Monday, April 26, 2010

A Voyage on a Turkish Gulet Cruise

The Richmond III

It is midmorning and the summer heat of the Turkish sun beats into the porthole of our cabin. My husband and I wake up feeling like we are stones being thrown by a little boy, ‘skipped’ along otherwise peaceful waters. The twenty-seven meter Gulet, a traditional two-masted wooden sailing vessel, moves through the cerulean waters of the Aegean Sea with a jarring ease.

Although gullets are traditional sailing vessels, we awaken to an offensive smell of diesel fuel percolating into our cabin from the roaring engines below. The captain’s ambitious itinerary prevents us from exclusively sailing and the engines are used more often than not. We hurriedly put on our bathing suits, they’re all we’ve been wearing for the past five days, and escape the lingering fumes.

We plop ourselves down on the comfy terrycloth-covered benches located on deck at the stern of the ship. We lounge with strong Turkish coffees, sweetened with sugar, as the gulet pulls into an isolated bay. The lush forest descends onto the rocky shoreline of the Gulf of Güllük. The sound of goat’s bells in the distance mix with the sounds of our boat; robustly laughing Germans; the crew’s Turkish pop music; the first mate, Soner, singing off key; the cook, Ali, in the galley banging pots and pans, preparing our breakfast.

We jump off the deck into the sea. The water is shocking at first and sends a zing of chill throughout my body. Once all my goose bumps go away, the cool water is pleasant and refreshing on this hot summer day. My husband begins swimming towards the shore that is approximately 500 hundred feet away from the anchored gulet. I follow him, exploring the surroundings, as I doggie paddle in the clear sea. We reach the sandy beach nestled along a cozy pine forest. The rocky shoreline is home to thousands of sea urchins; their black quilly bodies dot the shallow waters.

All of the sudden the gulet begins to take up anchor. My husband and I look at each other and panic as I yell, ‘they’ve forgotten us! Swim!’ We both realize the danger of being left behind. We had just seen the film Open Water where a couple was accidentally abandoned during a diving trip in Australia. To a terribly melancholic soundtrack, they both perished from shark attacks. Although not in Australia, or in the open water, I’m not prepared for the slightly less dramatic Turkish sequel. We launch ourselves back into the water and begin navigating the shallow shoreline. I trip on a rock, jetting out from the water, and use my left hand to break my fall into a cluster of over one hundred sea urchins. The sharp quills penetrate my flesh, though the fear of being abandoned on a desolate beach dulls the pain. We frantically propel ourselves toward the gulet as the salty sea water enters my wound and aggravates the sting.

We reach the gulet and board the boat at once. Our panicked faces alarm the other passengers and Elisabeth, an older German passenger asks in a strong German accent, ‘vatts vrong?’ ‘We were nearly abandoned’, I exclaim! ‘The anchor just came up! Why didn’t Captain warn us that we would be leaving soon?!?’ Elisabeth chuckles and says, ‘Captain is just readjusting da anchor, he says vee stay here all day’.

The crew and passengers laugh at our expense and then one by one carry about their business. As the shock of our blunder wares off, a terrible pain shoots through my hand and arm. I look down and see long spiny sea urchin quills poking out from the palm of my hand. Soner, the first mate, also sees the quills. He approaches me and says in a serious tone and strong Turkish accent, ‘this is not good’.

My Urchin Wounds
Soner alerts the captain who had been not only adjusting the anchor, but also working in the ship’s engine room. His hands are covered in black grease so thick it looks as though he is wearing black gloves. Captain rants off something in Turkish to Soner, who runs and returns with the first aid kit. The captain stands over me and Soner, directing him, in Turkish, the way a hospital attending doctor would lecture a resident. Soner uses a hypodermic needle and begins cutting my flesh with the needle point to dislodge the ten long black quills. The pain is borderline unbearable and as I clinch my teeth Soner says, ‘no move’. The captain is becoming increasingly dissatisfied with his first mate’s performance and harshly criticizes Soner’s procedure. After a frustrated outburst in Turkish, he slaps his greasy hands into latex gloves and continues the operation himself. He pulls the quills out one by one, cutting my skin with the point of the hypodermic needle to remove each and every quill. Finally, he dabs my wounds with iodine and the sting makes me hiss with pain.

