Our travel map, 7 months in..
I think it’s very important to (at least), start out travelling slowly. This gives children time to adjust to their new lifestyle without hours on end in the car, this also gives parents a chance to settle into a routine and adjust to life in a caravan. Sure, it might be nice to go and see and do things every day but it’s equally important for children (and adults!) to have some down time to sit back, relax and recoup. It’s part of the reason we travel with huge amounts of Lego and Hotwheels cars, if gives Jaiden something to amuse himself with when we’re having some downtime, it also means we can both have some time without being in each others pockets. The down time also teaches kids to go out exploring, to play together and helps them learn to amuse themselves, something that doesn’t really seem to happen much these days unless a screen is involved. The other bonus of taking your time means you have the ability to connect with local homeschool groups and attend meets that may interest your kids, not only does this make their tip more enjoyable it also means they can have some time with other children, something that kids who come from a schooling background often miss when hitting the road, especially if they’re stuck spending hours a day in the back of the car with an annoying sibling or Dads terrible singing.
The other thing I think parents forget to do is to talk to their children, give them a voice, make them part of the planning process. The best feeling I had when we first set off 5+ years ago came from asking Jaiden “What do you want to do today?” rather than telling him what was planned, this is something we still do today. Giving kids the ability to be a part of the planning process not only allows them to do things they’d like to do, it also makes them feel like it’s their trip too, rather than just being “along for the ride”. Whilst you may want to go to some popular tourist attraction or tick off every “must do” in the area, perhaps your kids just want to sit and play Lego, go for a bike ride, cook some muffins or go to a local park and have a play.
So whilst our travel map looks a bit bare, I could not care less. For us, travelling is about spending the time together enjoying each day, wherever we are. I don’t get these years back with Jaiden so instead of rushing around the country just so I can say we did “the lap”, I’d far prefer to see less of the country if it means that we’re happier and able to spend more time together making memories.
For me, it’s not the destination or the pretty photos that make a trip memorable; it’s the journey, the time you spend together, playing, talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. That’s the stuff you’ll all remember for many years to come, that’s the best part about this lifestyle and why we choose to live it the way we do.