The highs and lows of long-term travel with kids
We had a great two-weeks in Bali, spending Christmas and New Years in Ubud, a town in the island's uplands.
It was strange and a bit difficult to be away from friends and family, but we managed to make the holidays very special and certainly memorable.
LJ actually picked this destination. We let her chose between Sri Lanka or Bali and she opted for the latter. We even let her pick our Airbnb (after I came out with four suitable and affordable options). She loved having a big say in our adventure and she made a great choice.
Bali attracts A LOT of tourists and gets a lot of attention so I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to the hype.
But it blew me away. This island is absolutely stunning!
Family travel challenges
But after Bali…Half way through our one-year adventure…
We hit a slump.
LJ has been doing amazingly well during this trip. Far better than we expected. She’s such a trooper -- so brave and so willing to try new things and meet new people.
But…after having had to leave her awesome life in Goa and with the excitement of Bali and a trip to Legoland behind her, she grew fed up, tired, frustrated and lonely once we hit Kuala Lumpur.
There are lots of fun things to do in KL, but we didn’t love it. It’s a big city with lots of high-rises and highways and unfortunately, we couldn’t walk anywhere from our Airbnb, which meant spending a lot of time in a car stuck in traffic. We are use to walking a lot and not being able to wander outside was harder on us than we expected. LJ also hated living in a highrise. We’ve learned she much prefers simpler, quiet places that are close to nature.
We've also learned we don't like being in a place for only a week because it doesn't allow for enough downtime.
The kid had a tough time for a couple weeks and I don’t blame her. We’ve asked a lot of her over the last six months and it hasn’t always been easy. Spending 24/7 with your parents in always changing and unfamaliar surroundings is hard for an adult, let alone an eight-year-old.
I was even feeling in a slump. I was tired, worried about my LJ, missing the rhythm of our life in Goa, and wanting to go back to some sort small-town simplicity.
All three of us were rather tense and it was kind of the perfect storm…with a strong enough wind to knock us from our high and bring us crashing to the ground.
But, we picked ourselves up, hopped on a train to the island of Penang, Malaysia and got things back on track.
Since arriving in Penang two weeks ago things are definitely looking up. We can walk, we have a backyard, we've made some friends, LJ is playing soccer twice a week, and she even twice cooked us a fabulous dinner.
Turns out this kid really just needs three things and she’s a happy traveler -- kids to plays with, an occasional kitchen to cook up some mac n’ cheese, and time to kick her soccer ball.
How else do we help her cope?
10 ways to help kids manage long-term travel
Ubud, Bali with Kids
How to get to Ubud, Bali
Where to stay in Ubud, Bali
What to do in Ubud, Bali