Monthly Archives: April 2012

Is Florida on the Same Side as England?

Our kids are only just starting to really engage in the process of planning The Big Trip, and there have been some very interesting comments and questions over the last few weeks. It is becoming evident that we need to spend a little more family time looking at maps or globes or something so that they can have some kind of concept of where we are in relation to where everything else is. The idea that we could go to England, then Florida, then England (because they are on the “same side”) prompted our latest “geography” lesson. It’s so much fun to talk about it and listen to their sometimes limited and sometimes inspired ideas about the “Year Off”.

Our littlest girl was reading a picture book the other night called “Hello World” which basically just consists of the word Hello on every page in a different language. She pointed out that it might be good to take with us on our trip, and I agreed. I told her then she’d be able to say hello to people in different countries, to which she replied, “We’re going to different countries!?!”. Hmm.

The middle girl wants to swim with dolphins and see wild animals. She would love to go to Africa (which, after all, is only a short drive from Spain according to the world map, and I already said we’d go to Spain…). No problem! And no perception of the distance a centimetre represents on a map.

The oldest girl, who also loves wildlife documentaries says no way to Africa (too many scary wild animals). She wants to go to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Florida, and the Library of Congress in Washington. Seems doable considering we could go to one on the way to the other. Interesting choices and I’m all for interesting.

I would love to go to Egypt, and when I asked our oldest if this was something she would like to do (since she just studied Egypt in school), she said “Nah, not really”. I would also love to go to Africa. And Mexico. And South America. But in reality, I don’t know if we’ll be able to do any of these things. It’s fun to dream and look at maps and plan though. And it’s a lot of fun to do that with the kids. I love to hear their requests and the reasoning behind them.

We have all looked longingly at the pictures online of the Galapagos – the giant tortoises, dinosaur-style lizards,  and  sea lions hogging the sun loungers outside the hotels. We have looked at the crystal clear turquoise waters surrounded by palm trees and ancient ruins in various tropical locations. But we haven’t really got down to the business of making an itinerary yet. In fact, we can’t even make a firm decision on which continent to go to first!

As a good friend and very adventurous family traveller once told me when I asked her advice on where to go; “I would just let the kids plan the trip and they can take you along if you’re good”. Seems like a sound idea!

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