Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

A Letter To My Unborn Child: A Travelers Wish for His Son

This is our 100th post on this blog, and a most special one for us: We’re having a baby. I think there’s a playbook on how to do the reveal a bit more cute or creatively, but the excitement that has run laps around my head and heart these last few months leads me straight to the point: We’re having a baby.

In fashion fitting to a travel obsessed family, we found out hours before hopping on a flight to Italy. We had planned an epic trip. We jumped on a $285 fare that found us jetting over Thanksgiving to Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, and then onto… Japan. Say what? You read it right. It was epic. Cheap. And probably a bit stupid to do in the best of conditions, considering we were doing all this in the span of 10 days.  And so 10 hours before we took off, what we suspected to be true was confirmed: We’re going to bring life into this world. A long flight was never so easy, for me at least, as I sat with a stupid grin on my face for hours and hours. Laura would have liked to grin, but found hormones and “morning sickness” (a misnomer if there ever was one since it hits whenever it damn well pleases) leading her to the bathroom.

When all is said and done, our child will have traveled to at least 9 countries, all before ever leaving the womb. For good measure, he or she will have visited at least 7 different states in the United States as well.

And that’s not just some cheesy fact, it’s the first of many moments in my life where I hope to say “I’m giving our child what I couldn’t have.” It’s a gift my parents passed on to me, providing opportunities to dream these crazy dreams that they couldn’t even have imagined in their childhood. And so it excites me to think that our baby has been to more countries in womb than I got to by the time I was 24 years old. Each generation builds on the one before it, and I can’t wait to see what awaits.

A Letter To My Son

Baby Furlong, you might have been only a few weeks old, but this I hope you know. Your mom and dad took you to all the sites in Rome. We sat in front of the Coliseum giggling and debating what we will call you once you come along. We were young lovers swept up amidst the joy that is imagining who and whose you will be in this world.

Coliseum at Night

Wandering around the Coliseum.

We found a quiet area in the crowded Vatican, and lifted up prayers of Thanksgiving for your pending arrival. We also cracked some questionable jokes with God, hoping you might get a bit of our edgy sense of humor. No freak storms or massive plane delays, so we’re going to read into that and say God’s with us on the humor.

Vatican Neighborhood

The neighborhood surrounding the Vatican as the sun begins to set

In Budapest, the Parliament building and the Chain Bridge were sites to take in, no doubt. Hell, your mom seemed to think she was a ninja…  That has nothing to do with the sites and sounds of Budapest, I’ve just been dying to post this photo.DSC01097

But we also smiled at the most simple of sites we found wandering the city late one night,  discoveries that days before would have meant nothing to us.

Signs in Budapest

The little things that made us smile in Budapest, Hungary.

Whether you like it or not, who your mom and dad are guarantee a few things, one of which is this: You’ll probably live in a very urban area. And so aware of that, we took some time out of the frantic and electrifying pace of life that is Tokyo to visit the city gardens, and hopefully teach you a thing or two about nature, prayer, and taking time as a dear mentor Fred Kiesner would say- to go SOAR (Sit on a Rock) and discern about life… And if our liberal political views rub off on you, we also tried to use the gardens as a subtle reminder why being an environmentalist is a pretty damn good idea.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

We took you to Amsterdam. We introduced you to Anne Frank, and tried to impart simple wisdom upon you: The power to be an agent of change has no age limit, and no action is too small of an action. Don’t believe us, talk to Vidal Chastanet whose kind words to Humans of New York about his principal  inspiring him has had an impact beyond what anyone could ever have imagined.

Later, we walked around the beautiful canals of Amsterdam, wondering if you’re going to study abroad when you’re older, and where you might end up.

Amsterdam sunset river bike

A canal in Amsterdam

And then you were home. At least for two weeks before we jetted off again, this time to Hong Kong, South Africa and Qatar.

In Hong Kong, we introduced you to the best food we could find. We hope you get your mother’s refined palate and your father’s sense of adventure (and craving for spicy foods).

If the lotus sticky rice and the pork buns from Tim Ho Wan aren't enough to bring you back to Hong Kong, I don't know what will

If the lotus sticky rice and the pork buns from Tim Ho Wan aren’t enough to bring you back to Hong Kong, I don’t know what will

You saw a lot of cool stuff in South Africa. And while the safari is one for the books, I hope what you remember most was the time spent on an island, removed from everyday life in South Africa, where you glimpsed the horrible prison that a wonderful leader once had to call home. Again we prayed, may this child get a bit of the spirit that was Nelson Mandela as we left the prison.

The prison where Nelson Mandela spent most of his time in captivity before becoming President of South Africa

The prison where Nelson Mandela spent most of his time in captivity before becoming President of South Africa

In Doha, you saw the glitz and glamour of an almost completely manufactured world. But you also walked through streets just out of sight of the touristy part of town, overflowing with migrants with tired faces. You saw gold-plated injustice, manufactured happiness, and I hope you’ll learn that more can sometimes be less.

Cranes line the skyline of Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

Cranes line the skyline of Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

France awaits in early March. I’ll see what I can do about getting you some good cheese, but I fear we might have to settle for steak frites and indescribable croissants (your mother is observing the dos and don’ts of what to eat during pregnancy pretty religiously, though I did manage to sneak you a little bit of sushi in Japan- you’re welcome).

Soon, you’ll visit a place I hope years from now you will feel is a second home: Tijuana, Mexico. You’ve got friends who have been training me how to be a good dad to you for a few years now in this sacred community. If you look back on your childhood years from now, and decide I was a good dad, you’ll have many of them to thank. I’d just ask you wait to make that judgement on my parenting skills until after your teenage years.

