I am the Queen of Procrastination!
I do not make that claim lightly. Waiting until the very last minute to do anything is something I am notorious for. Never on time, lost count of the amount of flights, buses or taxis I’ve almost missed! I need a deadline to start anything and then I leave it, whatever it is, to the last possible minute. The result is that I either rush or just don’t do it. If I can’t do something perfectly I’d rather not do it at all! My point is that I have very good excuses as to why I haven’t posted on here much since I started this blog, Or indeed since we started travelling with our four young children in March this year. Seven months of travelling with young children and I have written a handful of posts. Why?
I don’t much like the posts I have already written, a couple of them I wrote years ago! They are not right! I have been waiting for inspiration to strike, for my style to become apparent. Every night I lie awake waiting for sleep and my head fills with all these wonderful titles and sentences. They just seem to pop up from nowhere. But then, my memory plays tricks on me, I can’t recall them for long enough to write them down. I can’t type write or type fast enough to keep up with my own thoughts most of the time.
By the Light of the Full Moon
So tonight, harnessing the energy of a full moon, with the rest of the family asleep I am writing. I am wide awake at 2.30am and writing a blog post! Sharing, likely oversharing! I’m good at that, never know when to shut up! My aim is to write traditional travel blogger posts about the places we have visited and the restaurants we ate at. Spend time writing what the airlines and airports are like and how we find our accommodation. Plus write reviews and tell you all about the essential stuff we are carrying around in our now 5 suitcases. However, I also want to share the truth about travelling with young children, the good and the bad stuff. The keeping it real and honest, the mistakes and the successes!
We had a Dream!
We had a dream many, many years ago to travel. Indeed we seriously thought about buying a boat that was for sale in Akaroa harbour and living on it. That was in New Zealand and over 12 years ago when we got married! Not so long ago we were very serious about a small catamaran in Greece and were dreaming about sailing around the Mediterranean. Circumstances changed and we had to let go of our dream temporarily. We chose the name for this blog based on that dream.
One day we hope to own a catamaran and sail the world and literally Go Where the Wind Blows! Pushing to the back of our minds, that actually one of our sons suffers from terrible seasickness. In time, through more trial and error we hope to discover a remedy that works for him and anyone else who gets sick sailing. The joys of travelling with young children!
People will likely as not call us crazy because only one of our four children can swim. Plus we are not experienced boaties by any stretch of the imagination. We learned to sail a yacht maybe 13 years ago. Falling in love with the idea of a catamaran after a short break around the Marlborough Sounds. Maybe we’ll compromise on our dream in the short term and get a caravan instead, at least until they can all swim! A home with wheels rather than sails may be a much more sensible mobile home option for us initially!
I Can Write When I Make Time
I have been writing for years. Affiliate articles mostly, published 100’s on Ezine in our early experimental efforts with affiliate marketing. The very first article I wrote was ‘stolen’ many times over. I took that as a good sign at the time! Product reviews I wrote a plenty and for a while it seemed to be working. One time, I actually designed an entire website in weeks 40 to 42 of pregnancy with our second son. Keeping busy helped to take my mind off all the false labours which were exhausting. But then life got in the way for a wee while again and the dream was put on hold.
Writing More To Fund Our Family Travel
More recently I signed up with iWriter to practise and experiment with my writing style. Still unconvinced that I’m good enough. So I wrote 500 to 1000 word articles for a few $’s to work up the ranks and achieve the highest Elite Plus writer ranking. To be honest I wrote far too many vacuum cleaner reviews. The pet descriptions I didn’t mind so much or the articles about pest control in the UK! I was added to favourite writer lists and started to get special requests, regular 5 star ratings and tips! After 200+ articles I now have a number of regular clients who request my work, so I must be doing something right? It’s now time fo me to focus more on writing for our websites. Instead of being paid low remuneration to write content for others.
We have a couple of purely Amazon affiliate websites on slow burn and My Phoenix Trading Blog is slowly building up. You can support us if you buy anything from Amazon.com it all adds to the travel fund. Visit one of our other pages to see how we fund travelling with young children. As of today I am going to commit to writing a minimum of one post a week for Going Where the Wind Blows. Craziness was writing for one iWriter client at 2am in an apartment in Istanbul on a flight stopover on the way to Malta from Kuala Lumpur. My client had sent me a few rush jobs just as we were preparing to leave Kuala Lumpur. The two youngest had been sick with diarrhoea and vomiting for 4 days so I hadn’t had time to finish them before we left.
