Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18

PPregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18.

At age 29 and 10 weeks pregnant, I found myself sleeping in a mixed dorm. It was me, a bunch of college kids, and my fetus. I’d promised myself at 28 that I’d never do the hostel thing again, but old habits die hard. Plus, I couldn’t find much available when I tried to book a Venetian hotel a few days before my trip.

The other guests passed around a bottle of alcohol, graciously offering me some. And I, the responsible future mother, declined. I struck up a conversation with another Columbia grad. We talked about classes, as though I had graduated a month before (like him) and not seven years ago.

Despite all of my pregnant exhaustion, mixed dorms without air conditioning just don’t do the trick.

“I’m pregnant!” I wanted to scream. But that would probably have freaked everyone out. So, instead, I got into bed and pretended to sleep. Despite all of my pregnant exhaustion, mixed dorms without air conditioning just don’t do the trick. Next time, I’d act my age. For real.

But then one week later, I found myself sleeping on the airport floor. I’d arrived too early to check in, so I scouted out a vacant piece of ground, tucked into my luggage and proceeded to sleep. I was doing what I’d done so many times as an 18, 19, 20-year old. And here I was a decade later, and a hobo once again. But, this time I was sleeping on my side—not my back—as the Internet recommended pregnant women do.

And I slept great.

Once I have a baby, will I no longer act like this? Everyone says that having kids changes everything, but will it change what I consider acceptable? Or will insecurity and social norms have the ultimate say?

Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18

When my husband and I took an overnight flight from Tel Aviv to Spain, with a seven-hour stopover in the Paris airport, I presented my husband with my quandary. We were curled up on reclining chairs—not perfectly suited for the pregnant side-sleep—but I couldn’t really complain. There was no food available, but a fabulous Air France agent volunteered to buy us sandwiches from the main terminal. (Yes, I pulled the pregnancy card.)

“Are we still going to be doing things like this when we have a kid?” I asked.

“No, you can’t sleep in an airport with a baby,” Ben said. “It would wake everyone up.”

See, that’s something that hadn’t even occurred to me. I was thinking, if we fall asleep, who would watch the baby?

Pregnant ladies are told not to carry anything too heavy, and that was fine with me.

The only way we planned differently was that Ben carried the bulk of the luggage. Pregnant ladies are told not to carry anything too heavy, and that was fine with me. Ben carried all of our stuff in his North Face hiking backpack, and I lugged my computer and his iPad in my JanSport.

We had plans to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago, the hike that spans between Northern France and Spain. We’d weave through quaint villages and spend our nights in cathedrals. Yet, for the first time ever, pregnancy changed our plans.

Madrid’s intense heat and my own breathlessness, made us realize that hiking with luggage wasn’t the best idea. So, instead, we rented a car and booked a cute hotel in Vielha, a ski town, in the stunning Pyrenees.

I finally felt 29—and pregnant.

Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18

Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18
We’re smiling, but the Madrid heat was suffocating.
Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18
Even with our change in plans, we were still able to see gorgeous nature. We just drove there.

 

Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18

About Rachel Sales

Rachel SalesRachel Sales is a co-founder of Pink Pangea.

13 thoughts on “Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18

  1. July 14, 2015
    Reply

    Just yesterday I slept at the airport with my baby but I found myself a sofa, we had a 6 hr layover and my 2 yr old needed to sleep. But yes I did not sleep much as who would look after the baby rt? I am sure you will start traveling with the bub as soon as the dr says ok because like you said old habits!

    • Rachel Sales
      Rachel Sales
      July 14, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you, Anju! And kudos to you for continuing to be an adventurous traveler!

  2. July 10, 2015
    Reply

    Complimenti Rachel! I love the story, and just picture you in the airport! All the best for the coming months, and for future travels, albeit with a slightly adjusted approach to things.

    • Rachel Sales
      Rachel Sales
      July 10, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Sandy! I appreciate your kind words!

  3. Emily
    Emily
    July 9, 2015
    Reply

    Loved this post! I’m 29 too, and while not pregnant, I definitely think about age, travel habits, and how just a few years can make a HUGE difference in how one is willing to travel. But even as travel has become a little more comfortable, I think the “hobo” travel style will always have some allure for me. 🙂

    • Rachel Sales
      Rachel Sales
      July 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Emily! It’s probable that I won’t give up the hostels after all. I’ll just choose a private room next time.

  4. Diana
    July 8, 2015
    Reply

    Mazal tov rachel! As for travelling – well I staffed a birthright trip while 11 weeks pregnant and my baby has been to israel twice and she is just 6 months old! Yes it can be challenging but you figure it out. People tend to be a little nicer and a little more helpful when there are babies around. Also, on long haul flights yoy can request a bassinet and those seats tend to come with more leg room. All you need to do is get baby a passport and let the adventures begin 🙂

    • Rachel Sales
      Rachel Sales
      July 8, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Diana! Wow, that is impressive that you led Birthright while pregnant! Were you exhausted/nauseous? Did anyone know? I co-led Pink Pangea’s retreat in Venice while being pregnant, but thankfully (coincidentally?) my morning sickness went away the day I landed. Definitely looking forward to getting that baby passport 🙂

      • Diana
        July 8, 2015
        Reply

        thankfully i was feeling totally ok. i was super lucky in that i didnt really get too tired or too nauseous. i didnt tell anyone at work until after i got home bc i thought they would try to talk me out of going! none of the participants or my co staff knew. i told the tour guide because i wanted her to know why i wasnt going to climb masada (the only part of the trip that i wanted to opt out of). funnily enough, i didnt have to come up with a story – one of my participants ended up getting appendicitis! poor kid spent 2 days in the hospital (1 stayed with him one of those nights) and then was forbidden from hiking masada. he wanted to so bad that i had to threaten to put a leash on him . we took the cable car up instead =) i did want to tell the kids because they were seriously lagging and taking forever to do stuff and all i wanted to yell at them was “i am 31 and 12 weeks pregnant and i am at the head of the line! you are all healthy 18 year olds. HURRY UP”
        the baby passport is hysterical. we had to prop her up on a white blanket in her car seat because she was barely 3 months old but no one else can be in the photo. she basically looks like a pile of fat with eyeballs.

        • Rachel Sales
          Rachel Sales
          July 9, 2015
          Reply

          Wow, inspired by you! I love that story!

  5. Rachel Sales
    Rachel Sales
    July 8, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you for your kind words, Missy! I’d love to hear about your future first trip as a family. I’m sure it will be memorable!

  6. Missy Gluckmann, Founder of Melibee Global and Better Abroad

    I love this post, Rachel! We have a 7 month old and I cannot wait for his passport to arrive. Not sure how early we’ll take off with him, but like you, I’m thinking about how and when it will happen – and what his first culture will be. We are already practicing Spanish at home with him and plan to put him in a language program when he is older. Congrats to you and your family! Motherhood is beyond words!

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