When I met my Marine in 2009, I had just returned from a year abroad in Greece, Italy, and Turkey. I fell in love with Greece; my heart ached for a reason to call it home. I returned to my undergraduate classes in the Midwest to finish my degree with plans to return to Athens for graduate school. That’s the funny thing about plans; they change, but dreams don’t change as easily.
Becoming the Bradburys
I married that Marine, but I married him on conditions. Some people sign prenuptial agreements; we had one of a different nature. I said, “Every time you leave the country, so will I.” I had no desire to be stateside. A piece of me was left in the Bay of Sounio, and I needed her to be happy as well. We did exactly that. After years of flight school and workups, he deployed, and I set off on my own international adventure with our three small children. We have three boys ages 5, 4, and 1, and together, the children and I have now covered six countries with plans for four more this year. My husband will be deployed for six months, and the children and I are traveling for 11 months. Then we’ll go back to North Carolina, where we are stationed, to find a new home.
Gearing Up to Travel with Kids Abroad
Before I set out to take the kids abroad, we made a point of traveling all over the United States. I have done two cross-country moves, driving alone with the children. I also make regular solo trips from North Carolina to Kansas and back, as well as spend at least 10 days each month traveling. Each trip is fantastic, and personally, I prefer traveling by car with the kids. What I didn’t realize was that I was conditioning myself for a much greater journey: solo traveling with kids abroad.
Every single day someone told me that I was crazy — everyone except my husband. He knew that this kind of crazy was always in the cards for us. I have never been one to sit around and wait for a man. So, in January of 2018, the children and I set off for our first stop, North-Central Mexico, and my husband boarded his ship. We all set out on a new phase of adventure, and the outcome has been far greater than we could have possibly imagined.
Photo Credits: Lydia Bradbury