Big Changes Including an International Move
The Canterbury earthquakes were instrumental in one of our major change of plans. We realised that if we could walk out of our house uninjured with the children, the clothes we were wearing and nothing else we would be ok. A 7.2M earthquake is an experience I care not to repeat anytime soon. Up there with Tropical Cyclone Marcia (a category 5) bearing down on us in Queensland and being evacuated for flooding! The change involved moving to a small rural settlement to live in a school house right next door to a school with only 10 children on the roll. Sort of worked for a while but still wasn’t quite right for us. Still have a soft spot for Le Bons Bay on Banks Peninsula in New Zealand.
Our Environmental business in New Zealand wasn’t going so well so Paul took a role in Australia. Our daughter was less than 12 months old. I stayed in New Zealand for 6 months, then had a massive clear out in 2 weeks of ‘stuff’ and boxed up the rest to ship over. All by myself with the help of some wonderful local ladies. Most of that ‘stuff’ stayed in boxes for another 3 years – wasn’t essential after all!
A Flight Issue and Travelling with Young Children
I can recommend not travelling with young children by yourself on long-haul flights or those with stops. Unless you are crazy like me and also do lots of planning ahead! I am planning to write a post about my experiences and link to it. When someone mentioned to me that I might not be allowed to fly with more children than adults I had to do some quick research. I found out I would be permitted to travel with my three young children with the airline I had already booked with.
My research revealed that some airlines have issues if you have two children under two years of age. Reason behind this seems to be because they can’t put on their own oxygen masks in the event of an emergency. A potential problem if you want to fly with young twins or children close in age! Three children from Christchurch to Perth with a 4 hour delay on top of a 3 hour stop in Melbourne was an exhausting experience.
Start of our Homeschooling Journey in Australia
Once we moved to Australia we embarked on our homeschool journey and haven’t regretted that decision. OK, some days I do wish I could send the kids to school! Fast forward to welcoming our 4th child and life got even busier for a while as we struggled with allergies and ill health. Contracts ended and we left Australia in a massive panic as I really did leave everything too late that time! We nearly missed the flight and had a few extra bags to check in, plus the hire car was too small! We would not have made it again without the help of my local tribe of amazing women. Chaos and disorder would appear to be my other middle names!
I promise we are getting much better at transitions!
Why I am Struggling to Write Perfect Blog Posts!
Deciding on a focus for my posts seems to be the biggest barrier to starting at all. I want to write about our allergies, our diet. About living and travelling with Aspergers and sensory issues. How being tourists and travelling with young children can be hard work for us. How some days none of us want to leave the safety and comfort of our accommodation, our current home and familiar environment. Sometimes a whole week goes by and we only went out to get groceries. How we sometimes can’t face taking all the children out together as it can be just too stressful.
I want to share the places we visit, the children’s birthday celebrations and the excursions. I want to share the fun and the scary of travelling with young children, but am struggling to organise the structure. Hence, I am writing this post now to try and explain where I’m going from here.
I’m not an Outgoing Person! I have Aspergers!
People tell me that blogging is about personality. That is so hard a concept for me to accept, to put myself out there in the public domain and be real. I am not sure the world is ready for the real me or maybe it is? We shall see, if I put me and my family up for show and readers approve then maybe we’ll get those social shares. Imagine my excitement when a post goes viral – yippee that would be awesome or would it! I have to realise there is no perfection and that I just have to start somewhere and write some more posts.
I hope now that in writing this post I have found my voice and can improve from here. We would love it if you care to come along for the ride and share in our tears and laughter. Oh my, there have been lots of those with a few mega meltdowns along the way!
Some of The Rough Bits So Far!
Some of these bullet points will likely make you squirm, but this is what keeping it real is all about. I read a blog once where travelling with young children was described as, ‘Like family life but on steroids!’ If anyone knows who that was I would love to reference them here. I agree wholeheartedly with the steroid reference as our eldest boys have a history of prednisone use when they were little! Hyperactive and invincible would come close as a description of the side effects!
This is a rather long list of some or our not so positive experiences travelling with young children. Not all from within the last 7 months though. Some are from when I took the two eldest boys to the United Kingdom from New Zealand by myself, when they were 6 months and 3 years old. I did not sleep for 40+ hours, it was truly exhausting! We have many tales to tell and I’m sure I will elaborate further in future blog posts.
It’s Fun Honestly It Is!
- The time we had to call an ambulance when our eldest started screaming in pain just before dessert in Nando’s in Edinburgh!
- We nearly lost the eldest boys on a pedestrian crossing in Malta when a lunatic driver sped around a parked bus on the wrong side of the road and almost didn’t stop in time!
- When George jumped out of his stroller and ran into traffic on a busy road to get to Paul who had crossed to use an ATM
- Not realising how cold it got in Thailand in the evening in December. We were out with minimal layers and having to buy scarves and extra t-shirts for our crying children amidst the glares of the market crowds.
