Cancun NOT Hobbit Compatible

A couple of days ago we reluctantly leaving Peru and heading North to Cancun.

I’m just going to cut and paste my Trip Advisor review of one of the MANY ordeals (this one is about the hotel we were originally booked in) we have had here.

We are winding up a two month long tour of South and Central America. We came to Cancun to see Chichen Itza and relax on the beach.

We came from Cusco-Lima-Panama-Cancun on COPA air (which was a pretty good airline actually).

We waited for nearly two hours to get our luggage while dogs barked and drug squads did their thing on the tarmac. Then we waited another two hours while every single bag got searched (including ours). The customs lady was absolutely lovely and polite, and even a little apologetic, but we were not impressed.

Then we got picked up for a transfer to the hotel that our travel agent (the same travel agent that put us on the Orient Express and booked us in at Eco Chic resort called the Inkaterra while in Peru) had arranged.

This is when the fun commenced.

We arrived to a frothing mass of scantily clad girls and sunburnt boys – all of whom were obviously three sheets to the wind after drinking heavily in the sun all day. This is not a problem, I was once young and stupid, and I think there should be a place – like University campuses and Miami Beach, and even some resorts in Cancun, for these kids to gather, BUT WE DON’T WANT TO PARTICIPATE.

The check-in staff was rude, and disinterested.

When we looked bemused and confused and asked her: “Is this normal?” She basically laughed at us and said: “Si – very normal”

Then we explained that we simply could not stay there, and she told us that our travel agent should have known and it is not her fault.

We reluctantly checked in and things went form bad to worse.

There was black mold in the corners and in the grout. The bath tub was chipped and gross. The plugs in all the sinks and bath were rusted. 

We always book a King Sized bed when we travel just myself and my husband, and a suite with a King Size when we travel with our children. We are not large people, we are probably considered quite tiny by North American standards, but since becoming grown ups, we have simply always had King Size beds.

We arrived in the room to find crusty “motel six” style linens on two small double beds which bowed in the middle. The sheets were pilled and kind of crunchy if that makes sense? 

After the ordeal at the airport we were weary and hungry. My gallant husband braved the throngs of loud, wasted and smelly teenagers and went downstairs to try and russell us up some food. He arrived to the only thing that was open – some “sports bar” buffet thing and found dried out hot dogs and hamburgers and tinder dry french fries. He is a vegetarian – and we have an aversion to disgusting food, so we went hungry and attempted to sleep in the filthy surroundings. We could not share a bed that night because THEY WERE TOO SMALL! And there was terrible roll-together.

The whole ordeal was surreal to say the least. We’ve met several people who have had similar experiences and were booked into this cesspit and once arrived were shaken down and had to upgrade their rooms and move to the Oasis Grand, at their own expense. 

I REPEAT: THIS IS A SHAKE-DOWN! If you are a grown up or have a family do not stay here. 

Needless to say, we checked out first thing in the morning and booked a lovely Ocean View room on the 6th floor of the Marriott – which was just 500 metres up the road.

We will not be back to Cancun. Ever. And we have plenty of other adventures to impart as to why this is. 

Looking very forward to flying out tomorrow, and we’ll have a virtually unlimited supply of stories to share with our friends and family when we get home. We will not be advising anyone we Love to visit here… there are thousands of wonderful, not corrupt, family and couple friendly places to go all over the world. Stay away from Cancun unless you enjoy being ripped off and swindled and forced to pay La Mordida over and OVER and over again on the Yucatan Peninsula. This is one of the worst places we have every been, and we’ve been traveling the world for decades. 

Go to a Pacific Islands, or Florida – ANYWHERE! Do not come to Cancun.

I do adore the Mexican people and sense of humour very much mind you. A feisty, funny and cheeky kind of humour that I find lovely and warm and refreshing. I wish I had more positive feedback to give on this place, sadly I do not. Seriously, just about anywhere is better than here. If tourists don’t come until they sort out their corruption issues, they will be forced to sort out their corruption issues.

I hope this helps someone – I could have used this advice a few days ago – or months ago before we booked!

