When traveling it's easy to focus on the adventures we will have and the things we will see. I dream about the glow worm caves in New Zealand, I envision long hikes up peaks with stunning 360 degree views. I picture the togetherness we will feel around late night campfires.
Also...in those dreams no one has a bad attitude or a headache and someone is playing classical guitar in the background. NBD.
As I've travelled with kids I have found, that the adventure is great...but only if we take care of a few basic things first.
1. Not sleeping is a great way to hate everybody you know, especially your spouse.
When I don't sleep for a couple consecutive nights I channel my inner Chef from Trolls. This has only happened once on our trip so far and I am happy to report that our friends, and a few random strangers know me so much better now.
My husband enjoys talking to me when I am like this. Especially loudly in a park. I tell him I am tired and NOTHING WILL FIX IT. Especially not sleep or coffee or food or magic. NOTHING. I shoot down all helpful suggestions like an expert badminton player. Also I never want to camp or fly again as long as I live. So I guess we are moving to New Zealand and I guess we will have to purchase a small home (but only if the walls have excellent insulation because I am in NEED OF SOME ABSOLUTE QUIET). Also he has a tendency to breath REALLY LOUD in case he was wondering.
"I want to help you, but I cannot help you when you are...like this." He gestures to all of me with his hand.
"I will go on a run." I say, "And then I'll probably drink a gallon of coffee."
When I came back I like everyone again and also I have decided not to deport to New Zealand.
SO GOOD NEWS: THE TRIP IS STILL ON.
Last night I slept and guess what? Everything is my favorite. My husband, my kids, this smoothie that I'm drinking. It's all my favorite.
When you plan a trip remember to think about having a good place to sleep, and if your kids nap, planning around that is often worth it (like driving during that time if they sleep in the car). Since we are currently caravanning across New Zealand we tried a few different sleeping arrangements before we found the sweet spot. Now everyone is snoozing like champs.
2. The food. Nothing is cool when you're hangry. Not the Sistine Chapel, not the site of the filming of Lord of the Rings, not baby animals cuddling other baby animals.
Eating well can make or break a trip. Sometimes when I'm ready to check myself and my spawn into a looney bin I remember to first try a ham sandwich.
Glory. We are actually reasonable people who like each other...who knew?
Also, for me the eating is 50% of the experience. I don't just want to "eat", I want to enjoy flavors and tastes. For me eating Pad Thai in Thailand is as revolutionary as swimming in a hot water creek in New Zealand.
I love food.
3. The coffee. Here is a list of things I am able to accomplish and thoughts I am able to think before caffeine:
No one wants to travel with me without coffee and by no-one I mean me. I do not want to travel with me without coffee. And if step #1 fails (as it inevitably will sometimes), coffee is the hero.
The third most important thing is to make sure there's coffee, and if there isn't...bring it with.
For all you tea-connoisseurs/non-coffee-drinkers/smoothie-with-vitamins-users...
We cannot be friends.
Just kidding...I salute you. Clearly you have tapped into some sort of voodoo trickery. I only wish to have such skills...but until then I will pack my own french press. Even if it weighed 80 pounds and I had to put it in my purse.
For me it's going on runs when I can. If I wake up in a funk this resets me. For my friend it's getting a hot shower. Whatever it is, don't totally neglect yourself when traveling with your kids. You need all of yourself to deal with the ups and downs.
Sometimes when you've slept well, are fed, had a coffee, and took a shower...it really does seem like there's classical guitar playing in the background on your family adventures.
Traveling with kids is smelly, and high energy, and exhausting, and perfect. Follow Jess' family's trip around the world at wonderoak.com, on Facebook, and on Instagram. Photo credit the hubs @grahamsjohnston.