We’ve had a couple of days doing not much at all in Las Vegas. I’ve had a chance to reflect on the last six weeks and try to make sense of my learnings, so here they are;
Lesson 1: I and the whole family seem happiest in wild open spaces where we can explore, walk, swim and (for the rest of the family not me) climb. This is a bit of a surprise to me as I’ve always been such a city girl. The times we have spent walking together have been my favourite. We talk non-stop, do a little school work like x-tables and spellings and the girls tell us stories. It also helps that this is all ‘free’ to do. We have found being in a city means being surrounded by lots of things we can’t really afford to do much of and that’s not fun for anyone.
Lesson 2: We are enjoying slowing down and are planning to do so even more. The one or two night stops are not that much fun as we just don’t get a chance to really settle. These short stops often go hand in hand with small confined accommodation and this = stress for us all! The five of us staying in a one room motel triggers all manner of bad attitude and behaviour… and that’s just me!
Lesson 3: Healthy food = healthy mind. I know this is obvious but it has become so much more apparent to me on this trip. When we haven’t been able to cook our own food and our budget restricts us from dining in fancy places, we have ended up with the usual pizza/pasta/chicken strips – I don’t want my kids to ever have another chicken strip when we return to the UK!!! This has then triggered the usual self talk about crap parenting etc etc. I feel so much happier – mentally and physically, when we’ve all had a healthy meal 😊
Lesson 4: It takes – if not a village…then partnership. Keith and I are partners, allies, co-parents and supporters of each other. We are doing our best and this experience is bringing out the best in our relationship. That makes me happy.
Lesson 5: We have way too much stuff! I thought I’d done really well on the minimal packing, but there is still a lot in my case we haven’t used. True we haven’t really had ‘beach life’ yet, which we will have when we land in Trancoso in a couple of weeks, but still I think we brought too much stuff. Having cleared out more than 50% of our belongings when we moved out of the house, I am determined to live a life with fewer material possessions when we return. We just don’t need them.
None of the above are life-changing insights but some have been either a surprise or helpfully reinforced for me. That said, most of this was told to me by other travelling parents when I was researching – particularly the thing about slowing down, going to fewer places and staying longer. I found it hard to put the advice into practice when we were making plans, as we just wanted to see as much as we could. We are now in the process of re-thinking our second half of the trip…watch this space.
Oh and Lesson 6: – Vegas is not a place for this travelling family. Get me out of here!