We are currently on the countdown to our dream family holiday to the USA.
In 31 days we will be leaving the comforts of home and embarking on a 24 day odyssey from Los Angeles on the west coast, over to Orlando on the east coast and then finishing off with a cruise around the Caribbean (as you do!)
We are all very excited as this represents the holiday of a lifetime for us. To be honest, it would be the holiday of a lifetime for many families. Among all the sights to see, we are heading to the mecca of all things sacred to children – Walt Disney World. Although I’m really not sure who is more excited by that prospect – the kids or Nathan and I!
While there is so much to be excited about, there is also much to plan and worry and think about. A trip of this length and distance does not come together in the blink of an eye and we have done A LOT of work to make sure we are all as prepared and as ready as possible for the adventure to come.
We had always wanted to travel but initially a lack of money then the arrival of kids and then the realisation of what special needs parenting entailed all put our travel plans on the backburner. We still went on outings and holidays within NSW and even down to Melbourne but it seemed that overseas travel was always going to be beyond our reach.
I’m not sure what changed our mind and first sparked our interest in seriously considering overseas travel as a family. It could have been an idea that came to us after we finally moved into our forever home. It could have been a concept that started to seem more possible and achievable once our son settled into mainstream school. It could have even been the beginnings of a mid-life crisis for one or for both of us!
Whatever sowed the seed, once we started considering the possibility of biting the bullet and taking the chance on a trip away, we couldn’t let it go. We initially wanted to travel to the US or to Europe but we realised that the kids had never been on a plane before – perhaps it would be more prudent then to start our travels a little closer to home?
So last January we headed off to New Zealand for 10 days. We were physically ill the night before we flew out, wondering what we had let ourselves into and hoping against hope that all would be well. It was the biggest chance we had ever taken as a family – financially, psychologically and emotionally. It was a huge step for us.
But apart from a few hiccups on the first day, the holiday was a breeze. Our kids enjoyed exploring and finding out about the places we visited. They loved being able to refer to a reference guide we made especially for them so they knew what would be happening on each particular day.
We learned that we could travel as a family. We discovered that we were happier when we were all together, sharing in the adventure. This was a far cry from our initial fears that we would want to murder each other two days into the trip!
Our upcoming odyssey is taking things to another level, there’s no doubt about that. We’re moving from a 3 hour plane trip to a 13 hour marathon. We are more than doubling our nights away and there will be the stress of negotiating multiple forms of transportation, theme park crowds and, of course, jetlag.
It’s going to challenge us all over again but this time around I am not quite as terrified.
Although I possibly should be…
Have you enjoyed an awesome holiday as a family? Any tips for our upcoming adventure?