Well, we’re officially off. On Tuesday morning, Noah and I left for Merry Old England to visit my brother and his family for three weeks.

We’ve been counting down the days for months now. The thought of getting on an airplane has been overwhelmingly exciting for Noah. After all, he hasn’t been on an airplane since he was a “baby,” and knowing that he’d be flying “way up in the sky” is no less than an awesome way to spend his day dreams of late.

We got to the airport and immediately unloaded our two giant suitcases to the SkyCap fellas. No use hauling those things around when I already had a four-year old, his backpack, my 50 lb backpack, my iPod case/travel planner, a stroller, and a heavy-duty camera tripod. As I sat looking at our loot, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d overdone it a bit. Oh well, too late to care now!

We went straight to security which was backed up a mile long. This should be fun, I almost thought, but before I could think it, some nice fellow with a handsome cap opened up the first class ropes for me and ushered us to the front of the line. “This should make it a little easier for you,” he said. I almost wept in gratitude. We were three minutes into our journey, and I was already feeling like an overloaded camel with all of our gear.

As we neared the x-ray machine, Noah began to panic. “Dad, don’t let them take my backpack! My camera’s in there!” It took repeated assurances that he’d have it back as quick as we could get to the other side for him to finally release his death grip in it.

I decided to give Noah complete access to his own digital camera for the trip. For around $150 I was able to get a waterproof, drop-proof, shock-proof, break-proof, sand-proof, bullet-proof little camera for him to use (they’re pretty sweet, check them out!). To say he was excited when I handed it to him, fully charged, would be an understatement. I told him his job was to document our entire journey, and he happily took on the charge, labeling himself “the camera guy for the whole trip.” He’s having so much fun with it that throughout the trip, I’ll be uploading some posts featuring Noah’s most excellent photography. Just for kicks.

We got to the airport pretty early, and had fun watching the planes come and go. I think the most exciting part for Noah was watching them load the luggage onto the plane. You would have thought he’d seen Santa Claus when he spotted our two suitcases being loaded with the way he jumped, screamed, and clapped over it.

Come boarding time, they once again gave us the royal treatment by letting us board at the same time as first class. Or maybe it was the “we don’t want everybody to have to deal with parents loading their kids” treatment. Either way, we were among the first on the plane, and Noah felt pretty special.

I think the best part of the entire day was when our first plane from Salt Lake City to New York “blasted off.” Noah sat back with death grips on the end of the armrests, and screeched with excitement as we lifted off. “Dad, that made my tummy tickle!” he said, and then animatedly verbalized everything that was happening from that point on. The other passengers in the plane were getting a real kick out of it.

Our plane was late getting into JFK, and then we sat on the taxiway for another half hour. By the time the plane finally unloaded, I was sprinting faster than Michael Johnson through the airport terminals. We reached our plane to England just minutes before takeoff, and were easily the last ones on the plane. I was thankful we made it, but couldn’t help but wonder if our luggage would.

The flight was pretty easy-going. Noah fell asleep for a moment, while I held him on my lap against me. No sooner did I hear him start to snore than I felt a warm wet sensation start to soak through my shirt. I reached down and felt his pants. Sure enough. He had had a *bit* of an accident. I woke him up and we headed to the bathroom to change his pants and wash out my shirt. The rest of the journey went without incident. Unless you count my frustration that I was getting wasted in onboard trivia by some guy in row 32. That guy was smart.

I had hoped Noah would sleep for a good chunk of the England flight, but he was determined not to. The plane landed at 7 AM (midnight Utah time). It was going to be interesting to see how skipping almost an entire night of sleep would affect Noah. So far he was way too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for having been awake so long.

We deplaned and made the long walk to immigration and customs. By the time we got there, a line of hundreds greeted us, and would no-doubt take another hour or more to get through. We started heading to the back of the line and were stopped by an airport official. “Where is this boy’s mother?” They asked me. I replied that it was just the two of us. “Well, follow me,” the man said. He opened the ropes and ushered us to the very front of the line. “This will help you get through quicker.” Again, I wanted to cry as I looked back at the impossibly long line behind us. All I could say was “thank you.” I wanted to buy him a steak dinner.

Thankfully our luggage was waiting for us on the other side, and my brother Eric was waiting just beyond customs. I expected Noah to fall asleep at any time, but there was no sign of sleepiness setting in.

We spent the day taking naps, going on walks, and learning to use the English faucets. Noah was getting a kick out of the different words used here. Push chairs, boots, and dummies were among the funniest to him.

This morning, my brother came in and woke us up at 9. Noah bolted out of bed ready to play with his cousin Amelia, ready for breakfast, ready for the day. I wanted to kick somebody in the face. I was still so tired. I finally got moving, got ready, and we all headed to a place called Tisdale Park for the afternoon. It was so much fun.

Anyway, we’ll be here for awhile! I’ve still got my regular Single Dad Laughing posts scheduled while we’re here, but I’ll be adding the occasional “England or Bust” updates in the afternoon as well as a few posts of Noah’s best pics. If you want to follow along in our vacation, we’ll keep you updated! Here’s a few photos of day one…

Noah learns to take pictures with his new camera.
I couldn’t convince Noah that the pillow was supposed to hook around the back.
Sharing a bathroom stall is tight for sure. And according to Noah… stinky.
Daddy no likey pee pee.
We had a dance/jam session before bed.
Uncle Eric gets a little intense.
Bedtime stories on the iPad.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Summer is finally here! Where are you going on vacation this summer?

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!