Written by Emilie from Love Life Abroad, a family around the world.
Life can be funny sometimes.
I’ll always remember March 13, 2020, when our lives were turned upside down (and not only our family’s).
Not even 48 hours before schools and daycares were closed, we were selling our house. This property transaction was meant to be the first step towards our great adventure, a slow travel mode family trip around the world.
Plane tickets, check.
After months of prepping, planning and excitement, I was supposed to take off to Paris on July 5, 2020, with my boyfriend and both of my boys, 18 months and 3 ½ years old.
Itinerary sketch, check.
After Paris, we headed to Tallinn, where we booked an apartment with a view on the Gulf of Finland. The rest of our itinerary wasn’t clear, but we were thinking of Poland, Georgia, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.
House sold, check.
And then… Pandemic strikes and the whole globe has to confine in their home—everything on pause.
What a shock! We had to face the facts, this was going to have consequences on our project. Only a few days more and the borders were also closed. Our trip was to be postponed.
And so, instead of travelling, we were dreaming of it! Let’s just say there’s no better moment for that. 😉
I have to say that there hasn’t been a day (with a few exceptions) where we didn’t speak of our family trip around the world. We dreamt about it. We reviewed it again and again, and then we planned our post-confinement.
Since, in the end, confinement will have been excellent preparation for our family adventure…
… and we now know that we can make it work; our family, travels and jobs.
I haven’t mentioned it earlier, but our trip had one particular aspect to it:
Daddy will be working fulltime. That’s how we can afford our trip.
He is a web editor and can, therefore, work from everywhere in the world. Might as well use that advantage to its fullest! So our project around to travel around the world doesn’t have any time limit: surely one year, or maybe more if we feel like it. But when Daddy’s at work fulltime, it means Mommy’s taking care of the kids a large part of the day.
So, I admit there was quite a bit of stress hidden behind all of the trip’s excitement. Were we really going to be able to deal with Daddy’s work, Mommy’s projects and both of our boys with endless energy, on the other side of the world?
Well, fortunately, confinement months confirmed that we could do it!
Ok! If my boyfriend was able to function at work while I was alone at home in between winter and spring, without any outdoor activity allowed, except walks around the neighborhood, and without playdates, I can guaranty that it’ll be a piece of cake when going to the restaurant, coffee shops, parks, museums, zoo and the beach will be allowed.
We did plan one hell of an itinerary that allowed Daddy to work peacefully, but also made space for quality family time. I think we ended up with something good and doable! Yeah!
But it’s confirmed, our future trip will be in slow, extra slow, travel mode.
We spent a great deal of our confinement packing boxes and preparing for our move. One thing is clear: we can’t keep living in boxes not knowing where things are any longer.
So we want to avoid this as much as we can while on our trip. Also, since time isn’t a problem, we can, and we want to allow ourselves to do so.
We want to take the time to unpack and to put our backpacks in the closet. We will have longer stays in one place. We won’t be running after a bucket list. We love exploring, not leaving any stones unturned, so we will take the time.
It really is the only way not to strain ourselves and to make sure we get all the calm time we need to work.
And we really want to enjoy nature ahead of us.
We knew it already, but before the confinement, I never realized at which extent the kids loved nature. Let’s just say that we didn’t have a billion activities options in the past few months. The kids used up all of their imagination and the outdoors.
They went “dinosaur hunting” in the enchanted woods behind the house. They spent long minutes throwing rocks in the river. They watched, with great curiosity, rainwater go down the sewer drain. Moving temporarily in Stoneham’s nature clearly made this love stronger. We can only make more time for this during our trip.
My little ones spent all day walking around along the river, a small stick in hand, looking for dinosaur on the trails (their favourite activity at the moment!). Then they observed ants carry their meal.
So, with nature, not many toys are needed to occupy the kids.
When we leave for a year with young kids, it’s not easy to pack. We don’t want to bring to much, but we don’t want to forget anything either.
And the toys… which ones do we bring?
Cars, dinosaurs, colouring pencils, paper, books, flour (yeah, I know, flour), and we’re set.
This is pretty much what occupied us while in confinement. And we tested a few bread and cake recipes, we made moon sand (flour and oil) and homemade playdough (flour, salt, water, and cream of tartar).
So, I tell myself that I won’t really need to bring a bunch of toys for the kids. We’ll stick to the essentials, to the moment’s favourites. And we’ll use our imagination, creativity, and pantry to find activities when we won’t be sightseeing wonderful touristic attractions on the beach or hiking.
Despite the stress and the confinement deceptions, we still found some positive outcomes for our family and our project. Confinement confirmed we wanted time to live, spend time as a family, and push our boundaries.
Our family trip around the world (and its itinerary) clearly made a 180 degrees turn, but it’s still alive!
At the moment (because everything changes so quickly in times of pandemic), we hope we can begin in a few months by crossing our beautiful country where magnificent mountains and lakes will be our playground.
For what’s coming next, only the future will tell. So, I invite you to follow us on Instagram @lovelife_abroad or on our blog Love Life Abroad to travel Canada (and more) with us!
This post was translated from French to English by:
My name is Sophie, a passionate language learner, and a full-time dog mom. Long walks, soothing cups of tea, Japanese learning and the search for beauty are my everyday life. Slowly but surely is how I do things, contemplating the peaceful ways of time and the enchanting notion of living the moment.