Making A "Home" On The Road
We are officially a location independent family now and some of you have asked me what we do to make the girls feel stability in our life in transit. Like most things in life, it is something that we are still figuring it out but in general here are some things that help make things feel "normal" no matter where we are.
We Stick To Routines
There are a few things in life that just need to be done regardless of where in the world you happen to be (cleaning up, laundry, baths, etc). Because we stay in each play for at least a few weeks we are able to do things similar to how we would when we were at home. For instance, we always give baths on Saturdays and do the cleaning up & laundry on Mondays. Keeping the days and chores consistent helps me make sure that everything gets done (and I don't feel like laundry is a constant force to be dealt with).
On the subject of baths, sometimes we have to get creative because I forget to check if there is a bathtub before I book our stay (like in Morocco, Bulgaria & Czech oops). Because it kept coming up at our airbnbs we found that it's pretty easy to just take a tiny blow-up baby pool with us just in case there is no bath. It folds up really small and is surprisingly useful. Our second most useful item is a universal drain plug. You'd be surprised how often there is a bath but no way to plug the drain, now we come prepared.
Bedtime and nap time are our other routines that don't really change from day to day. Nap time is around noon and if we happen to be out and about they just sleep in their stroller. As long as sleep happens it doesn't really matter to me where it is happening.
Bedtime is around 7 and involves reading a story or two and singing a song. We usually only bring a couple actual books and reading those gets old pretty quick so we usually use the Epic! storybook app that has thousand of books to read. Of all of our routines bedtime is most important to our girls so we do our best to keep it consistent.
We Bring A Few Comfort Items
Our girls have always been pretty good at just playing with whatever is around but we bring a few things along with us everywhere to help a new place feel like "home".
These things are:
1. A pile of Polaroid pictures that we had hanging on our wall in Long Beach
2. Aurora (my little baker) has a little stash of baking supplies
3. A laundry bag so they always know where their dirty clothes go
4. A Moroccan wedding rug we have been carrying around a since we visited Morocco.
When we arrive somewhere new we pull out the rug, put the baking things in the kitchen, and hang up the laundry bag.
In addition to the things mentioned above, they each have a stuffed animal from Nana & Pops and they share a knitted blanket and a little backpack with 3 books for bedtime, clip-dress princesses and two little ponies. Occasionally they also get a new little something to play with from wherever we are staying. I usually put their blanket on the bed and the books somewhere nearby for bedtime.
Within a few minutes we can put out our things and a place feels (at least a little bit) familiar.
We've Started New Traditions
Since we move around quite a bit we thought it would be fun to do a couple things before we leave at each place. That way, moving on to the next thing is a fun experience to be looked forward to.
First, we take a picture together at the flat/riad/apartment and then we leave a thank you postcard from California or wherever we've been most recently. It's a nice little way to get closure at the end of our stay.
So far our rhythms seem to be working well . If you're a location independent family, expat family or just a family who travels, what sorts of things do you do to make traveling enjoyable and have your kids feel at home away from home?