Hither & Thither: A Couple’s Stylish Travelogue
When Ashley Muir Bruhn and her husband, Aron, moved to New York City six years ago, they wanted to share their NYC adventures with friends and family back home in California. So, together they created Hither & Thither, a blog that documented their daily happenings as newlyweds in Manhattan. Fast forward to 2014 and Hither & Thither is a thriving lifestyle blog; Ashley and Aron have moved back to L.A.; and they’re parents to Hudson and their newborn daughter, Skyler.
The stylish blog documents the family’s day-to-day life and offers fabulous tips for readers who love decor, style, parenting, food and travel. Especially travel. Having a child didn’t put a damper on Ashley and Aron’s wanderlust, and the couple have trotted their way around the globe–from Bali to Disneyland–with adorable Hudson in tow.
We caught up with Ashley to discuss the wonder of parenting, the importance of Date Night and the joy of traveling as a family.
What inspired you to start your blog?
Hither & Thither began as a joint project with my husband—a way to document and remember our time in New York City as newlyweds and share our new home (which felt completely foreign at the time) with our friends and family back in California. Every day felt like an adventure, so we called the blog “Hither & Thither” (here and there) to capture that balance of daily life (food, style, home… and now parenting) and travel.
You and your husband have traveled to some amazing destinations with your toddler, Hudson. What are your tips for parents traveling with kids?
Don’t let fear stand in your way! Just go. The obstacles to traveling with young ones can seem tremendous: from grumpy seatmates on crowded flights to rushed dinners out, jet lag, packing conundrums, expensive lodging, and so on and so on. But I’ve found that it’s all worth it (and it’s all rarely as bad as it sounds). The flight passes—sometimes with a sleeping babe beside you while you watch a movie and share mini-bottles of wine! Sometimes with a teething mess—and then you start fresh in an exciting, new place. (Here are some tips just for the flight.) Then, you realize you’re not going to do as much in a day as you once did, but you learn to take pleasure in slowing down, or in finding the playground with the view of the Seine instead of the romantic café with one. And, if you can make it happen, look for a local babysitter (or bring along a grandparent) to give you and your partner a night (or two, or three) alone.
Finally, look for the joy. I don’t think you have to choose kid-specific destinations for children to be happy, but I do think it’s helpful to realize that their interests don’t change just because you’re somewhere new. Seek out situations that balance what you want to do with their interests, and that allow you to say “yes” to them more than you have to say “no.”
Why do you think it’s important for couples to have regular Date Nights after they have a kid (or two or more)?
Um, sustained eye-contact and uninterrupted conversation? Honestly, it’s easy to get in wrapped up in the stresses (and the wonder!) of parenting such that one’s focus is completely shifted onto that piece of the partnership. I think it’s important to keep what drew you together in the first place alive. We don’t put any restrictions on dates, like not talking about our son, but it’s a welcome opportunity to focus on the other aspects of our lives as well—even if that just means talking about the latest Woody Allen flick!
What is the most important parenting lesson you’ve learned so far?
Aron and I agree, there are two that come immediately to mind: First, everything changes so quickly—both in the sense that the bad things (sleepless nights, teething, first sounds that seem to mimic a parrot) all pass before you know it, and in the sense that some of the good things do, too. Try not to fixate on the bad. And give yourself the time you need for yourself, so that you can really be present to fixate on the good.
And second, while toddlers may appreciate black-and-white rules, it’s important to remember that real rules are guidelines, with shades of gray. I’m by no means advocating for push-overs, but it can be helpful to stop and ask oneself: “Am I enforcing this as part of an act of love? Is my larger goal driven by love?”
What inspires you to continue writing your blog and documenting your family’s adventures?
I’m so inspired by the encouragement I get from readers and I love having so many memories captured and recorded. I owe valuable friendships and innumerable fun afternoons to Hither & Thither. But most of all I keep at it because it’s such a valuable creative and entrepreneurial outlet for me. It gives me a place to practice skills like writing and photography as well as a reason to engage with social media and current media trends. I used to work in publishing, and sometimes I really miss the collaborative environment of an office, but this is a way for me to keep a toehold in that world while still having the sort of flexibility and autonomy that I desire to also be a stay-at-home parent (and, some dreamy weeks, a spontaneous world traveler).
Image(s): Ashley Muir Bruhn (Hither & Thither)