Today is my 39th birthday. More significantly for my readers perhaps is the fact that tomorrow, June 16th will mark the one-year anniversary of this blog. I started The Mother of All Trips for several reasons: to take the sting out of the many rejections of my book manuscript by publishing something, even if I had to do it myself; to share the story of our family trips last summer to Paris and Vermont; to offer some advice to other parents; and to bring some discipline to my writing life (I’ve always been someone who did better with a deadline).
Although at times I’ve been overwhelmed by my own ambition – I certainly have had enough ideas to post every day, if not the stamina or time to do so routinely – creating this blog has been a labor of love of which I have enjoyed pretty much every second.
But when I look at the reasons I started blogging they seem a little selfish. That’s because I was unaware at the time what a wonderful and varied community I was joining by becoming a family-travel blogger. I thank these friends and fellow travelers for all of the good examples, support, and wise advice they have offered me. Interacting with them here, on their blogs, on Twitter and Facebook, I have come to realize that they are a rare group of individuals. Fearless and fun, creative and curious, they care about the world in all of its splendor and chaos and seek to share it with their children and their readers. I can only hope that their passion and insight have worn off on me. And as I’ve read their blogs and written my own posts over this past year, I have come to realize that the real reason I blog about travel, in fact the real reason I travel with my children, is because I want us all to be aware of the variety and the beauty and the potential that this planet holds and of our connectedness to every other place and person.
So now that I’ve marked these milestones, what lies ahead? It seems logical that as I enter my 40th year on this earth, I am dreaming of trips not yet taken. These include:
A junket to the Pacific Northwest. I’d like to take at least a month and start in San Francisco (which it seems inconceivable to me that I haven’t visited) working our way through northern California to Portland, Seattle, and maybe even eventually Vancouver. Along the way we’d pay visits to many blogger friends – there must be something in the water out there, because there are so many who live in that neck of the woods.
A voyage to Australia (ideally via Hawaii) where I’m proud to say I now have several dear friends thanks to the beauty of the Internet. I would like to meet these people in person and see everything from the beaches to the wine country.
A return to Paris, which I think must have been my home in a previous life, it feels so comfortable and natural for me to spend time there. One of my great joys is that my children share that sentiment.
A number of places I’ve dreamed of before and a few new ones: Japan, South Africa, Bali, the Alps (Swiss and Italian), Spain, Provence, India, Norway, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence, Thailand…the list goes on and on.
And finally, the journey into becoming a full-time writer. This week marks a new beginning for me, as I left my part-time job as an editor (and as wonderful a group of coworkers as anyone could hope to have) and will now be dedicating myself to freelance writing. I would be lying if I didn’t say that this was a little scary. Although I have a degree in creative writing, I’ve always had a hard time replying with the words “I’m a writer” when someone asks me what I do. Now, for better or worse, I won’t have any excuse to offer a different response. I’m especially looking forward to telling people this is what I do when I attend the BlogHer Conference in Chicago in July – and I can’t wait to meet many of my online friends there as well.
And of course, I’ll keep blogging about it all, hopefully a bit more often than I have been able to in the past. I invite you all to travel with me. And if you choose, feel free to share your own Monday dreams below.
Oh, and two more things – the photos are a couple I like from France. For no reason other than that it’s my birthday and France makes me happy. And about that travel blogging community – you might want to visit some of their blogs using the list on the right-hand side of my blog. It will be time well-spent, I promise.