I was always told the American dream was the end all be all. A great paying career, good benefits, a retirement plan, and a house with a white picket fence. I got caught up in that dream.
I started a career as a Correctional Officer, I was 19 lost and looking to help the world in some way. I was pretty naive regarding the dangers of actually working in a jail which is probably why I worked there for a good 4 years. I realized I wasn’t helping anyone decided to quit and go back to school to become a nurse.
I have been fortunate enough to be married to my rock star husband who always supports my crazy ideas and encourages me as I chase after a new dream. I graduated from nursing school and have worked as a medical-surgical and oncology nurse.
Then I became a mom to two of the most amazing kids ever. I know all parents say that but my kids are my heart and I feel truly blessed to call them mine. My daughter Olivia, is all girl. She is a free and loving spirit. Compassionate and always dancing or twirling. She has a true love for animals and the city.
My son, Logan is intelligent, observant, and a problem solver. He loves anything that transforms from caterpillars to airplanes. He is amazed by the transformations. He loves when something can be better than what it once was. He shares with me a love of travel and adventure. His first question of the day is always Mom, Where are we going to go?
Logan is on the autism spectrum. Autism is a developmental disability that affects social interactions, communication, and can accompany repetitive behaviors. Autism symptoms can range and no two autistic people are alike. There is a quote from Steven Shore that says “If you met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.” According to the National Autism Association, 1 in 68 children are affected by autism, boys being four times more likely to have autism than girls. While there is a huge push for autism awareness, there is still much work needed to be done for awareness, as well as acceptance.
I am thankful that I am able to work very flexible hours as a nurse to accommodate Logan’s therapies and interventions needed for autism. Autism presents our family with different challenges and we readily accept them head-on. I do not put limits on what Logan is able to do and encourage him to follow his heart and passions, even at a very young age.
Since my children have been little we have enjoyed traveling. One of my favorite things is to be somewhere I have never been before. I love getting to share that experience with my kids. We started with local trips, weekend trips, road trips, domestic flights, and onto international flights. Travel educates, encourages, and exposes my children to new places, people, and culture. We have traveled to 3 countries and 11 cities, we are always looking forward to our next adventure.
When Logan was diagnosed, I thought our dream of family travel would suddenly stop in its tracks but I was wrong. Logan enjoys traveling, even though it is difficult for him. It breaks his routine, pushes him outside his comfort zone, and he cautiously embraces a new environment. He grows with every trip.
My goal for this blog is to share our family travels and our journey with autism. Creating a place for other families to gather, learn, and share their journeys and adventures as well. When you have a child with autism, people will tell you many things that your child won’t be able to do. People will tell you about the things that your family won’t be able to do. We like to focus on what our child can do, what your family can do, and embrace these things and build from there.
Many people will tell you that traveling with small children, or a child with special needs is impossible. I am here to share with you how it is possible for our family and how rewarding it has been. I watched my son gain skills in a new country in a week that we worked months on in therapy. I want to encourage families to take the plunge, engage with each other, overcome challenges, make memories and enjoy the not so impossible.