Have you ever traveled with little ones? Then you will love this Abroad Blog of the Week. Jesse and Liz of Mauled by Europe have taken on the adventure of moving to Italy for three months for Jesse to do a design internship. What makes this adventure even more fun is that they are doing it with their two little boys who are both under the age of three. So far the couple has survived several flights, car rides, and after a stop in Denmark for a wedding, they are just now getting settled in Italy. If you are planning travels with toddlers you should definitely check out their post on sleeping with a baby on vacation and flying with kids. In addition to great posts on kid travel, you’ll also enjoy Mauled by Europe’s daily thoughts on culture, food, and living abroad. I was lucky enough to catch up with Liz via email and get some great advice on how to plan a three-month international move. Be sure to read our interview!
How did you go about setting up your life (housing, transportation, etc) in Italy while you were still in the States?
We searched all over the internet for furnished rental by owner and we came across one on airbnb.com that we thought felt cozy. It wasn’t the cheapest housing option but with two kids coming along too we wanted it to be comfortable and have everything we would need. Jesse is going to see about using a bike to get to work. It’s only 3 miles away on the map but we’re going to play it by ear when we get there and maybe he’ll need to rent a scooter? I guess we’ll see.
After your recent cross-continental flight with your two little ones, do you have any tips for success you’d give to traveling parents?
On our trip from Chicago to Copenhagen we packed a small rolling suitcase with diapers and toys and food. But we had to put it in the overhead compartment which you really don’t want to fumble around and grab it down a billion times. Now on our trip yesterday from Copenhagen to Bologna we only brought our small carry on backpack/diaper bag which fit under the seat in front of you. Sooo much nicer when you wanted to keep going in for food and milk and such. Also, even with the liquid restrictions you can bring in stuff for your kids like milk and such.Also, about an hour into the trip, Crosby (our youngest) was so cranky and I started freaking out inside. I was standing by the bathrooms then in the bathroom while he cried and whined. I was thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, I am going to have to hold a squirming crying baby in the bathroom for 7 more hours.” But if you just wait it out he’ll soon get tired.
How is your Italian?
We know zero Italian! We both took spanish in school but are nowhere near fluent, but we can pick up a few words. We’re hoping that this trip will give us, and more than anything our kids, a chance to pick up the language. We are going to try to get our almost 3-year-old into a Carpi preschool. Hopefully when we get back home in November we can keep Italian lessons going to give him an edge with learning a language.
Do you have any must-dos while you are living in Carpi?
My husband is going to be focusing on working which will be interesting going into a new job across the world. Interesting and very stressful! We both want to really learn how to eat and relax like an Italian. It also would be interesting to see child rearing differences between America and Italy/Europe. A few weeks before we left I quit my job so my husband could take this opportunity. So, I am looking forward to learning how to be a stay-at-home mom for the first time but also a stay-at-home mom in Italy!
What advice would you give someone considering internships abroad?
When Jesse was looking for an internship abroad we literally googled “design firms abroad” and then applied to a ton of internships in really cool places and some not so interesting places all over Europe. Our first hope was to get one in Italy and then somehow he got this amazing internship in Italy. We’ll have to tell you more advice once he starts working. I know a lot of places in Europe have strict working restrictions and laws. Some where they can’t hire outside of citizens or ones where they can’t offer internships. We are also going into this whole adventure with the mindset that we’re not really sure what we’ll get out of the living/working in Italy. But as long as we just remember that this our chance to do something different and change the way we think on a daily basis, then the trip will be worth it in the end.