After the ‘operation’ Soner and Captain pat each other proudly on the back and dote on me, the patient. It’s hard to believe I’ve just been crudely but successfully operated on in the middle of the Aegean Sea by two sailors with the benevolence and composure of surgeons. The pair seemed but a skipper and his first mate just days before. ‘Captain’ was middle aged and had over twenty years experience sailing the seas. He smiled with his eyes and with his reassuring demeanor, had an extraordinary ability to make the passengers of his vessel feel safe. Soner, the first mate, was in his early twenties and a Casanova of the sea. He flirted with all the female passengers which sent pulses racing. He befriended the male passengers and made everyone feel like old chums. Ali, the cook, at first was a bit quiet as his mind seemed distant, near his wife and soon-to-be born son in Cappadocia. He made beautiful, fresh, and authentic Turkish cuisine aboard the gulet and talked of how he learned to make the dishes from his wife, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother. ‘Junior’ was the deckhand and just turned sixteen. Our voyage with ‘Junior’ was the first time he had ever slept away from his parent’s house. He was eager, enthusiastic, but I couldn’t help sensing he was a bit homesick. The crew of strangers would soon become the force behind our unforgettable vacation experience.

'Captain' helping Ali with Evening Dishes

Soner and 'Junior' in the Background

Five days ago we boarded the gulet and wished to drop off our luggage so we could explore Bodrum, the port city from which we would depart. We were the first of twelve passengers to board the ship and had our first choice of cabin. It would later occur to us that the cabin we chose was right above the output for the engine exhaust. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

Our En-Suite Cabin

We left our belongings in the cabin, which had no lock, and enquired about the security on the boat. Soner replied in broken English, ‘Do not worry, you are nothing’. My husband and I looked at each other and chuckled as we understood his mistake. There was nothing to worry about, Soner and ‘Junior’ would be aboard and would look after our luggage. Although we understood his mistake, it was humbling. Laughing, we agreed, he’s right…who’s gonna want our junk?

We decided to explore Bodrum before we embarked on our ‘Blue Cruise’ around the Aegean. We ate lunch at a café in city centre alongside the narrow Cumhurriyet Caddesi (Republic Street), the main artery of Bodrum, a port town on the Aegean coast of Turkey. I ordered an iskender kebap. The sizzling lamb meat was shaved off the spit in front of us onto thinly sliced, freshly grilled pita bread covered with a spiced tomato sauce, strained yoghurt and fresh boiling butter. The café sat alongside the sea with breathtaking views of sea. The seascape was picturesque and the food was delicious but the cackling cooks in the open kitchen are what I most vividly remember about this meal. They laughed energetically, shouting to each other over the sound of banging pots and pans and clinking kitchen utensils. I would soon discover, thanks to the gulet crew, that in addition to Turkey’s beauty, scrumptious cuisine, and fascinating history and culture, the Turks are a friendly people with a zest for life, a keen sense of humour and a sincere love of laughter.

Lady in the Market, Typical Turkish Spirit...Friendly and Keen to Laugh

After lunch and a browse about town we returned to the gulet to meet the other passengers; a couple from Scotland, two couples from Germany, an English man, and a couple from Istanul. Everyone was friendly and jovial, excited to begin our journey.

The first night on board, the wine and beer was flowing. Everyone was having a great time getting to know each other. Soner exclaimed, ‘Raki time!’ and passed out glasses filled with a shot of Raki, the anise flavoured Turkish liquor, similar to Ouzo, and other Mediterranean varieties. He came around with a water pitcher and filled the glasses to the brim changing the clear liquor to a milky white colour. We all raised our glasses and said, ‘şerefe!’ (cheers in Turkish).

'Captain' Playing Crazy 'Chicken Egg' Party Game

Limbo Practice

The Passengers

Soner then turned on the stereo and like a clown began obnoxiously dancing for our amusement. The song ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ by Stevie Wonder came on and he enthusiastically sang the lyrics pointing at me to help him serenade the rest of the group. He’d sing, ‘I just called to say I love you’ and he’d point at me and I’d sing, ‘and I mean it from the bottom of my heart’. The other passengers were in stitches, laughing, and joined us in singing the old song that penetrated each of our cultures and age groups.

