As the start date of our big family road trip nears, so does the need to get prepared. Packing for 2 parents and 12 children is no mean feat for a week away. Packing for 2 parents and 10 children for nine weeks on the road (the oldest two kids are not joining us) takes a little more organisation.
With little over five weeks left before we set off we have suddenly felt the urgent need to send off Isobel’s passport application. The minibus is due its MOT within the next couple of weeks and our main concern is whether it will pass and if not, how much is it likely to cost us to ensure it does. God forbid, should anything go wrong with it which we cannot repair, it would put an abrupt and disappointing end to our travel plans. To say we would be devastated would be an understatement.
My love of spreadsheets is proving once again to be not only useful but, quite frankly, a mandatory necessity in ensuring we try to keep on top of things. As we have not only the usual holiday and travel packing to consider, but also supplies for the children to continue their home education (as if a nine week road trip through France and Italy won’t be an education on its own merits!), and for me to continue working whilst on the road. The things we get to do and see will depend on the earnings I make whilst we travel. Our budget is extremely low, in fact at the moment it is virtually non-existent, so we are very much winging it!
I am fortunate that, as long as wi-fi is present – as it is in all the places we are staying at – I can continue to write and work no matter where in the world we are. Such good fortune and flexibility we do not take for granted, not for one second, but putting our complete faith into having a minimal budget to leave with and depending on work continuing to come in is somewhat terrifying, not least because we’ll be out of our comfort zones and away from all we know and are familiar with.
Still, our attitude is ‘Screw it! Just do it!’ – what’s the worst that can happen? (Maybe we ought to emblazon that phrase on the side of the minibus?). All accommodation is paid for, and we will have enough money for food and fuel. The rest doesn’t matter. So what if we can’t do the ‘paid for’ activities and visit the fee-paying places?
Surely there is enough beauty in the areas we are staying in which are free to look at? We could be afraid from experiencing things because ‘it isn’t the right time’, or because ‘we need more money’, or because of a million and one other excuses we could certainly come up with, but if we go through life on that basis the danger is we will never experience anything. I don’t want my children to be afraid of chasing a dream because of all the what-ifs and excuses. I want them to know that there is a big, huge world out there, and so much to do and experience and learn, whether it’s on their own doorstep or further afield. Excuses can be plentiful but sometimes the only way you get to realise your dreams is by taking a chance and just doing it, even if it’s not considered sane or normal or responsible. Some may say that a nine week road trip with ten children, nine of whom are under the age of ten years might be reckless. We say: we can continue life thinking about doing it or we can go ahead and just do it. If you prepare as best you can for what you want to do, then do it!
Yet still, despite the need to show the children that adventure is great, I need to make sure we have everything we need – if only for peace of mind, given that my knowledge of Italian will not take me as far as requesting an SD card. Who am I kidding? I barely know how to greet someone! Perhaps I ought to add a crash course in the language before we leave? Or should I just tell the children that we are on a mission to learn to speak as much as we can on our trip?
We will be sharing our trip with you right here on Larger Family Life as we travel. We also plan to upload videos too, sharing our journey and the things we do and experience. For now, I’m back to checking out things to do and places to see – and creating more spreadsheets, of course!
If you would like to know more about our road trip through France and Italy or have any questions or media requests, please email Tania and Mike at email@example.com.