This post is gonna be a more personal one. Travel related yes, family travel related no. But I decided to share this with you, as it was an important, necessary and essential experience for me. I learned about myself and also about my husband and his needs.
Why did I go?
Let’s start from the beginning. I am mom of two cute girls, I love from the bottom of my heart. Besides this I am still me, wife, daughter, sister and a friend. At no point I was the kind of mother who needed to be with her kids 24/7. More likely I was somebody who needed a break from time to time, but until last year a few hours have been enough.
I remember it was in June. Being on maternity leave at this time for 9 month, I got bored, felt like a tiger in a cage, was unsatisfied, but couldn’t figure out what was missing. This one morning I woke up and saw a special offer for a trip to NYC. Suddenly the scales fell from my eyes – I needed a break! Time just for me. Not being in charge 24/7, not getting called, mommy here, mommy there. Ulli could you please… Only me and my rhythm.
As soon as me and my hubby had some quiet time this morning, I told him about it. I tried to explain how I feel and why. Hard to find the right words as it was for myself still a kind of unreal. 35 years and I never felt this before. I was really grateful, that my husband was supporting my project from the very first beginning! Once everything was clear in my mind, I put myself on a budget – challenge $1000 (CAD), all inclusive. I did my research and booked 4 nights in NYC.
My plan – not to have one
Taking the train from Montréal to New York City and coming back by plane. Living in a shared apartment (airbnb) and doing as much free activities as possible. Choosing the shared apartment option had two reasons: 1. it was cheaper 2. I wasn’t sure if I can really stay alone, like this I wasn’t alone but still by myself.
To be honest I didn’t wanna make a real sightseeing plan, but I had a look before what „for free options“ would be available to stay on my budget. August 22nd was the day. My beloved ones dropped me off at the railway station and the adventure began. Not seeing, not hearing, not speaking!
When the train had set off, I felt great! I felt free and happy! About 10h later I arrived in Brooklyn. Checked in and had for the first time in a very long time the feeling just to be me. I was chatting with the girls for 1-2hours, enjoyed the view from and the summer breeze at the roof top terrace. I fell asleep immediately when I laid down.
What did I do?
First of all – I stayed in bed as long as I wanted! Went out for breakfast or rather brunch at the time I was ready! The feeling about it wasn’t that strange anymore, as I had been eating out the house alone before. Having a full breakfast without being interrupted or having the coffee getting cold, was on top of the list what I really wanted! This is how treated myself part one: Cereal bowl with fresh fruits and truffle fries at five leaves with a great latte. If I liked it? Yes, it was delicious, sun was shining and I have enjoyed to follow the colourful bustle.
Strengthened I went on my way to discover Brooklyn a little bit more. Turned right and left, north and south, took pictures all over the place or rested in the sun. I felt incredible good! Never thought that it would be so great to explore something on my own. Of course nobody to share your adventures with, but indeed I didn’t miss this fact, neither I did with my family. Some might think – what a selfish mother – how can she? That’s not my problem. Everybody has to make his or her own decisions, listen to their own inner voices and follow their hearts!
My point of view is: Everyone has different needs! No parent should be judged by staying 24/7 or leaving the kids from time to time. Be brave and go for your needs! A happy mom/dad has a higher value for a healthy childhood, than being there 24/7 just because others expect you to do so!
Back to Brooklyn. Strolling around, the neighbourhood really encircled me with it’s vibes, it’s street art and the feeling of being and being allowed to be who you are. The perfection was for me the imperfection.
The nights I spent with the Austrian Girl I met on the train to New York. She had been living here before, so she knew where to go and have fun. Bankruptcy included, but worth it!
As a travel blogger by heart I always try to get insider information, doing things like a local or go eating like a local. It is hard though in NYC, but at least everywhere I went there was a healthy mix of locals and tourists – when it came to Manhattan in Brooklyn it was even more local. Which I loved. For me it was more interesting to listen to those who talked about their jobs, daily life or meetings with friend, than to hear where people have been and which attraction they could strike off from their list.
The next two days were pretty similar. Leaving the house when ever I wanted. Coming back when it was my choice. Having as many breaks and mind changes during the day as I liked. And never being asked to do anything for anybody else than myself – such a joy.
Here are my days in pictures: I did a boat ride (ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan), went for drinks at different roof top terraces in Manhattan and Brooklyn (also alone!), had a stop at Macy’s, had a dinner with street food at „my own“ terrace and so on.
One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I learned, that it can be healing to be be alone from time to time. I have a better understanding for my hubby now and why he needs to escape the family craziness every now and than. I realized how important it is to take care of yourself. To follow ones individual needs and that not missing your beloved ones, doesn’t mean you don’t love them!
If ever you where thinking about spending time on your own, I encourage you to do it. Give it a try. Start with a single day, if you are not sure, if you can stand it. Me personally I know now: I will do it again, whenever I feel it is necessary. It has made me feel good and I came home happy and satisfied, so we all benefit from it!
By the way, I was as excited to go home as I was to leave!
In case you don’t wanna go alone, take a friend, your partner or whom ever you want to. More inspiration about travel without your kids you will find at Ilona’s blog wandernd.de. Where she started a collection of links of those who leave there children at home from time to time or just don’t have them. Enjoy reading and planning your next trip!