Soner with two of the passengers

Throughout the trip the crew, especially Soner, was intent on teaching me Turkish. I have a sincere interest in learning foreign languages and jumped at the chance to pick up some Turkish from native speakers. After a couple days the crew requested that I try only speaking to the four of them in Turkish, which at first limited my conversations. However, after a day or two I was really picking up the language as a result of pure immersion. I’d slip and order a glass of red wine in English and Soner would look at me in confusion and say, ‘why you speak English? You are Turkish, no? Speak Turkish’. Though American through and through, his vote of confidence was encouraging.

Soner, the First Mate

I was learning Turkish but Soner wasn’t getting much better at English. This ladies’ man was however, very familiar with ‘I Love You’ in five languages as he displayed to the group as if a party trick. He couldn’t quite manage to say my name correctly though. Bethany was ‘Brittany’ by default as the ‘th’ doesn’t jive with the Turkish tongue. Beth was ‘Biff’ so; I obviously opted for ‘Brittany’.

‘Brittany’, Soner would yell across the twenty-seven meter gulet ship to get my attention and the attention of the others. ‘I just called…. to say I love you!’ I’d sing back, ‘and I mean it…. from the bottom of my heart’. The other passengers including my husband found our constant serenade to them hilarious and we received many requests throughout the week to sing good ol’ Stevie Wonder again and again.

Not only was Soner a fan of serenading the passengers, he liked to serve our meals on empty serving trays and plates with no silverware. ‘Afiyet Olsun’ (Turkish for enjoy your meal) he’d say as we’d laugh pretending to eat our non-existent meal. He also liked to pick people, up in their chairs, and carry them around the deck at mealtimes. He would throw each of us into the sea- that was pretty much a daily occurrence.

One day we all left the gulet and took a walk through Soner’s tiny and remote coastal village. He jokingly tried to convince us to sample ‘a Turkish specialty’; a sour, unripe, unidentifiable fruit- luckily everyone knew better. Soner would disappear and return with flowers for all the women of our group…what a flirt! It was a pleasure to be in the crew’s company. It was delightful to see how good they were at their jobs and how much they enjoyed their time at sea.

On a Group Walk to Soner's Village

Our week had ended and my husband and I had to depart before any of the other passengers in order to catch our flight back to Istanbul. We off-loaded our luggage onto the land and turned around to say goodbye to the crew and the other passengers. As we turned toward the group, they stood at the stern of the ship waving tissues in unison as if in an old movie, bidding friends goodbye before a long voyage. It was really touching and down right hilarious.

We set out for the airport and Soner helped us with our bags to the taxi stand. We said our goodbyes and as Soner walked away, he turned and yelled across a busy Bodrum square, ‘Hey Brittany…I just called… to say I love you’. I sang back over the crowd, ‘and I mean it…. from the bottom of my heart.’

Our trip was a precious glimpse at Turkey, the local customs, authentic food, and most importantly it was a privileged look of the true sense of the Turkish spirit- intensely proud, enthusiastically helpful, curious and open-minded to the world around, and keen to laugh whenever possible. Not only do the fragments of urchin quills still remain in my hand but the lingering laughter of the Richmond III crew and passengers etch the unforgettable boating experience in my memory forever.

Us and the Crew

*This experience was amazing and I highly recommend a gulet cruise to anyone. If you can believe it…the all inclusive weeklong cruise costs approximately $400…CHEAP right?!? For information on taking a Blue Cruise on a traditional Turkish gulet check out Bodex Yachting:

Clear Aegean Sea

Ancient Lycian Tomb Carvings

Isolated Cove

Sunset from the Richmond III

The Richmond III gulet

Lounging On Deck- Pretty Much What We Did the Whole Trip :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Town & Country

After years of traveling and visiting destinations around the world I have discovered a vacation recipe that I feel compelled to share. It is simple and direct as many good recipes are. Now, when I say ‘recipe’ I don’t mean you’ll be cooking food over your hotel radiator or using your travel alarm clock as a kitchen timer. I mean that by combining a few key elements to any trip, you’re bound to have a very satisfying experience.

My vacation recipe requires two essential ingredients…‘Town’ and ‘Country’. By mixing a must-see city and a location off-the-beaten path a visitor can delve deeper into a culture; the lifestyle, the food scene, the topography and most importantly this winning combination gives a traveler a different, more balanced perspective of a place and its people. The ‘Town’ doesn’t have to be a big city and the ‘Country’ doesn’t have to be rural or desolate at all. The point is to be able to gain the perspective that visiting only a huge city or only a small village can’t provide.

