1. There can be a language barrier
Like the time in Japan when I used my phrase book to order what I thought was an avocado roll, but actually was a big pile of salmon with a piece of avocado on top (vegan, here!). Or the time my baby said “Up” and then got upset when I said, “You’re already up” because what he really meant was “Down.”
2. The language barrier won’t matter.
Smiles work just fine.
3. You will rely on the kindness of strangers
In Dresden, Germany, an older man asked me “Ist deine füße kaputt?” (“Is your foot broken?”) and then brought me band aids from a first aid tent when I showed him my awful blisters.
This guy held Jonas when he was antsy on the airplane.
4. You will eat things you never expected.
Like sacred water from a well in India that you know will probably give you diarrhea. Or half a freeze dried mango that your baby spit out.
5. You’ll get good at carrying almost anything you might need around in one bag
6. You will get your sleep where you can get it
On the way home from Israel 2011
7. You’ll know what it’s like to feel alone in a room full of people
Like standing in the Paris train station when no one will stop to help you figure out how to get to a hostel. Or sitting in your living room, on two hours of sleep, when everyone else is sitting at the kitchen table eating but you can’t because you’re the only one who can feed the hungry baby who eats for 20 minutes every half an hour!
8. You’ll make friends simply because you’re doing the same thing
It’s easier to talk to someone when you’re both carrying a backpack or a baby!
9. You’ll understand cultural references more
You’ll notice references to places you’ve traveled in books and TV. And you’ll get books, TV shows, movies, everything in a different way when you have a baby. You’ll understand the parents’ perspectives in a way you didn’t before.
10. Even when things are imperfect, they’re perfect
In Germany, when I went out, unknowingly, on “Father’s Day,” which is actually more like “Men’s Day.” Men walk around pulling coolers of beer and singing songs about being men. There were no other women to be found.
Almost get stuck at a train station in Munich and have to talk your way onto the train? Baby poop all over the fancy outfit you put him in in the parking lot outside your friend’s wedding reception? It’s all just part of the perfect story!
The backup outfit was cute, too