No really, a proper vacation. My parents flew out to meet us in Italy and we took a 2 week break from our family RTW trip and went on a true European vacation, visiting Italy, France and Spain.
I can hear your thoughts through the screen, "But you are on a year long vacation!" Yes, I see your perspective, we on a long trip and we are not working, but going away for a year is quite different then a typical vacation. Although I love our Big Trip, I would never use the word holiday or vacation in describing our year long travels.
But on vacation, much of the logistics are already pre-planed and that is exactly what my dad did for our two week road trip. He found us great accommodations, arranged for a car which could fit all 6 of us, sketched out possible driving routes, and read up on the local foods and activities in the areas to which we traveled. It was wonderful having a break from the responsibility of those sorts of arrangements for a short while.
Without the need to plan or keep a budget and with my parents to help with the kids, I went into full vacation mode.
And what a sojourn it was. We stayed in beautiful accommodations
and ate over-the-top delicious food.
It is not like they are unaccustomed to being with Yoda and Zuki for an extended time. We usually spend a few weeks a year with my mom and dad, either at their home on the mainland or ours in Hawaii and we are all really close. They are also very comfortable with international travel, which they do quite a fair bit of in their retirement.
Traveling with kids is oh so different then traveling alone or as a couple. We have adapted our travel style over the last 5 months, constantly making adjustment with the changing rhythms and situations, and seeing how things rarely remain the same as we move across the globe, we will continue to readjust.
My mom and dad's visit in the middle of our year-of-travel made this time different than any other we had ever spent together and provided them a window into our current life as a nomadic family, which is rather impossible to truly grasp without actually experiencing it.
Perhaps my fondest memory of the two weeks together is of this unbelievable, full sensory overload, art exhibit we stubbled upon when my dad's GPS must have been set on "scenic" rather then "direct." Carrieres de Lumieres's temporary exhibit "Klimt and Vienna", in Les Baux-de-Provence, was just a few minute drive from out 2 night accommodations in France. I had been feeling somewhat neglectful, not exposing the kids to very much formal art while in Europe. When I saw the larger-than-life projections of Klimt's work I knew that this was one I needn't worry about holding the kids' interest.
But all those feelings vanished at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that we stumbled upon on our drive from Baux-de-Provence, France to Cardona, Spain.
And who could ever forget our makeshift picnic dinner overlooking the blood moon rising above the Cardona castle in Spain.
But I had to snap out of my teenage-self fast and get back to co-piloting this traveling tribe.
It ended up to be great timing that we had arranged to stay a few days with our friends from RV Heraclitus, the ship of dreams, on which both Kiko and I sailed to wild places around the world in what sometimes seems like a previous life. The ship is currently in dry dock in Spain.
If you can find anyone old enough to remember the Costa del Sol before the bulldozers arrived they’d probably say it looked a bit like Cabo de Gata.