Tag Archives: Adventure with kids

From My Tuscan Desk.

A butterfly continues to fly by trying to land on me. The cicadas are putting on a symphony, the children are squealing with delight and I think I found myself in the perfect setting. The setting for a little plan I’ve had brewing for some time. Ha ha no not to move here, I’ve changed. I promise. I no longer want to live everywhere but I do want to try a new thing for myself. Nothing new there! Lol. But a hard thing, something that requires some dedication. Tuscany friends, if a dream can’t be birthed here I’m not sure it ever can!

It was a rather clever idea of the husband’s to drive the bulk of the drive yesterday. We had an early start this morning and arrived into the local village of Bibbiena around 10.30am. Enough time to pick up some bread and supplies. Oh my the fruit! The fruit. So much colour and so much fresh choice. We drove in past the fields so it doesn’t surprise me of course. Lush verdant fields with rows and rows of produce. Not that the boys noticed from their lounge room in the backseat. New road trip food tip – breakfast banana in a wrap.

 

Our villa is everything we expected. A lush vista over the valley, fresh warm air, stunning sun, colour and solitude. Apart from the children and the cicadas of course. Spaces everywhere, for everyone. Yes, this is the bolthole we knew we needed but waited for a few weeks to decide on! It’s lush and also it’s characteristically rustic inside (read: old and charming). But you don’t get something this big and affordable without compromise. After half a day I totally get the dark, brick Tuscan cave! It works in this heat. The outside though, wow, with the little beautiful touches.

It’s not a tour the country kind of holiday. It’s time away, get some vitamin D, playtime for the children, yummy food, time for family, time to ‘be’ and laughs. Always the laughs. At Jimmy mostly. And Tommy he is a bit of a funny cat when he shows his humorous side. Greggie is working this week. He has settled nicely into a corner of the house with the big old desk. Best line today, Greggie “but how good is the prosciutto” lol. “Dude, it’s Italy !?!” Eye roll ūüôĄ.

Me I’m out on the terrace. I’m also sort of working. I’m writing. Yes, yes I am. It’s a bit of a story as to how this has all come together. None of this planned at the start of the month. And yet here I am. With an evolving plan falling into place. It’s nice to be away, not to be in need of the break but in need of space and this moment of opportunity. A moment built on the momentum of these past months. A luxury. A time for each of us be in our own rhythms.

#writingstreak

#day28/31

#underthetuscansun

#amwriting

 

 

 

Crossing Borders. Eating Pretzels. Wearing Masks And Chats With Mates.

We crossed three borders today. Starting from home in The Netherlands into Germany, through to Switzerland and on and into Italy. We ate pretzels, wore our masks for toilet breaks (first time for little ones, it was fine they get it). I had some really awesome what’s ap. and Insta private chats (each one significant for reasons that are unfolding, will come back to these in future writing). Flow though friends, always trust the flow, act on the gut instinct to talk.

Not once did we show our passports or face border control. I love the European Union Schengen zone. We did have to buy our 40 Swiss franc road sticker (this allows us to use the roads  for a year rather than tolls). The tolls start on the Italian roads (not as exy as French roads).

We drove past lakes and streams and towards mountains. Oh my heart danced when we arrived in the Alps. We crossed them via tunnels. Aaaah it’s a beautiful way to travel. As is hiking in or taking trains in Europe! Italy was our destination so we enjoyed the scenic route in. It felt like one freeway down.

And there was the oddness of the Corona. Naturally. It’s in our current lives. We stopped only for petrol and toilets. Masked up, gloves for petrol and hand sanitiser. Maybe over the top but this is a highly contagious virus and we don’t want to get sick. In Germany masks are compulsory. Switzerland not, but many wore masks.

We pack food, lots of food. *BIG TRAVEL TIP* We travel with a car fridge. Also had robes at our ‘motel’-¬† honeymoon style, the boys were beside themselves (future Christmas present idea maybe). Wraps are our go to for a road trip. We had enough for our roadside motel dinner too, so no need to go and find dinner anywhere. We also pack cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, apples, bananas, popcorn, chippies, biscuits and¬† sweeties. Drink bottles for each of us.

We pre-booked the motel so we knew how far we had to come, we¬† wanted to cross ALL the borders today. I’ve been watching Europe. I am sure we’re good here, no surprises I can predict. But who knows with the pandemic, things change. It’s the risk we take travelling. I wouldn’t be travelling the other way through Belgium, France and Spain right now (daily changes there).

Husband, legend who did all the driving. Mostly because he hates being a passenger is working from ‘home’ this week. We will leave early tomorrow and arrive before lunch when his first zoom meeting is scheduled. Is this not something interesting?! Changing up the home office to a Tuscan farmhouse villa for a week before taking a week off! Heck we could even stay on in Italy and he could work another week before we have to come back for school.

#writingstreak

#day27/31

#fromaroadsidemotel

#hopeyouareallwell

 

 

 

Mopping Myself Out The Door Towards Tuscany.

The roof suitcase is on! The boot is packed. The racks are ready for the bikes (mine and his). The car fridge is locked and loaded. Food is prepped and ready for a whole day’s drive. And the floor is freshly mopped. Tell me it’s not just me?! I almost need to audit the house before leaving to go away. Last minute jobs – check. All clothes washed, fridge cleaned and floors mopped. Thankfully we’re heading south because look at that weather would you. Dutch grey skies.

