Leaning in to family adventures… not falling over(board)
It’s amazing how one shift can change everything.
When we were back in London, we planned holidays to be as stress free and simple as possible… for the kids. Portugal worked well. Short flight. No time difference. Resort life with buffet breakfast and kids club activities. A couple of hours ‘off’ in the afternoon with a book and a sunlounger. Perfect.
And don’t get me wrong. They worked. The little people were happy (relatively). We knew what we were buying into. We could pretty much guarantee sunshine. Our best friends were down the road.
And then came Shanghai.
Suddenly, holidays took a different slant… and we needed to find a way to embrace the changes.
Shanghai is a very long way away from most places, it would appear (other than the rest of China, obviously) – but sometimes, we really want to get away from China… for a few days…
Plus… we’re in Asia. We have chosen to change our entire world. So we need to change our outlook on holidays as well… It’s time for us to really start leaning in to family adventures. Because adventure was the main reason we made this life change and it’s a huge value for me to honour (read more about that here).
And so this Lunar New Year we headed off to Hoi An, Vietnam – after a busy start to the calendar year.
And there starts the adventure…
Whatever it takes to get everyone to the final destination in one piece is just fine…
We had connecting flights via Hong Kong (which is a very civilised transfer airport, I must say…)
LeapPads while queuing for immigration? Fine.
Fries for breakfast while waiting for the flight? No problem.
Every single adult device known to man running the plane movie selection – with and without headphones involved – yep, that works for us.
The kids hate the travelling. “It’s a dull and boring day” as the littlest one took to shouting. Loudly. & Frequently. So I’ll bribe any moments of non shouting peace I can get.
We made it to our hotel – and we were all still talking. Result.
(The fact that us grown ups had to climb through our wardrobe to get to the bathroom for the first two nights is irrelevant – another story for another time about cultural differences that do not show up on TripAdvisor!)
The little ones are brave
And I am a wussy-wuss. Official designation, given to me by the eldest.
The swimming pools were not heated, and lets not forget that Vietnam is still northern hemisphere, so this is winter!
Do the kids care? No.
Do they laugh when I care? Yes.
Every single day I ‘ooohhed’ and ‘ahhhed’ my way into the swimming pools to join them on whatever freeze-inducing adventure they were creating. They just leapt. Time and time again. Until they were blue and their teeth were chattering. Then they got out. Asked for a snack. And went and did it all again.
The youngest and middlest went in fully clothed because they just couldn’t wait.
I couldn’t drag the eldest one out at the end of every afternoon.
And the littlest spent most of her time wandering around talking to any and every stranger she could find. She co-opted more people to help her gather her swim toys every day than I thought possible. She wanted something – she just asked whoever was nearest to help.
The little ones have absolutely no interest in sight-seeing
They are (mostly) happy to ‘see’ whatever happens to be passing them by on route to the swimming pool. Or to more food. Or to the people selling the LED ‘flingy things’ that they want. But if we try to take them ‘sight-seeing’ – no way.
They just take it all in their stride. Everywhere they look is new and different and they just swallow it all up. They don’t need to feel like they are ‘doing’ Hoi An.
The little ones amazed me by expressing gratitude
Ok, it was short lived. And did follow a supply of treats one afternoon. But as I was waxing lyrical about the joys and privilege of travel (& how different it felt all these years on from my big Asia adventure with my father in tow) the middlest one said to us that he was grateful that we were spending the money we worked for on taking the gang to different places… and the other two begrudgingly agreed that it was indeed, quite a nice thing for us to do. All together. As a family adventure.
That made me quite proud of our gang.
And that’s a feeling well worth leaning in to whenever possible.