Posts Tagged With: kids and travel

The Littlest Hobos.

So, that’s it. We are officially nomads. Hobos. Vagrants. The house is gone, and even though I’m very sad about that – we all are – it is strangely freeing at the same time. Yesterday was emotional and we were all grumpy and exhausted. Still exhausted, but much calmer, and marginally less grumpy. It feels like there is room in my head for other things. Like cottages in Provence, and villas in Corsica…it’s like the dream has become fun again. We are getting a bit of a taste of our new nomadic life in very familiar surroundings right now. Easing our way in. We are staying with one sister, then probably moving on to the next one, and then we are spending a week in a neighbours house while they are away camping. This is a really good intro for the girls – our middle daughter had a lot of tears and anxiety over her bed being taken out of the house and having to sleep on a mattress in her sister’s room, and now she’s actually sleeping on the floor in someone else’s house – baby steps, but important ones! It’s good for me too. I am attached to my bed, perhaps a little too much. No matter where I’ve been, even if it’s a four star hotel room, I’m always happy to get back to my own bed. I love it. It is comfort. Familiarity. Home.

I need a new philosophy now – home is wherever we are as long as we are together as a family. I need to be able to find that comfortable, secure feeling regardless of the bed. I feel positive. I think I can do it.

Although, we were supposed to throw the bed away when we moved out, but we snuck it into the back of the trailer at the last minute! Maybe my new philosophy might need a little work…

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Is there an app for that?

So, we’ve been saving since September to buy an ipad. Yes, I know I wrote a previous post about too much technology, and yes, I am still struggling with that. However, an ipad that has 4G connectivity seems to be the best way for us to access the internet wherever in the world we may be.

We finally got it (a “Mother’s Day present” for me), and I have been up late every night trying to figure it all out and find the best apps – mostly the best apps for travel and the best apps for home-schooling and  education. What I have discovered to this point is that I need an app to organize myself and my life (and my apps). So, is there an app for that??

It seems there are millions of apps, and I want to know which are the best one to actually buy (and yes, I have read all the online articles entitled “Top Ten Apps”etc, and I’m still confused). I have downloaded quite a few free ones so far, but they just take up space unless they are actually useful. And I don’t know if they are or not.

So, is there an app that can accommodate several potential travel itineraries side by side so I can compare and see what seems like the best option? Is there an app to replace the scribbler in which we house all our notes on selling the house, building the new house and travelling? Is there an app that tells me how to teach the weird new-age math strategies to my 8 year old so that she doesn’t come back to grade 3 all old-fashioned and behind? Is there an app that will ensure my 13 year old will still know how to play the clarinet when we return so she can be in the grade nine band? Is there an app that tells me if the website that says “only one seat left on this flight” or “last day at this price” “or book now to save $500” is actually for real?  Is there an app that will measure my blood pressure as I try to get my head around all the apps? Is there a yoga app to calm me down if I inadvertently slip into panic mode and end up with high blood pressure?

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The World is a Book…

Strangely, I only just came across this quote from St Augustine over the weekend. I find it comforting. As I continue to wonder about where to travel and how to educate the kids while we do, this quote makes me relax a little bit. If the world is a book, and we are giving ourselves and our children the opportunity to explore it, this is literacy with a capital L. Global literacy. Real life literacy.

In Finland, kids only go to school for three hours a day. And I’ve read research that suggests our students are actively engaged in learning for less than that in the run of a typical six hour school day. So, my plan is an hour of numeracy each day (which will have to be scheduled and enforced because it is unlikely to happen naturally), and an hour of literacy (which will likely become several hours a day because it does come naturally!). The rest is just gravy. Thick, rich, and delicious gravy.

Looking back at previous posts, I question how and if we will be capable of educating our children while on the road. Of course we will! We’ll just be reading this giant book called “The World”.

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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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Not another castle, Mom!

I’m wondering how to get the kids interested? I asked them where they’d like to go in our year off, and they said, “Harry Potter World” and to see their cousins. I showed them pictures of what I considered to be awe-inspiring places and asked them if they’d like to see them, and their response was “not really”. What should I be doing to insight interest and curiosity? I want them to choose their own learning experiences, but that will be difficult if their only passion is Harry Potter!!

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