16/1/13 in Cusco – Peruvian Promise

Not sure if it was mild altitude sickness, or just the desire to experience the awesomeness of Cusco, but today started for me at about 4:30am.

I ran a big bath, and planned the day ahead.

Thanks to Karma and friendship I managed to get in contact with an amazing woman who works for an NGO that helps place volunteers in safe and effective projects around the world.

This amazing woman has a particular soft spot for Peru – particularly for Cusco – and has many friends here and she got me in touch with one of them.  The man she put me in touch with helps run an amazing initiative here in the Cusco area.  Peruvian Promise, or Peruvian Hearts as it is sometimes called, gives support and scholarships to exceptional young women from poor or severely disadvantaged backgrounds.

You educate a man;  you educate a man.  Educate a woman; you educate a whole generation – Brigham Young

He also helps to support and rally for a local girl’s orphanage which I had the pleasure of stopping in to visit yesterday.  I was particularly impressed with the Sister who is running the show.  She was on the phone with the shuttle driver screwing him down to practically nothing to take the group of 7 pre-med University students who were volunteering at her orphanage.  Very impressed by her skills.

So today was spent running around Cusco to gather some supplies for the 21 scholarship girls involved with Peruvian Promise.  I learned A LOT about being patient and I basically lost my shit about three times because my Spanish is appalling and nothing, I mean NOTHING happens with any sort of precision or timeliness here.  In hindsight I acted like a right douche, but we got there in the end.  After half a dozen stops, three Dee meltdowns and numerous other small hiccups we managed to locate and purchase stationary and hygiene supplies for 21 beautiful and promising young Peruvian women.

We were joined by my friend’s BEAUTIFUL (think that super hot latino chick from the show Modern Family) wife – who was as warm, and friendly and patient (with me and my meltdowns) as she was stunning.

Here is a picture of my host and our hard fought booty that will all be distributed to the girls


After our shopping adventure, I came back to the hotel to rest and have lunch and wait for my wandering Hobbit husband to return from his group tour to some terraces outside of the city.

In yet ANOTHER massive juxtaposition – I sat in a monstrous King sized bed, in one of the most heavenly hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying at – and I thought about these girls, and the MILLIONS of people in the world who struggle and toil against great odds.  And I felt like a pretty massive douche bag.

Then I thought:

If everyone.  I mean EVERYONE who ever went anywhere or even while they were at home, did what they could to help the people around them – kinda like what we try and do wherever we go and also while we are home, then things would be very different.

Then I felt slightly less like a douche-bag and decided to go downstairs for some lunch.  Which was amazing.

Husband came back while I was out shopping for gifts and souvenirs.

I told him how much he spent, I told him about my day, and he was not surprised or bothered by either of these things.

I Love that man.

So after his bout of altitude sickness and a pretty rough day, he decided to go for a massage (which cost about $15.00 for an hour BTW) while I collected our laundry and got ready for our dinner date.

Our dinner date will stick with me as one of the best nights of my life for as long as I live.

All 7 American volunteers, and 21 Scholarship girls, and a young man who had three sisters go through the orphanage and one sister in the Peruvian Promise project, and a gorgeous little man about the same age as my son CAME OUT TO HAVE PIZZA WITH US!

Here is a picture of Steve meeting the girls as we arrived at the restaurant:


They bought me flowers and hugged me like we were sisters our whole lives, and I had to sneak out as soon a we had finished eating as I was about to burst into tears and feared they may not understand that this crazy Caniwi Hobbit is just nutty, and take that show of emotion as something frightful or out of place.

I can’t explain to you how joyful, beautiful, happy, welcoming and perfect these girls actually were.  AND FUNNY!  My Spanish is not great, and although their english was better, we could hardly have a conversation, but they gave it a great shot and laughed and giggled and snickered along with me and my sweeping arm gestures and bad charade playing attempts to communicate with them.

I’ll wrap this up now, as I fear I have lost your interest because this is such a long post.