- Jack being so excited to have his photo taken with a cannon that he ran up the steps in Valetta straight into the end of the cannon. The blood was pouring out of a large gash to his forehead even with my hand over it!
- Ordering a salad in Kuala Lumpur airport from the cafe counter only to have them sprinkle peanuts all over it!
- Expecting a gluten free snack on a flight only to find they don’t cater for special diets except vegetarian (good job I always pack ‘safe’ snacks) The staff informed us we could buy their really expensive gluten free crisps.
- After changing a nappy on a flight and realising the carpet was wet not our child but from a bulkhead leak – the staff swore it wasn’t the toilets but it stank.
- Finding a peanut on the floor of the plane where your toddler played for 12 hours and being grateful he didn’t eat it as you had no Epi-pen at that time (long story)
There’s More – Actually There Is More Than Enough Material for A Separate Post!
- Having to ask the staff to move us and change the airline seats because one of our children has had an accident
- The baby always fills their nappy approximately 2 minutes before boarding when the toilets are 10 minutes away – always!
- Just falling asleep after getting the baby to sleep in the bassinet when the crew wake you to remove them due to turbulence
- Trying to eat with a wriggly not quite 2 year old on your lap because the plane is full and no spare seats
- Changing a nappy in an airline toilet requires contortion and balancing skills you didn’t know you needed
- Getting a large taxi from airport to Singapore Flyer only to find they don’t come back to that rank. We ended up squeezing 1 adult and 4 children onto the back seat of a taxi cab and hoped we didn’t crash and miss our flight!
- Prematurely packing the brolly sheets. Amazon ad below if you don’t know what they are. We bought ours in New Zealand though but you’ll get the idea. I had to wash and dry bedding at midnight the night before we left Malta rather than leave stinky, wet sheets!
…keep reading after Amazon advertisement as there are a few more!
More Memories of Travelling With Young Children
- George having a monster toddler meltdown on a bus. Some rude woman wagged her finger in his face as she got off and called him a naughty boy and everyone else laughed and cheered – some people are just horrid!
- The horrible old man who thought it was OK to film our daughter in an airport lounge while she was eating watermelon
- The equally awful man who felt the need to sit too close to and watch our daughter playing in the swimming pool in Kuala Lumpur – we left quickly
- Arriving at your accommodation in Las Palmas, taxi parked badly blocking traffic and driver was helping Paul find apartment when the police stopped to investigate why the buses couldn’t get past! I don’t think he got a ticket that time!
- The ferry boat driver from Gozo to Comino driving too fast to impress the young girls and you’re worried your two youngest are going to be bounced out of the boat. They were not within arms reach (there’s more to that story too)
- Being kicked repeatedly in the back by someone’ else’s child for hours is not fun – after complaining the crew moved the mother and child. Ours are not always angels but we don’t let them physically hurt others (noise that’s another issue).
YES, we do have travel insurance!
- Booking apartments to sleep six and having to make sofa beds up late at night with tired and already asleep children
- Not realising there is no lift and you have to drag 6 suitcases up many flights of stairs with a migraine
- Having to pay to clean expensive looking white carpet when one of your children throws a charcoal tablet up from their bed
- Scrubbing the hire car after your toddler vomits everywhere
- Renting an apartment 31 floors up with no window or door locks. Had to tie windows together and door handles to sink pipes so we didn’t lose our very inquisitive, climbing toddler!
- I absolutely loathe cockroaches & mosquitoes!
There really are too many to list here but you get the idea that it’s not all fun and games and that we have already had some mis-adventures! I promise to expand on these and more in future posts and I’m sure with our family clumsiness trait there will be many more to add too!
Travelling With Young Children Can’t Be All Trouble – What About Some of The Fabulous Memories!
- The kids faces when they found out that not only were we visiting Legoland in Malaysia but that we were staying two nights in the Lego Hotel (which was amazing by the way!)
- Watching the children play in a water park in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm in Legoland because they weren’t wet enough, They had fun standing in the full body blow dryers.
There are many more fantastic memories that we have to treasure from travelling with young children. However, as this post has already gone over 3000 words I’m going to start another one and link to it when it’s done! If you made it this far well done and thank you for reading almost to the very end!
My aim with this post was to give you a taste of what is to come. Plans for some travel gear posts, some foodie posts and others about coping with life on the road. We’re slow travelling with young children because we realised years ago that we can’t move from hotel to hotel quickly. We need time to de-stress, lower the anxiety and explore in our own time.
Aspergers, allergies, four children and unschooling perhaps create a different dynamic for us than other families travelling with young children.
If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter you will be notified of new posts. Please do follow us on Facebook as well at Going Where the Wind Blows as I often post there more frequently than here. Certainly share more photos there using instagram too.