While we would like to blog about every single day of our gap year, we still haven’t found a way to balance this with our travel goals, parenting, daily errands and just resting. We want to create somewhat regular content for several platforms, but this already means the website, Facebook, Instagram and Kristaps’ dabbling with our YouTube channel. This could easily be a fulltime job for both of us! At the very least we’ll try to cover the more interesting days that involve some travel or other ‘fun stuff’.
We also have to do ‘slow travel’ because we are travelling with two kids which are almost 4 and 6 years old. Travel can be rewarding for both kids and adults, but exhausting as well. Add the heat and humidity and one can get why the kids easily sleep 2 to 3-hour naps when it’s possible.
Anyway, in case you’re interested here’s what the days we don’t blog about look like for us.
Both Ms L and Mr M had finally settled into a nice routine of sleeping until at least 8 AM back home. Now we’re back to waking up at 7 AM or earlier. As parent’s usually want to sleep a tad longer, the kids get some cartoon time. We try to stick to max 30 minutes of YouTube cartoons a day, but on some days kids get a lot more than that to give parents more shuteye.
Breakfast until lunch
If we’ve booked accommodation with a breakfast and there are gluten-free options, usually one of the parents goes to eat with the kids. If there’s no hotel breakfast or it’s not gluten-free (or just lousy), one of us sleeps longer while the other goes with kids to 7 Eleven to fetch some yoghurt and have a stroll, especially if there’s a beach nearby. This easily takes an hour.
If the place has a pool, then it’s pool time. If there’s no pool, then it’s just playtime. Boom, another hour gone. The other parent can just relax during this period, do some blogging or plan travel. When possible, both of us would do something worthwhile when the kids play.
As eating out is relatively cheap in Thailand, we go out for a meal at least once a day, usually two for both lunch and dinner. So far we haven’t had much luck with Airbnb so cooking at home isn’t possible most days anyway. For lunch, it’s usually just the best nearby eatery. A fruit shake is almost mandatory during or after the meal and, boy, they are awesome.
The portions are pretty big in most places, so usually, we just order 3 portions of different foods. The kids almost never finish theirs so it’s enough for the parents. Cooking Asian food is usually very fast, 5-10 minutes. In case Ms L or/and Mr M has a growth spurt and eat everything on their plates, nobody has to go hungry as another dish arrives quickly. At the beginning of our trip we’d take a dish for everyone and get a ‘doggy bag’ but the food would just sit in the fridge for 2 days before ending up in the bin. We hate wasting food.
After lunch, the kids get their daily ice-cream. Lately, it’s more like two daily ice creams. That’s on top of the 1 or two fruit shakes we have (one at a time for all four of us is usually enough). At first, it seemed like spoiling them a bit, but due to the heat, it makes sense as ice cream cools down the kids a bit and gives some sugar-based energy.
We read almost always before mid-day naps and in the evenings. Even if we’re very tired, each kid gets to choose a short story in English or Latvian. Even Mr M has now become so fluent that for him there’s no difference which language we read in. Stories are usually from the phone or tablet Kindle app, but lately, we’ve also picked up some books.
For Mr M naptime is mandatory. Very rarely he wouldn’t take a nap if we’re travelling or if he manages to battle the “sleep mouse” successfully. As we try to encourage Ms L to consolidate her writing and reading skills, she usually get’s a choice of either sleep or learning time. Usually, Ms M ends up in the bed anyway as kids really need the sleep here.
One to three hours later they’re up and it’s time for the afternoon session which isn’t that different from the morning. The parents also usually sleep at least a little bit. Kristaps often uses the nap periods to work on some Youtube videos.
Time until dinner
After waking up, the kids usually demand cartoons. We try to limit this to one or two cartoons for both. If it has been a lot of cartoons in the morning, then we don’t watch any later that day. However, we seldom have to fight about cartoons as there are usually so many other exciting things to do.
It’s again either a stroll somewhere or/and the beach or/and the pool. Lately, as Kristaps has become more comfortable with the scooter, it’s also going somewhere with the kids like to a more distant beach, a higher-up viewpoint, a market or similar.
Sometimes we’d have takeout for lunch (it’s usually too hot anyway to go out), but almost always go out for dinner. It’s a chance to socialize and to have longer conversations. Dinner can also be at a more distant place, where we’d walk for longer or take the scooter. We usually try to visit the top neighbourhood eateries according to Tripadvisor.
We try to put the kids to sleep around 9 PM. Sometimes a bit earlier, usually a bit later at 9:30 PM. Bathtime goes first. Then it’s a bit of talking and the evening story reading. Kids are asleep by 10 PM usually. However, we stress out about bedtime much less than back at home. If we have been travelling or the afternoon nap has been longer then on those evenings bedtime would also be delayed a bit.