the new style

Mid-August we hopped a plane bound for nearby Namibia for what I believe is our last “adventure vacation” for at least a decade, maybe more. I hate admitting that, but there are some universal truths about parenthood. This is one.  It’s time to tone it down. Ten days of bumping from town to town in a little VW on washboard gravel roads with a 1 year old belted into her car seat is NO ONE’S idea of a good time. Jaw-dropping scenery, roadside baboons and warthog families be damned, LET’S JUST GET THERE ALREADY!!!!!

This vacation was inspiring and refreshing in an exhaustingly different way. In the close quarters of a hotel room, it’s hard to get a respectable nights sleep. I don’t think I had one in those ten days we were gone. I just kept soldiering on. One drizzly morning, trying to get a nice early start for another 7 hour drive, I requested that we locate a cup of coffee before leaving town. Snakes actually had the nerve to say, “I’ll never understand people who absolutely need their coffee in the morning.”  I could smell the smoke coming out of my ears and if not for the fact that the Bushbaby had just dozed off again I may have started screaming, snarling then sobbing. Who says that to a sleep deprived, caffeine deficient bushbaby mama??? Seriously.We arrived Friday afternoon, picked up the rental car and immediately headed toward the dunes. The guide book had assured us that it was a simple 4 1/2 hour drive from the airport to our lodge. I hastily assumed the “quick route” was also the most direct which I plotted on the map. (Turns out I was wrong, though consulting the guide book after the fact, I learned that we’d taken the “most spectacular route”. So there was that.) The “direct route” (or most spectacular, as it were) took nearly twice as long. In fact almost every drive did. Just when you are about 20 minutes past the point of true exasperation, you’ve got about an hour more to go. Namibia is HUGE!!!! We spent one full day “hiking” the dunes. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, such a dramatic and lonely landscape. I would have loved to spend entire days watching the light and perspective shifting as the hours slipped on by. As it was, we arrived late, hiked in, snapped a few shots and returned to the lodge to “relax”. The next morning we left for a couple of nights in the coastal town of Swakopmund. From there we drove northeast toward Etosha National Park stopping for one night about an hour and a half south of the park. The next couple of days were spent driving around the park on a self-guided safari. It was a pretty cool experience but I think we were all past our limit for time locked in the car. Bushbabies need their freedom. She’s on the brink of walking and is incredibly eager to show it off to anyone interested in her antics. I made the mistake of letting her “car-seat surf” while we were ambling through the park checking out zebra, giraffe, oryx and elephant herds. Even though it was a temporary solution, you can imagine how compliant she was to be strapped in afterward. I should never have clued her in that there were other options. With our second R&R  just around the corner in October, we’ve decided to rein in our ambitions. Initially I was planning to visit friends in London, then Brussels and maybe swing through Paris for a few days where we could meet up with Snakes and continue on to explore Portugal for another week or so. Haha. That idea makes me laugh, then immediately look around for a place to lie down and take a nap. So we’ve decided to distill it to the most basic and direct: a straight flight to Lisbon, renting an apartment for the week then onward to Porto where we’ll stay for another stretch of time. I want this vacation to take shape around the loose structure of time and location. And the rock solid promise of a nice cup of coffee each morning.

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26 thoughts on “the new style

  1. Been there done that! (Kid thing – scenery is spectacular!!) By the time she’s 5 it’s easier to travel but first things first: THE POTTY. Good luck!

  2. Omg you guys are fearless! and brave!! and totally awe-inspiringly crazy for taking that trip with an almost-walker. My God, Bushbaby is kind of the most amazing wonderkid ever! Your pictures are AMAZING and it looks like an absolute stunner of a trip, if totally exhausting. I too can’t function without my morning coffee. I can only imagine what my reaction would have been while caffeine and sleep deprived! 🙂

    1. You’re one to talk! “Will does Delhi” stories are just as awe inspiring! And I am still in blogging awe regarding the frequency that you’ve been posting. You inspire me!

  3. Looks amazing! Saving this place on my list 🙂 can’t wait to start traveling! But I totally understand your frustration – it is a time for everything and some traveling suits empty nesters better than young families! I have been there too and know that the key to a good vacation is to make sure the small ones are happy 😉

    1. I look forward to the pictures you take. Namibia, specifically the dunes, is incredibly photogenic. Seriously just point and shoot. I could’ve spent days here and quite a few memory cards. You will love it.

