Okay, so there is a ton of things you need to panic about (to the point of sweating more than the love-child of Lee Evans and that guy who plays basketball in Along Came Polly) when it comes to travelling, especially when you have kids. However, one rule still applies: you need to do as much as you can in the time that you have. It's no good getting in such a fluster as you try and get the gang ready, that you end up cancelling that days adventures. That's like cancelling Christmas and cancelling Christmas is what Hitler did (probably!).
Doing everything you can to explore is exactly how you get the very most out of travelling, and thus creating the bestest, most supery-dupery experience you could ever possibly wish, pray and hope for. I mean, you've probably done the parenty thing of buying all the equipment you could ever possibly need to make your family comfortable, and make you less of a nervous wreck, you know I mean, the new backpacks, and the matching lightweight all-weather jackets in some wonderfully safe high-vis colour, the comfortable hiking shoes, and the smart new camera, an epic tent and the travel cot, and the insect repellent spray, and maybe even a helium canister so that you can blow up a bunch of balloons and tie them around little ones arms so you never lose sight of them. Wise and fun, that's you. What's more, you’re now ready for the adventure of a lifetime (sneaky little Coldplay reference).
Except you aren't actually ready (#sorrynotsorry). Why? Well, because as much as you need all the gear, you are going to need a positive mental attitude and a healthy dose of proactivity more than anything. But don't worry, I've called on every ounce of my experience (and even took up meditation so that I could go into a trance and summon even the forgotten bits of advice) to come up with a few tipple-topple ideas to help you have the most incredible travel-time ever!!!!
Okay, this is mega important because, when you land in a new country, you will really-really want to have your first two nights booked and paid for. Seriously, apart from rubbing your genitalia on a wasp nest, there is nothing more painful that having two small travel-tired children who are suddenly assaulted by the crazy sights and sounds of new culture and have nowhere to stay. What's more, you don't want to be doing any guest house hunting at night. So have a pretty sound arrival plan ready for when wheels hit runway. Know the name of the hostel and know where it is, like name of the road it is on. Also, you'll want to know how you are going to get there, or whether you have someone scheduled to pick your family up from the tin hut airport you're landing at. You don’t want to land and be stressed out by tired kids, a nagging partner, local chancers and a carnival that has seen every spare bed booked up in advance.Stress is a bad start.
Time To Explore
You are travelling because you are explorers, adventurers like those a bygone era. So get out there and explore. Follow your children, go with their every idea and every whim; kids get stuck into things, that's how they learn, that's how they make friends and get absorbed by life and, in thats sense, we can learn so much from their bright eyes. Forget the internet. Forget it was ever invented. Forget the hostel or the hotel or the gorgeous guest house you some how managed to land. Forget it all. Travelling is about being on the move, about immersing yourselves. You didn't take off and jet halfway around the world to not say yes to absolutely every half-chance and opportunity. Get up early and see what this gorgeous new country has to offer. The mornings are the best when you travel. The early hours when silence chirps and the sun rises and you get to see the world wake up. So enjoy the start of every day. Go and speak to a random local, buy a map and explore. Grab a camper van, and drive somewhere incredible, stay somewhere incredible. Show you kids how terrifying a tuk-tuk journey can be, watching their faces light up with fear and excitement. You are traveling to see the world and see it you must. Shit! Yeah! that's impassioned.
Say Yes And Say It A Million Times A Day
I have an absolute infatuation with big words (e.g. hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long word). However, the greatest word ever invented is yes. One syllable and incredible. Yes is an adventure. Yes is the unknown. Yes is new experiences. Yes is life. Everywhere we have ever been, yes has been the catalyst to greatness. Yes has seen us bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge, and eat cockroaches in a Yurt, and dance at a local wedding, and ski off-piste runs that only the locals know about. So if a yes or no question ever pops up, and the offer is legal and reasonable, then say yes. Shout it. Sing it. You may find yourself jumping out of a plane, or learning how to dance the Rumba, or trying new foods, or a whole host of other things. Yes is the best word ever. Ever. Yes, yes, yes.
Memories are the only thing we'll cherish when we get old and wrinkly and battle death. Well, memories and family. So taking photos of all of your adventures is totally imperative. But memories aren't just photographs. Memories are things that dance around in our heads, so make sure you look at the world through your own eyes too, and encourage your children too as well. Don't watch the world through a periscope. Enjoy the moment for what it is, because the thing with moments is they come and go very quickly, and you'll wish could remember what that person looked like or what that dish smelled like. So appreciate the buildings, cherish the architecture, marvel at the landscapes, make friends with the people, enjoy the the culture, smile and the sights and the sounds and the smells. Take it all in and smile, smile, smile and then, when you body is a vessel of everything you could hope it to be, then take a photo. Forget Instagram ever existed, or that social status was a thing, or that you want the world to know where you have been. Experience travel to grow yourself, to please you, to please your family, to give life your best shot. That is the best thing about traveling; it is for you to enjoy and for others to explore themselves.