Posts Tagged With: decisions

How Things Change…

Sometimes, you just have to give in. That’s what I did the other night. Yes, it felt pathetic on some level, but I had to admit to myself and my family that the plan was over-ambitious, and it was doing me in. I think it was a relief for everyone, actually.

So, now we are not heading to Central America in the suffocating humidity of August with the killer mosquitos; we are, instead, heading to flood-drenched England for some mosquito-free “home” time. This makes us feel better.

This whole venture is big, and we knew that going in, but as I think I may have mentioned before, until it is imminent, it all seems quite doable. Then when its all happening at once, it becomes a bit of a problem. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and practically. Of course, as our good Kingston neighbour pointed out, we did know it was all coming…it would seem we’re not the best planners in the world.

So, we turned the plan upside-down, and now all things seem slightly calmer. We are spending August in England, and then heading to the European mainland at the beginning of September. That way, we have August staying with family, and we can get our feet under us and do some less stressful planning for the remainder of our year. We fly out on August 1 (all booked and everything!). And so it begins…

ps. we do still hope to travel to Central America, but on the way back, when we’re a little more “seasoned”!

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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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Decision #1 = Error #1

So, exciting weekend for us; we finally agreed on at least one place we definitely wanted to go on our year of adventure (besides Harry Potter World!?!) – Cinque Terre. Friends of ours had been a couple of years ago and showed us their pictures, and we were sold. Hiking from one coastal Italian village to another, crazy cliff top views, lemons growing outside your hotel windows, authentic Italian culture. All this fits the bill. We love the fact that the kids could do the hiking, and it is hiking with a purpose – to get to the next place – so we could probably convince even Liah to do it!

The very next day after visiting with our friends, we started researching places to stay. It didn’t take long to realize why Cinque Terre had sounded so familiar to us; the whole place flooded last October from torrential rains! They are in the process of rebuilding the towns and the trails. Put a bit of a damper on the process. Just made me realize how many unexpected hiccups we will probably have as part of this whole process. Better get used to it, I guess!

Before...

After.

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