Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Travelling alone with kids, halfway around the world, enjoyable or not?
There are many people that tell me that they'd love to come to Japan, but they just couldn't bear the thought of the long flight. Are you afraid to travel alone? Or maybe, you're not afraid to travel, but you have kids and you're afraid to travel with them? I live about 8,000 miles from home. I don't have the option of not travelling (and not alone either)- but I do have the luxury of travelling with four small kids (now age 2-7), when I started it was age 4 months- 3 years. Yes, imagine boarding a plane with a baby in hand, 2 toddlers in tow, a diaper bag swaying from your arm, and three car seats- dangling one from each arm, and one strapped to your back. Makes travelling alone seem like a breeze (I wouldn't know and I'm sure I won't know for some time). People are always asking me "how do you do it?", "why do you do it?".
For some reason, this trip back, I had the idea to buy a cheap watch (of course digital and spider man - so I could give it to my 5 year old who is learning to tell time-this made the flight even more fun, as I was constantly asked "can I have my watch yet, is it mine now?")- and I used the watch to keep a timeline of the events that unfolded from door to door on our trip from Massachusetts back to Japan. Now, I won't bore you with the entire 4 page spread, but I did photograph it, so if you are bored, (or travelling)- and you are looking for something to read, it is here for your enjoyment. I will however make a list of some of the highlights of my trip:
1) Leaving the house at 2:37 AM to head for the airport, nothing like stirring up a perfect situation for happy travelling children.
2) Checking in over 15 bags, including our 4 carseats (yes, for the first time ever, I did not take a car seat on the plane, I felt sort of naked).
3) Spending 8 hours and 5 minutes (to be exact) in 4 different airports in 3 different countries.
4) Having to go through customs and immigration 5 different times.
5) Using an airplane bathroom at least 15 times, yes I forgot to record a few.
6) Taking over 20 minutes to report 1 lost bag (yes, this included photocopying ALL my itineraries, my passport, EVERYTHING).
7) The taxi driver fitting all the bags in the van, including hoisting the 69 pounders up himself, and I'm sure they weighed more than him.
8) Actually being able to watch 3 20 minute TV shows that I downloaded onto my iPod touch :)
10) Finding out that China actually has a HOTTER airport than Japan, which I didn't think was possible.
11) 8 hours and 12 minutes- the amount of time Hazel the 2 year old slept for the duration of the 31 hour and 19 minute trip. And she arrived home in good spirits!
12) Surviving on 5 hours of sleep in 48 + hours and still having patience left in my pocket.
13) ZERO- the number of complaints I got about my kids and the number of minutes that I was bored.