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When Mel and I would tell people (especially other young parents) that we were about to take the kids over to Europe, we would always get a similar response – something along the lines of “oh, good luck” or “make sure you pack Phenergan!”. So, after 70 hours travel time and 2.5 weeks overseas, here is my perspective…
Mel and I did a heap of travel pre-kids, including a gap year in Europe. The sense of freedom, adventure and being exposed to different cultures has certainly shaped who we are today. It has been such an important part of our lives that we didn’t want to have to pull up stumps just because there would be some testing moments. Our prior travels had proven that this was inevitable, even without kids!
So, for the first time since becoming parents we worked up the courage, packed our bags and headed abroad. I would be kidding myself if I was to say it was all smooth sailing, but I am happy to announce the trip was amazing. Seeing the boys exposed to a completely different way of life whilst Mel and I getting that travel fix was worth the occasional moments of frustration.
That said, here are my top 3 learnings from our adventure:
1. Don’t expect any sleep on the plane
Like, daresay every parent before me, I was under the misplaced illusion that the boys would get a solid 5-6 hours sleep on each flight and during this time we would be able to catch some Z’s or relax with some peace and quiet. I was wrong…very wrong. The boys eventually did get some sleep, but our main job on the flight was just to keep them comfortable.
2. People are really understanding (generally)
Don’t get me wrong, we certainly got our fair share of dirty looks (like when Sonny threw an action figure into someone’s head), but all in all, people were really understanding and happy to help when we were obviously struggling.
3. Kids are seriously resilient
One of our hesitations about the trip was how the boys were going to cope with it all. Travel often brings out the best and worst in people, but to our surprise, they were fine. If anything, it was us that struggled to adapt.
In another blog entitled “What’s your Yes?”, I discuss how my ‘Yes’ is to be able to spend an abundance of quality time with my family, whilst giving us all the opportunity to try new things and follow our dreams. This trip was certainly a ‘Yes’ moment, and I strive to always push my comfort zone to continue to be living this value.
So, if there is something you have been putting off due to fear, I say go for it. You’ll be glad you did!
P.S – If you’re planning on travelling with kids, here’s a great tip. Go to a $2 store and buy a heap of little toys, wrap them up and use them as bribery (I mean ‘reward’) for good behaviour throughout the flight, it worked a treat!