(Dedicated to Irene)

When I was pregnant, most of our friends with kids told me and my husband that we would never travel again. Or, if we dared to go someplace interesting, it would certainly be no fun at all. These naysayers inadvertently planted a seed of rebellion in me, which not only inspired me to book flights to a wedding in England that was five weeks after my delivery date, but, I believe, was the driving force behind my accepting the job as the travel editor of the then unborn magazine for parents called Cookie when my daughter Clara was not even two. And guess what? We had a blast at the wedding—leaky boobs, colicky baby, and all. So, we traveled as much as we could during my leave, and we had a great time wherever we went. Except for that one time when Clara threw up and pooped on me at the beginning of an 8-hour flight, the duration of which I had to wear a windbreaker with nothing underneath. Then there was the four-hour flight to Denver when she never stopped crying. Not. For. One. Second. But we kept booking our flights, and pretty soon, when Clara was old enough to talk, she would say things like “When are we going to London again?”

While the contents of our travel bag have changed over the years, there was one little book we carried with us for a long time. When Clara was around four-months-old, right when I came back to my job as a photo editor at W, I made a little book of animal pictures for her. Whenever I tore through magazines, or found cool pictures of animals on a website, I would print them out, and tape them in a blank book. This was our travel book, and it served us very well. Clara would pour over every page, a ritual that got us through at least a handful of long plane flights. At some point, Clara threw the book on to the airplane floor, and we moved on to the next thing. I’m reminded of this now because my sister-in-law, who is a die-hard traveler like me (and a mighty fine editor at Travel + Leisure), happens to be in labor at this very moment. In honor of Irene, and for those new parents who love to travel, I say, don’t listen to what anyone says–not even me. And you can borrow our book anytime.

This project also inspired an obsession with animal books, most of them used. I have collected these over the years from various garage sales, flea markets, and Salvation Army stores.

P.S. Poppy Lucia was born at 4:49 this morning, and everyone is healthy, happy, and exhausted.


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Comments (10)


  1. Posted by: yvonne

    Such a cute idea! I too am determined to travel with baby and am happy to have made this choice. What could be a more enriching experience for children then to discover the world!

  2. Posted by: Dana Dickey

    YOLANDA This is a beautiful post and I’m so happy to hear that Irene and Jason had their little girl this morning. Please give them my best. xxoo dana
    ps and congrats on your great-looking new site

  3. Posted by: juliana

    so incredibly sweet. wonderfully personal idea.

  4. This is so wonderful and inspiring. I had to read it aloud to my husband just after I finished. We’re expecting our first and hearing some of the same discouraging comments. I should say that we have also had a lot of supporting comments from those who read about our travels on our site or from friends who know us well. Thank you, and congratulations on the birth of your niece!

  5. Posted by: Megan

    I love your inspiration on traveling as a new mom. I, too, will attempt to put the naysayers in their places! :)
    Thanks and love the new site.

  6. i totally agree!! i heard the same thing about not being able to travel and i ignored it too. we took our oldest daughter to italy (my parents went as well) when she was a year and half old and yes, there were some ups and downs but we found some perks too. the italians love kids and everyone commented on her blonde curls, she brought smiles wherever we went which was something i had never experienced while traveling in europe before. we have taken both of my girls to england twice now and are hoping for another italy trip (inspired by your puglia posts) maybe sometime next year.

  7. Posted by: lucy sykes

    How exquisite the words and stolen moment, photographed, You feel pure love when you look at that picture, I have a feeling your hubby took the photo.

    The new site is to die for so clean and chic and inspiring, thank you ladies, the is no comparison cookie magazine out there, grt to have you back.

  8. Posted by: wifeydinhrn

    Thank you for your post. My husband and I are recently married and have traveled internationally several times in this last year. One thing we were so impressed by was on our China Airlines flights, many people were traveling with infants and toddlers. No one was alarmed, they cried and they went to sleep. The parents didn’t seem to have anxiety in their eyes. It was..”this is what we do…” After arriving in various Asian countries-children were free to roam-they were acting like children. Eating in restaurants, shopping in centers… babies were everywhere.

    We decided that this is the way we are going to be with our family. Babies cry… and that is okay. We will be traveling with our children cry, poo, rain, or shine! Thanks!

  9. Posted by: Erica

    What an amazing post. You were one of the people that inspired me to travel with my guy, who is now a pro, but we did have many moments of barf, screaming, throwing, and poop, and I’m sure there is more to come. But, nothing beats exploring this world with our children. Give you best to your sister-in-law. What an amazing time for them.


  10. Posted by: Drew

    YOLANDA: Wonderful post and the animal book is an awesome idea. We used to always keep a few dog-eared National Geographics in our luggage for exactly the same reason. When our son, now 9 years, was 13 months old, we took an awesome trip along the West Highland Way in Scotland. They said we were crazy, but Ben loved his view over my shoulder from the Madden backpack and we all had a blast. Rolling hills, misty lochs, shadowy castles… A real adventure. –drew

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