Before I had children I had an almost utopian vision of what it would be like to travel with children. I imagined small people willingly mixing in with different cultures, playing with children and hungrily learning new languages and trying new food, and them patiently staring out of the bus window on long (ish) journeys and asking questions about what's this and that on the roadside.
As any parent will tell you this utopian vision is a far cry from the reality of traveling with small children. Mine are currently four and six years old.
We have found ourselves in the south of Spain in a beautiful farming region of Murcia where the temperatures range between 32 and 35 degrees centigrade. We are staying in is is essentially a bankrupt Golf Course apartment complex, the nearest town is 1 and 1/2 Mile walk away in the blazing desert heat without shade, and from there there's only one bus per day that leaves to the main cities. The closest beach is 25 minutes in car, or 4 ½ hours by a series of bus journeys.
I can confidently say that this is not really my idea of a great travelling or even relaxing holiday experience. (Sorry Mum & Dad I know you meant well when you booked it, but let's be frank here, we all agree it's far from an ideal choice!)
But this isn't about me complaining about what's essentially holiday gone ever-so-slightly wrong, this is more about the difference between what you enjoy as a traveller and what a small child expects from…well…life!
These are five key things that don't work with small children but work for me with glee as a traveller.
I could go on but you get the picture. We as parents are guilty of not researching the destination enough and preparing more toys and a larger suitcase, or trying harder to arrange a hire car so we can escape with more ease, but really it's just accepting that small children like their routine and we have ended up in a place that is very limited on things to do outside the apartment for various reasons.
The children like their toys, their own beds, routine and veggie sausages. They are loving the trip for the pool and later nights, but I confess that when they ask when they're going home it makes me a little sad. I guess exploring will come later when they are older. In the meantime I shall persist, remain positive, and work on planning the next adventure with them at the heart of it.