No one said travelling with 3 children under 10 was going to be easy – as the car filled to the brim with everything you can think of, the youngest asked if she could take her bike….(no). We set off from Adelaide leaving behind a perfectly good house with a functional kitchen, bathroom and comfy beds. Adventure! The route was ambitious; get to Perth the long way round with a side goal to tick off all the ‘big’ things (big orange, big Merino, big pineapple… you get the picture).
The first day was an easy hop to Mt Gambier – a mere 5 hours – 400Km… everyone ready??
“I need a wee wee”…. Of course! child number 2 is famous for remembering his toileting needs after we leave the house…
200m later we are at the end of the road and another hitch; "did you lock the garage?".....
Third time lucky - finally we are leaving Adelaide city limits and we wave goodbye to the creature comforts of home.
Then the questions start: "Where are we going?" (child 3) "Why are we going" (child 1) "Where's the M&Ms?" (child 2).
This brings me to my first TIP : distraction! - the observant car game; otherwise known as 'yellow car no returns' - 'I spy' - 'animal bingo' – ‘numberplate game’. It was worth the mental exercise to engage them in this activity – since the horrific alternative was the Harry Potter audio book....
Doing something like this with primary age kids is an amazing and delightful opportunity for not only stretching their growth and development; it challenges everyone in the family to learn so much about eachother and what makes everyone tick facing novel circumstances.
How do we cope with uncertainty; living within 2 metres of eachother 24/7; plans not going to plan; no connection!!ARGGHHH!
The first night pitched up in Mt Gambier was beautiful. The amazing Blue Lake was a welcome sight after a long hot drive. With a few oooohs and aaahhs and the obligatory photos - the kids were starting to get hangry....
However, after 2 hours of attempting to figure out the first camper trailer 'unfolding' (it was much quicker after that!) the kids were in bed by 8pm with a stomach full of mac n cheese (not my first choice but it had to be instant and easy today!)
Sitting, exhausted (even though we had essentially been sitting all day long!), staring at the citronella candle which appeared to be attracting insects rather than repelling them – I was feeling ready for bed too! – camping brings its own special body clock timing; waking up with the first light and ready to hit the hay by sundown.
If you can relax enough to appreciate seeing the world through your child’s eyes; their unique take on the world and their infectious curiosity I promise you, travelling with children can be a rewarding journey in itself.
Tune in next week for the second instalment of “ARE WE THERE YET?!”