With a constant state of wanderlust for as long as I can remember, my husband and I have been working on rearranging the life we share to make travel a more prominent piece. It’s no easy feat as we have an almost-11 year old and a more nomadic life, or even one with a lot of travel, is not nearly the same with a kid his age. It is way more doable without kids, kids now out of the home, and even babies that you can pop into slings and entertain with snacks and crayons. Although definitely still possible, you start to weigh the impact differently of not having solid roots, or flying kids away and inevitably missing birthday parties of their friends, time away from school for those who don’t want to be home-schooled, and facing the reality that sometimes kids this age just want to be home with their friends, bikes, and video games. Not to mention, frequently leaving our animal companions with too many anxieties to come along.
So much more goes into travel when you have to think beyond yourself, but we’re unwilling to have our son miss out on what travel can offer. I often think back to our earlier travels when all we had to know was where we wanted to go and how to get there, although easy, I wouldn’t trade it for the complexities of family travel. Still, we were forging ahead with a plan that we felt everyone would be comfortable with and fortunately for us, our child has a bit of a restlessness like his mother that easily got him on board.
Then we went to Puerto Rico and suddenly I saw myself nowhere else. Island travel is nothing new to me but this one was different. We were on the beach looking up housing prices and suddenly the idea of roots and less traveling seemed desirable if we could call Puerto Rico home. A big part of that pull is not the year round perfect climate and beautiful beaches (okay, that is a big part), but more so their homeless dog population. I think as compassionate vegans, we care so much about all animal suffering, it’s hard to narrow down a focus when we just want to save every last one of them. However, in some cases, there seems to be a moment that just draws us into a more focused calling. I never once thought of doing a dog rescue. I’ve had plenty of ideas of how to further help animals, but a dog rescue wasn’t at the top of the list until I was there and a multi-faceted plan came to me, to be based in Puerto Rico, and I couldn’t ignore that a large component of it should be a dog rescue.
For now there are still too many unknowns and known hurdles (like funding!) to say this is a definite, but right now my future travel planning is looking into constant round trip flights from Baltimore to San Juan, how much it will cost to get as many dogs as I can to safety, and what it will take to truly combat the homeless dog population at the root. Now fundraising will be a huge obstacle, I’m not quite sure where to begin other than one step at a time, but I can’t think of a better reason to get on a plane.
I think that would be great if you and your family could move to Puerto Rico, and help in some way with procuring homes or volunteering/starting a shelter for homeless dogs roaming the streets. It is difficult when you want to take in every animal that is homeless in the world. I saw a lot of stray animals when I traveled to Morocco and Costa Rica… very sad. Anyway, nice post.