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?
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 backpack.
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.
We checked holiday autos to see car rental pick-up options and ended up having a wonderful travel experience. It wasn’t the trip we planned, but sometimes, that’s the best part.
I finally felt 29—and pregnant.
Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18
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Pregnancy Travel: Pregnant and Still Traveling Like I’m 18 photo credits: Rachel Sales.