I love visiting bustling metropolises and I enjoy the pulsating hustle of the city dwellers around me. I walk around sightseeing all day, I shop at chic boutiques that sell beautiful and unique things, I visit museums and art galleries, I eat fine worldly cuisine three meals a day and stay up all hours of the night to join in the party of urban fabulousness. Though, after long days and long nights, a ‘Town’ destination can be taxing on the body. The grit of a big city loses its luster, the urbane inhabitants start to seem rude, and not only the sky-high cityscape but the exorbitant prices start to overwhelm.

I also love visiting slow-paced islands, quaint beach towns, and picturesque country estates. I sleep ten hours a night, pamper myself with spa treatments, spend the day laying in the sun (whether it be by the sea, by the pool, or by a watering hole), I enjoy local cuisine, I read books and lose myself in the most sought after ‘Country’ destination sound…silence. However, after several days of a ‘Country’ interlude, I begin to tire of days lying around… eating and sleeping. I begin to crave activity and adventure.

This vacation ‘recipe’ is really the best of both worlds. By mixing equal parts ‘Town’ and ‘Country’ I can enjoy the sophisticated culture of a big city and the quiet serenity of a beach, island or provincial destination, all on one trip. I fly into the ‘Town’ primarily because there are more flights available to cities and the fares are less expensive than flying into smaller towns. Just when I start to feel overwhelmed in the city…it’s time to take a vacation from my vacation and head for the ‘Country’.

You may think that this kind of travel would be cost prohibitive but in reality the ‘Town’ and the ‘Country’ should be a manageable distance from one another. When choosing a destination, pick a city and find out where the inhabitants go to get away for weekends. Research small villages in the environs and make sure there are tourist facilities in the ‘Country’ destination as well as along the way. To get from the ‘Town’ to the ‘Country’ many modes of transportation are available and really depend on where in the world you are visiting. Domestic flights are usually inexpensive as are train fares and car rentals.

Here are a few examples of ‘Town’ and ‘Country’ trips we’ve taken and enjoyed:

* Bangkok and Koh Samui, Thailand
471 Kilometers/292 miles. We flew into the dirty, crazy, fascinating urban jungle of Bangkok, which happens to be meteorologically, the world’s hottest city. We spent a week walking around, dodging tuk-tuks (Thai rickshaws), sweating, sightseeing, shopping, eating, and drinking. We then flew on a small domestic airline to a little island called Koh Samui, off the Kra Isthmus. We stayed at a resort on the beach and enjoyed some much needed relaxation amidst the wafting scent of Jasmine.

* Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey
799 kilometers/496 miles. We started our vacation off in the ancient city of Istanbul. We explored antiquities, ate beautiful Turkish food, enjoyed watching the whirling Dervish, and explored the fascinating wonders of this handsome metropolis. We then flew to Bodrum, a coastal town on the south-west coast of Turkey, along the Aegean Sea. We took a week long Gulet cruise (a small wooden boat) and enjoyed the silence of isolated cerulean coves.

* Buenos Aires, Argentina and Carmelo, Uruguay
323 kilometers/201 miles. We began our trip in the pulsating city where the tango was born. We ate lots of steak and drank beautiful Malbecs while enjoying the sounds, sights, and smells of the ‘Paris of the South’. We then took an hour long ferry from Buenos Aires to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. After exploring Colonia we rented a car and drove to the pastoral and picturesque village of Carmelo. We stayed at an AMAZING estancia called Tierra Santa (a working ranch) and enjoyed world-class food in a relaxing, quiet, rural atmosphere.

* London and Bath, England
185 kilometers/115 miles. London is a wonderful world hub and one of the must-see European cities. Bath is a great side trip because of its proximity to London. Bath is located approximately two and a half hours west of London. The town was first popularized by the Romans who made spa baths around the naturally occurring hot springs, hence the name, Bath. Since the 18th century, Bath has been a fashionable get-away for Londoners and continues to be a popular weekend get-away destination.

