Traveling With My Nieces And Nephews Is My Favorite Part Of My ‘Rich Auntie’ Era

At 2:45 a.m., a week before my 16th birthday, I got the best gift I could ever receive. I became an aunt. Fast forward 20 years, four nieces, another nephew, and two godbabies later, being their aunt is one of my life’s joys. 

As I began to come into my own, I realized that being a parent was not something I wanted to be every day. Friends and family alike have questioned my decision with the grandiose idea that “the right man” would change my mind or that I’ll experience a deep-seated regret from skipping motherhood. 

But, at 35, I am more sure of my decision than ever. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with a child-free life. I love sleeping when I want or traveling at a moment’s notice. I like only being responsible for myself daily. At the end of my life, I would rather regret not having kids than succumb to societal pressures and regret being a mother after I’ve brought innocent children into this world. 

Child-free women are far from the spinsters that we used to be called by society. A few years ago, the term PANK surfaced, an acronym for “Professional Aunt No Kids.” The term was a way to celebrate what it meant to be childless and the role we play in the lives of our sibling’s children. I embraced it. And then another term came along and stuck.

“This is you, Aunt Ronny,” a text notification read. It was from my youngest nephew, Jon, in our family group chat. It was a TikTok clip about a childless woman jet-setting the world and popping in for family functions. As I laughed in agreement, I noticed the hashtag #richauntie. 

Is this the image my nieces and nephews have of me? I thought. Yes, I am in an airport more than I am at home, but what does it mean to live the rich auntie lifestyle? While many people who embrace this title may liken it to literal wealth, it’s so much more than that to me. 

I am incredibly blessed to have siblings who let me be more than a cool aunt. I am trusted to provide guidance and a safe place for their children with candid conversations and advice. If nothing major happens, I can pick them up from school early just for Auntie dates. It’s a joy to be there for big moments like band recitals, talent shows, prom, graduation, and college move-in day. But I also challenge societal norms on womanhood by living on my terms and going after whatever I want. Above all, I do not subscribe to the ideology that being a wife and mother is the greatest thing I can accomplish.

And so, I see the world. Even though we do things as a family, solo travel has been my forte, with a few group trips sprinkled in. As my crew of nieces and nephews got older, they began to take a vested interest in traveling more. From the best beaches in the world to comparing first-class airline services, my YouTube search history is full of travel related content they’ve researched. So, it was a no-brainer to start bringing them with me during their school breaks. 

Traveling With My Nieces And Nephews Is My Favorite Part Of My ‘Rich Auntie’ Era

It’s important to me to travel with them for two reasons. The first is that stories or social media posts of multi-generational travel are of either the parents or grandparents with children or the whole family. Aunts or uncles traveling with their nieces and nephews alone is not a dynamic we see widely represented. I wanted to change that.  

The second is that it allows me to nurture their interests in learning new cultures, trying new things, and seeing other parts of the country (We haven’t ventured into international travel just yet.). I have visited some incredible places this year with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, but the memories I adore the most are the ones with my nieces and nephews. Seeing their excitement from experiencing things for the first time is an indescribable joy. Hearing them squeal on the phone to their parents about their day during our trips or recapping an adventure on their Instagram Stories is fun to witness. Encouraging them as they overcome a fear or tackle a new feat is inspiring. 

It’s also brought us even closer. You learn a lot about someone when you’re in the car for a road trip or delayed on the tarmac. I have become a fan of SZA because it’s the only music you’ll ever hear in my niece’s car. My boys are heavy into anything that allows them to use their hands and they’re community focused. My nieces, those in the middle, are about glam, and the youngest is a burst of energy that can light up New York City. 

Traveling With My Nieces And Nephews Is My Favorite Part Of My ‘Rich Auntie’ Era

These trips, or anytime we’re together really, continue to bring us closer and have allowed me to witness their personalities develop, showing up for them exactly how they need me to through various moments and transitions. 

We have a mutual respect anchored in trust, grace, and compassion. But, as much as they look forward to adventures, these experiences are just as much for me as they are for them. Traveling with my little besties has also helped me re-discover parts of myself, forced me to do things that I usually do not do, and healed my inner child in more ways than one. 

This is what being a rich auntie looks like for me. It’s a life that I would not trade for anything in the world. 

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