So, back in September, I announced to Brent* that I thought it was time to give the kids the “one big family experience.” We have travelled as a family before, when the kids were younger, but we’ve only ever travelled in the car with them – places like Wisconsin Dells, Minneapolis, and Lutsen.
Right now we are in this strange parenting vortex; one where there are days when I have happy kids, and then the next day I have moody pre-teens. One where these inklings of entitlement peek through gratitude, and where normally content children all of a sudden demand to be taken shopping.
It’s a tricky time, these years. Throw in a dash of mixed parenting ideas and blended family dynamics and I tell ya, there are some days where I just want to leave the planet. (Preach, right?) My idea, instead, was to go to the other side of it.
Brent gave me his usual, half-smile, cute eyebrow raise “oh ya?” which I *think* might possibly mean “What have you got cooking THIS TIME, oh insane and crazy wife of mine?” to which I responded. “I’m taking the kids to Bali for six weeks this summer!”
You’d think this would spark some sort of discussion, debate, argument, SOMETHING. Nope. Brent simply reached for his phone, opened the calendar app and said “What dates?”.
Less than a week later, I had our flights arranged courtesy of three different point collection agencies. I had found a lovely AirBnB spot in Kuta Utara (check it out here) and we had the kids and the exes (mostly) on board.
And then, I got on with life.
Now, as we approach our departure date, and because it’s becoming a comfortable and easy idea, I have been inserting it into random conversation with friends. Not because I’m looking for shock value, simply because it’s just now become a part of my plans, so I forget that most people aren’t quite expecting this. Conversations have typically gone something like this:
Friend: Summer is coming! We should plan a weekend at camp together!
Me: Sure, sounds awesome. We are leaving July 22, so it has to be before that.
Friend: Leaving where?
Me: We are going to Bali until September.
Friend, with obvious shock: What? What do you mean “you are going to Bali until September?”
And this is where I realize, that casually saying that you are meandering off to the other side of the world for 6 weeks isn’t a normal thing to do.
From there, the following questions appear, in varying order. I decided a blog post to address them might be a good idea, for those of you that still haven’t wrapped your heads around what your crazy friend is up to now.
“Are you kidding?”
Nope, this is the real deal. The girls and I are leaving in the late afternoon of July 22nd, and should arrive about 12 hours before Brent and the boys, who are leaving the morning of July 23rd. It takes approximately 35 hours to make the trek.
“All of you? You are taking ALL the kids?”
We are all going. We are taking ALL the kids. Despite the fact that this might sound overwhelming and expensive, it really was quite reasonable. Our friends at Aeroplan, Avion, and ScotiaRewards were helpful in coordinating flights, making sure the kids weren’t travelling alone, but did fall short of booking the parents in first class. ?
This is a good question. I feel like I don’t have concrete and logical answers to this. My reasoning for doing this is kinda fuzzy, but I have narrowed it down to the following, somewhat rational statement;
“Our kids are at a critical age and stage where they are growing into adults and with thoughts, beliefs and opinions of their own, but they still want to hang out with us. We recognize that we have a very short window of time left where they are under our influence in this way and I want to show them a different part of the world. I want to give the kids my travel bug, walk them through busy, crazy, loud international airports and have them experience different languages, currency and food. We want to show them that their North American lives are not the only way people live, and we want to teach them the value of living in another culture that is completely different from our own.”
Am I crazy? Oh probably.
I chose Bali for a few different reasons. Here they are, in no particular order:
- It’s far away from here, and while it’s somewhat expensive to get to, it’s very inexpensive to live there.
- Bali has been on my bucket list, so part of the decision was a selfish one on my part.
- It’s a different life than we are used to – I could have picked Florida, or Hawaii, but I wanted to be in a place where English isn’t the first language and where things aren’t “normal” like they are here.
- It’s on the friggin equator. The weather will be both hot and predictable. This is important, because we are only packing carry-on luggage.
“YOU ARE ONLY TAKING CARRY ON LUGGAGE FOR A SIX WEEK TRIP?”
Correct. Brent and I learned the hard way that the “lug” in luggage can make or break the travel experience. I have yet to meet one person in my life who packs two enormous suitcases, fenangles them through airports and says “wow, I’m sure glad I brought all this stuff!” It doesn’t happen. We don’t need any more than we can carry in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of us. We will never have to deal with baggage claim, and we will be forced to deliberately choose the items we have with us. And also, we don’t need more than we can fit in a carry on. Seriously. Our days will be spent in bathing suits and tank tops. If we can’t fit what we need in a 21” bag, then the whole purpose of this experience is lost.
“Can I come with you?”
You can’t fit in our luggage (see above comment re: carry-on luggage) but you are completely welcome to join our adventure. We have rented a simple, grass roof home, and I plan to cook each meal from scratch with delicious food. If you can get yourself to us, I will feed you and give you a place to sleep. Please reach out to me before you book your flight, so we don’t get too crowded. Kids welcome.
“What about work? Will you actually be off for the whole time?”
I will be off work as much is practically possible, but entrepreneurs are “off work” about as much as parents are “off parenting” when their kids aren’t around. I’m blessed with an amazing group of people who run the companies, and an amazing group of clients who recognize this opportunity. In 20 years of owning my own business, I have never taken a vacation this long. I will be using my typically less than average sleeping requirements and the 12-hour time change to my advantage.
“Will you have a blog or Facebook updates so we can see your adventure?”
Totally! I plan to do daily Facebook updates and the occasional blog post. Also, if you’d like to receive a post card from us, reach out to me!
*stellar human, patient husband and generally goes along with my crazy ideas. Sorry ladies, this one is taken.