  4. It’s interesting how much we learn about ourselves and our needs as we go on these adventures. I used to drink a Coke every morning, but for health reasons cut out soda altogether and eventually coffee found its way into my heart (or belly!). For me, it’s like breakfast. I have to have it every day in order to feel “right.” I love hearing about your outings and how you do things with the baby. We don’t have children, but are trying and so I pretty much try to soak up any information I can for future reference. Your photos are also beautiful, and I especially love the one where Bushbaby is sitting in the middle of the sand. Precious!

    1. I would’ve loved to spend hours photographing her here! I think they would have been really cool, late day sun, streaky sky… Oh well. These are pretty sweet. Hope things are warming up for you in Bosnia!

  5. sounds amazing….it’s not a vacation with a baby/toddler…it’s a trip. Agreeing with above, by the time she is 4 and eats a variety of foods, sleeps well and is dry at night…and can play with a Leapster in the car or watch a whole movie on the ipad….more adventures will be had. Keep dreaming and planning. and posting pictures….we love to see where you are.

  6. Wow – Eve, you are so brave!! We certainly took our girls on some adventures through Vietnam, but nothing like driving our one year old through the wilds of Africa – I find it a balancing act in our lives as mothers and expats – wanting to balance adventure with reality – the logistics of travel for children, but also the logistics of our sanity as moms!! – The photo of Bushbaby is truly breathtaking and one to be saved for eternity – particularly when she calls you to ask for advice about parenting her own children and to tell you how hard it is – and then you can refer her to the picture and remind her of the drive through the Africa – Enjoy Portugal – also a magical country – warm people, delicious food and port – Meredith

    1. That litttle sweetie of yours certainly knows how to exhibit her displeasure on her face…I’d say she’s pretty annoyed with the whole affair!!! Live &learn!!!! xomom

    2. Obviously I am still learning. It’s funny that I didn’t think this was all that brave or foolish! I need to learn to filter a vacation plan through her lens from here on. But, really, is there a place to go that is just filled with cabinets, drawers and cupboards to take apart and toss around the floor? Because THAT would be her idea of a perfect time…

      1. In the States? Any Residence Inn 🙂 Overseas? LOVE the photos of the bushbabe and I am SO with you on the coffee thing. Thank God Peter has learned not to say a word….and even the kids are learning that just because Mama is standing upright, doesn’t mean she’s awake yet (Nick took a while to figure this out, but he’s gotten it now…)

  7. What stunning photos! I absolutely LOVE that first one of the dunes. It looks otherworldly.

    An R&R in Portugal sounds like heaven! Have you been there before? It’s one of my favorite countries. Great food and wine, beautiful coasts and scenery, friendly locals… would love to go back.

    1. Thanks! I want to have a triptych of those desert tree photos printed in large format for over our bed. I think it’s so dreamy!
      We’ve never been to Portugal. Really looking forward to it. Bonus that we speak the language too!

  8. We have that coffee argument every Saturday morning… on the way to garage sales !
    God love you guys. What an adventure from heaven/hell.
    Bushbaby is so gorgeous!!!!

    love from New Orleans

  9. I wish we had 2 R&Rs because if we did Namibia would be it. We ended up going to Madagascar/Reunion/Seychelles for our one and only R&R but I’m trying to nudge for a South Africa tour so we can explore southern Africa (though I don’t think D is convinced about living in Pretoria). I thought the black & white deserts in Egypt was awing but I love the red sands of Namibia (and how it makes the colors pop in photos, particularly against the blue sky). Despite Bushbabies look of displeasure, that solo picture of her on the desert-scape is gorgeous…and priceless. Enjoy your upcoming R&R in Portugal!

  10. Wow. Those pictures are spectacular! What an amazing trip. Bushbaby is just too cute! And I’m with you – without a cup of coffee in the AM, the day isn’t going to be pretty. You’re next trip sounds perfect!

  11. Namibia is breathtaking! Such powerful photos. Enjoy your R&R in Lisbon: the ability to get out and walk, to be out of the house after dark, to go to a restaurant, to let the BushBaby run outdoors… all such luxuries that I am sure will make a gorgeous place even more magical. At least that’s how I felt being back in the States after Mozambique. Wishing you safe travels and everything your souls need to recharge!

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