Some thoughts from the island of Saint Lucia before we move on…
So we’ve had it pretty easy so far. Saint Lucia’s chilled vibe has rubbed off on us and we’ve officially moved onto island time. The girl’s 8:00am to 3:00pm school routine gives us about the right amount of structure we need in our day. After school drop off and the mandatory bottle of coconut water from the street vendors, our mornings consist of coffee, hanging out with Gemma, a bit of light exercise, some reading & writing and a swim.
The villa we’ve been staying in is slightly off the beaten track so we rented a vehicle (at $ 35 a day) which enables us to pop out and check out a bit of the island if we want to before we pick the girls up again. As I discover more and more reggae music that I like, as well the mandatory evening bottles of cold Piton beer, things have begun to feel a little too easy. This is what we were looking for though, this is Slow Travel but maybe it’s time for a bit of a change?
Looking back, The US was pretty easy too. There were the occasional challenging times and the car journeys sometimes felt long but on the whole, with an air conditioned rental vehicle, accessible motels and a well drilled camping pack-up/pack-down routine it was never too difficult or stressful. Should family travel be this easy? I’m starting to feel guilty. Should I feel guilty about this and importantly should I feel guilty about feeling guilty? The truth is, the ease of it all and the time that we’re all having does sometimes makes me feel this way. Alongside my newly found lack of purpose in life, it is sometimes hard to make sense of it all. I appreciate that these times are possible to a large extent down to the hard work and character of my business partner and colleagues who are working hard back at home. I appreciate the “time off” doesn’t come without its bi-products and I’m grateful for those that help facilitate it.
I reconcile this against the fact that I put a lot into our business for the last 10 years. As a family we saved hard for this opportunity and this really is the once in a lifetime opportunity that comes along, well, once in a lifetime.
In some ways this context provides us with exactly the right backdrop for what lies ahead over the next few months as we’re about to ramp up the difficulty stakes in terms of our family’s travel. No more villas with a view, no more rental vehicles or leisurely school Dad routines. What lies ahead is the challenge of taking our family backpacking around Asia. I think the real challenges of being on the road with an 8, 5 and 3 year old are about to kick in. I expect stifling heat and humidity, shared dorm rooms, tuk-tuks, constant negotiation with the locals, cramped public transport, mosquito nets and increased awareness for fear of being scammed. Bring it on!
Starting with Sri Lanka then onto Cambodia and Vietnam and hopefully some other remote corners of Southeast Asia, in some ways I’m hoping that some of the challenges Asia will throw at us will help put these feelings of complacency behind me. I’m not saying I want us to struggle or run into problems but I hope this section of our travel will test us in terms of our planning, resolve, patience, relationships and discipline. It’s not gonna be easy but I feel that’s what we need right now.
For now though, we still have a couple of days left so time to turn up the volume on Cocoa Tea’s greatest tunes and open another Piton. One love, one life….