, and too snowy and we should just get up early to head to the consulate the next day instead. We talked about what they would do while we were in the consulate. How we would contact them since cell phones were not allowed in. They made sure I had all my documents. After a while we wondered, why are C and W still in the changing room?

I went to check on them.

In the process of changing our son’s diaper, C had managed to dirty every outfit I packed for him except for one long sleeve onesie. Our son, a three-week old baby, was going to have to face the snow and drive in only a onesie.

My dad went to the car to start warming it up. I put my jacket on my son and attempted to rush to the car without slipping on the icy sidewalk.

We arrived into Frankfurt many hours later. We headed straight to the hotel and collapsed from exhaustion. I washed one of the thicker outfits that was dirtied earlier, and let it dry on the towel warmer.

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Here’s what my son wore during his first snowstorm!

I sat in the hotel room thinking about the night. Where did I go wrong? This was supposed to be an easy trip. I read all the tips and tricks for traveling with kids. I OVERpacked. I took care of arrangements in advance, allotted so much extra time for everything and still ended up getting into Frankfurt late. I was a traveling mom failure.

I grabbed stationary and took notes of what I would do differently next time.

That was 2 and a half years ago.

Since then we’ve stayed in countless hotels, survived many road trips, flights, and train trips. Things will go wrong and that’s ok. It’s all a learning experience.

When it was my daughter’s turn to have her first hotel experience we were more proficient travel-with-baby travelers. Even considering the overseas flight, time difference, and jet lag we still had enough energy to go out for her first Halloween!

Not only did we have energy after our first trip with our daughter, I was also able to get some finishing touches done on her Halloween costume (she was a ghost).

Traveling with babies requires a new sense of humor, a new normal, and a new way to approach problem solving. But, it’s so worth it. Nothing is harder than those first trips, but I promise, it gets better.

How was your first overnight trip with your children? Any tips for parents heading out for the first time?

The post is part of Friday Daydreamin’ at RWeThereYet. Click on the link for more travel tales.lingeri pour femme pas cherprotective case macbook air 11 inchReplica A556Cowon AE1

Rotterdam Architecture Inspired Kids Art: Wordless Wednesday

photoI’ve added this post to the Engineering Theme Link Up at kcedventures.

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Success! Rotterdam with Kids

As I mentioned on Friday, we spent the weekend switching roles. I went to a conference for travel bloggers. My husband stayed with the kids at the hotel. We all survived to talk about it. Not only did we survive, we learned so much.

Their daily walk included crossing various bridges.

Their daily walk included crossing various bridges.

I learned that Rotterdam is now one of my new favorite cities (only because each building deserves its own moment of silence to observe its beauty and uniqueness), that I love listening to success stories (of which there were plenty), and I enjoy meeting like-minded people (yeah, I like hanging out with people who travel). I learned that my husband has no fear taking our two little ones out to explore the city (unlike myself who tends to stay closer to the hotel when I’m the trailing spouse), that my son’s love of all things transportation is still strong (and with views of the boats on the water and trams on the street this made for a fun time for him), and that I still missed them all like crazy even though they were never too far away (how is it possible that an 8 month-old can grow so quickly in a matter of hours?).

Both kids enjoying the Rotterdam Spido Harbor Tour

Both kids enjoying the Rotterdam Spido Harbor Tour

Since my husband stayed with the kids, here are his tips for visiting Rotterdam with kids.

  • Buy the Rotterdam Welcome Card. Available in 1, 2, or 3 consecutive days it gives the user access to all metros, trams and buses in the Rotterdam public transport network. It also offers discounts to many attractions around the city (and the booklet that comes with it let’s you know which of those attractions are family friendly). Plus, it saves having to buy tickets when the toddler in the group must get on the bus RIGHT NOW.
  • Eat a toastie, a small baguette cut in half filled with cheese and ham and melted. Be on the lookout for the toastie stand near a McDonald’s on Coolsingel. The other side of that building has a puppet theater.
  • Go on harbor boat tour. Sit on the right hand side of the boat (aka starboard) if you want to actually see anything. If you want to guarantee that no-one will sit with you, sit on the port side (aka left). They run 75 minutes while telling the story of Rotterdam, the city’s architecture, and the harbor. Only 10.75 EUR and kids under 3 are free.
  • For those with a stroller, note that there is only one place for trams on strollers, towards the middle of the tram. While waiting for the tram, stand towards that area.

We are looking forward to a return trip to Rotterdam to see some of the many places we missed: the Rotterdam Zoo, Maritime Museum, Kinderdijk and oh so much more.

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I’m Leaving on a Road Trip

Many travel-loving people worry how travel will change once they have kids. I was one of those people. Put me any place in the world and I’m usually comfortable. Make me adapt my travel plans because of little people I had yet to meet? No, thank you!

I found out I was pregnant one month before we moved to Germany. As excited as I was about the baby, I was also worried. No, I wasn’t nervous about giving birth in a foreign country (though that changed), or having no family within a one continent radius of where we lived (which is actually a blessing), or even how we were going to afford this bundle of joy (Germany has great programs for families.) I worried about how this baby was going to cramp our traveling style. We were moving to Europe! For two* years! And I had plans to travel, travel, and then travel some more. But, really, how could we do it between work obligations, financial obligations, and baby obligations?

First, I decided that I loved this baby too much to let it carry the burden of blame for why I couldn’t have the travel lifestyle I wanted. Then I decided I loved travel too much to not let my offspring experience it. And finally I decided that it was time to get crafty. And that meant business trips.

One thing my husband and I discussed before we had kids was his work and my work. My work was to stay home with the kids (which is something I wanted to do and is mostly rewarding), his work involved a lot of business travel. My husband likes travel a lot. I sleep, eat, and breath travel. I told him this: I want to be a stay at home mom (because working a 9-5 job with limited vacation time also ruins a nomadic lifestyle.) However, my greatest sadness (yes, I was this dramatic) would be to stay home while he went on all these fabulous business trips all over the world… sob, sob, sob.

So when he goes out-of-town for his work, we all go out-of-town for his work.

Except today.

Today, I am leaving for a travel blogger’s conference. And because I have a nursing 8-month old, the whole family is coming with me. And even though they won’t be at the actual conference, I’m pretty excited to have them all there. Being a trailing spouse on a business trip isn’t always easy. Now I get to see my husband’s POV when we go with him, and he gets to see mine. Even more importantly, my little ones will get to spend some quality time with their dad in a new place. I can’t wait to hear their stories at the end of every day.

Another thing I’m looking forward to? Adult conversation, about travel, with people who love it just as much as I do. Eating with people who, I’m pretty sure, don’t drop more than 75% of their food onto the floor. Using the iPad without little fingers trying to take it from me. And meeting all the bloggers. This will a great weekend.

One blogger I’m especially looking forward to meeting is Farrah from The Three Under. She’s an expat living in the Netherlands with her family. We live close enough that our families can (and will soon) get together to explore our host countries. She invited me to guest blog for her, so please go on over to her site and read more about my expat experience. Thank you for inviting me, Farrah!

*Our original plans to move to Germany for two years has been extended to indefinitely.villa in miami beach