Today taught me and showed me so much, not the least of which is that I am luckier and more blessed than my wildest dreams could ever have foretold, to be half of a team that has the means and the desire to do awesome stuff like this while we travel.  It also taught me that doing something FEELS AWESOME!  No matter how tiny or grand the gesture, reaching out to other people, even with a smile or a kind nod if that is all you can spare – well, it is perfection.

Thanks to all of you who suffered through this post.  Here’s a couple of final pictures of tonight’s dinner, and the beautiful flowers they gave to me.



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Last Day in Beautiful BA…

We’ve had a wonderful week here in Buenos Aires.

If there were ever a city designed to meet every whim and fancy of this eccentric little Hobbit, I do believe that BA might just be that place.Image

We sleep late or wake up early, as our bodies please.  We drink delicious (but STRONG) coffee and leisurely start the day.  

Walking in any direction yields beauty and adventure.

Then it is time for a siesta!


A nice long afternoon nap and then gently yawn and stretch our way back to life and venture out to see more of the city as it wakes up for to do what it is so fantastic at doing – giving us lots of beautiful and interesting people to watch and things to do!

My self esteem is at an all time high today, after countless Argentines have raised eyebrows, shared winks and other harmless flirtatious gestures in my direction.

I’ve been given some terrible advice, such as: “You must not even try to quit smoking, as life does not get any more interesting when you are old, so live fast, and die young because you are so beautiful!”  Not going to follow that rather politically incorrect advice, and you’ll be pleased to know the not smoking is going 100% effectively, provided it is tied in with the ongoing not drinking battle I fight… I digress…

Grumpy is fairly content himself, as the number of buxom and beautiful ladies in this town is staggering.  His favourite kind!  Although, he has said it is a bit like visiting the Louvre, and the first few pieces of amazing and perfect art are breath-taking, but after the hundredth one, you feel a bit “meh” about the beauty that surrounds you.  Seen one gorgeous, stacked South American lass, you’ve seen them all! (apparently)

We’ve done most of the top 10 list of must do’s in Beunos Aires.

The Evita trail sticks out for me of course. 

Aside from being arguably a corrupt Nazi sympathizer, I feel nothing but empathy and relatedness towards Eva Duarte.  She was driven, had something to prove, and married a man who had a great deal of power and influence, and boy did she RIDE that TRAIN!  

We differ in many ways of course.  I didn’t mean to marry a man with “influence”, I simply married the Geek of my dreams and then his software ship came in shortly after our wedding.  And I am not riding any train of power or influence.  Quite the opposite.  I am carving out a very separate life – and attempting to whole heartedly prove to myself and the WHOLE WORLD that I am capable of greatness, not because of his wealth or influence, but despite it.

Eva and I both share a desire to address and battle poverty and violence.  And these causes (along with the environment) are what I intend to spend the rest of my life working toward changing.  There is no need for anyone to be hungry on this planet, and there is no excuse for any human being to bully, abuse, neglect, or in any other way violate another person or creature. Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but it is true.

And in an absurd juxtaposition to that we had High Tea at the Alvean Palace.

We had a beer in Recoleta.

We ate Parilla (well, I did)

And we did a long list of other must do’s here in BA.

Yesterday was a very quiet day for us.

We slept and ate and ate and slept.

And due to the laziness of the day, I was plagued with a sleepless night.  I was well awake listening to the noises in the streets below until after 4:00am.

Our room phone rang, our television turned itself on and off… Basically a surreal and spooky night all around.  My beloved of course slept like a stone and the sweet sound of his rumbling snore added to the symphony on our last night.

Eventually I was rewarded for getting to sleep with a strange and bizzarre dream:

Picture this:

A Transilvania-esque castle on a cliff overlooking an ocean where pilot whales and dolphins regularly beach themselves.  This castle is populated by hysterical and formulaic characters that could have walked directly off the screen of an episode of “The Love Boat” or “Three’s Company.”  It was our (mine and Steve’s) job to fix what was broken between the lovers attending a vacation at the castle, and I was FOREVER running around and asking for people to help me put the whales and dolphins back in the water, but always ended up doing it by myself, and feeling really bad about the big ones I could not move.  The dream came complete with a Vaudeville style number (complete with Jazz Hands and expressive smiles) which proclaimed to any or all people complaining about their looks: “You’ve lost A LOT of weight, there’s no reason to self hate – cause you’ve looooossst aaaaallllllloooooot ooooo-ooo-ooooof WEIGHT!  AIN’T IT GREAT!”

