Isn’t the interweb a wonderful thing? On looking online for some information about travelling families and their experiences of educating kids on the road, I came across the Prince family blog site. They are a family of 6- mum, dad and four kids- who are travelling across the globe, mainly by using house-swapping as a means of staying in lots of interesting places. Their kids seemed a similar age to ours and as it happened, they were in Sydney over Christmas too. I wondered, would it be weird to contact them and see if they fancied a festive meet-up? I guessed we didn’t have much to lose and duly sent an email, introducing ourselves with a link to the blog, so they could judge for themselves whether they wanted to meet our crazy family. And I was pleased to receive a reply the next day. We arranged to meet up in Centennial Park, central Sydney. Dan assured me we’d know who they were, as he’d be wearing a top hat and full dress jacket, with a white carnation in the breast-pocket. I guaranteed to him that they’d probably hear our family coming, long before seeing us. So the date was set.
We had a great day. After a brief play in the park, with the kids taking it in turns to climb a tree (Rosie got stuck pretty high up, which ensued an interesting rescue by me, in flip-flops…), Dan and Clair offered us to come back to theirs and check out their gorgeous house-swap home in Paddington, and stay for a lunch-time BBQ. The kids were thrilled, as this meant they could all play Minecraft together with the free, unlimited wifi, and also show each other their Christmas presents. It was a split-level house and we didn’t see or hear from the kids again until the food was ready and then again when it was time to go home! Us grown-ups sat outside, drinking Lady Grey tea (yippee!) and swapping stories. It was a relief to hear Dan and Clair agree how tricky it is to get a seven year-old to sit down and write something interesting – whatever the resources offered to make the process as interesting as possible! We also swapped other tips: we suggested they try out a Youth Hostel or two, on the next stage of their trip to New Zealand. The Princes, having already travelled extensively in Thailand, gave us some good info. about what food would be child-friendly for the kids to enjoy in South East Asia and also shared with us that they were allowing their older girls to play Minecraft, but only if they spent the time building Thai temples and other relics from places on their travels… Nice one!
It was fun and a nice experience to meet another family in a similar situation to us. I think Ruben and Rosie really appreciated meeting other travelling children and we certainly enjoyed hearing stories from 2 other normal folk, who seemed to understand and be experiencing a lot of the same parenting issues we have along the way… Thank you guys – I’m so glad I sent that email and we got to meet you all!