Someone Is Doing The Thing That You Decided Couldn’t Be Done

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bbootWe are currently planning a 4-week European trip with our young children (age 1 and 3). The most common reactions are “Cool. Wait, you’re not bringing the kids, are you?” followed by “You’re nuts.” At first, we didn’t think it could be done either. It does take a lot of additional planning for car seats, cribs, kid-friendly itineraries, and so on.

While doing some research at a site called My Little Nomads, the author shared a quote by Seth Godin:

One of the under-reported stories of the internet is this: it constantly reports on what’s possible. Somewhere in the world, someone is doing something that you decided couldn’t be done. By calling your bluff and by pointing out the possibilities, this reporting of possibility changes everything.

You can view this as a horrible burden, one that raises the bar and eliminates any sinecure of comfort and hiding you can find, or you can embrace it as a chance to stretch.

That is a great quote that encapsulates why I love the internet. If you want to start your own niche business, pull off home-cooked weeknight meals, take your house entirely off-grid, semi-retire at age 40, or just take your tiny kids on an adventure – someone out there has probably already done it. You may even find an entire online community ready to help you reach your goal. There will be doubters, but all you need to know is that it’s possible.

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  1. Italiangirl says:

    Good for you! Have fun and take lots of photos. Forget about the naysayers. We were in Granada, Spain last April and there was a family there with little ones. It was great to see them navigating lunch. I think mom or dad spoke Spanish. Knowing the language, even a few important phrases helps.

  2. Wondeful.

    Why not post your travel questions and concerns so we can help you?

    You are in a two way relationship with your readers. Perhaps you don’t get to be the smartipants all the time. 🙂

    Your readers want to help you back as well. 🙂

  3. Yeah, you’re rich. When you’re rich, a lot more is possible. You’re partnered with someone else who earns a good income. That makes more possible. I hate when people in a position to do things claim that anyone can. Makes those of us who can’t feel even worse. And your kids aren’t going to remember any of this trip, so why not wait a few years until they might?

    • Immigrant in CA says:

      @Matt: While I agree with you on traveling with kids when they can actually remember the trip; your preface completely misses Johnathan’s larger point. Look around carefully, you will find someone somewhere is getting rich with your income/education/spousal employment level. It’s not impossible!

  4. Anonymous admirer says:

    @Matt- maybe you could be supportive of JP’s planning/trip? If you are feeling “worse” about yourself b/c of his ability to take a trip like this, have you considered action steps to get to a position where you could take a trip like this one day, should you desire? JP has worked very hard to get to a position where his family could take a trip like this – it isn’t just sunshine and rainbows dropping benjamins all day out here.

    Example: We are also in our mid-30s and make decent money; we just returned from a few weeks outside the continential US. We didn’t worry about the funds for the trip, and it wasn’t a big deal. Sounds easy on the surface, right? Well, here’s the background info you don’t see: (1) we both have good jobs because we spent 4 years in college (7 for me, as I did grad school as well); we worked hard in HS to get the good grades to provide opportunities in college; we had fun in college, but also worked pretty hard to get the good grades so we could qualify for good jobs; we worked hard to find/position ourselves for those jobs; we save/invest over 50% of our combined income, which requires discipline, and a mode of sacrifice. The result? Matt, we don’t worry about $$ too much because we are on track to retire early; should one of us lose a job, we’ll be fine for a long time. We donate several thousand dollars to charity each year. We used to track ourself vs JPs net worth, and we were right on track with him, and are the same age (maybe a few years younger). Do we consider ourselves rich? Nope, we aren’t 1 %’rs (btw thats the real rich- who can vaca for a year at a time- and good for them!). We seek financial security, not to flaunt money – same as JP. All sounds so priveledged, and simple, right? No – it was through hard work – and we both came from lower class families. Carpe Diem my friend- you can do anything you put your mind to!!

    • There’s background to your background that most people (sounds like yourself included) take for granted. Its great that you were in a position to spend “4 years in college (7 for me, as I did grad school as well); we worked hard in HS to get the good grades to provide opportunities in college… we save/invest over 50% of our combined income”. Many people growing up in poverty don’t have that luxury. When your forced to help support siblings (not to mention a support system to help with homework etc) its near impossible to concentrate on schoolwork at the high school level, let alone go to and afford college. This means you’ll have a smaller income that makes it harder to save 50 percent, not to mention you’re still likely to be supporting family members.

      Just because you are able to do something doesn’t mean everyone can. Or alternatively, if your circumstances were different perhaps you wouldn’t be able to do everything you currently do.

  5. Just because you an do something doesn’t mean you should or it will be enjoyable. I have a 3 year old and I don’t think it would be too bad traveling with him but a 1 year old is so much work. Between naps and potty accidents you won’t get to see all that much. And personally I’m scared to goto Europe right now, you have millions of refugees looking for a place to live and eat and you want to go look at the sites. Seems like really bad timing.

    • “And personally I’m scared to goto Europe right now, you have millions of refugees looking for a place to live and eat ” Complete exaggeration and it has nothing to do with JP original posting? Europe is a lovely continent to visit. There is nothing to fear!
      JP: Way to go and enjoy your trip! I wish more people would make it a priority to travel to see this country and the rest of the World.

