"Travelling with kids!!!" Jerelis's Profile

Welcome to my spot at VT ...

As being a single parent I often do get the question whether I am nervous about taking my children on a (car) trip? Their excuse to ask me this question is that they would understand for me being alone, and most single parents are pretty nervous about it and usually won't undertake any journey at all. Well, I can honestly say that I would never ever deny myself (or my kids for that fact) a holiday, journey or anything else. Last summer I have been to Hinterstoder with Iris and Sam by car, which is about a 1100 km drive.

I've learned this over the years:

Bring books, old favourite toys and new surprise toys. Do remember that balls are not a good idea as they can end up anywhere! Our best buys were definitely books, especially sticker books are great! They can peel the stickers off, are glossy, have thick pages to turn easy, have bright colours and come in endless subjects. They're a nice break from the other books your child might be tired of, too. Put aside fears of setting poor eating habits, and bring on the snacks! I told Iris and Sam: “Welcome to the world of boredom eating."

Toy bars meant for stroller use are a big help in the car, as they often feature toys plus a snack cup, and are big and easy for you to grab from the front seat for refills. During the car trip it’s always a good idea to play a game and sing some songs. It sounds rather easy, but it does work!

I only have one last statement! Just do it! Don’t be afraid that it might go wrong. I have learned this, because I have been travelling with both my kids from the beginning. For example Iris was only 6 weeks young when I had my first short vacation and stayed in a hotel. Because of this both Iris and Sam are being used to it rather fast and (maybe because of it) have always been an easy kids to get along with.

My own travel experiences

After my first backpacking trip all around Europe on the summer I turned 20, I thought I had things pretty much figured out. Many years later, it turns out I still have many experiences on each trip (‘duh!’) and an horrible drift to forget lessons well learnt in the past. I guess there is no good way to travel, but rather a long path to discovering how you like to travel. Still, if I was given the chance to go back through time, I would definitely race and tell my 20-year-old self a few things before she went off on my first trip …

Here is a compilation of some of these things:

The night before leaving, pack before drinking with your friends.
Take pictures Always. Everywhere. If you forget your camera, buy a disposable. Everybody will grumble and hate you for being that annoying camera person during the trip, then send you ‘thank you’ or ‘you’re awesome’ notes at the end of it.
Before leaving, scan your ID and send it to yourself via email. Replacement procedure way simplified if it gets stolen!
Travelling is a lot of waiting bring a book.
Research before your trip: there are so many things you will regret to have missed out of lack of knowledge!
Trust your intuition when you detect a dodgy vibe, get yourself out of there, even if you don’t precisely know why.
Don’t assume that you can talk freely to your friends in your native language just because you’re far away from home. The random fellow countryman / foreign-language enthusiast is always around — embarrassment ensues.
Ice cubes are made from tap water ask for drinks without ice.
Keep a travel journal you don’t need to describe in detail everything you saw and what food you ate and how the bus was late — guaranteed to have you quit after 2 days —, but rather try to focus on your impressions: how it made you feel, what that smell reminded you of, how you bonded with that person. It’s a pain to do this on the spot, but you will thank yourself forever. Oh, and also write down the address of that cool place you visited so you can find it again.
Your skull is skin as well put a little bit of sunscreen on your parting, or it will burn, peel, and make you look like you have dandruff. Eew.
Always take a few empty plastic bags with you the time will come when you need to pack a wet towel / swimming cloths in a rush or wonder where to put your dirty laundry.
Always carry some water with you.
When spending the night in a train, a bus or a dodgy hostel sleep with your head on your handbag.
Always carry an energy bar around; it will save you when everything is closed and you need a snack, like, now .
Don’t trust anyone offering you transport when you walk out of the airport. Airports generally have a transport information desk that will point you in the right direction.
If you’re going to swim in a river or a lake pack some jelly shoes and save yourself from the pain of holiday-ruining underfoot cuts.
Never eat right near tourist attractions terrible overpriced food guaranteed. Have a look through the backstreets, and go where not everyone is carrying a camera!
Don’t just follow your travel buddies around: learn your own way around the city.
Ditch folding and start rolling your clothes. Unbelievable suitcase space gain!
Budget your trip be aware that you’ll spend more than what you planned.
Rain ponchos look stupid … still pack one.
Tourist and traveler are not two distinct categories , but rather two conditions that you can embrace when you choose to. It’s okay to enjoy mainstream attractions and super cliché moments — it’s also more interesting to get off the beaten track from time to time.
When you return, you’ll feel numb and things will seem weirdly normal for about a week. Then reality will hit.
Don’t assume you know it all because you survived your first backpacking trip. Or your tenth.
When things get rough, remember how lucky you are to be travelling and that everybody back home is super jealous of you.

