We have officially been on the road for one month. Here are some thoughts about our experience so far.
It still feels like a vacation. As a professor, Rand has 5 – 7 weeks off every summer, so we are used to being on vacation for this long. And when we vacation, we travel. Traveling is different from what some people consider a vacation. No sitting on a beach with a mojito in hand for us. We live in Hawaii so we do that at home. Minus the mojito. So right now it still feels like we will go back to our regular life in a few weeks. It is hard to believe that we will still be traveling a year from now.
This is what I look like. With no hairdryer or curling iron (I am already carrying 15kg/33lbs of stuff, so some things had to be left at home) and 33C/90F heat and humidity that makes make-up melt off your face the moment you leave the hotel, I am learning to accept that this is how I look and how I will look for the next year #Iwokeupthisway…
Family travel does not allow for much alone time or privacy. For the most part all five of us are staying in one room. We have had to come up with vocal codes (dum da, da, dum!) to alert the others to look away when we want to change clothes. Yes, we could change in the bathroom, but since we are in Asia and the showers are in the same space with the toilet, the floor is usually wet. And we could just say, “Hey, I’m going to change now.” But what fun would that be.
Not only do we have no privacy while changing, but we also get no time to be alone. My oldest seems to be suffering with this the most. At home, she has her own room, so she is used to having her own space. Also, she doesn’t not enjoy it when I wander around the room in my underwear or when Rand yells at the computer when it’s not working properly.
I don’t get much alone time at home, but I usually get a little time everyday when the kids are playing outside and Rand is at work to be alone with my thoughts. I have missed having some time to be by myself. Today, Rand left to meet his students and we have a separate room from the girls for the next 2 nights, so I had 45 minutes to be totally alone for the first time in a month. It was glorious.
Our family gets along pretty well. Despite jet lag and busy days and homesick 17 year olds (well, one homesick 17 year old) and no alone time and irritatingly slow internet, we have managed to get along as well as if not better than we do at home. We have had to have patience with each other and make jokes when things go awry. If the amount of inside jokes we have accumulated so far are any indication, things have not always gone smoothly.
Will we be able to handle traveling for a whole year? So far it has been fun. At the beginning of the trip, we pushed ourselves hard to see all that we wanted to see in Taipei, Singapore, and Malaysia before we needed to be in Bangkok to meet up with the students Rand wI’ll ne working with. I doubt that we will be able to keep up that pace for a year. We are figuring out how to balance doing everything we want to do with some down time. We are coping with the privacy issue, by occasionally getting separate rooms (usually it costs more). And I am dealing with my new beauty regime by making the ponytail my favorite hairstyle. But I still wonder how we will deal with travel being our new reality for the next year.
One month down. Twelve more to go!