* Lisbon and Lagos, Portugal
302 kilometers/188 miles. We began our look at Portugal in the capital city of Lisbon. We enjoyed strong coffees in busy cafés in the shadow of the open-armed Cristo Rei monument of Christ that stands on the left bank of the Tagus River. We walked mosaic pavements while gawking at the sites as we sweated under the hot Mediterranean sun. We then took a train south to the Algarve region and stayed in a little town called Lagos. The ancient maritime town is home to some of the most beautiful, rugged beaches I have ever seen. Cliffs meet the sea and the coast is so plentiful that you may not see another sunbather all day.

*Stay tuned for upcoming postings where I’ll take you on a more in-depth tour of these fascinating destinations!

This is a simple recipe that even the most novice traveler can follow. The idea is to get away from the hub city where everyone and their brother flys into. This recipe is about independent travel and the tenacity to go off-the-beaten path.

Step One- Pick an urban ‘Town’ destination
Step Two- Pick a smaller, nearby ‘Country’ destination
Step Three- Mix the two in equal parts on your next vacation
Step Four- Run Around in the ‘Town’ and relax in the ‘Country’
Step Five- Most importantly…share your travels with someone you love.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Screaming Baby in Seat 28C!

Several hours into a transatlantic flight, after the blaring of the intercom has quieted and the dinner service has been distributed and collected, I wiggle for what seems like ages to find the perfect position in which the airplane armrest doesn’t jab my ribs as I lay over towards the window and try to sleep. Just as I begin to dose off to the roaring of the airplane engine and the snoring of the hefty passenger beside me, a shrill baby’s cry wakes me from my quasi-sleep. I look around for the culprit and spot an infant and mother, travelling alone, a few seats behind me. The mother looks tired and almost complacent as her baby screams with angst. I wonder to myself, ‘why is this woman not doing more to shut this kid up!'

Fast forward a couple of years and I am now that very woman. This posting is in honour of one of the happiest days of my life, the birth of my son, a year ago on April 14th. This posting is dedicated my darling son whom I love traveling with and to all of the brave men and women who travel solo with a child…courageous souls!

Baby and I are on our way to meet my husband who has spent the last week in New York City on a business trip. My luggage is packed to the brim with diapers, bottles, clothes, blankets, a portable crib, toys, toiletries, and everything else the baby could ever possibly need on our three day get-away to the east coast. I hoist the massive bag onto the scale at the airline check-in counter and it is fifty-six pounds, which exceeds the fifty pound limit. I look worried as the ticket agent instructs that I’ll need to remove six pounds and put it with my carry-on luggage, already heavy with my own clothes and shoes. Just then, my usually sweet baby begins to cry with such agitation that the area surrounding us quiets because it is impossible to talk over the screaming child. The ticketing agent slaps a claim tag to my bag and hurls it onto the belt. She hands me my ticket with haste and ushers my son and I away without another word of the extra six pounds. The minute Baby and I walk away from the counter he stops crying, looks at me, and begins giggling. The innocent six month old infant couldn’t have known what was going on but by coincidence his display saved us from paying the stiff surcharge on extra luggage. We were quite a team- like a Bonny and Clyde of the sky, getting away with not paying for our six extra pounds of luggage. We’re such rogues!

Onto security we go, Quinny stroller and carry-on luggage in hand. I remove my shoes, my jacket, and put my over-stuffed bag onto the x-ray machine belt. I wheel the modern, somewhat abstruse looking stroller up to the metal detector and am instructed to put it through the x-ray machine. I have my six month old baby in my arms who is wiggling and squirming to be put down. I am getting dirty looks from business travellers who wish to hurry through the process they are forced to comply with so often. I’m getting some looks of sympathy from families travelling with children and looks of amusement from others. I’m even getting cranky and impatient looks from old people who think I’m taking to long. I fiddle with the stroller for a few minutes and even though I know how to take the wheels off so that it will fit through the x-ray machine, the baby in my arms and the pressure of the people behind me prompts me to take the easy way out. ‘I’m sorry I have no idea how to get the wheels off to make it fit through the machine’, I say. The weathered, old TSA officer manning the metal detector takes pity on me and she lets me through to manually scan the stroller. I figure this travelling with a baby thing isn’t so bad. Now, if only one person holds open a door for me or gives up their seat- I’ll know all those people who complain about the trials of travelling with children are just quacks!

