The sun peaks its head through my bedroom window cascading shadows through the curtains onto the walls. I shut my eyes tighter rejecting the sunlight, but it makes its way through the cracks despite my stubbornness. I turn onto my side and sigh loudly trying to wake my husband from his peaceful slumber. All night long his chest has moved with a rhythmic snore that’s startled me awake again and again. He rests peacefully.
I can’t remember the last time I slept peacefully with my body waking up to welcome the morning. I feel like the world around me has been turned on for the new day. It’s like someone pressed play to the soundtrack of birds, sunlight, and neighborhood commotion, but I’m the scratched record that forgets how to sing.
I sit collecting dust left with only memories of the music I used to play. Like a family get together where familiar tunes fill the air and everyone sings in unison, I am the one who forgets the meaning behind the words.
My days are always the same. Wake up. Feed and clothe children. Provide entertainment. Go to sleep. Repeat. I love my children fiercely, but I don’t love the mundane job description.
Today, as I lay here, my body yearns to play a new track — birthing music never heard before. It begs for a change of scenery. The times I have spent traveling, my internal music resonated.
My value of adventure starts to turn up its volume in the quiet or the morning, so I take notice.
Growing up, my family visited many of the same places. It was comfortable for them, and each time we had activities and sights we looked forward to seeing. Although enjoyable, I quickly realized I also liked new melodies. When I was on my own, I made it a point to explore all I had longed to see beyond yearly Florida beaches and Tennessee mountain trips.
Those trips were great foundations full of wonderful memories. But I was ready to see more.
As I lay, my mind starts to rewind back to the places I’ve been and how easy it used to be to travel—back before car seats, strollers, and pack ’n plays, I once uncovered the world hands free and lived out of a single suitcase—inspired by the vibrant colors in Australia, the untouched land in Canada, and the mountains of Denver. My joyful friends in DR Congo and Asheville changed how I viewed hospitality. I learned from the culture of Auckland and took in the quiet lakes of Michigan.
My mind weaves in and out of various musical progressions leaving me with a new, pleasant sound orchestrated through each trip. I had complete freedom in choosing where I went. But growing my family soon has quieted the songs. Although a new joy, I am now familiar with the restrictions of naps, extra luggage, and higher costs.
But I am ready once again for travel.
My second alarm rings, snapping me back to the present. Out of the corner of my right eye, I see my wall calendar. It is blank with travel plans. At first, I cringe at the turntable of unchanging scenery lacking any hope for adventure.
Over the last several months, my husband and I made it a priority to save for a vacation. I had my heart set on the peaceful, green landscapes of Ireland but realized overseas trips were out of reach for now. Finances are tighter, flights are longer, and kids are unpredictable. I picture myself being limited again.
But was it the place I yearned for or the desire to simply get outside our normal routines?
Knowing it was the latter, I leap out of bed, run to the couch and begin jotting down places within the U.S. we can find tickets cheap and fast. I am ready to go!
The computer screen clicks as I search for cheap flights and the sound of rustling planner paper is melodious. I’m on a mission. New York? Oregon? Los Angeles? New Orleans? I compare flight prices and message Airbnb hosts one after the other. An adventure composition begins to take form, and I blow the dust off the old record.
Planning for a change of scenery makes me come alive again. Trips take me back to what I enjoyed before children. I am eager for my family’s individual songs to be sung as a medley. I want us to share in each other’s pleasures as we begin new adventures together. The song of travel is not just my own.
I spend the day dreaming about travel experiences and delicious local food. I anticipate the time in these places with dear friends I planned these trips around. And I picture the memories my family will make together. The soundtrack from this morning is beginning to feel a bit different— in a good way.
There are parts of me that still feel like a scratched record; my days spent in the same routines. But instead of being discarded, a familiar chorus rebirths itself within and echoes strongly. A chorus with sounds of freedom and beauty. A refrain that my children will learn and remember as we begin to mold them into travelers.
The day is spent dancing in anticipation for the adventures ahead. A lighter cadence of conversation plays inside my home. My daughter sits next to me listening as I tell her about trips in my past, and my son crawls and lays his head on my lap. I picture us piled on top of each other this same way only we are flying to a new destination now scheduled.
My husband comes home from work with a shared excitement and we sing our travel experiences back and forth during dinner.
As I crawl into bed tonight, I can’t help but grin at my wall calendar, imprinted with new experiences planned. The music has awakened once again.
And I let the adventure lullaby sing me to sleep.