Every Spring Break growing up my mom took us down to California to spend time with my Grandparents and close family. My parents grew up in Southern California and both my brother and I were born there in the town of Ventura. That part of the country holds such a special place in my heart. My grandparents still live in the area and my brother recently moved close by so we decided it would be a good time to continue my childhood Spring Break tradition with my own kids.
We planned to take three days to get to our destination and filled the car with plenty of snacks, books, favorite toys, and an iPad for last resort entertainment. I did our best to use reusable silverware, bags, cups, etc but I’ll be the first to admit that a zero waste trip with kids is way harder than I imagined (I’ll save the details for another blog post).
We rented an airbnb in Ojai to give ourselves (and family down there) the space we all needed. It was a lovely studio space with enough bedding for us all and a gorgeous bamboo kitchen. The space was nestled next to an organic farm and within walking distance of my Grandparent’s home.
Before kids Greg and I did our fair share of traveling. We always packed lightly, read a lot, wrote a little and were completely free of the responsibilities of parenthood. We still carry a lot of that free spirit today and have learned how to incorporate it into our parenting especially when it comes to travel. That’s not to say we did a lot of reading and writing on our trip, in fact we both brought books and weren’t able to read a single page. We were however able to spark some magic in our little ones which which probably brought more joy to us than finishing a favorite old novel. It doesn’t take a trip to Disney Land to do this either, all you have to do is feed off of their passions and curiosities.
Coming from Montana Leon had no concept of where oranges and lemons came from. We were lucky to be invited a a family friend’s home while on Ojai to pick fruits from their beautiful citrus groves. Leon learned what a tangerine was and picked grapefruit that were nearly the size of his head. We filled the back of our car up with Ojai pixies, organic oranges, lemons and grapefruit. It feels so important to me to be connected to our foot system and show our children how their food is grown and where it comes from.
We also did a trolley ride in Ojai (for Daniel Tiger’s sake) and a train ride on the Amtrak Surfliner. Leon loves trains so we thought it would be a pretty magical experience to have him ride on one along the beach for the first time. We were planning on going to Carpinteria anyway so it was a win-win. Leon was able to give his ticket to the conductor and sit next to the window to watch the scenery pass by us. We’ve always had a thing for traveling by train too so we were all feeling pretty darn exhilarated by it all.
The rest of our time was spent with beloved family members and trips to the beach. Not an ounce of it was relaxing (like every other aspect of motherhood) but being able to show my children a part of the world I love so much was so, so worth it.