Travelling with kids (and babies)
Destinations the Holiday & Travel show. Busy and buzy. Walking around 33 weeks pregnant at a travel show advertising exotic destinations & adventures, I did attract few intrigued looks and some less cool conversations, mainly around tour operators handling just kids over 5/6/7/8 years. Not planning to put my life on hold until then, so continued to ask around about my top list destinations which at the moment includes Costa Rica (finally direct BA flights from London!), South Africa, Philippines, Japan and Madagascar. And whilst I do acknowledge there will be limitations when travelling with a bump or small people, I am not planning to wait until the cheeky monkeys are on some brochures recommended age or leave them home with grandparents or nannies.
Travel is about attitude and what you get out of your experiences. And whilst we do love 5 star hotels, we also love engaging with the locals, the beauty of transit places – airports and air planes. Can’t be a coincidence that our 2.5 years old monkey boy is more fluent in planes parts including landing gear, wings, ailerons and elevators than Peppa Pig characters (which is still in his top 5 favourites but didn’t make it fully yet in his vocabulary) or that he is saying Hello to most flowers, pebbles and local kids & fishermen on the beach.
Many thanks to Stanfords Travel Writers Festival for featuring Simon Reeves and Brian Blessed, both very inspirational.
Simon’s documentary on hopping around the Caribbean talks on many levels to our experiences, not necessarily in terms of destinations but overall takes. Simon loves featuring the light & shades of the people and places and not shy of pointing out Honduras prisons madness and the local modest or violent lifestyle along the white sandy beaches and glossy places. Not the same geography, but could so relate with our impressions from Dominica – when I was pregnant first time round and was travelling around. Not the most obvious pregnancy destination but certainly one of the most interesting for me in the last 3 years. ‘Get out there, explore, open your eyes and heart’ Simon urges – and I couldn’t agree more. There’s also a bonus from him featuring his latest BBC documentary on Greece, including 2015 financial crisis and how did that translates into social anger, unrest and poverty striking to be seen in Europe. Great intro for a documentary that just started on BBC.
Thereafter, Brian Blessed, charismatic and larger than life as usual. Talking about his madness of hitch-hiking France and doing his first expedition Mont Blanc at 17. Thereafter talking about Everest in his 70’s – where doctors could not support it and were flabbergasted to realize he could do it in his 70’s without oxygen. Having done myself the Everest base camp in my early 30s (5,500m !) and struggled with lack of oxygen and altitude sickness, my jaws drop in awe looking at the brave mad man who managed to go over 7,500m in his 70s (!!??).
Brian Blessed will be 80 next year and has Everest again into his plans. ‘The greatest danger in life is not taking the chance to go on adventures’. Hehe Brian!
Refreshed after the inspirational talks, I popped and talked to few more travel operators. Okinawa and Pioneer Expeditions eventually engaging even with pregnant ladies with toddlers. At Pioneer Exhibitions finally a great conversation about Costa Rica and Madagascar with little ones, including some travel plans and adventures pencilled in at the end of the year with our 3 years toddler and 6 months baby.
A quick look at Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year exhibitions to recharge visually and I head home to a cheeky monkey. Mummy! Office closed! Airport please! he says.
Disclosure: Thanks to the Destinations the Holiday & Travel Show for the Press Pass. Opinions, photos & hormones above are my own.