Europe road trip, first musings

We’re having a wonderful time in stunning Switzerland and here are a few things I’ve learned so far on our Europe road trip..

1. Apply insect repellent the second you get out of the car to pitch your tent in the late afternoon after a long journey. You will regret the failure to do so. *scratches*

2. If you’re planning to take lots of scenic video whilst driving, remember to fill up your screen wash before leaving home. Videos complete with dead flies and smears have a somewhat less romantic vibe.

3. If you pitch your tent on the slightest slope you will all wake up in a heap the next morning.

4. One-application sun cream is a thing made by angels in heaven.

5. Invest in a cheap tray table from Ikea for each of your children. They will then colour or play for the majority of your lengthy car journeys, without the need for any electronic entertainment*

*I absolutely cannot guarantee this in the case of your children, or for any future journeys with our children. In fact I have almost certainly jinxed it now.

Our Europe road trip route

Some details of the rough route we’ve sketched out for our imminent adventure round Europe are over on my other blog, Growing Spaces, today so please head over there to add your tips and advice!

Hello freckles

Fonz Freckles before | Young & YoungerOne of my absolute favourite things about Spring? We get outside, and almost immediately Fonz’s nose gets a sprinkling of the most gorgeous freckles. His skin is so fair that even the most subtle of freckles, which these are, jump out at me, and I fall madly in love with every, single tiny little one. They make my heart flutter.

I managed to persuade him to pose for a photograph on the promise that we would compare a picture of his freckles now with a picture of his freckles after our Europe road trip. All that time outside – I just can’t wait to see his brown-as-a-berry face come July.

FYJVLT~L

EH466G~EEven though Ez only has a few of the very palest freckles, she insisted on having her picture taken too, and it will be great to compare her before and after photographs as well.

ERXMR0~HAnd as an aside… do my children have gorgeous eyes or what?!

 

Our Europe road trip

Last night we finally booked our crossings over to France, and we leave for Europe in six weeks’ time.

I feel like we’re really embracing our word for 2014, ‘Explore’. Our trip to New Zealand was incredible, and I can’t believe we’ll be off on another adventure very soon. It’s going to come round so quick! We’ve done little-to-no planning, but we have a rough route sketched out and part of the challenge for me is to cut loose, and wing it a little more.

We’re taking advantage of this last year where we aren’t tied to the school holidays, and heading off for the whole of June. The car will be packed to bursting, and we’re going to make our way round Switzerland, Italy and France (and maybe Germany) with our trusty family tent. Four weeks of sleeping under canvas (or whatever it is that tents are actually made of these days) on sleeping mats. Part of me is totally thrilled, and part of me wonders if I’ve completely lost the plot.

The main thing I’m looking forward to (apart from all the fun we’ll have together) is being outside pretty much 24/7 for over four weeks. Fresh air, sunshine (I hope), nature, all that open space.

30 days, three countries (maybe four), lots and lots of miles, plenty of stunning scenery and some awesome memories I hope.

Around the campfire | Young & Younger

Travelling alone with kids

Flying solo | Young & Younger

Although I love travelling, I’m not the most confident person and so have never gone away my own, and definitely lean on my husband Ben when we go abroad. He’ll normally sort all the practical stuff – loading luggage, sorting out the hire car or campervan, booking day trips, even the food shopping. So taking the kids all the way to New Zealand without my wingman was definitely a huge step out of my comfort zone.

Three of us | Young & Younger

Not only were there the flights to manage (to be fair we flew out with my parents so I wasn’t completely alone on the outward journey), but I also wanted a hire car so we could travel round easily while we were there (luckily they drive on the left too in New Zealand or I’d have had to overcome a HUGE fear of driving on the other side of the road) and then there was just the general need to face up to managing our trip and being responsible for two four-year-olds, 11,772 from home.

Me and them | Young & Younger

It felt like a rite of passage, going solo. Obviously I was never really alone as I had the twins with me, but as the sole adult in our little team I was the boss for the trip. I had hoped that it would leave me feeling empowered, and luckily I was right, it did. Of course we spent a lot of time with family members out there, and we missed Ben like crazy, but I actually found that I revelled in going it alone, actively seeking to carve out time when we could branch off from the rest of the family so it would be just the three of us. It wasn’t all sunshine and smiles, it was challenging at times and there were moments when the twins did my head in, but on the whole I loved it. I wish we could have stayed longer.

My holiday essentials | Young & Younger

On the TSS Earnslaw | Young & Younger

Mainly I just feel incredibly lucky to have had this amazing opportunity not only to travel to the other side of the world, but to have spent this time with my children. We’re counting down the months until they start school, and I am really aware how precious the time we have together is. I loved sharing this experience with them, and the memories we made on it will stay with me (and hopefully them too) forever.

 

 

To read more about what we got up to while we were away, click here.