This month’s travel link up is co-hosted by the fabulous Polly from Follow Your Sunshine and Leona from Wandermust Family. They’ve tasked us with writing about travel companions. As someone who writes about family travel, the most logical people to write about are the Things. BUT…. I think most family bloggers are writing about their kids for this one so I thought I would do something a bit different and I’ve made a list of my top 6 types of travel companion.
1. The Things
Ok, ok I know I said I wasn’t going to conform and write a whole article about them. On the other hand, I can’t be a family travel blogger and not even include them! Travelling with the Things has opened my eyes to travel in such a different way.
Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is the first travels we took with them. Those times when they were so tiny and yet needed more luggage than a pop star and their entourage. Those travels were fun – first beach trip, first aeroplane, first sight of snow… They were also stressful with first time mummy worries of napping, expressing milk on the road and over-stimulated babies.As they have got bigger the fun has definitely increased – building sandcastles with a kid is way more fun than doing it on your own “for their benefit”. Flying actually gets worse for a long time before it gets better – crawling babies just want to move, toddling ones pre-toddle need back breaking walks up and down the aisles and attention spans are pretty short until around the age of 3 (2.5 if you’re lucky). But holidays with littlies are still fun – splashing about in swimming pools, exploring beaches or going hiking, spending time with parents who are otherwise working… Now that our Things are a bit older still, the longer haul flights are getting much easier. We’re even getting their input on holiday locations and activities (getting them to agree is another matter) and they are taking their own interests in the plans. We arrived at the Coliseum in Rome for Thing 1 to tell us that it is in his Lonely Planet Travel Book (which he reads at 5am when he can’t sleep and we won’t let him get up – but that’s another story). I’m so excited for them to get bigger and to love travel the way we do. I want to show them so much, to open their eyes and minds to the beauty in the world, to different people and cultures, to new experiences that they could never get at home. Travelling with the Things is Totally Awesome.
2. Extended Family
Just as I love travelling with the Things, travelling with the very people who exposed Mr Wanderlust and I to travel at a young age is super fun. We’ve had some incredible holidays with our parents including taking mum to Lake Como which was a place on her bucket list for years. After we had been there I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been on my list for years too! (Just goes to show your mum is always right kids – even when you’re a mum yourself!)
Considering we are a truly expat family (we’re in the Middle East, my family’s in the UK, my in-laws are in the US), you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re not close. I’d actually argue it’s quite the opposite. It’s important to Mr W and I that family bonds are fostered regularly. We want the Things to have good role models and healthy relationships with adults other than us. I’m glad that their grandparents meet that criteria! Travelling with our parents is great but travelling with the Thing’s grandparents adds a whole new dimension altogether.
We have had some really brilliant holidays with our very best friends – people so close we called them our Urban Family when we lived in the UK. From skiing holidays when we were young and childfree to villa holidays, going away with people who we have grown up with and who know us as well as, if not better than our family is super fun! Inevitably it involves a few late nights and some sore heads along the way… But it also involves more fun and happy times than I can count.I am especially lucky that Mr Wanderlust introduced me to his sister who became one of my best friends. We are all even luckier that their daughter, our niece, was born just 2 months before Thing 2 giving us maternity leave together and even more opportunities for holidays and time away. She lives in LA now so we don’t get much chance to hang out face to face which makes our holidays together even more special!
4. Other Kids
Now that we are older, holidays with family and / or friends invariably involves the Things of the respective siblings or friends.
Now don’t get me wrong, when holidaying with other families, you need to be pretty careful how you choose them. Going away with a family who has a completely different routine than you or different family rules is going to be difficult at best. Its hard to arrange anything if the kids are napping at different times or have different bed times. I mean its hard enough when they won’t even eat the same things as happened to us in Italy.But if you get it right, the kids entertain themselves way more than they can by themselves. Plus there is the added bonus of multiple adults to give each other time off. AND you get to hang out with your mates! Winner winner chicken dinner!
It probably sounds a bit weird but I am just so happy when I am travelling! I haven’t done almost any travelling on my own and, while that would be interesting to try, what I mean by this is that I just really enjoy who I am when we are on holiday (Muscat trip excepted when I was horrid shouty mummy). It’s not even about getting to know myself better, just that I’m more chilled and I’m doing what I love. What could be better than that?
6. Mr Wanderlust
Last but not least and actually in first place is Mr Wanderlust. He’s my absolute favourite travelling companion! We met 6 days after he returned from a 20 month
bum around the world round the world trip of a lifetime and have been pretty much inseparable ever since. Our whole relationship has grown and developed over unforgettable holidays and character building expat assignments. I think we both realised “this is it” around the time we took our first big backpacking holiday together in Indonesia, a proposal followed in Borneo and we had as much, if not more, fun planning our honeymoon as we did our wedding!