So now I write my final Blog from magical Argentina.

I sincerely feel like this place was designed for me.  To teach me to slow down, Love myself, kiss my husband in public more (if that is even possible) and dance and smile – even if I am a terrible dancer.  


You’ve made me feel like I am Young and Beautiful.



The Blog About Friendship and Travel

S has been my best friend since the very first moment we met on my 17th Birthday, that nobody came to.

We’ve been through good times, great times, and picked each other up and carried each other through some of the darkest times in our lives.

He went and moved to Australia some years ago, and is equally crap at keeping in touch as I am, and he doesn’t even Facebook compulsively as I do. (Can you IMAGINE!)

In September 2010, only a short time after our third child (second son) was born, S and his girlfriend welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world.  And that baby girl is my God-daughter, little miss O.  She is a magical blessing to so many people.

So about a year ago when we were booking this trip of a lifetime, we knew that we would have WAY more fun if we had people to share the experience with, and S and A and O were not the first people we invited, because S has a very stressful job, and NEVER takes time off EVER, even at our son A’s christening he only took an afternoon away from work as that is all they could possibly spare him.

So we asked two other couples to join us, both of whom had very valid reasons for not being able to come along with us this time (again, work related responsibilities)

Having already inclined myself to the fact none of our inner circle of friends would be able to take a whole month away from work, we asked S and A.  They thought about it for a couple of days and DECIDED THEY COULD COME AND JOIN US!!!!

And I have not got the words in my vocabulary to tell you how glad we are that they did.

We had our fair share of hiccups and problems along the way during this trip.

The most obvious of which was S taking a nasty tumble down the steps on the cruise ship.  His lower back had a bump the size of two huge grapefruits on it, but he soldiered on.

He did not complain.

He did not slow down.

He did not blame.

He kept pushing us all to adventure on and see and do fun and exciting (and often delicious) things, as he enthusiastically trudged through streets and alleys looking for food and activities in every port of call.

And on Christmas eve, he and my husband had a two hour heart to heart, the upshot of which is my Best Friend FINALLY asking his gorgeous and fiery girlfriend to marry him!  I’d pulled out all the same discussions and suggested to him that taking the plunge was the right thing to do and he needn’t be nervous countless times.  Nothing.  But one evening with my husband and the deal was well and truly done.  Congratulations to them!  They will have a long and happy life together indeed!

The thing I am most grateful to him for is our last couple of days together.

The family got struck down with a nasty (but fast) tummy bug and I had spent three days mopping brows and nursing sick family members in turn.

So by the time we got to Buenos Aires, I was EXHAUSTED!

We holed ourselves up in the hotel room and had a nice long rest while S and A and O walked for hours and hours through the streets of this amazing city.

That evening, they came home to me in my jammies, not really considering going out, despite of the fact this is indeed the city of my dreams, and it has been a desire of mine to get here for 30 years!

After some convincing (and a few wines) we left all the children with my gorgeous Grumpy and off we went.

Thunder and lightening was rolling down the cobbled streets we were walking through at this point.




We ran through a downpour that was akin to having big ten gallon buckets of water thrown at you from close proximity.

And it was PERFECT!

A and myself were soaked to the bone by the time we got to a Parilla restaurant for a nibble.

We went upstairs to attempt (in vain) to dry off a little with the hot air hand dryer.

It wasn’t a particularly successful endeavour.

We had a magical few hours, got lost, laughed, talked, and made memories that I will cherish forever.

I have no words to accurately describe how grateful I am to them for being such wonderful and patient and positive travel companions.

Thank you guys.


The New Dress

I am a 34 year old mother of three.

I do not wear short skirts or tight dresses.

