I’m back after a haitus. We recently went on a family vacation. We have not been on many since becoming a 2-kid family and it does take longer than usual to prepare for and recover from a vacation.

Vacation is a great breaker of habits. During a vacation, it’s great to simply “be” – to remind myself of what is important to me and enjoy. Returning home is a wonderful opportunity to try to incorporate some of that enjoyment into my “real” life. In my experience, vacations, especially those that are spent in nature, as this one was, helps me re-commit to relationships. On the flip side, certain good habits are also interrupted, so on that note, I would like to start my weekly posts again.

In the past week, Fjällräven Polar 2019, the event that inspired this blog, happened. I followed the adventure on Facebook, only to get super excited about applying again this year. It’s going to be a good one!

An excerpt from my April 15 journal

Notre Dame burned today. As I busied myself at work, a monument to a city, a testament to art, history, and faith to the people who worship there – disappeared forever. It’s a sad day.

I had the privilege of visiting on one of those whirlwind bus tours on my first trip to Europe in 2006. The day we were in Paris, I couldn’t keep any food down, probably from overeating at the breakfast buffet. This was unfortunate, as I desperately wanted to try a crepe from the many street food stalls dotting the city. Notre Dame was my last stop before having to rush back to the bus. I didn’t even go inside. Next time, I told myself. Next time, I would schedule time for that and visiting the Louvre.

I have learned since to travel differently – to be content with visiting fewer places and to allow myself to not hurry. I don’t think about next time anymore, because there may be no next time.

My experience of the Notre Dame Cathedral in 2006.

Greta speaks to the EU Parliament on April 16, 2019, skillfully relating the reaction to Notre Dame to the climate crisis.

While on vacation, my friend and I discovered a shared admiration for Greta Thunberg, the teenage environmentalist who inspired students to skip school in hopes of inspiring people to take action against climate change. My gut reactions when her name started circulating in the press reminded me how I have aged. Her single-minded conviction screams of a youth I no longer have.

Her behavior exemplifies to me what Alfie Kohn calls, “reflective rebelliousness”, one of the qualities that I do hope to cultivate in my children. She is a talented speaker and I find myself unable to disagree with what she says. And yet, I can’t even foresee myself becoming vegan or giving up travelling by plane. I had always imagined sharing my love for travel and the outdoors with my kids. Would I do this in exchange for my children’s future ability to survive on this planet? Is the situation that dire that I need to ask this? Can one love our kids, travel, and nature simultaneously?

I guess I’m only knee deep.

VHEMT is a movement uniting people who commit to not having children for environmental reasons.