Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Travelling abroad with children

Do you think taking children, particularly young ones, abroad, is a good idea?

This is a subject I disagreed on with my late wife.

She was a big fan of holidays overseas, not that I wasn’t, but I thought such holidays would not be worth the hassle when you have a baby in tow.

“How old will they have to be then?” She asked.

“I reckon about ten.” Came my considered reply.

There was obviously some sort of confusion, as Samantha went and booked a holiday to the Canaries, planned for when Max would be 10-months-old, and not nearly at high school.

Bless her.

Sadly, she never got to go on that holiday, but I did. And as it turns out, it was the low point of my grief for her, but therefore, and positively, also included the point at which I decided the only way was going to be up.

Max and I have travelled abroad twice since. To celebrate a significant family birthday, and a holiday that was really no more than giving all the grandparents an opportunity to travel abroad with their grandson.

I didn’t really enjoy either.

We’ve been asked to join friends abroad, and also family, but while I’ve considered it, I’ve ultimately decided not to travel.

If we’d have been the classic 2.4 nuclear unit, and I’d have continued to work a Dolly Parton I could see the point, as it being the chance for a family to enjoy uninterrupted time together.

But we aren’t.

I love our trips within the UK, visiting the coast, London, Yorkshire, friends, and the very occasional hotel opening.

Max loves staying in hotels, perversely especially the Linton Travel Tavern types.

In my head I have plans to take him ski-ing, and also to Disney, but I am in no rush to do either. Preferring to wait to ensure he gets the best out of them.

But recently I read a post about taking children to New York, which got me thinking.

Which parts of the world would I like my child to see?

I loved my visit to New York, but never really considered it for taking my boy. But now I think about it, we love visiting London, so why would NYC be any different? Well apart from the time difference, the accents, and not having a friend’s doorstep to arrive at.

Would be quite apt actually, as it was the next place I was planning on surprising Samantha with.

I’d love to go surfing with him in San Diego. We could visit Sea World, and I remember that they were very proud of their zoo.

Italy was becoming my favourite place to visit in Europe. Rome is the only place in the world that has surpassed my expectations, everywhere else has always left me a little underwhelmed, and a little ‘is that it?’

I like travel, experiencing new places, and people, coupled with being a cultural cameleon, I would make a perfect replacement for Alan Wicker.

Ou est la fuckin plage?

He says that, right?

Yet I have no yearning to strap a rucksack to my back and head off into the Andes, or the beaches of Thailand for months on end.

All these places interest me, and bumming around is a personal speciality, but there isn’t much desire within me to go visit them.

They are only places.