I wear a lot of loose, black things that hide the results of a life of excess and indulgence and child bearing/rearing.

If you’ve been following the blog lately, then you’ll know that the past few days have offered me some rather hefty blows to my sense of safety and self esteem.

Aside from feigning the tough girl attitude, my annoying and ongoing lack of self esteem has threatened to swing me into a bit of a tail spin.

Luckily, I am married to a perfect, sweet, romantic – who will not stand for my (or his) days being affected by negativity or pouting.

“Get up, we’re going to have some fantastic coffee.  After that, let’s go see Evita’s tomb and go shopping.”  Was this morning’s plan as we yawned and stretched our way out of bed after a brilliant and prolonged night of rest.

So off we went.

Despite telling you all I hadn’t given the whole ordeal another thought, I’ve been mumbling to myself and scuffing along staring at the footpath and feeling small and round and loud and generally uncool.

We made it to Recoleta and managed to see Eva Duarte’s tomb up close in between swarms of cruise ship tourists.

Then we went to the mall.

Malls in Argentina are similar to malls in NZ or the states or Australia or Canada or anywhere.  There are thin, well groomed and utterly disinterested store girls standing around looking bored and avoiding eye contact by examining their nails while you scan the racks for the item that you desire.

We managed to find one store with an enthusiastic sales girl who was kind and helpful.

Her Spanglish was not great and our EnglishyEspanole was inarguably worse.

We managed to arrange for me to try on two dresses and LOW AND BEHOLD one actually looked good.  Despite the fact it was small, and tight and my boobs were several sizes too big for it, my husband’s appreciative ogles convinced me to get the dress.

Chaos ensued when it came time to pay.

Our credit card would not work on the machine, so we ended up using the last of our american money to purchase the dress at a terrible exchange rate.

I traded in my black wool skirt and flowy black top for the dress in the dressing room and away we went.

In the short walk from the mall to the ATM (where we went to get money to avoid the confusion that had ensued when attempting to purchase my new dress) I was ogled twice and winked at once, all whilst holding hands with my husband who beamed to have such a tight little hottie on his arm.

The cab driver also had a nice look and after Steve left the cab, was kind enough to raise his eyebrows in a lascivious manner and say: “Muy Bonita.”  Thank you Mr. Cab Driver.

The truth is, I don’t hold a candle to the beautiful women here in Argentina, or probably most of the world.  But today, even for a short while, I feel young and hot and free to take on the world with my husband at my side.

So bring it on.

Blog again soon.




As I said, Haters Going to Hate… Mostly Hate How Happy I AM!

We came to Iguacu to see the falls.  Apparently the vast majority of tourists/travelers take a day trip across the Brazilian border to the side looking back at Argentina, as this is where the best views and most of the infrastructure are.

Let me tell you a little something about us.  We don’t do packages.  We don’t do tours.  We kinda fly by the seat of our pants and roll with the punches and let adventure happen to us.

We did not do that this time.

My husband arranged a very detailed and amazing itinerary through a travel agent, who assured us that everything was taken care of and our visas and details were all in order.

Turned out, this was not accurate.

The day we attempted to arrive in Brazil for a day tour was the day that something called “reciprocity tax” for every American, Canadian and Australian citizen was instated.

Problem one.

Canadian, American and Australian citizens also need a visa to enter Brazil.

Problem two.

We met our tour, which consisted of a miserable and complaining Kiwi couple, and a slightly less miserable and complaining Australian couple, and a very small green-eyed tour guide.

The tour guide asked me in the morning if I had my visa for Brazil.

I simply responded:

“Well I must do as this is a package deal and we were assured before we left that everything was in order.”

And away we went.

She then asked me about the reciprocity tax.

I parroted off the same response.

We were neither advised of, nor had the visas or reciprocity tax been handled.

So Argentina let me out of Argentina, and Brazil would not let me in.

Then I was stuck in no-man’s land as I had not paid the reciprocity tax yet, and the only way to do so was on-line and there was no Internet.

