Dear Santa Claus,
Last year I made ten holiday wishes. You certainly delivered on a few, my jolly old friend. I’ll be one happy Travel Mama if you can come though on all of ‘em this year!
1) Last Year: A Disney Cruise. I knew a Disney Cruise would be a difficult item to fit on your sleigh but I asked for it anyway and put a photo of a Disney ship on my vision board. Now I’m a believer because I was recently invited by Disney Cruise Line to sail on the new Dream ship’s inaugural cruise in January 2011! My family and I can’t wait spend two nights at sea and make a stop at one of my Bucket List destinations, Disney’s private Caribbean island, Castaway Cay.
This Year: An Alaskan Cruise. Now, I might just be getting greedy here. I should just be thankful for the Disney Cruise and leave it at that, right? But nooooo…I gotta keep dreaming!
2) Last Year: A Jogger. Last Christmas I complained that I was the only mama in my Stroller Strides class bumping along at the back of the pack with my standard stroller. Well, I got my jogger, but I got a cheap one. Now I am the only mama in class whose front tire doesn’t turn so I have to push down on the handle and lift my son into the air every time I want to turn. If you are looking for a jogger, I suggest you spend the extra bucks and get a revolving front tire! By the way, I’m still at the back of the pack. I can’t blame the stroller anymore so I guess I just have to admit that I’m slow.
This Year: Fitness & Connection with Nature. I won’t request another, better jogger. But I do want to focus more on getting outdoors and being active as a family. It’d be nice to splurge on some fun classes to keep the kiddos fit too- like swimming, dance lessons, or Tae-Kwon-Do.
3) Last Year: Long-Sleeved Shirts and Pajamas.
This Year: Just Fit into Last Year’s Clothes. ‘Nuff said.
4) Last Year: A Publisher for My Book, The Travel Mamas’ Guide a humorous, how-to guide for traveling with babies and tots. My agent recently sent out my book proposal to mid-size to large potential publishers. They all pretty much said the same thing: Love the voice. Think the book fills a need in the market. Worried there’s too much information already online (ironically).
This Year: A Publisher for My Book. I am starting my search for a smaller publisher now. I know there is a need for this book. I know many moms and dads struggle to figure out how to continue to travel after becoming parents. I know I can help parents minimize the stresses of traveling with babies and children and enjoy the time spent together as a family on the go. I can’t give up yet. If J.K. Rowling gave up at this point, we never would have heard of Harry Potter!
5) Last Year: A Sponsor for BlogHer 2010 in New York. Well, I didn’t find a sponsor for the BlogHer conference, but JetSetBabies did sponsor my trip to the Travel Bloggers Exchange conference (TBEX) in New York this past summer! And, BlogHer is scheduled to come to my hometown of San Diego in 2011, for which I have already purchased my ticket.
This Year: Attendance at TBEX ’11 in Vancouver, Canada. I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver and this conference gives me the perfect excuse to go! I look forward to chatting, touring, and toasting with some of my favorite bloggers and making new travel-loving friends.
6) Last Year: An Appearance on Oprah’s Show.
This Year: A Place in Oprah’s Audience. This is Oprah’s last year as a daytime talk show host and I’m just dying to attend a taping before it’s off the air. Sure, I’d love a spot on her couch but I’d settle for anything at this point. Do you think if I mention Oprah in enough blog posts that eventually one of her producers will stumble across Travel Mamas and invite me on the show?! (Hey – it could happen!) So far, I’ve included Oprah in five stories. Hmm…maybe you should expect to see her in a few more!
7) Last Year: Annual Passes to Disneyland. Well, I may not have gotten annual Disneyland passes but I was fortunate to have been invited to Disneyland three times in 2010 for Travel Mamas stories. As an added bonus, last year I attended Disney Social Media Moms, a conference in Orlando that enabled me to connect with other bloggers and to experience Walt Disney World with my mom and two kiddos!
This Year: Disney Gift Cards. Since we will be flying to Orlando for the Disney Dream Cruise in the new year, we have decided to extend our stay by a few days so we can explore the Disney World Parks and other Orlando attractions. I’m asking my family for Disney gift cards in lieu of holiday gifts to help us fund our park entrance tickets and vacation dining.
8)Last Year: More Date Nights OUT with my Husband.
This Year: More Date Nights IN with my Husband. We can’t seem to find a reliable babysitter or afford many fancy date nights. So now I’m wishing for some home date night fun. Specifically, I’d love a fire pit for the backyard by which the hubs and I could snuggle up after the kids are in bed. I’d also like a couple of date night movies on DVD to watch while nibbling popcorn on the couch with my honey, like Julie & Julia (what blogger doesn’t dream of having her story made into a movie starring Meryl Streep?) and Eat, Pray, Love (because I could use a spiritual tour of the world!).
9) Last Year: A Month in a Foreign Country.
This Year: Travel. Period. While I didn’t spend a month in a foreign country last year, I traveled to Texas, Puerto Rico, Cabo San Lucas, Arizona, Florida, Maine, New York, and throughout California. Being a travel blogger does not pay well, but it does have some great perks! I’m not sure where Travel Mamas will take me in 2011…but I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
10) Last Year: Good Health. Lots of Love. Family. Friends. This year has been quite the journey for me. I have struggled with some health issues related to stress and have made a few trips to the emergency room for complications related to my son’s asthma. My husband and I have argued more this year than any other during our 11 years together due mostly to our constant worry about his job in this stinky economy (he’s had six within three years), the difficulties of making a living as a travel writer, and the likelihood of making our mortgage payment.
I am incredibly blessed for my overall good health and that of my children. I try to focus on the love that surrounds me, even when the world seems filled with noise and worry. I am blessed to be part of our family of four and to have siblings and parents, who are always in my heart even though they live far away. And I am thankful for my friends…from my neighbor, Sara, with whom I often trade harrowing parenting stories over a glass of wine while our kids run in wild circles around us…to Erin who accompanied me on my trip to Freeport, Maine and reminded me of the giggling college girls we used to be…to my online friends with whom I share my hopes, frustrations, and love of this crazy world of blogging and social media.
This Year: Joy in the Journey. I hope to discover how to make a living doing what I love: writing, exploring the world, and helping others get the most out of their travels. I have been working so hard to make Travel Mamas and myself into a success story that sometimes I have forgotten to enjoy the ride. Wherever this year takes me, I plan to enjoy the journey. I wish the same for you in 2011!
What’s on your holiday wish list? Please share your wishes in the comments!