New York, New York! This year, Ian and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and our honeymoon was my first and last time in the Big Apple. NYC has a very special place in our hearts as we had such an amazing experience of travelling between Manhattan and East Hampton at the start of one of our greatest adventures – marriage! So this trip was important and made even more special because we had Max with us. We love travelling as a family and showing MB the globe, exposing him to different cultures and ways of doing things. It wasn’t the Antarctic, (Obvs) it was ‘just’ America – but you catch my drift?
As always I got scared of the flight. I always worry that Max will either scream the entire time or narrate his feelings, his farts, his hopes, his worries etc. much to the annoyance of other passengers, who I will never see again. Weird, but as always – he was fine. Too occupied with the plane, the airport, the people, the other kids and the fact that we had our very own mini televisions helped hugely and he got to wear headphones…so Max 1, my anxiety 0. Boom.
Here comes the jet lag, it was all going so easy…luckily we arrived in the afternoon so we just had to keep our eyeballs open for a few hours, until we could pass out and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to grab NYC by the tits. Oh and did we grab them! At precisely 5am every morning, sometimes 4.36am. Jet lag is balls. Routine is key and also naps. Naps are your BFF.
We stayed at the Double Tree Suites in Times Square and I do not know if you could be more central to the action or the tourists of NYC. We were met on arrival with free and warm cookies… now, I only mention these because we had a religious experience eating them. They even have their own hashtag on Instagram so you know ‘shit’ is serious. You could ask for more cookies and they arrived at your door and then face. New York is magic.
We tried to walk everywhere as it was just before the leaves were about to fall for Autumn, so it was warm and walking is such a great way to see New York. Because of the way Manhattan is set up with the grids and blocks of sky high TVs and buildings, walking is actually a great way to get your bearings in the city. We hopped in a cab when we wanted to get downtown or to visit the piers and especially when MB decided enough was enough, but for the most part we strolled.
Ian loves beaches and relaxing with a book and getting his version of head space from a trip, but I love cities, the buzz of the people, the noise of the traffic, I love seeing everyone going about their business and I just love watching my own version of a time-lapse. My head space? So I always wonder which side Max will choose? Of course it’s not actually about choosing sides and so far he enjoys both so everyone is happy. I prefer city trips with the toddler, because there is so much to see and do that they have no chance of getting bored – not for a minute. Visiting New York is basically like visiting a movie set, it is busy, you recognise places you’ve never been, there are films and series actually being shot in front of your eyes and the view of the city from either the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller is incredible and should definitely go to the top of your ‘to do’ list when visiting NYC.
On our honeymoon we went to the top floor of the Empire State building and it was the perfect day, fantastic weather, you could see Lady Liberty, we took some amazing photographs and we have some great memories from the iconic sky high scraper. However this time we decided to go Rockefeller, because firstly, we never got round to it previously and we had heard on the grapevine that it was less crowded so we figured that was ideal for the mini human. We went on a day where it poured with rain and it was empty, we still went up, because travelling with a toddler means that you have to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ so we hopped on the lift and about 12 ear pops later arrived to our destination and WOW. The views were incredible, you could see both Central Park and the Empire State Building. However, it was raining and we had limited visibility, but it was a great adventure and it did not hinder our experience. We had the top floor to ourselves, it felt like our own personal quiet oasis in one of the liveliest cities…it was bonkers. Max loved running everywhere without the chance of me yelling “careful of that person” and we tag teamed the epic views as Max refused to go out in the rain, but it worked out. If you don’t put too much pressure on yourself to ‘have a great time’, you find the ebbs and flow are a happy medium of compromise and a “I am kind of getting what I want and not at the expense of the small dude” and it works. MB was happy and so were we. We were together in an infamous city taking it all in and that’s what mattered.
Life with kids can be chaotic, busy and messy and you can be fooled into thinking travelling with them will be the same and or worse. That can be the case – I have been that person in a 5 star hotel in Thai paradise crying and not sleeping. On that trip I even found the 12 steps to the sea my own version of the book and film (incase you are playing Charades) ‘Wild’ . 12 steps is accurate actually, it was like a 12 step programme getting me to leave our room due to sleep deprivation and the newborn struggle was real. BUT as Max is getting older, life is getting easier and we are a lot further into our parenting journey than the Thai trip, so we are far better equipped to deal with issues now, than we would have been when Max was a newborn.
You know your kids and you’re know what is right for you and your family when it comes to travelling. Travel with caution, but also know when to throw caution to the wind for the chance to really create memories that will last and shape your kids for years to come. Happy travels x