We made it. The last 3 weeks have been truly manic but I’m sitting on flight BA249 to Rio with everything we need for a family gap year:
- My family
- Several credit and cash cards
- A pin cushion of vaccinations
- A sense of adventure
Rest assured we have a few other bits and pieces in our rucksacks but these are conveniences as you don’t want to buy new socks or toothbrushes each day, you wouldn’t get much else done.
4 hours to we land and Mo is sleeping, curled up on two seats, luxury! Ben, Zoe and Lara seem happy but I put this down to in flight movies, gifted sweets (if you eat them your rucksack will be lighter) and friendly flight attendants pandering to their every whim.
I am still trying to answer the top question from the last few days of goodbyes, ‘How do you feel?’. I have been too busy to even think about it and even reflecting now it is difficult to process. It still seems like ‘a good idea’ and logically you can easily justify our travels as spending time with the children, the adventures, world education and languages etc. My heart also says these things but there are many unknowns which make me apprehensive.
I think it is the South American thing. Many experienced travellers have it on their ‘list’ but not many seem to go; too far, too dangerous, too unknown? I have amazing memories from the time I spent here but that was 20 years ago and there were a few scary moments but you can have these anywhere in the world even at home. I think it is travelling with young children along with a dose of old age (maturity?) that is making me more cautious.
I also think that we are stepping outside the norm for family travel as we have found very few family blogs for S America, no organised trips for kids, only adults and even the plane has no other children who don’t look Brazilian. Luckily I have a feeling getting off the beaten track could be the making of the trip!
We have our first few nights booked in an apartment near Ipanema so we can relax and get a feel for what to do next. Better start reading that Lonely Planet which I glanced at a week ago. Tellingly it fell open at the highlights page and the Amazon boat trip from Brazil through to Ecuador. The Lonely Planet verdict, ‘hard core’, are they just pandering to armchair travellers or do they really mean it, maybe we shall have to find out?
A big thanks to everyone who helped us over the last few weeks we couldn’t have done it without you!