Australia’s Dinosaur Trail!
Two years ago Jaiden learned about a place in Australia where dinosaurs once existed. Somewhere he could see, touch and even collect his own 100 million year old fossils. Two years later, we made it here!
When Jaiden and I were tossing up whether to travel again it was a case of the pros and cons. Jaiden set about making a list of things he wanted to see and do. Meet Chaz Mostert at Bathurst, go snowboarding, and visit the Dinosaur trail were some of the things on his wish list. I felt it very important to ensure Jaiden had a say in our travels, because after all this was his trip, and his life too.
When moving into a small tin can on wheels there is a large adjustment process for adults and kids alike. Kids often go from the constant stimulation of schooling, piles of toys, games consoles, TV’s, endless power and internet to being thrown into a world with a few possessions, limited power, internet and an ever-changing environment away from life they once knew. Add to that, having to live in close confines with parents and siblings for what is often the first time, it’s no wonder there’s some adjusting to do.
There will always times when kids will drive us crazy, but often them driving us crazy is a clear sign that the child is seeking more interaction, more stimulation or perhaps even just some alone time. Over time kids can learn to amuse themselves, but this isn’t a magical transformation that occurs the second you drive away in a caravan, it takes guidance (and patience!) from parents. It is one of the reason I encourage new travellers to start off slowly, to give everybody a chance to adjust to this new lifestyle.
It’s the dream for many of us to take off and travel, but rarely is it a dream that children share. This means the onus is on parents to ensure that their children’s needs are met. Putting in the effort to connect with homeschooling groups, allowing kids to assist in the planning process, and giving kids the opportunities to ‘be kids’ are all things I believe are vitally important to ensure the children enjoy the trip as much as the parents. Some kids may enjoy being on the go every day, but many will want some downtime to play lego, draw, kick a ball, play at a park, ride their bike, play board games, read, or whatever it is that takes their fancy. If you choose to do 6 hours driving, sure you can keep the kids quiet with technology, but they are going to have energy to burn at the other end. Space and weight are always a concern, I often hear people cutting their children’s toys down to a few small things to save weight, only to allow for a 40kg beer fridge in the back of the car. Your peaceful afternoon beer or wine might sound great in theory, but if your kids are bored out of their brains, it’s going to be anything but relaxing, sorry to say.
Travel exposes kids to a huge range of new experiences, environments and learning opportunities. However, we still need to remember that kids may not be interested in the same things as us parents, so sacrifices need to be made on both sides to ensure the children have a positive and unforgettable experience on the road. Giving kids some control and say goes a long way to making it more enjoyable.7 years ago, when we first took off I had a profound moment when I asked Jaiden “What do you want to do today?” – This was a question I had never asked him before, he’d never had a say in his life, or what we were doing day to day. 7 years on, Jaiden asks me that very same question because he’s learned to appreciate the importance of doing the things we both enjoy. If your kids are enjoying the trip, you’re far more likely to enjoy it as well.
I do however believe that the joy in travel does not come from ‘doing the lap’ or ticking off a ‘to do’ list. It comes from spending time with, and making memories with those you love most.
P.S. For those of you interested in visiting the dinosaur trail, we’ll have a video out next week which will include some tips for doing it on a budget!
As promised, he’s the video from the first part of our dino trail trip, this included the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, Musical Fence, the Waltzing Matilda Centre and more. We loved the town of Winton, with plenty of options for free camping and several low cost and free attractions, we ended up staying far longer than intended. Where we stayed and the things we saw are all in the video.
We did it in the heat of summer right after the rains which made life a little uncomfortable at times, but we loved it all the same. If you’ve ever thought about making the trip out there, all I can say is, do it!
Jaiden once again worked super hard on this video, so we hope you enjoy it!