I LOVE TO TRAVEL.
Not so much that I want to pitch it all in and live in an RV--but I have seriously considered the merits of owning a vintage Airstream trailer (you know, the ones that look like foil-wrapped Twinkies). Love of travel was something that I considered a part of me--the way you might think of your eye color or your smile. Loving travel, craving it, is a part of who I am. I suspected that my parents had a hand in forming this love by introducing it to me early and encouraging it often. I knew that when I had kids of my own, I wanted to show them all of the joy and excitement of going places and meeting people.
Those of you who have known me for a while might remember when my oldest was an only child. We would fly out to the East Coast and visit my parents on a regular basis--and wouldn't you know it, the kid who hated car rides couldn't get enough of being on an airplane. Then along came kid number 2 and we traveled as a merry band of 3 (while my husband worked his whackado schedule) by car most often. I have a handle on travelling with kids, and my first bit of advice to you is: start them young. If that's no longer an option, then start by making it fun.
Is it really fun to sit in a car for hours on end? No.
Is it truly fun to wait in line at the airport?
Is it fun to eat granita before lunch?
Of course it helps if you know your kids. I know that my kids love music, so early on we invested in MP3 players for both of them. Part of our getting ready to travel routine includes making sure those suckers are charged and loaded full of tunes. They also love Legos so we are willing to risk lost pieces in transit for hours of contended building--on trains, airplanes, and automobiles.
I never travel without art supplies, which means the kids travel with art supplies. And of course, books!
I like to do my research before I go. This includes travel guides, historical books, and memoirs. For our last trip I checked out a few cookbooks as well--we traveled to Sicily. And if there is one thing I know in my bones it is that food is the best way to get inside a culture. Language being a very close second.
And then there's The Paperback Tradition I just can't shake. The tradition started with annual trips to the beach with my best friend's family back in middle school.
The rules are simple:
1. It must be an author that I have never read.
2. It must be outside of my regular genre.
3.And it must be at least 300 pages. (You go ahead and set your own page limits)
This is where having access to a physical bookstore becomes handy. I can wander around, look at books, read the back cover, read the first two or three pages and pick one that will probably hold my attention for the duration.
Then there's the added challenge of bringing the kids along. I give them a budget and tell them to pick out books for vacation. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. You know how kids are.
Next time we can talk about making art while travelling--and how the best laid plans don't always pan out!