It’s almost 2 weeks into our 6 week road trip and the constant barrage of noise and action of the US is slowly starting to seem normal. We have “only” covered 3 states – New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware – while staying with friends, which was an intentional slow start to the trip surrounded by familiar and friendly faces. So far we’ve covered roughly 950 miles, which isn’t that much but the reality of living out of suitcases and a car is starting to sink in, along with some “What have I done?!?!?”.
Interesting to see the kids faces as they see new places, different customs, like unlimited drinking water, which is unbelievable if you grew up in Anguilla, a country without a water system that relies on rain water being collected. One of my favorite moments of flying here was one of the girls asking who they had to ask and pay to have a drink from a water fountain at the airport. “Free? As much as you want????”
(Manhattan elevator pic with dog we were *this* close to kidnapping)
One of the many reasons I wanted to do a 6 week road trip with the kids was ‘cause I didn’t want them to not be intimidated in times of uncertainty (which is pretty much all the time) and I didn’t want them to be afraid of making decisions, right or wrong. I want them to trust their information gathering and problem solving skills to feel comfortable navigating in life, to keep that sense of adventure and not be afraid to experiment.
And mainly, I wanted them to be there as we (hopefully) find our new home, to navigate along with me on our way from New York City to Orlando. Sure, picking a place to move to on my own and informing the kids of their new home seems easier but also rather uncomfortable if you reverse the situation. How would you feel if someone told you that your new home in another country was going to be called ________ (fill in the blank place you’ve never heard of) and you had no way to know what it looks like, feels like, smells like?
But doing a road trip where each of the kids got to navigate, each getting a chance to decide which direction we’d go in – South, East or West – would mean that they each would be part of how and why we got to our eventual new home. Also, it would save me from having to sell them on our new place, which seemed like a win-win.
And even if we don’t end up finding a place, I figured spending some time together trying new things and help each other cope with problems we’ve not encountered before would be good for us, but especially the kids who have had to work through things such as how to deal with missing a flight on our way here (check). They’ve also had to do online research on things to see along our travels (check) while also considering the budget and sometimes making tough decisions because something costs too much (check). I wanted them to be in situations they don’t know how to deal with like ordering room service (check) or using online tools to find a grocery store in the middle of Manhattan (check).
I was hoping for the lengthy and sweet conversations where the girls ask the boys all about American schools and what having a locker and a cafeteria is like (check). And I wanted to let the kids know that I too constantly learn new things, which was surely evident in my sheer look of panic while driving on the right in Manhattan (check) in our new car that we bought hours after landing (check).
In the end, I consider my only job as a parent to teach my kids how to make decisions and solve problems in my absence when dealing with the colorful mix of rainbows and crap that life tends to dish out. I don’t want my kids to be afraid of life, to be too scared to make decisions and I desperately want them to feel capable of moving around this World like they belong in it.
And they do belong in it.
Now if we could only figure out where….