I’m now back in Sweden after a 6 month Big Family Trip. It has been an incredible adventure, I’m so glad we pulled it off!
We have travelled around the world through eight countries. Denmark, China, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, Peru, Brazil, and the British Virgin Islands in the West Indies. All in all, most things worked out better than we could have imagined.
We have seen seals, ridden elephants and played with dolphins, monkeys, and snakes. We have hiked, climbed mountains and walls, flown ziplines over cliffs, explored ancient ruins, crawled through cave systems, walked through jungles, and watched stunning acrobatic shows and fire shows. We have explored the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu in Peru, Hobbiton in New Zealand, and pirate caves in the West Indies. We have swimmed, paddled, sailed, windsurfed, and snorkeled in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean. And we’ve played chess and made Swedish pancakes in almost every country 🙂
We have lived in hotels, campervans, and sailing boats. We have lived in everything from big fancy villas to small apartments – sometimes rented, sometimes staying with friends. We have lived at 3,800 meters altitude, and we have lived together all 6 of us in a single room smaller than our smallest room at home in Sweden.
We’ve had misadventures too. We have missed planes, been delayed by landslides on train tracks, had bouts of homesickness, lost and found each other, gotten hurt and healed, gotten sick and recovered, even had a shower cabin explode on us!
We have built sandcastles, played guitar, flown kites, learned new languages, done home-schooling (well, on-the-road schooling I should say), done school-schooling, haggled at bazars, jogged on beaches, gazed at beautiful sunsets and mountains, attended amusement parks, played pool and frisbee and beach volleyball, written code, watched movies, and played lots of lots of ipad and iphone games. Just about no TV though.
And, of course, we have talked – a lot! And blogged!
We have met and befriended all kinds of people. Storekeepers, drivers, teachers, cooks, managers, mothers, farmers, fishermen, IT professionals. Old, young, rich, poor, dark, light. Some with big families, some alone. Some have never left their village, others have spent their whole lives on the road.
Many people are afraid of travelling with kids. Maybe because news channels make the world seem like a more dangerous place than it is. The vast majority of fellow travelers that we bump into say “Wow, you are very brave!” after seeing that we are travelling with 4 small kids. We’ve probably heard that exact phrase at least 30 times. Some people mean it as a genuine compliment (thanks!), but sometimes it sounds more like a polite way of saying “you guys must be f-ing crazy!” 🙂
Anyway now, safely home again after the Big Family Trip, we can only conclude that, in the vast vast majority of cases:
1) The world is beautiful!
3) Travelling with small kids is not only survivable, it can be really fun!*
* That is, as long as you follow the Golden Rule for Travelling With Kids: Never Be In A Hurry. With plenty of slack in the schedule, just about any problem can be solved. See also What we’ve learned about hiking with kids.