3 little kids, 2 short days & 1 big city
Take 3 young children for just 2 days to one big city, travel by car, train, boat or plane or all of these, get there, sightsee and soak in the culture.
Does it make sense?
…I’ll let you decide. Tell me what you think at the end.
Dear reader, if you are anything like me and the Madventurer, you used to travel a LOT before having kids and have stopped, or significantly slowed down, since for fear, dread or whatever you call it, of lugging child and all child’s paraphernalia around. Or you might not have had the chance to travel before kids, but really want to now.
What’s the point to spending the money and time on going for just two days though?
Surely you need more time to explore a city!
Since the kids started school we are limited to taking our adventures during school holidays. The Madventurer has 20 odd days of holiday, and the kids 13 weeks at times when all prices rocket up. But we have 52 weekends!
To explore the world near or far we have to become a weekend traveller to fit in with work and school commitments.
How is it from a child’s point of view?
Growing up I was taken on a lot of business trips with my parents. We flew a lot of long haul. Our trips took us through wonderful cities, spending only a day or two of transit time in each. (This was the time when there were only 3-4 flights between Singapore and Sydney each week.)
I think back of what I remember of cities like Rome, Athens, Bangkok and Jakarta from when I was 4, 5 and 6 years old and it’s not much, yet also plenty.
What has stayed with me all these years later are not any historical facts, but scents, flavours and feelings.
The dusty and hot mile-long walk up to be greeted by the awe-inspiring Acropolis in Athens (with hindsight it’s probably only a 5 minute walk);
Dodging mopeds and sitting by fountains in Rome;
The spectacular golden Buddha in Bangkok– I mean it’s big, but imagine how much bigger it seems to a child!-;
Being treated like a real princess in Jakarta, with little boys skipping around me, all because of my long very blonde hair.
All the experiences – good and bad- helped shaped me, add a tiny piece to who I grew up to be. Travelling helped me glimpse into the lives of others, beyond what the television and documentaries can ever give.
I’d like my children to be able to flavour the world in a similar way.
Learning from the bits of our trips I hated I realise: Of course, you don’t be able to take in all the sights of a city with young children! You don’t want to either.
Well, not unless you want toddler tantrums and mutiny on your hands. …ammmm, that may have been me all those years ago, when my parents did try to force an adult pace.
How would you go about planning your 3, 2, 1 … go adventure?
You adopt a much slower pace than your regular tourist, in the process you share kindred-ship with local and foreign parent as your child does something amazing (or amazingly stupid).
You go to the local playground, play hopscotch on the pavement, picnic in the park, occasionally swap fine dining for fast dining.
What you will get is a distinct flavour of the city, you will mingle and blend in more, even in such short time.
It is through the slower pace that we learn to truly appreciate and love the diversity of our planet. It’s this that teaches our children that chaos theory matters: A mouth flaps its wings in the Amazon and that can become a typhoon in Japan. Our actions matter, our choices matter.
If, with short trips around us or further afield, I can inspire my children, and anyone else, I have done my job!
Remember, It’s worth exploring near and far however short time you have.
You have 15 minutes : Go to your local park and check out the bugs on the nearest tree.
You have 45 minutes: Pop into a museum and find a small handful of exhibits to talk about.
A morning or afternoon: Wander through a near-by village, get on your bike and do a short trail.
A day: A city or town awaits.
2 days: Wow! Book a flight or jump in your car… Cities of Europe await!
Mad adventures are around the corner all you have to do is:
DREAM IT….DO IT!