I am a tad excited. And now quite pleased after working through the last of the jobs tonight. Obvs it’s not our first rodeo, but man after having a house full of people since Feb the need to deep clean and declutter is building. You know shoe sorting, hand me down clothes sorting, school work shifting, under the couch cleaning, stains from gross kids wiping, parcels to send, letters to write.¬† When I get back all refreshed and ready to go I’ll attack that stuff.

Seriously though it’s been a long time since I’ve had the house to myself. Usually after the kids go to school I burn some incense, play some music, daydream a little. I realise I haven’t done my little things in months, months! All fine of course it is what it is and I’ve found new things to keep me grounded. Fingers crossed we are not thrust back into home school after summer.

Back to the house auditing before leaving to go away. Are you a mad scrubber? Do you need to come home to a clean house? It’s my thing. Also we live in a 1930’s house that needs a bit of fixing. It’s a work in progress. And we’ve had problems with house mice before so I don’t want to encourage them AT all. And basically it’s kind a hard to make a really old house with lots of gaps and four kids feel very clean for long. Mostly I’m cool with that but not the night before we go away. I’m a mad-ass scrubber.

As I tidied my garden today (yeah I had to sort that out too) I looked at the apples so ripe and nearly ready, I realised I’ll be excited to get back also. It is a lovely thing to love being home. To build a home. A nest. The apples will need to be preserved and hopefully the tomatoes will also be going gangbusters. Won’t that be a lovely surprise. ‘Tis the night before an adventure and we’re ready.

Did I mention I’m a bit excited? I really am. It is like I am twenty something and putting my backpack on to see something new in the world. Nope, none of us will ever, ever take the freedom to roam for granted again (not that I did just that it’s even more amazing now after the crazy year). Tomorrow night we’ll catch up from the outskirts of Milan, we want to cross all the borders in a day (let’s face it weird times with borders) and arrive under the Italian blue skies.

#writingstreak

#day26/31

#thenightbeforeanadventure

 

 

Magic And Mermaids.

The most beautiful thing about holidays is the freedom to dream. Whether it’s at home or away. The escape from all the ‘real’ life distractions that opens the space for our imagination to run free. Isn’t the endless summer of childhood the most magical time.

An escape from the noise (and the desire to save and understand the world in her case) that allows the opening of a kind of mystical place where girls (and boys) can dream of things, perhaps of becoming mermaids. And the wonder of the summer season that allows the play in a setting which can indulge such fantasies. 

A time to light candles and brew the moon water required to perform the spells to find their tails. Is it the time they’ve been spending in the water, the freedom they have to cycle to this big new free world of theirs, or simply finding the friend who dreams with you that allows such wonderful indulging in dreaming, in feeling imaginative and very real joy?

Today I don’t doubt my parenting. I don’t doubt my belief in taking kids off grid, in giving them freedom to get out of their (my) comfort zone in nature. Kids often know their limits better than adults. My job has been to ensure the skills and boundaries are there to be safe and to create a life experience that encourages the freedom to play and dream. I’ve always known how important it is for all of them, but particularly one of them to know this world of escape exists.

#writingstreak

#day23/31

#atransitionday

#wemaytakeadrivesouth

#wherethemountainsmeetthesea

#wherethefarmersgrowtheolives

#wherethekidscanswiminmountainstreams

 

Yes, Yes And Yes.

So we’re not camping in France. So it started raining just as we packed the picnic into the car. So the certainty of anything that we may possibly do in the future is basically uncertain. So I couldn’t just book a date with my friend in Luxembourg to come visit because numbers are up and they’re awaiting their prime minister’s announcement as to new restrictions. And so, tonight, we swam, and so we picnicked and so we did it in the rain! Because the only SO that is certain right now is the NOW and saying YES to it.

For so long I’ve been an advocate of learning and practicing to say ‘no’. Of speaking out about the ‘ok’ of no. No to extra curricula, no to excessive parties, no to situational relationships that don’t feel right, no to letting your mind be consumed with bullshit, no to the inauthentic crap that floods our senses. And now the world has flipped! Flipped. Actually flipped. It is about saying ‘yes’. Yes because there is nothing to say no to. The ‘busy’ has vanished. Lol. Not that I did busy or multi tasking, I haven’t got the capacity for it. But now, no one is asking me to ‘be’ busy, no one wants my time. I don’t have to say ‘no’. It almost feels like in my world, the world is swinging the way of the introverts, in the way that encourages creative living, spontaneity and in the way of ‘good’ busy of slow living (busy with intention).¬†

Yes, I’ll go for a long ride this Sunday morning. Yes, let’s take the long road home – no plans. Yes kids, we can go to the lake tonight and yes, we’ll take a picnic because it’s summer. Yes, the rain has started but we can head down incase it stops. Yes, you can go for a swim in the rain if you like and we’ll have the picnic at home. Yes, take the boogie boards in. Ok, yes, you can pump up the SUP. Hungry? Yes, we’ll improv and picnic from the boot of the car. And YES, friend, Louise, as soon as it’s a Thursday and neither of us have plans and the borders are still open we will drive down and visit you because YES. YES, to good friends, good food, forest walks, lake swims, late night chats and laughter. Yes, to spontaneity and yes, to embracing all that is free, close, meaningful and soulful.¬†

#writingstreak

#day20/31

#yes