Monday, January 05, 2015

The Truth About Travelling With Children

Travelling with children… the very thought strikes fear into parents around the world.  I suppose it depends on the type of travel.  Let’s face it, jumping into the car and heading off should be easy.
Flying, on the other hand, has stresses of its own, and the idea of working your way through the airport system (check-in, security, waiting in the departure lounge) is hard enough without children in tow.

This story, however, is about travelling by car.  As I've already mentioned; this should be easy. None of the children are babies (14, 13, 12, 8 and 8) and so are quite capable of “entertaining” themselves.  You’d think!

First, there’s loading the car - or in our case, a minibus.  There’s 9 of us.  Yep… 9!

We hire a large minibus for the duration, so that we have plenty of luggage space.

Who will sit next to who?  Arguments ensue…
“I don’t want to sit there”;
“I want to sit in the back”;
“Why can’t I sit next to him?”

Maybe we should draw lots, to see who sits where!
At least I know where I’m sitting - and that’s up front, with a job to do...

The vehicle loaded; more likely than not, I've put the wrong bag in the back, so need to ferret it out for use during the journey!

Finally, everyone is on board and seat belts fastened.  Doors shut; engine started.
“Mum, please can I have the iPad”,
“Where are my headphones?”... and we haven’t even left the drive.

I take a deep breath and engage first gear.

Expected journey time - 4 hours.
Time until first request for food? 30 minutes!

Then… silence.

Silence reigns for the next couple of hours, as films are consumed, games played and music listened to.  After that, the next phase of the journey - the “Are we there yet?” questions.

These begin innocently enough; just a quick calculation of how long to go; and more silence.
For about 20 minutes!
“How long to go now?”
“I told you 2 hours, just 20 minutes ago”

More silence.  Games, music, movies.  FIVE minutes later another voice pipes up
“Are we nearly there?”

Aggravation creeps into the reply
“Weren't you listening 5 minutes ago?  It’s about 90 minutes.”

The pattern continues for another 80 minutes; interspersed with more requests for snacks.
Then the magical moment, as I tell everyone that we’re almost there.

After just 2 minutes:
“I thought you said we’re nearly there!”
“I did; just 5 or so minutes.  Look out of the window and you’ll see where we are.”

Finally - we pull up outside the house and as I toot the horn to announce our arrival, the kids unbuckle their belts, slide open the door and run into the arms of their waiting grandparents.

Suddenly the stresses, aggravations and repetitions of the last few hours are swept away.

We’re here. Until the return journey....!!

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