We make it to our gate and I take advantage of pre-boarding with a small child. I used to look at those people with such contempt and now I feel like a V.I.P. We find our seat and I settle in for the four hour flight to New York City. Both seats next to me are occupied, one by an old, grandmotherly looking woman and the other by a young man dressed in black listening to an iPod blaring death rock. I look around for a possible seat change and realize all the seats are full. I resolve to stay and not make a scene. I am sitting in the aisle seat which I thought would be better in case I had to pace with a crying baby or make multiple trips to the lavatory for diaper changes. However, Sir, next to me, must have been chugging his coffee all morning because I’ve never seen anyone have to pee so often. Every time Baby falls asleep he needs us to get up so he can go to the bathroom. I offer him the aisle but he won’t come out from his earphones to hear me. Finally his bladder calms and Baby falls asleep only to be awoken again by his manic twitching. I look at him with agitation and look again for a possible seat change candidate. Just then, Baby cocks his head back and begins to projectile vomit on me. The young man beside me looks at me with disgust and the old woman beside him gazes at me with compassion and understanding as she hands me tissues to clean myself up. I go to the lavatory covered in a mess; I lock the door and wish I can stay in there for the duration of the flight. I manage to change the baby into new clothes and clean myself off to an acceptable level.

I make my way back to my seat and the fidgety, freakish man has relocated…thank the Lord. I look at my watch and find the strength to make the last hour of the flight without going mad. Baby is tired, and no longer entertained with my repertoire of games and toys. He begins crying and continues to cry despite my pacing, bouncing, cooing, tickling, and nursing. A man a few rows back accusingly asks me if he’s ok. Another couple of people give me annoyed looks. Other passengers, mostly women (mothers or grandmothers most likely), play peek-a-boo with the now sedate child, which takes his attention off of his discomfort and the flight. This is when I realize a very important fact; there are two kinds of people out there- the ones who make travelling with a child easier and those who make it harder. It was my decision to have a child and my decision to travel alone with him but have a little compassion and don’t bully me because he is fussy. Travelling is hard on anyone, especially a little guy with the attention span of an ant. He does not have colic, his ears are fine, he’s not hungry…he is simply a baby on a plane. I understand he is annoying you and I’m sorry. If he had a mute button I would use it- trust me!

We arrive at Newark airport and rendezvous with Daddy, who we are very glad to see. I recount the experience to my darling husband who laughs with a certain degree of pride and pity. He thanks me for everything I went through so that we could all have a fun weekend get-away in New York City. I smile and say, ‘you’re welcome but on the way back he’s yours!’

Things I learned from my solo flight with Baby:
1) Bring a change of clothes for your baby but ALSO for yourself.
2) Don’t expect people will go out of their way to help you. Some will, some won’t. People without kids just don’t get it.
3) There is a security line for families. Try that lane and you’ll get fewer dirty looks.
4) Be prepared! Have food, milk, NEW toys, and activity ideas on hand.
5) Bring a travel pack of Clorox wipes to disinfect the tray table and armrests. People may look at you like you’re crazy but at least your kid won’t get Swine Flu.
6) Only bring one or two jars of baby food in your carry on luggage. The TSA officers sometimes require you to open them and try them. Once opened they only last a few hours without refrigeration.
7) Gate check your stroller- even though it’s a bit of a hassle getting tags for it at the gate, it’s worth its weight in gold when you don’t have to haul your baby all over the terminal.
8) Pretend to not speak English when barraged with questions on why your child is screaming.
9) Book an aisle seat! On a four hour flight, eight trips to the lavatory (5 minutes or so each) for diaper changes, clean-ups, etc. can shave off 40 minutes of sitting in your seat racking your brain on how to entertain your child.
10) Try not to travel around naptime or bedtime…if you do, you’re just playing with fire!

What have we learned? See that mom struggling by herself with a screaming child on an airplane from which she can’t escape? Throw her a bone and show her some compassion. Play a game of peek-a-boo, give the mom some encouraging words, and offer to help in any way. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll make your flight go faster and make you feel fulfilled that you helped this poor schmuck out. Until you travel with a child just assume that your trans-world journeys are easy. If you are a parent and haven’t travelled with your kid out of sheer fear, coax those anxieties and travel anyway. Travel anywhere at any age is a precious experience for both parent and child. Just do it and looking back, you’ll be happy you did.