Going Places

Saturday, 20 December 2008

We love to travel, and living in Beijing has made jetsetters of our kids. They’ve not only seen several countries but have totally submerged themselves in China in all its fabulous incarnations––from Harbin to Hainan.

Truth be told, though, it’s not always been easy travelling with two tots in tow. I’m sick of juggling the weather with seasons with the flying hours, distance, dodgy stopover options, school vacation times, work commitments, horrendous high-peak seasons and Chinese national holidays. It can be a real feat in logistics gelling these elements into a cohesive, low-stress family adventure.

Then there’s the packing, like when we visited winter and summer all in one trip. Never again. For my husband and I, packing is easy––two pairs of walking shoes, an iPod and we’re out the door. With kids, you need a masters degree in organization and a perennial supply of tiny teddy cookies. From the essentials to the just-in-case items, it can be a little nightmarish, when all you really want is easy as peasy pie.

So, when booking our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia over Christmas, I played it safe. If it were just us grown-ups, we’d have booked flights and voyaged on a wing and a prayer, but because two travel mites are tagging along, things are a little different.

Basically, we’ve booked every living moment in advance, from the flights to the bowl of pho noodles on Thursday January 1st at 12.17pm on Hung Vuong Street, Hanoi. We’ve even booked the sunset over Angkor Wat, for goodness sake. We’ve got the cars, the guides, the hotels, the restaurants, the markets––all in sight, all locked in. My brain is so jam-packed with information, you could use my head like a View-Master––just look through my eyeballs and see a travel guide on Vietnam.

You see––we want to relax and enjoy our holiday rather than agonize over rumbling tummies and blisters and how much to pay for a cyclo ride. Yes, we do want to spend languorous hours in swimming pools––to counterbalance the forced-sightseeing the kids have to bear. Travelling is a time to focus on each other as well as the wondrous sights and experiences around us. For me, this artful balance is what travelling with kids is all about.

First published in City Weekend Beijing magazine and on the website.

1 comment:

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh yes, travelling with 4 children is even more of an adventure as you have to find a maxi taxi - seen any of them in China lately?? We have to take 2 cabs everywhere, only one of us has the cash & we have half the children each, just hoping the cabs follow & find the same hotel. I am the forever optomist & know things will work out. Booking on line, especially for Asia, saved us a fortune in advance & i have that masters degree in planning!! Viva la interneta. Love Posie

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