I had wasted about 30-40 minutes of the other traveler’s time by now, as the tour guide was stuck with no idea what to do about my paperwork.  At this point I insisted that I be let out of the bus to sort out the matter while the tour carried on.

As I have grown accustomed to, the Argentinians at the border, were typically relaxed, and basically pretty friendly.  They could not, however let me back in without my tax being paid, and the total lack on Internet connection made that impossible at the border.

A guide/translator was sent to meet Grumpy and myself, and they arrived, then had to leave.

Another translator arrived a while later and carried on with us through the adventure that ensued.

Grumpy had to get a lift into town, find an Internet café to complete and print the documentation.

He then found out that the office for the Brazilian Visa had a cut-off of 10am for applications, and it was already early afternoon.

We soldiered on.

All the documents were printed, and I am currently the proud owner of a 5 year reciprocity tax waiver document which is valid for multiple entries and exits to and from Argentina.

Against my advice, Grumpy called the agent even though it was 2:00am in NZ.

Nothing was able to be done until morning NZ time at any rate.

So we ran around, and had a lovely time getting to know our translator, and swapping stories about our experiences with different people, different cultures, different Spanish accents and dialects etc.  We have become firm friends, and as fate would have it, she is traveling to Australia and now, perhaps, New Zealand for a visit very soon.  We will stay in touch and have become firm friends.

After being dropped back at the hotel, we had a little pout then decided to go have a massage and a facial.

On the way up from the massage we ran into our tour.

The guide was exceptionally apologetic, and I feigned anger for as long as I could manage (about 30 seconds) and quickly explained that we firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and there would be a positive outcome, but MAN what a DRAMA!!

I later ordered some champagne to drown our sorrows and we spent the whole night hanging out with and talking to an intelligent, gorgeous and well traveled couple of cousins who lived in Belgium and Singapore and were traveling together.  Two more firm friends were made that day.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I also managed to convince Grumpy that we needn’t bother with Brazil at all this time and we found out that we were heading back to Buenos Aires!


The next day, we got up early enough to go for a walk around the falls on the Argentine side.

They were BEAUTIFUL!



Got back for the transfer ten minutes late as our flight was at 1:20pm and the pick up was at 10:30am and we got lost on the way back.

The miserable Kiwi woman huffed and puffed and rolled her eyes.

The tour guide checked in and found out that the we were indeed meant to leave at 1:20pm and her information was that the flight was at 12:15.

We were also delayed at least another hour and a half, so good thing we got there early!


In the airport lounge, while everyone was waiting together without air conditioning in the hot humid rain forest weather, the mean lady came up and verbally attacked me.

She said that everything was my fault, and I ruined her vacation and everyone on the tour and in the Hotel HATED me and she thought I should know that.  There were many more sweeping insults and when she took a breath I asked her:

“Do you feel better?”

And she said haughtily “YES I DO!”

And I replied: “well that makes me happy, because I like to know that people are happy.”

She then went to TOWN with her abuse and called me childish and stupid and a wide variety of other things.

My retaliation to this was:

“You are welcome to think all of that, and that makes me sad for you, but I know I am good and kind and beautiful and generous, and we made friends that appreciate us just the way we are while you complained.”

It was tough to be the bigger person.

At some point I also apologized for her situation and explained that the travel agent, tour guides and agency all accepted responsibility, and mistakes happen and we understood that.

She really actually hurt and scared me.

But now that she is gone and I am snuggled in writing words that will be read by people who I Love and respect, I feel like Karma and the universe work.  I feel quite sad for her and others like her who must complain and hold so much hate and anger and blame, blame, BLAME when they could be looking around for the good in situations.

At any rate.

We are safe and sound in Buenos Aires and have some great stories to share with everyone when we get home.

Life is wonderful, we are blessed, travel means things sometimes go wrong, and they sure did yesterday.

Still feel content, and grateful and ready for our next adventure.

Also kinda blown away by the effect I have and the hatred that people are capable of feeling towards me and my energy and positivity.

As I said to mean lady:

“People like you hating me, is actually a huge compliment, so thank you for that.”

And smiled and walked away.

