May 1st marked an important milestone for our family– Paavo received his first passport stamp when we arrived in Mexico City, where we’ll be staying for the next two months. For at least the rest of 2016, we will be calling the world our home, as we have left Seattle for now (all our stuff is in a 5×5 foot storage closet in Seattle) and we are showing Paavo off to the world.
Yep, we’re down to minimal belongings (two backpacks and a travel crib) and traveling the world with our wonderful infant son, mainly going places where we’d like to learn something, experience the culture, and where running takes us. Matt has several races mapped out for the rest of the year, which helped determine our travel route.
After spending several weeks visiting family and friends in Ohio and on the East Coast in March and April, we’re now in Mexico until July 1. We’ll be spending the majority of our time here in Mexico City, then taking two weeks to visit a few other cities. Then our travels take us to Madrid and Geneva for a couple days each, then Les Houches, France for the two months leading up to Matt’s 100 mile race, UTMB. After France we’re thinking about Morocco for a few weeks, then it’s back to the EU to Berlin for the Berlin marathon, then on to Croatia and Paris with friends, finally ending most likely in Portugal before heading back to the States. Matt’s running the New York Marathon in early November, and the North Face 50 miler in San Francisco the first weekend in December. After that, the plans are still unknown.
Why do this?
Mainly because we love to travel and refuse to give it up just because we have a baby. Yes, aspects of traveling are more challenging with an infant (ahem, sleeping, or the lack thereof), but they are also more rewarding (Paavo is the star of the show so far in Mexico), so we’ll happily take both worlds. We chose Mexico because we wanted to work on our Spanish and we chose France because of Matt’s 100 mile race, so we wanted to stay where he could train. We’re staying in Les Houches, close to Chamonix and right along the race course (in the Alps, hello amazing). Madrid and Geneva are just bonuses along the way from Mexico to France. After France our travels lead us where friends are and later where races are in the States.
How do we do this?
Depending on which way you look at it, for better or for worse, my job position was eliminated, so I didn’t go back to work after maternity leave, and Matt is coaching runners via an online platform, so he’s still working much of the time that we’re traveling. With that combination, it’s the perfect time to go abroad with Paavo. We keep expenses down at home because we don’t have a car or a house, and we use Airbnb for much of our lodging abroad, which usually has discounts for staying a week or month at a time in places, and which allows us to cook most of our food rather than eat out. We could dive way deeper into the expenses aspect of our travels, so I’ll leave that for another story.
So, how is it?
The travels around Ohio and the East Coast were so great in that we saw so many people, but also challenging because we had very little routine (read: Paavo’s sleep was patchy, which meant our sleep was almost nonexistent). Naps were sporadic, nighttime sleep was rough with around 3-5 wakeups per night, and we were all exhausted most of the time from changing locations and faces so often. It was a double-edged sword because we wanted to pack in the visits, but it was to the detriment of Paavo’s sleep and normal routine. We looked forward to Mexico so much because it meant the opportunity to set up a routine.
So far we’re really happy with our stay in Mexico City. We have a two bedroom apartment (visitors, anyone?) in a great part of the city (Roma Norte), we’re a 3 minute run from a huge park, Chapultepec, which is twice the size of New York’s Central Park, and everyone loves Paavo. Matt wears him around in a baby carrier for our daily walks around the neighborhood and people can’t help but smile at him. We’re already setting up daily routines and Paavo is adjusting really well.
That’s the update for now. More to come about our time in Mexico City!
Thanks to our family and friends that we visited along the way, and thanks for all the support from our friends in Seattle who encouraged us to take this big leap abroad with an infant. We’re looking forward to sharing our stories with all of you over the course of this year and beyond.