Last Christmas, my husband and his group of friends of two couples had this crazy idea of traveling to Rome together. They thought it is better spending the holiday season away from the quiet Christmas we had in Dublin a couple of years ago. To be fair, there are a lot of Christmas activities to check out before Christmas day around Dublin city center. But on Christmas Day itself, even the city center was like a ghost town. Not a single shop was opened (not even Burger King or McDonald’s) and I won’t be surprised if some production for a zombie or apocalypse-type films were shot during the Christmas season since everything was deserted!
It is good that spending time with the family is the primary focus on big family-oriented celebrations like Christmas over here. But for people like us who don’t have any relatives around, it is quite dull and boring not to have any options on what to do during this time of the year apart from sleeping in or eating leftover Christmas Eve dinner – perks of living the expat life, as they say! To be fair, we don’t stay here in Dublin every year for Christmas – we fly back to our home country. But Christmas of 2014 and 2015 were exceptions. And after spending Christmas 2014 here, we don’t want to do the same thing for 2015 – and that’s when light bulbs went “ding” with the idea of going to Rome as a group!
At first, it may sound like a typical group holiday with friends but it is not as simple as that – there’s a catch: all of us will travel with our babies aged between 15 to 20 months old. It is not the first time these kids will board the plane, though. We took our son to TWO 16-hour flights to the Philippines and a couple of short trips while the other babies went on their own international flights prior this trip. While all of us did not experience anything uneventful with our babies onboard a flight, there is something a little bit nerve-wracking just thinking of going on a trip with all three babies together!
Going to Rome with our babies, was definitely a mix of up and down moments, to say the least. To be honest, it was the first trip that I did not bother making an itinerary and just decided to wing it depending on how our day started (or what the weather is like). Except for the “Skip the Line” Sistine Chapel tour we pre-booked weeks ahead of the trip, each landmark we managed to visit were simply a result of us not making plans at all! Having babies around definitely changed how we do our trips these days and being flexible will make sure everybody enjoys the trip one way or another.
Looking back, I can honestly say I am thankful we decided to go with this crazy plan. It didn’t go without hiccups but it was definitely an adventure we will treasure for the rest of our lives. Our babies may be too small to remember anything but for us (parents), what better way to experience it but with close friends? And even before the trip ended, they were at it again to plan for the next getaway – a summer getaway on the beach might be the next adventure, who knows?