We always said this trip was about escaping winter. It wasn’t about visiting museums or eating in fancy restaurants, although we have done each of those. It wasn’t even about learning about other cultures, or exploring the meaning of being a tourist, although I hope those will be elements of our experience. At the core, we wanted to save the feeling of summer: warm breezes, fresh produce and not forcing Kiddo into layers of clothes that she hated.
We figured our main goals were: sun, beaches, zoos/aquariums/farms, tasty but easy food, and weeks upon weeks of enjoying each other´s company.
What we forgot to factor in is that our little girl does not want to do these kinds activities constantly, even if she is generally a fan. We enjoyed days of beach time, and were worried she would hate it when we had to travel, or when we decided to spend the day on a car trip. But she was happy with the change of scenery. Even though she doesn’t love sitting in the car, she is more and more able to do so. Sure, sometimes it is while watching videos on the iPad, but other times she is content to just lookout of the window, or listening to music, or chatting with me in all iterations of her new favorite phrases. In fact, sitting in the car for a while after not doing it recently can be a nice change of scene in itself.
At zoos, she is usually taken with one animal the most, and could care less about some of them. But we are usually into at least trying to get a glimpse at everything, so we take her dutifully to each exhibit. She gives a little in that respect, and we give a little by spending 30 minutes in front of the Hyacinth Macaw exhibit. The result? We all get a nice afternoon at the zoo.
Additionally, we can´t spend everyday doing something. Kiddo is like me. She is an introvert. Needs time by herself (or with me, which at this point I think she considers alone time) to recharge. Needs mornings, afternoons, or whole days lolling about at home, watching Mickey Mouse, playing with soft dough, coloring, dancing to music, making food, etc. She doesn’t need an activity all of the time. So we need to build that into our travel plans. If we stay at a place that is also a farm, or is on the beach, or something, then hanging out on the beach or visiting animals isn’t really an activity because there isn’t the production of packing a bag, getting in a car, finding our way, parking, getting out, finding the thing we set out for, and only THEN doing that activity.
Writing that made me realize that maybe she is a bit like me in a similar way, in that, I usually have fun once I have gone out, but often I don’t feel like doing anything but staying in and amusing myself with one of my hobbies.
That means that another consideration for this trip is building in enough down time for Kiddo. It is actually a relief that we don’t have to plan days upon days upon days of kid friendly, amazing, unforgettable experiences. We can mix it up and have some adventure days, some animal days, some beach days, and lots of other days just hanging out having whatever kind of fun we feel like.