Last time we traveled every single person we ran into told us, “Oh you’re so smart to travel now while the kids are young (2 and 4). You won’t be able to do this when they’re school aged.” We would just nod and thank them, knowing full well we planned to travel for a year with them again when they were school aged.
This time everyone we meet says, “Oh, you’re so smart to travel now while the kids are young (8 and 10). You won’t be able to do this when they’re teens.” We just nod and thank them. This time not knowing if we have another year of adventure planned with them while they’re still in our care.
Mark and I both agree that traveling with the kids this round is more challenging. When they were little their basic needs were met and monitored 24/7. There’s no denying that doing that is tiring but once those needs are met, you can throw a little kid in a pack and go and do.
There’s no throwing a 10 year old who doesn’t want to hike in a pack. This time the challenges aren’t the basic needs, they’re the emotional ones. They have to have the motivation to do school when there aren’t any peers around to motivate you to stay on task. They have to know when their spirits are down, recognize that and ask to facetime a friend. They have to be sad for what they’re missing but focus on the special experiences they’re getting instead. It’s a more challenging experience than before.
We’re so fortunate that Jane and Wilson get along so well. They truly play so well together most of the time. It’s a giant blessing that’s not lost on me. Gone are the days when just a trip to the playground was fun.
Still most of the time someone doesn’t want to explore, hike, bike or adventure. We give them plenty of time to do what they want to do, which usually involves a screen. However we do expect when its time to see what we came to Chile to see for them to participate without a fight.
Mark and I speak often and with the kids about how grateful we are to have this time together. Time to learn together, explore together, and be challenged together.
I truly hope they look back and realize what a special time we had as a family and feel lucky for all that their eyes have seen and they have been able to explore. I know I will.