Diary of a Madman.

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.”

~ Samuel Johnson, 1775 ~

Whenever I undertake a journey to a particular country I always want to know all about the surroundings, it’s history, it’s culture, which cities to visit, which hikes to undertake, et cetera. In advance to the journey I browse over the internet to get certain information and read travel books just to make sure I won’t miss out on anything.

Once I'm travelling I like to talk to the local people about their own country, their own region and those conversations will retrieve lots of extra information about some beautiful spots to visit, the ultimate restaurant or sometimes a particular area to avoid.

Ever since I had my own personal travel site and this one at Virtual Tourist I like not only to undertake the journey, but also write about it for everyone to enjoy. Just to make sure I won’t forget the details of my journey I write is all down in a diary. I have given the dairy the name “Diary of a madman” and it contains all the information I have gathered. I like to make the diary more beautiful to glue in some pictures out of folders and also the entrance tickets to museums, National Parks, bus tickets, et cetera.

This way I'm able to tell all my friends about our travels. For Virtual Tourist I can reproduce all the information for (hopefully) solid tips with lots of good details that will help you in your travels. Besides that it’s always fun to read about a journey I took for example 7 or 8 years ago and read about what I exactly did and how I experienced it. I also have managed to keep in touch with the local people I talked to and do nourish these contacts. Especially at the travelogue section of each location you can see some pages out of the Diary of a madman. Yes, I know, it's written in Dutch, but you'll have an impression on how it looks. And maybe you can tell me how you remember all the information for your tips. Enjoy!

Why do I travel and what have I learned from it?

When I started my travels I had a few reason why I wanted to explore the world:

1. Make myselves more worldly;
2. Learn about other cultures;
3. Meet people from other countries;
4. Learn some new words in foreign languages;
5. Master a foreign language I've studied;
6. Become a part of the globalisation that is occurring;
7. Realize that The Netherlands isn't the only country in the world;
8. See things I've only read about;
9. Try new kinds of food;
10. Drink new kinds of beer.

Now that I have seen quite some places I have learned the following:

One: I have learned that all people in the world are basically alike;
Two: I have discovered that everyone regards himself or herself as wiser and better than other people in the world;
Three: Travelling made me care about strangers. A famine or disaster isn't distant, abstract suffering if you've visited the region;
Four: Travelling taught me that not everyone shared my beliefs. In issues small and large – from child-rearing to politics – I learned that there are many ways of thinking;
Five: I have learned that there is more than one solution to a problem;
Six: Travelling taught me to be a minority;
Seven: Travelling taught me humility.

What will 2014 bring for us?

Of course it's not always easy to travel while being a single parent -> travelling is planning everything in advance!

But if Im talking about travelling I'm having the next row of dates in 2014:

* FEBRUARY : Winterbergen (Germany);
* MARCH : Tenneville (Belgium);
* JULY : Callantsoog (Netherlands);
* AUGUST : Croatia (Spain);
* SEPTEMBER : Auen (Germany);
* NOVEMBER : New York (USA)?

My own beautiful little country

We guess it's the same for everybody around the world. I do live in The Netherlands and I must be honest that I have seen more churches, nature, villages, museums, National Parks and other beautiful spots abroad than in our own country. Lately I have re-discovered our own beautiful little country! Enjoy our travel experiences in The Netherlands!

The Netherlands is a relative small country with a big profile. It offers a beguiling blend of rural, traditional beauty and vibrant culture.

  • Intro Updated Nov 18, 2014
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Jeroen Ensink
Hoogeveen, Netherlands
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