It’s funny, looking at this list. “Weren’t we in Hawaii?” No, self, that was the end of 2015. The end of last year brought big trips back-to-back, and so it’s hard to remember that 2016 was about settling in. About new routines, about figuring out how to be a family of three with two jobs and one nanny share, about figuring out what life looked like now at home.
The adventures we did have tended to come in sets. New York City and then San Diego in May. Virginia (solo) / Wyoming / Virginia (all of us) in August and September. Palm Springs and Michigan in December. Months where the suitcase stayed in storage, followed by months where it barely got unpacked.
Traveling with a baby — and then a toddler — has its own kind of learning curve, except you never really learn what you need to know next. Nursing on a plane is a complicated endeavor. Pumping on a plane is not something I particularly need to repeat. Every time I got selected for “random screening” — which was every time — I thought, really, random? It’s definitely not the baby strapped to my chest? Our last flight, home from Detroit, involved snacks on snacks, Play-Doh, a roll of masking tape, a hastily purchased banana, and March of the Penguins on the inflight entertainment screen — only to discover that two used water cups were the best toys of all, better than anything we could have planned or bought. And yet, I’ve spent the day researching travel credit cards with big bonuses so we can take an even longer, more complicated flight with an even more determined and wiggly child next year — so “undeterred” is the word for it, I suppose.
The best thing — oh, it’s such a cliche, but it’s also so true — is seeing places through my daughter’s eyes. Earlier this month, we were back in Palm Springs for the first time since I’d just found out I was pregnant, since I was just starting to let myself dream about life with this child. Twenty-one months later: Here is the pool where I floated with you then and float with you now; here are the mountains I could stare at all day; here is a date shake, isn’t it delicious?
Of course it’s hard to think about my 2016 without thinking of the global shitshow that surrounds it. But to the extent that I can choose the meaning of a year, I’d rather hold onto this.
Year in Cities 2016
Palm Springs, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA*
Pacific Grove, CA
New York, NY
Virginia Beach, VA
A plane somewhere over the United States
About Year in Cities: All listed cities are those in which I spent at least one night between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016, with * denoting those cities in which I spent multiple non-consecutive nights. 2009 here, 2010 here, 2011 here, 2012 here, 2013 here, 2014 here, and 2015 here. This is all Lydia‘s fault, via long-ago Kottke, and I thank her for bringing it to my attention.