Month: September 2014

Day two/three: Miami

We land in Miami and immediately learn important lesson number one – to save important ‘next step’ information outside of an email and into a calendar or note that does not need wifi.

Once we get over that blip and find the address and directions to our friend’s house, we’re on our way. Tired and wearing far too many clothes for Miami, we head to Coral Gables. I love our friends, especially the ones who have a spare house at the bottom of their garden! A gorgeous two bed guest house is to be our home for the next two nights. Oh – and they have a pool.

Our children and their children have met before but a while ago – it doesn’t matter – they all hit it off and then hit the pool. We have the luxury of enjoying time with lovely friends, almost child-free, and enjoy a wonderful, easy first night.

We now realise that a house at the bottom of someone’s garden is the perfect choice for our first night as we were all *WIDE AWAKE* at 4.30am. Trying to disguise the noise of five very awake people in the same building as anyone else trying to sleep would have been almost impossible, however good our bribery and distraction skills may be. We make it to 7am, thankful for the fruit our friends suggested we take with us to bed the night before.

We head over for breakfast and get ready to start day one of home school. It’s clear to the pair of us that we’re bluffing/acting at being teachers, but trying desperately to look like we know what we’re doing. To the kids, it’s a great game and they find it really amusing that we are teaching them – so for today at least, they follow along. I shudder to think what our teacher friends would have to say about our performance – but we make it through reading, writing and maths. The kids head to the pool and we are left exhausted.

Sushi for lunch and then to the beach. I observe a new shade of ‘tan’ we’ve never previously come across and get re-introduced to micro swimwear (it’s safe to say, we’re not in Qatar anymore Toto). We also spot a man with a metal detector wading chest high in the sea, believing he has struck gold right in front of us, he digs and sieves for about 30 minutes and then moves up the beach. Quite bizarre.

On the way back I spot a reasonably seedy hotel that my sister, brother and I stayed in about twelve years ago. My sister received free flights with her company and they were about to expire, so we organised a last minute trip to Miami for three days. I remember my brother burnt to a crisp on day one, we inadvertently stole a pair of board shorts and later that night, we were asked if we were related to Princess Diana. We were then cajoled into a prank call to this same person’s sister to try to convince her that her sister had indeed met royalty and that we had just moored our yacht in a nearby harbour.

Back to our friend’s house for another chilled evening and everyone’s jet-lag is subsiding. A more reasonable start time the next day, farewells to their children at breakfast as they head to school and then home school: day two. Hmmm, not so successful today. A few more stressful moments, a bit more vocal pushback from the children on the realisation that this is not a game and is going to happen five times a week. Today, I think it’s fair to say we all ‘get through it’.

We leave Miami, happy for having the time to catch up with lovely friends, over the worst of jet-lag, clean, rested, laundered and naively unaware that this would be the last decent wifi for the next month. Next stop Quito, Ecuador.

Items lost: 3

– 1 kids watch

– 2 pairs of swimming goggles

Day one: London Heathrow


Sunday 7th September

We’ve spent the last few weeks editing, editing and re-editing the contents of our travelling kit to the real minimum – or at least the kind of ‘real minimum’ our family can cope with. (I won’t go into the contents of the ‘technology bag’ right now as you’d just laugh at what constitutes ‘minimum’ in our household.) As a result, we have random bags of ‘no longer required stuff’ at various relatives’ houses, storage lock ups and even the boot of our car – I am not looking forward to that kind of sort out at the end of all this.

As owners of some sparkly new backpacks (okay, I admit it, the adult ones also have wheels on… you may now be getting a better picture of what level of ‘travelling-family’ we are), we wake up early after staying with some wonderful friends for our final night in the UK and head for Heathrow.

The good news is that the children don’t tip over with the weight of their backpacks – the plan is that they carry everything they need on this trip in their own backpacks – at only 7, 7 & 8 years old that’s a big ask, but so far… no complaints. For any backpack enthusiasts(!) we went with the Osprey Escapist 25 (size: s/m) for the children and Osprey Sojourn 80 for us. So the children have about 25 litres and we have about 80 litres each.

At the weigh-in at Heathrow, the children’s bags were between 3.5kg and 4kg and ours were approximately 14kg each. That’s the lightest we have EVER travelled and we do lots of chest puffing proudness. Goodness only knows if we’ve packed what we actually need, but we have head torches, so are feeling pretty confident.

A quick trip to get some dollars, some technology things and the obligatory trip to Giraffe and that’s it… we are on our way! First stop Miami.

Items lost today*: 1

– Debit card left at Travelex, LHR

*I now realise this will become a regular feature.

Items bought today: 2

– USB/USA travel plug

– New SD card for the GoPro as I seem to have broken the existing one in the last 24 hours

Next stop Miami!

Next stop Miami!