Today, I wanted to share with you one of the biggest lessons I learnt, that is apart from to put the hand brake down in the camper van so it doesn't sound a loud horn to alert you and everyone else within a 1km radius! Or, to always stop for fuel even if you know you can make it to the next one with some to spare. The biggest lesson I think I learnt was never to underestimate my children.
Before the trip, after all the planning we did, I knew we would have lots of kilometres ahead of us. My kids have travelled in planes before, but this was going to be a whole new kettle of fish. And because of this, it was probably the thing I had worried about the most and tried to plan for. With this in mind, I loaded up a bag for Ragamuffin and Phoebe, full (and I do mean full!) of things to keep them occupied. Everything from playing cards to colouring books, play dough, sketch books and movies to watch.
Now I don't mean to be all preachy 'my kids are so freaking awesome' but really, they were and it shocked even me how awesome they were. On our first night we drove for eleven hours, and before you start to freak out about how long the drive was, please remember we had three adults driving (after a driving stint we would slip into the back with the kids and nap. After a nap, we would move into the passenger seat to keep the driver company….a good system!). We stopped twice in that eleven hours, once to get dinner and swap drivers, and then another to swap drivers. This night in particular it may have been purely because of excitement, but my two played games, sang, watched a movie and slept. They were amazing.
I thought maybe it was a fluke. But in the coming days, and most days after that, we were usually driving a minimum of five hours. And every time, they surprised us. And truth be told, in the whole two weeks we were away, there was only two instances where a movie was put on while we drove. So what did they do to amuse themselves? Well mostly, they sang, and danced and watched the scenery go by. Sometimes, they played Uno. Sometimes they slept. The biggest hit? Barrel of Monkeys that I grabbed last minute because I knew Ragamuffin wouldn't be able to play cards.
And if they hadn't already surprised us, on our journey home, an eight hour trip turned into over ten when we had an issue with getting diesel. This day? There was one minor tiff between them. The worst thing they did? Nag us constantly for food because they were hungry (we're sure they were having a growth spurt in the last week!).
I learnt lots of things on our trip, so many. But really, the biggest one for me was never to underestimate my kids again.
How do you think your kidlets would go on a road trip like this?