Goofing around in Tijuana!

Goofing around in Tijuana!

The point is this: We can’t wait for you to arrive. We can’t wait to watch you grow into your own person, develop your own views. Sure, we’d love if you stay in step with our political views, pester us to travel to places new and old, near and far. I wouldn’t mind if you got your mom’s intelligence and good looks (in that order please), and my curiosity for stories and zest for art that is spoken and written. And we really hope you get our shared passion for justice, diversity, and spirituality. I hope the time you’ll spend in places like Homeboy Industries and  El Florido in Tijuana will inspire you to walk alongside those in our society who are marginalized and all too readily outcast. But while so much is uncertain, one thing is not: You’ll do you, and whoever you become- gay or straight, introverted or extroverted, conservative or liberal, this or that, the end result will always be the same: We’re gonna love the heck out of you. How could we not?

IMG_0219

Napping on your second ultrasound- I like your style little one.

We have a lot to learn. And we’re so ready for class to be in session. We’ll see you in late July, no need to rush, we’d like you as healthy and strong as you can possibly be.

Friends, we’d love to hear from you. What’s the best advice while traveling with children you’ve received? What are some cool names for a boy or girl that work well in English and Spanish? 

 

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22 Comments

  1. Given how much the two of you are so dedicated to social justice, if it’s a boy, Francis would be a cool middle name at least. I don’t think your kid wants Francis as a first name, but what a cool middle name that would have great meaning! Congrats to you both!

  2. YES!!! Such exciting news. Does this mean you all will have advice for how to travel with kids because something tells me you’ll still travel, even with an infant. 😉 Names, hmmm, Lucia, Christian, those are the first two that come to mind. Congratulations to the both of you. Enjoy the next few months, they’re crazy but so wonderful!

    • Thanks Chris! We hear more and more people talking about how doable travel is with kids, as long as you set your expectations straight. So we’re hopeful!

  3. Traveling also needs to include lots of visits to all grandma and grandpass involved!. We can’t wait but as you said to the coming grandchild, wait and get strong ,we will be happy to se you when you ready to arrive!

  4. Yes!!! I think your kid might be born with a passport in hand! Simple advice: Don’t spend too much money on clothes when they’re babies, they grow out of it and usually when people give gifts, some sort of outfit is part of the gift. So save money where you can! Felicidades!

    • Maybe not in hand, but a passport is at the top of my to do list. We almost moved to Argentina last year and had we done that, well, the passport would have had increased urgency! We love the advice, thanks so much!

  5. Brought a tear to my eye! Congratulations, you both will be amazing parents (already are!)! What a wonderful blog post to commemorate the wonderful news! I have no advice to give on traveling or names, if I do, I’ll let you know!

  6. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you two! I’ll be looking forward to reading all about your new adventures with Baby Furlong. I don’t have much experience with air travel and kids, but our family does have lots of road trips under our belt. One thing we swear by is leaving early… Like 4AM early. Our kids will sleep most of the trip and by the time they wake up we’re usually more than half way done with the drive. I know you just wrote about your hatred for 6 AM flights, but it really does help keep the stress of traveling to a minimum for the kids. As far as names go, have you considered a good strong Irish name? Seamus or Emmet? 🙂 Such exciting news! God bless your family!

    • Caitlin- thanks! Yeah, something tells me that my desire for casual mornings is going bye bye, so I’m open to the early departures! And Seamus or Emmet might be a bit hard to pronounce when we’re in Tijuana. =) Someone pitched Amelia- that’s a middle road idea. I hope all is well with you guys!

  7. Patrick you’ve always had such a gift for words! What a beautiful first (of I’m sure many) letters to little baby Furlong. Congratulations to you and Laura. I’m so excited to see such wonderful people bring life to this world, what an incredible blessing!

  8. Congrats to your family of three! Traveling internationally is totally doable. Vivi’s 1 month birthday was spent getting her passport and her first flight to Chile was taken at 3 months old. It got harder once we had to start paying for her tickets. Enjoy the adventure!

    • That’s what we like to hear! One reader messaged us on Facebook and said in her opinion, the earlier months are easier because they’re sleeping so much. So I think we’ll certainly be trying a trip!

  9. I am still beyond excited for the arrival of your bundle of joy! It is with no doubt that I can say that you and Laura are going to be the best parents to this child. You two of some of the most loving and selfless individuals I have ever met. It has been such an honor to take part of both of your lives and I hope that very soon I get to tell your son or daughter the same thing in person. I wish you both the best of luck and if you EVER need a babysitter, I am more than happy to watch over Baby Furlong!!! With all the love in this world, Miriam 🙂

    • Miriam,

      You’re awesome- thank you! We’re blessed to get to work with students like you who serve as inspiration for what we hope for a child we soon welcome into the world. I find myself hoping I am at LMU for some time to come, if nothing else to expose my child to some of the incredible students I have had the good fortune to work with!

  10. What, What , What! Congratulations! How happy I am for two of you. I am dancing in my office which is next to yours. Can you see me? 🙂 :0 😉

  11. I just saw a picture of you and your beautiful wide and saw that she was pregnant. Soo I had to come see the blogs, school hasn’t allowed me to keep up, sigh. However CONGRATULATIONS! you’re gonna be one heck of an amazing father, you’re such an inspiration to many, even I only got to be with you on one DE Colores trip, you really have made an impact. This is amazing, and I can’t wait to read blogs about you two traveling with the baby. Congrats again, although a little late, and maybe the baby and you guys be blessed!

    Ps. Also congrats on the new job, you truly are amazing. 😀

    My best wishes to you, your wife, and the new bundle of joy that is coming your way.

    God Bless
    -Janely Sandoval

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