1. It’s okay if your child throws up in the Customs line at the airport. Trust me. I’ve been there. Twice.
2. Trust me on this too. Don’t book a departure date for several months past the expiration of your future tourist visa. Let’s just say all went smoothly with our planned flight to Chile after we quickly booked flights to Cusco, Peru for 90 days out. It’s called a learning curve and we learned this lesson for sure.
3. Wal-Mart is just as icky in a foreign country. Even if it’s considerably smaller and doesn’t call itself Wal-Mart. But when it is literally next door to your AirBNB, you roll with it until better opportunities are found.
4. Kids that pull their first all-nighter on a red-eye flight from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile are very grumpy kids. But never forget that lots of extra sleep makes everybody happy. Myself included. Maybe most of all. Probably most of all.
5. The dirty laundry is piling up quickly. To know me is to know that I don’t use “fresh scent” blue detergent and of course that is all I have presently located. I am postponing scrubbing dirty clothes with a bar of castile soap we brought from home. Possibly indefinitely. But probably not. I foresee sharing more details on this learning curve in the future.
6. Having a full-time co-parent is AWESOME. I cook. He does the dishes. I’ve wanted this arrangement my entire 13 years of marriage and it is finally happening. But he is much better than just washing dishes. After 10 years of stay-at-home momming/homeschooling, it is deeply refreshing not to do everything for everybody at all times.
7. I’ll admit it makes me feel at home to be surrounded by Spanish speakers. Living in Orlando, FL was a good stepping stone to South American travel. I’ve picked up a few words of Spanish already (mira!) and my tiny repertoire of Spanish phrases quickly returned upon arrival in Chile. Taylor, however, is rocking his language acquisition. The kids, not so much. But we are sooooo very very early in our trip and I sincerely hope their desire to learn Spanish will come with time.
8. I will continue to remind mi familia that it is not appropriate to say we are Americans when referring to our nationality. The US is just one of 35 American countries. I strongly encourage mi familia to refer to our nationality as United Statesians. I hope it catches on worldwide.
9. I can cook on non-stick skillets and we won’t die. But I should have maxed out the weight limit on a checked bag to bring my big cast iron skillet. Another lesson learned.
10. I don’t feel like an expat. I feel like a worldschooler. Even though the timing might suggest it, we aren’t traveling to escape the current US political climate because as US citizens it is inescapable. We are traveling to enrich our worldview and allow our children to learn and explore different cultures though firsthand experiences. And one more reason. Why the hell not? This has been our dream since I can remember and we made it our reality. I don’t know how long we will be abroad and there are many factors determining how long we can travel without working. But we are following our hearts and that is always right.