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Joy In The Journey: Wheels Up

Joy In The Journey: Wheels Up

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By Jonathan Oliver

Before I became a stay at home dad, I would travel about 250 days a year as a professional speaker. I did that for 6 years and I was constantly on the move. It wasn’t unusual for me to have 4 flights in a day or stay in 4 different hotel rooms in a week. There were times when I felt frustrated when dealing with delayed flights or sometimes driving a rental car the size of a Prius because this was all that was available. For a 6’3 ½, 230 pound guy that’s a tight squeeze. However, I will admit that I am one of those rare geeky breeds that really truly enjoys traveling. From packing my luggage to talking with random travelers along my trip, I find it pretty enjoyable. One of the things I would often do before taking off on a plane is call my mom and tell her that I loved her. Then I would talk with Saran before the plane took off and always sent her a text before shutting off my phone.

One of the great things about my wife is that she equally enjoys traveling. She doesn’t necessarily enjoy flying, but she has always described it as a necessary evil to get to where she’s trying to go. So it works very well for the both of us because we are always anticipating our next trip. We actually have a little family saying when we are moving and hustling and bustling and things begin to feel a little overwhelming. We call it “team too much” which helps us come back to reality. This tells us that we have too much going on at one time and we need to reassess the situation. 

This past weekend was a team too much kind of a weekend. One of the reasons that we named our daughter Journey is because of the fact that we truly enjoy traveling. So this past weekend Journey earned her namesake by taking her first plane ride. Out of all my experiences of flying, I have always wondered what it would be like the first time my child rides on an airplane. Most of the babies I’ve ever seen on a plane haven’t really enjoyed it as much as I have. The altitude and cabin pressure of the airplane really causes a lot of discomfort for a baby’s ears, and this was a fear I had for Journey.

There were a couple of major things that were happening that kicked this whole trip off. First my wife is a huge Beyoncé fan and she was performing in Houston that weekend, and on top of that it was also Mother’s Day weekend. So what better way to enjoy your first Mother’s Day weekend then flying back to Texas to see with your friends, family, and Beyoncé. Lucky for us we were flying United Airways who allowed us to check out baby car seat for free. We also ordered a new pack and play and had Amazon deliver it to my mother-in-law’s house. The main goal was to try to eliminate as many extra pieces of luggage as possible. Also I saved a video on YouTube to help me install the car seat base in the rental car if I began to have problems re-installing it. We decided not to take a stroller and instead my wife carried Journey in a hands free wearable baby carrier. Since Journey loves to kick off her socks and shoes, we put a pair of pants on her that have the feet attached to them so we wouldn’t have to worry about her feet getting dirty in the airport or losing her socks and shoes.

Once we got all our luggage together, we only had to pay for one checked bag. We proceeded to the TSA checkpoint and this is when we were quickly told that we needed to go back to the United check-in counter and have them add Journey onto our actual ticket. TSA needed to see an infant notification on one of our United Airways tickets. Once we went back going through, TSA was no problem. My wife did have a slight issue with her breast milk and breast pump but it was nothing major, just a little extra screening. 

After getting settled into our seats on the plane, we had timed our flight departure to coincide with Journey’s feeding so began giving her a bottle as the plane took off. The entire flight after Journey finished her bottle could not have gone any better. For all she knew she could have been riding down the road in a car sitting shotgun. She was absolutely perfect; not one fuss, in fact she laughed and giggled and played the entire trip.

Beyoncé was amazing as always and Saran had a beautiful first Mother’s Day with family and friends. She enjoyed the gift that I got her and the attention to details that I went through to make it a special day. On our return flight back home, Journey had another stellar repeat performance as a great traveler. I am not naïve enough to think that is going to always be like this, however for her first time ever on an airplane I could not be more happy. 

Jonathan Oliver is an experienced motivational speaker, life coach, and author.  He is the CEO of his company Higher Enlightenment which strives to create a world of truth, love, and faith.  He was born and raised in Texas and now lives with his wife and their first child Journey in Owasso, OK. He is a first time stay at home dad. His contact information is on and follow him on facebook at


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