Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a family while being a part of the traveling entertainment industry? I know I do.
My time traveling with the carnival was cut short when I found myself pregnant and her father told his supervisor that I would wanted to go back and be with my family.
I know he just wanted our child was raised in a stable environment, surrounded by our loving families. But I often wonder what it would have been like if we continued to travel.
Traveling with a baby?
I really don't have much to say about traveling with a newborn. - On one hand, a baby can eat, sleep, and fill up diapers pretty much anywhere you put them.
On the other hand, if you have the option it is probably best to have some consistency when it comes to the doctors who monitor your pregnancy and your baby's early development. I imagine consistnecy in the environment where your baby spends those earliest years is a good thing too.
Traveling with toddlers
I knew a few families who traveled with their toddlers and preschool age children. Two stuck out particularly well in my mind. With extremely different resources available, I see both as inspirations who did well with their families.
One family must have been higher up on the pay scale. They had a nice two-bedroom travel trailer with a pull-out livingroom. The comforts of home that they pulled behind their big white truck included a complete bathroom with washer/dryer combo and a small but complete kitchen with dining area. They even had a small satelite dish to bring shows and internet to their tv and desktop computer!
Their darling daughter didn't seem to be missing any of the all-important toddler experiences. Life was an adventure, playing with other kids and experiencing the different experiences that come with each town. She even got a baby brother after I left!
The other family was raising their two preschool age sons in the larger fifth-wheel section of the bunkhouses. The got around town in a little green car. One of the boys broke the back driver side door while showing off his "strong muscles".
This second family's home had a couple of beds and a small "kitchen" section to prepare meals. There were toys, of course. But the boys didn't really have much room to play. I imagine them summersaulting on the bed and climbing up and down from the kitchen area to the sleeping area in bad weather. Of course, in good weather they could play outside and in decent weather I am sure the parents could find somewhere to let them run off a little energy.
Me, travel with a toddler?
Although I wouldn't want to travel with a newborn, I often wonder what it would have been like to travel with a toddler. I hope I would be able to afford a small travel trailer. Whatever the smallest size is that would include a bathroom, small kitchen area, and a small livingroom and dining table.
I would have had to give up my beloved job as a concession stand worker to be the babysitter. Or maybe I could have been a ticket booth lady? Working the ticket booth would have meant less money. But it would have also meant more time to spend with my baby and I still would have had a chance for adult conversation as I interacted with customers.
Traveling with gradeschoolers
I have known a few families who traveled with their school age children. This seems to appeal more to the ones who can afford nice travel trailers. The kids may be a little spoiled with so much extended family eager to make their childhood memorable. But most of them have been well taken care of, well behaved, and intelligent. Maybe it makes it easier for the parents to continue traveling when they are blessed with good kids. Or maybe the parents realize the importance of discipline early on when they choose a lifestyle that will expose their kids to so many unfamiliar faces in new places.
Either way, I am proud of the parents I have met who manage to safely and successfully travel with their kids! They seem to get plenty of trips to visit family and I assume they homeschooled. The homeschooling thing sounds overwhelming, but nowadays there are even online public schools.
Me, travel with a gradeschooler?
When I dream of what it would be like to travel with a school aged child, I see that life is an adventure!
I wonder what it would be like to take on the job of "teacher". Imagine all the field trips we could take if the kids were well behaved! Science museums, historical markers, craft/art studios! Lessons would come to life in ways that they never will for the average kid who stays in one place.
I get so excited about the idea of traveling with school age children! I almost want to quit my job and give it a try.
Traveling with teenagers
I met a man who joined the carnival for a few weeks with his teenage son. I would love to do this with my own daughter! Imagine the adventure of exploring a new place each week and the freedom of knowing that if things don't work out in one town you can try again in the next. Enjoying the simplicity if living in a small space with few posessions. Learning a new appreciation for luxuries that are often taken for granted. And the positive feelings that come from a good, hard day's work.
As much as I would love for my daughter to experience these things, I would like to give myself a few more weeks of living in nastalgia. Re-living the good ol' days, realizing how lucky my older body is to have a comfy bed at home, and collecting fresh content for this site.
I really thought that travelling with a teenager would be for me. But my baby is 17 and I do not think the office can spare me for a summer. Maybe some day we will find a way to work it in.