  6. christine says:

    We’ve done and loved it! We don’t make tons of money but we never got into debt and we save up. This is how we spend our money. We went to Russia for several weeks last year and that was great as well–a great learning experience and the kids were a little hesitant about going at first because of what was in the news. My pet peeve is when people comment about our trips. The person with the big house and big boat tells me “that must be nice!”
    We all make choices in life. I don’t judge and neither should anyone else. Just live your life.

  7. One of the forums I follow, a couple is travelling while pregnant and will have there child in Turkey( if they haven’t already). Then after month or so, with a newborn, they will continue travelling seeing the world. So, your idea is not that crazy.

  8. You’re fine – go for it! We’ve traveled with our kids since they were 3 and have seen many parts of the world including Europe. It’s all about how you structure it – you may not be able to frequent the “5 star restaurants” in each city and will need to carve out “down time” such as a park, zoo. But, it will be well worth it! I have an even more adventurous neighbor who has taken her 3 boys from Machu Picchu (at 3 years old) to most recently Vietnam and China. Go for it – and definitely use VRBO (instead of hotels) so you’ll be more comfortable!

  9. Europe with two kids is challenging but very doable. You only have two kids which still allows for “man coverage”, three kids?, you’d have to resort to “zone coverage”. You might want to look into lifting some weights especially if you’ll be doing most of the heavy luggage lifting. My wife and I use baby carriers which frees up the arms to hold or handle other things. I would usually have my 3yr old son on my back getting on the plane, getting off the plane and while getting all of the luggage. Our 1yr old son is with mommy on a front carry since he still nurses. We don’t use strollers that much when we travel since it’s another thing to lug around. We’ve travelled as a family when we only had one kid and now that we have two, it still doesn’t stop us since we adapt and adjust. We don’t care if they don’t remember the trip as one of your sullen commenters mentioned. My wife and I will remember it. Travelling with my family is as much for my wife and I as it is for our kids. We set our financial priorities so we can see as much of the world and personally learn about history or other cultures. One of the many challenges you might face is how do you balance entertaining the kids and still get some rest on a fairly long flight. Flying at night time helped us a few of the times. Fly direct if possible, minimizes lost luggage, changing planes, or connection issues, if not, we’ve always just allowed for a slightly longer lay-over. Fly business class if you have enough CC or airline mile points. Don’t forget everyone’s favorite snacks and have lots of those in your carry-on luggage or backpack. They seem to work for us so we can keep everyone blood sugar level or temperament in check, especially me – “Don’t make me hungry, you wouldn’t like it if I’m hungry”. That line is from Dr. Banner from a late 70s TV series called Incredible Hulk. The line is really “Don’t make me angry, you would like it if I’m angry…” the end result is still similar. Lastly, as I’m writing this the Euro to USD exchange is only 1.08 to 1, good time to go.

    • PS. If you like Cruising, a Euro cruise is a great way to see a glimpse of many places with kids. Most of your meals are paid for, you only have to unpack once or maybe 3x if you stay in hotels prior to embarkation or the homebound flight. Norwegian has the 3rd and 4th passenger in the cabin sailing for free for some sail dates. It minimizes the cost for the entire trip. Enjoy.

  10. I stand with Matt. Not everyone has a spouse with a good job. Some people don’t have a spouse at all. Not everyone makes the kind of money where they can save 50%. No, for many, something like this is just plain out of reach.

    In life, we don’t always get what we want. No matter how much we want it. No matter how much we work at it.

    • Immigrant in CA says:

      Someone somewhere is doing what you decided can’t be done !

      • Umm thanks for repeating the title of the post verbatim. Not sure what your point is. I never said it couldn’t be done by anyone. If someone is able to do it, fine. God bless you. But not everyone can. Not even everyone with a similar background can.

        Noone can make enough money to overcome life’s unfairness.

  11. have a safe and fun trip

  12. We just got back from a New Zealand, Australia trip and took a 1 year old. Was a little nervous? Yes, but everything worked out. The biggest surprise was rental agencies for baby cribs, high chairs, etc. Everything we needed was available at a reasonable price.

  13. Well! I will have to take the blame here obviously my writing did not make my point come across properly. My point was that you should push your own boundaries. Someone, somewhere has a similar background to you *and* is doing something you didn’t think was possible.

    With that frame of reference, let’s take another look at my post. I personally like to travel and experience different cultures, and would definitely do certain things if I didn’t have little kids, but was scared to do it because traveling with kids is harder and foreign to me. I don’t know anyone personally who has done what we plan on doing. Well, it turns out there are many people out there traveling with their little kids. I don’t know their exact background, but they aren’t doing it with nannies or Travel Channel production crew. So that makes me believe it is possible, although I’ll have to report back on the actual pain level experienced. 🙂

  14. Oh, and thanks for the well-wishes regarding the actual travel. We’re still in the planning stages, but if I get stuck on something I will ask!

    Actually, I would take some recommendations on a large travel backpack. We want to pack light (relatively speaking) and be able to carry everything on our bodies + a double stroller. I basically want something as big as possible (willing to check luggage) but still somewhat comfortable to wear and travel-friendly (airplanes, taxis, trains). I doesn’t have to be a frame hiking backpack (we won’t be doing a lot of long hikes), but I might have to go that route.

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