We came to Europe without a plan but with a dream and with the help of God as he has guided us along the way. We have had an amazing trip but trust me it has not been without some tough times and times where I literally said to myself “what am I doing here?” But overall when I look back it has been incredible. My biggest fear coming over here was my children. I have 3 kids ages 4, 7 and 11. We struggle just to take a 2 hour drive to the beach back home and I thought how in the world can I take them over to Europe. We have stayed in 10 places in 8 weeks and each time they have surprised me with how well they have transitioned. We have had our blooper moments but hey who hasn't?! They have truly stepped up and impressed me beyond words. They have learned patience (which is required for Europe as nothing moves fast over here) and wisdom. Even my 4 year old who will still only carry her stuffed dog Bingo (she refuses to carry anything else) has been amazing. I honestly think the kids have adjusted to this experience better than my husband and I. The best part is my kids have grown in their relationship with one another. They do not have a bunch of toys, TV, video games or anything else to distract them. They just have each other. They play together, talk together and laugh together. It warms my heart like nothing else. Many times we even had an extra room but I would find them all huddled together in the same room when we woke up in the morning. They truly have formed a bond I am not sure could have been formed at home. One time during a point where we were literally running to catch a train my 4 year old just could not keep up. My husband and I had our hands full of bags but our 11 year old put his back pack on his front and scooped her up on his back as we all ran to make our train. That is love.
The best part is my kids have grown in their relationship with one another.
My husband and I are closer than ever. Oh and this did not come without some of the most frustrating moments ever but we have had some of the best times together. We have really focused on each other and our family. Again I know it is because we are free from distractions. Although I will be honest after traveling 2 months with our children we could really use a date night! My husband has impressed me beyond words. He has really led our family on this trip. He has made sure we were safe and been the calm one. After all it was his dream that started this. I am forever grateful that God planted this desire on his heart 7 years ago. I thought he was crazy when he told me he wanted to take an extended trip with our family in Europe. But truly it has been a gift.
My husband has impressed me beyond words.
I have learned so much about my self on this trip. It has been a trip of self discovery as well. Before this trip I wanted to “Be Present in the moment.” I tried like mad to accomplish this but my mind was always distracted. Throughout the trip I have learned to be present in the moment. I have learned to truly focus on what is going on in the now instead of being 10 steps ahead or thinking of what I need to do next. I have learned to truly appreciate each moment and live in the now. I have quieted my mind and stopped the insanity of multitasking. I used to believe that if I was not doing at least 3 to 5 different things at one time I was failing. The only thing I was failing was myself. I was robbing myself of joy and happiness. Yes I was getting things done but at a price. I was missing out on the moments. Don't get me wrong I still struggle with it but I am now aware of what it truly mean to be present and I don't want to miss out on that again because it is glorious. The interesting thing is I am able to accomplish so much more by being present. This has not been a 2 month vacation. I have been working all along on this trip. I did take some time off while we were in Paris but not much. I work in the evenings and the early mornings and because my brain is focused on each task (one at a time...gasp) I am able to cut my work hours and be 100% more effective. I am also able to just be with my family when I am with them. I absolutely love it and am forever grateful.
We have learned to operate as a family unit. We have grown so close to one another and made memories we will never forget. I am grateful we had this opportunity and that we chose to act on it. I am grateful we did not let fear hold us back or that little voice in our heads that kept saying “this is crazy.” This was a dream that came true and I know the benefits from it will continue throughout our lives.