By Susan Crown
For most people, Bermuda brings to mind sunny beaches, swaying palm trees, and slushy, umbrella garnished drinks. I wish my memories of Bermuda were that idealistic. In fact, when I think back on the few days I spent there, I can’t decide whether I should laugh or hang my head and cry.
Let me tell you a little tale about how traveling with children can go spectacularly wrong.
Darren and I met while we were in our senior year of college. We bonded over our shared a love of cheap beer, gummy bears, and classic horror movies. One night, after too much of the aforementioned cheap beer, he asked me to travel the world with him.
“Maybe we can even get married.”
I wasn’t sure if he was serious and I certainly wasn’t impressed by his technique, but, as cheesy as it sounds, I knew we would end up spending our lives together. We married two weeks after we graduated and spent our honeymoon in Seychelles.
While sprawled across the bed in our hotel room, we wrote a list of all the places we wanted to see in the world. I jotted down all the Caribbean Islands while he listed off exotic Asian countries and historic European destinations.
I stared at that little piece of hotel stationary long after Darren had fallen asleep. I couldn’t help but imagine all the adventures we were going to have. I never expected so many of those journeys would be filled with the laughter of our children.
Or, in the case of Bermuda, the whining, retching, and crying of our children.
Bermuda and Life Lessons
Last year, we were lucky enough to check Sicily, Paris, and Bermuda off our list. The first two trips left us with many beautiful memories and fabulous souvenirs to add to our growing collection. Bermuda, however, taught us some rather harsh lessons.
Lesson Number One: Young children do not do well when they are dragged out of bed at an ungodly hour and then strung along through a busy airport.
At six, Lily was at least able to articulate just how unhappy she was with the timing of our flight. Jack, however, threw the most magnificent tantrum a four-year-old has ever thrown. I actually bypassed embarrassed and went straight for oddly impressed. I ended up giving in to the tantrum rather than waiting it out. The thing about airports in the early morning hours is this—ain’t nobody got time for a screaming kid.
Not even me.
Lesson Number Two: Children can produce three times their body weight in vomit. Or at least it seems that way.
The kids passed out about 10 minutes after our first takeoff and slept through both flights and the layover. Small miracles, am I right? They woke up in time to land and we checked into our hotel in Hamilton in much better mood than before.
As I was unpacking our bags, I came to the realization that my husband had forgotten to pack the camera and, at the time, we were the only two people on the planet that didn’t have smartphones. This meant the only pictures we’d be taking were from a crappy cell phone camera with terrible resolution. I was not thrilled, but I put it behind me, figuring it would be our only setback.
Boy, was I wrong!
On the advice of our concierge, we decided to have lunch at Beluga Seafood. The service was amazing and the sushi was to die for! Lily is a rabid sushi fan, and since she had been so well behaved, I let her overindulge. I figured we’d walk it off anyway.
An hour after lunch we were standing on the deck of the UberVida, ready for our snorkeling adventure. Jack was in a fabulous mood and ready for anything. Lily was a little full from lunch, but very excited at the idea of seeing the fish up close.
Within 20 minutes, Lily’s outlook on life was less than optimistic as my husband held her over the rails so she could empty her stomach into the crystal clear water below. In all of our trips together, we had somehow never managed to get the kids on a boat. Consequently, we had no idea that Lils suffered from seasickness.
Our poor little bean vomited until her stomach was completely empty and then continued to dry heave on and off for half an hour after that. Luckily, one of the other passengers had some Dramamine and was more than willing to share. Lily was still too sick to snorkel when the time came, so she and I stayed on the boat while the boys played.
Once we were on dry land again, we headed straight for our hotel to take a much-needed nap.
Lesson Number Three: When traveling, it’s generally a good idea to know where the nearest hospital is.
The next day, Lily was feeling considerably better. We managed to get some sightseeing and attractions in before we suffered our second (and most major) setback of the trip.
After dinner, we stopped in a park to relax for a while and let the kids run off some energy. Darren and I were discussing plans for the next day when we heard Jack cry out. He’d been stung by a bee while wading through some flowers. Darren managed to get the stinger out and Jack had a good cry over it, but we didn’t think too much of it. He’d been stung twice before and hadn’t had any adverse reactions.
About 30 minutes later, I noticed Jack was getting logy. The site of the sting had swollen considerably, and he kept trying to clear his throat. Once he began wheezing, my hysterical mom brain kicked in and I totally lost it. Thankfully, Darren kept his head and flagged down a passing local who was able to call an ambulance.
What followed was a whirlwind ambulance ride to the hospital in Paget Parish and a rather painful shot of epinephrine for my little man. We didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight.
We cancelled our plans for the next day and stayed in the hotel until we had to catch the plane home.
Two things we never travel without are an EpiPen for Jack and Dramamine for Lily. We’ve been on two wonderful trips since our disastrous Bermuda vacation, and although everything’s gone swimmingly, I still have occasional flashbacks. I find that one of the best things about traveling is facing new experiences in unfamiliar places. Sometimes those experiences are amazing and sometimes they’re scary, but no matter what, you have to keep pushing the boundaries and exploring this incredible world of ours.
Have you been to Bermuda? What was your experience?
As a freelance writer for Holiday Place, Susan Crown takes immense pleasure in towing her kids around the world and sharing her family’s travel stories. When she’s not writing, she can still be found drinking cheap beer, eating gummy bears and watching classic horror movies.