Families that love travelling together will tell you about all the positives of doing this. Learning experience, time together, no domestic drudgery etc. etc. However, where there is positives there are consequently negatives. And not necessarily things that you would have anticipated either.
So the things that are a bit of a challenge:
Lack of friends
Although we have three children and they play very well together and are not necessarily missing anything, they are not making friends with random children. Quite often we are not long enough in a place to make friendships and also there is a language barrier. So they do get bored of each other which means that they do fight sometimes. Not more than at home, but as I am around them all the time I see it more.
First aid kit use
At home, we know exactly what they can and cannot do and therefore seem to have relatively little accidents. We go to the same places so when they can conquer a climbing frame you can expect them be safe. Combined with a colder climate that requires wrapping up a bit more and so their knees and what not are more protected. Oh and the UK is a bit health and safety mad so there isn’t exactly that much to trip over, fall off and so on. In Central America we are continuously confronted with hazards and we are going through plasters like nobodies business. Nesta has lost a nail, Bella has a few bumps on her chin from falling flat on her face a few times and Amy seems to be good at tripping up and has bruised and scraped knees. It almost seems like we come from such a protected country that they have stopped recognising hazards.
Nobody suddenly has a personality transplant
So, everybody is still exactly the same. The whiney kid still whines and the shy kid is still shy. The stressy parent is still stressed and the impatient parent is still impatient. If anything, being in unfamiliar places these personality traits are quite often amplified and certainly don’t get better. It isn’t necessarily a major problem but if you are thinking that family members are going to be different and/or better when you travel, you are most definitely wrong. People react exactly the same as they do at home, you are just somewhere else. Hopefully somewhere more interesting!
Although we are having the time of our lives at the moment, it is not some continuously heavenly experience where you never have to deal with reality. Certainly not. However, we do see and do some things that we wouldn’t be able to do at home. I’ll take the whiny kid(s) and impatient parent (me) happily with me.