After years of traveling the world, Bébé Voyage Ambassador Carrie Davis has settled back in her native Denver, here she shares her favorite spots and how to keep the spirit of travel alive during these unprecedented times.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your family?
A. We are a family of five, my husband Jed, me, Carrie, and three little boys: Enzo who is 5.5, Remy who is 4, and Oscar who is 2.5. We have two dogs, Rio (border collie) and Mojito (Chihuahua mix) and two guinea pigs named S’mores and Rocky. I am a fourth generation Denver native who left for 10 years when I was 18 and returned with my then-boyfriend Jed almost 12 years ago.
I did a gap-year as a Rotary exchange student in the Netherlands, went to college in Southern California, studied abroad in Buenos Aires for a year, moved to Spain for 3 years after graduating from college, then moved to Vermont to get a Master’s degree in International Education. As part of my degree, I had to do a practicum and I moved to Quito, Ecuador to start an intercultural exchange program.
My husband Jed, is from central Pennsylvania and we met and fell in love in Ecuador. Pre-kiddos I worked and studied abroad for 12 years and now I moonlight as a private Spanish tutor. Hubby works at the National Renewable Energy Lab in human resources. Pre-Covid we would spend our days at the local rec centers (Denver has an amazing parks and rec system) or we would go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, botanic gardens, and Denver zoo where we have annual memberships.
Q. What are your favorite things about Denver?
A. I’m from here so I’m incredibly biased. I love the amount of sun we have in Colorado (300 days per year) even when it’s cold. I think the people are incredibly nice and welcoming. But what stands out and has caused a huge population explosion is our proximity to the Rocky Mountain and the abundance of outdoor activities available. Hiking, biking, skiing, camping – the culture here is very outdoor-oriented.
Q. How are you keeping the spirit of travel alive?
A.My new Covid purchases are cookbooks featuring food from all over the world. We try to FaceTime regularly with our friends overseas. I’ve also rediscovered fancy photo coffee table books that my husband and I have always purchased when traveling. Last night we “traveled” to Ecuador and Paris.
[Check out the best sites on how to make your own photo coffee table books!]
Q. What are your tricks and tips about homeschooling?
A.Ha! None! My kiddos are still in a play-based preschool so I’m trying to create an outdoor classroom in our front yard. My goal is to get us outside as much as possible because we are lucky enough to have a yard.
Q. How are you and your family enjoying the extra family time we get to enjoy now?
A.This depends on the day, the weather, and how much sleep I get the night before. The daily grind is HARD, but I’m trying to focus on the fact that I truly believe we will all look back at this time and miss it. For that, I’m trying so hard to be grateful for everything. Even the never-ending tantrums!
Q. Any good tips on teaching your children about different cultures, now that we cannot travel?
A.In the US we have PBS kids which has a different word of the week. One week it’s in English and the next it’s in Spanish. One of our local friends is Muslim and created a card exchange for Ramadan since people can’t get together. We’re not religious, but we signed up so that my boys could learn about another culture. We are lucky enough to know friends all over the world, so we check in with them and talk about what quarantine looks like where our friends are living. We made a big deal out of Dia de Sant Jordi (Catalan) holiday here. I plan to celebrate every holiday from where I have lived.
Q. Are you going for daily walks with the kids? Which parts of your city would you recommend?
A. Not every day because we have a yard and a garden. We live close to Bluff Lake. It’s 5 minutes from our house and it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. I can’t wait to start hiking again in the Rockies.
Q. Everyone is dreaming about where they would like to travel once it’s safe to do so. What makes where you live the place that families should consider for their first adventure once they can get out and explore again?
A. Where to begin!? Denver is my home, but I left for 10 years and only stayed at first by accident. The United States is not an easy place to raise kids, but Denver is a kid-friendly place. We have more parks per square mile/kilometer than any other city in the United States. It’s so, so easy to be outdoors. But people come to Colorado for the Rocky Mountains. I take them for granted because I grew up here. Yet, they are pretty amazing.
Q. If you’re still in lockdown/quarantine, what do you still love about where you live even while your movement in your area is restricted?
A. I am so incredibly fortunate to have a yard and the ability to ride my bike. In normal times, I swim for exercise and it helps with my mental health too. At the moment this is not possible. So, I’ve rediscovered the Dutch in me and try to ride my bike as much as possible. The ability to see the same streets that I used to travel through by car with a whole new lens cannot be understated. The wind in your face, the flowers blooming for spring, the different ways that each household is trying to send a message of positivity. It’s everything to me right now.
In our household we started doing caceroladas (pot banging–I think that’s the Catalan spelling) every night at 6 (si o si!) to show support. A few of our neighbors have joined.
Many in Denver have started howling at 8pm. I love this idea, but it absolutely does not work for our family timeline with three littles. That’s why we bang pots at 6pm!
Q. What is the first thing you would like to do once the restrictive measures are lifted?
A. Hug all of my friends and eat out at a restaurant.
Q. What is the first trip you would like to take once we can travel again?
A. My husband and I met in Ecuador and we are approaching our 10th wedding anniversary so we had wanted to go back in the fall. Alas, I doubt we’ll go anywhere at that point. One half of me wants to go to Barcelona or Belgium where I feel like I have family. It’s so hard to talk to them and not know when I’ll ever see them again. But to dream big and not have money be an issue: Japan, Buenos Aires (need to go back to another “home”), Morocco, Norway, Portugal, honestly, anywhere. But I love foreign languages so I’m biased against English-speaking countries!! Only because I love to stumble in another language!
Q. Anything you would like to add?
A. “The days are long, but the years are short!” I cannot tell you how many older women have stopped me in public pre-Covid to basically remind me that the kids grow up fast and they have no memory of the incredible exhaustion of raising three kids less than three years apart in age. But I’m finding comfort in this saying right now. The days are so long. But this too, shall pass. I believe it every day and I truly try to think about how I will look back at this incredibly challenging time with nostalgia.
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