Full time travelling family life: The lowlights.
Yo. So I’ve been feeling compelled to write an honest post about how our first two weeks as a full time travelling family in Bali has been. We had a great journey from London to Bali; things have not been as easy since. Social media is set up for perfection and beauty and candy-coated kittens, and real life is made up of long periods of intense work and effort punctuated with some awesome, magical moments and some really terrible, soul-sucking moments.
So here we go. A proper, honest, reality check of our first two weeks on our round the world trip.
We are tired. Tired of the rain, tired of rubbish Wifi, tired of our hotel (look out for a review post of our hotel soon- you’ll laugh at us). Ubud is hectic. There are very few pavements, scooters and traffic everywhere, it has rained a lot- (excuse me- A LOT) and there is very little open space for the kids to play. I have a demanding job working as a writer as well as having three kids under seven with us 24/7. The coffee here is weak so Patrick has been forced into an impromptu detox. Sounds like a set-up for conflict, right? Right.
Adjusting to life as a full time travelling family
Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that Patrick and I have bickered over this last fortnight:
- The fact that Patrick puts the iPads on top of the wardrobe, where the kids can’t reach them (because: neither can I)
- What day we were checking out
- Which child should sleep in which room
- Which blanket each child should have
- The length of time it took me to pick up food from a cafe, because Patrick ended up being stuck with three kids needing a wee and all of our backpacks, and he couldn’t leave our backpacks because they had valuables in.
- How much food we should order at a restaurant
- How many mangoes the kids had consumed in one day (yes, people! we managed to argue about mangoes!)
- Who was right in an argument between Esmae and Eira
- His tone of voice
- My tone of voice
- Me swearing
- What time I should stop drinking Diet Coke to ensure it didn’t affect my sleep
- What time he should stop reading on his phone to ensure it didn’t affect his sleep
- Whether or not there were any valid arguments against veganism
- Whether or not we should take a day trip to the beach to suss out accommodation (his vote) or just move down there and find a hostel when we get there (my vote)
- Where my charger is
- Where the other snorkel is
- What time I should work
- Whether we should take the kids to McDonalds or KFC or an Indonesian cafe
And, ermehgersh, like a million other things.
The laugh-or-cry moments from our first fortnight as a full time travelling family
And here’s some fun moments that I didn’t post on Facebook:
- Elfie doing a poo in her trousers at a restaurant- the nicest restaurant we visited in our whole fortnight here- and shaking it out of her trouser leg.
- The eight hours I spent being bitten to death in an outdoor cafe because it had decent Wifi and I had to fix my corrupted iMovie libraries before it would let me make any videos.
- Patrick having a translation issue in a chemist and spraying himself head to toe in bug-killing spray (the kind you spray on the bugs to kill them dead) instead of mosquito repellant. “My whole body feels like an ice burn,” he said dolefully.
- Our balcony being COVERED in poo every morning because some huge birds have some kind of fun faeces party out there. It’s disgusting.
- Ants getting into our fridge, our clothes and my MacBook. Yep, they are Apple fans.
Travel is HARD. It’s physically and emotionally draining, the kids have been freaking hard work and emotional and we’ve had rubbish sleep. There have been soaring, euphoric moments of beauty and connection and wonder at everything around us and our relationships as a family, and there have been times when we want to smother each other in honey and leave each other out for killer bees.
We knew this would be a huge adjustment and the toll of these two weeks hasn’t been unexpected. I think we’ve done pretty well considering; Patrick and I have been married seven years, together for ten, and we’re well adjusted to getting on very well most of the time and having times where we just feel like huffing at each other every other second. We do apologies well. We’ve certainly fine tuned it this week!
We are moving from Ubud to Sanur on the coast of Bali tomorrow, and we can’t wait. A huge child-friendly beach with great snorkelling is just what we all need, some open space and sand and hopefully better Wifi at the next hotel so the kids can chat to their friends.
Full time travelling family life: How the kids have adjusted
Esmae, Eira and Elfie have done exceptionally well and we are very proud of them. We’d worked hard for a long time (actually since they were born) preparing them for this trip and it’s paid off. Elfie has been a dream, she’s only two and doesn’t understand what’s going on long-term. She’s just happy with an iPad and my boobs, whether that’s in London or Bali. She’s slept great and happily taken to swimming- she even snorkelled for a few seconds! So that’s been great.
Esmae and Eira have found it more difficult. It’s sunk in for both of them that their friends and love interests (yep, they have ‘boyfriends’) are back in the UK and they have been asking to see them a lot. We managed to Skype once with Esmae’s boo but the rubbish Wifi at the hotel meant we had to call in a restaurant, which was loud and chaotic and not ideal.
We’ll try and hook Eira up this week and both girls have been doing pictures to send to their friends (via my WhatsApp) to give them a sense of connection. When we have better Wifi we will also try and set up some online games with their home friends, and the beach means other kids to play with. Yay!
Both Eira and Esmae have had tearful times this week missing home, and of course it is hard as a parent to see them upset. Thankfully they’ve been very accepting of our apologies about how un-child-friendly this part of Ubud is, and our suggestions for improving the situation at our next stop. They’re incredibly gracious kids and we are very thankful for that.
I wanted to write this for two reasons. One is to give families who are considering travelling a realistic idea of what they can expect when they make the move. The last thing I want to do is sell a pipe dream.
The other is to just be real about our family and life in general. Instagram and other social media channels, as I’ve said, show a lot of the glitz and glam of life and personally have made me feel inadequate about my life before. I would hate to be the source of that feeling for anyone, so there you go. Next time you’re feeling a bit rubbish, remember that we argued about mangoes, we had to deal with a poo in a tree-house restaurant, and that Patrick is coated in toxic bug spray.
Finally, I guess the ultimate question after our first two weeks as a full time travelling family is: Is it worth it? Has all the hassle of the last fortnight been outweighed by the positives?
Absolutely. This time was never going to be just fun and games, but we have already had some incredible experiences (more about them soon) and this trip still feels completely right. See our post on why we wanted to take our kids travelling full time for our long-term motivations and hopes behind this trip.
Soon I’ll be popping up more posts about Ubud including the best restaurants in the area, a hotel review and things that we think you should absolutely never do when you come to Bali!
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Thank you so much for reading, we really appreciate every one of you and if we can answer any questions or help you in any way, please let us know!
Peace and love,