And she’ll get no more of my thoughts or worry me another moment.  I doubt she’ll be able to do the same.

And I talked to over a dozen people from our cruise and our hotel as we waited together in that room.  And not one of them hated me.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  So she wasn’t just mean, she was grossly inaccurate.

See you all again soon I hope!


The Post About Travel with Children

The Blog about Traveling with Children

It is no secret that we spend a great deal of time traveling internationally, both with and without the kids in tow.

Up until recently, it was a necessity for Grumpy to travel for work purposes, and we’re not keen on being apart from each other for any length of time, so I’ve been tagging along for the last decade or so, and we’ve been bringing the kids more often than not.

Our children have taken their first international flights at 6 weeks, 8 weeks and 3 weeks old respectively.  So to us, and them, 12 hours on a flight isn’t at all extraordinary.  They’ve been through countless customs and immigration queues, and are better at dealing with the frustrations of the red tape and security theatrics than any of the grown-ups that travel with them.

If you’d like some practical advice on traveling with 1,2 or even more children, keep reading.

1)  Less is more.

I am a bit of a hypocrite where this rule is concerned.  I filled an entire plastic storage bin with Christmas gifts, supplies and miscellaneous junk in only two days while we were in San Francisco waiting to meet up with my mother in law and our friends before boarding the boat.

However, most of the stuff was only bulky due to packaging, or supplies that would be used up on the trip (diet dr. pepper, soy milk etc.)

I digress…

So my mother, who is an amazing attribute to have for myself and the children; as a trained teacher, and an enthusiastic and engaged grandmother, does not follow the mantra that less is more.  To her credit though, she has taught me over years and years of travel that having a well-stocked first aid arsenal is invaluable.More on that later.

She’s always packed for the kids on the trips that we take together.  And she does a much better job than I at ensuring they have matching and multi-purpose outfits to wear.  She has also always let them fill a whole carry on with toys and comforts from home.  THIS is her Achilles heel in my opinion.

Long haul flights have entertainment for the kids and the children sleep for most of the flight anyway.  So when I travel, I pack a bag full of pharmaceuticals and so forth, and a pillow and blanket and video games for each of the kids.  That’s it.  We often ditch the pillow at the first stop, as they take up a great deal of room.  But the blanket smells of home, and the pillow gives them something to sit on or lean against to get comfortable.

2)  Be prepared for suprises.

Travel throws you a lot of curve balls.  My son had glue ear that required 2 (and now 3) courses of antibiotics and sore ears and flying are a terrible combination.  Turned out that Adam was fine and Stephanie’s ear was the one that gave her grief.  Also, it was our first time on an oversold flight in Economy with all three of the children.

We coped.

And whatever you do and wherever you go, you will cope as well.  Be it on a two hour bus/car/plane or boat ride, or a marathon economy flight with a 23 month old on your lap from Auckland to London.  You will cope.  It may not seem like it at the time, but hang in there.

3)  Don’t sweat the small stuff

Things will get lost, forgotten, misplaced, misheard, misunderstood and generally not ideal things will happen from time to time while you travel.  Again.  Hang in there.  As long as you’ve got your ID and passport and the means to change yours and your family’s undies from time to time. You’re doing great.  Pat yourself on the back and carry on.

4)  Haters going to hate, so let them

Traveling with children will get you ALL sorts of evil eyes in all sorts of situations.  Just be the best parent you can be and haters can go get fucked.  Sorry for the profanity, but seriously, you can’t win with kid haters and miserable old people or baby hating professional wankers.

So carry on and be the best parent you can be.

The fact you are giving it a go and taking your kids around the corner and around the world makes you a fabulous and adventurous person and I commend you!

5)  Be considerate

Children will be children.  Sometimes this means tanties and noise and mess.  If you possibly can, even if you are in the plane or a confined space, take the offending child to a quiet place until they calm down, clean up after them and be gracious and apologetic if those around you are being understanding while you go through what every parent in the world goes through from time to time.

I could go on and on and on with advice, and if anyone wants to hear more, you’ll have to let me know by leaving me comments.

Be back soon guys.