This year, we’re really trying to prioritize seeing more of Australia, and in particular, South Australia where we live. Some of this is borne out of a wish-list, but a lot of it boils down to logistical and financial factors. We also have a new family member – our homestay student from China. We’re keen to show her as much as possible.
There are pros and cons of international travel – it’s great to expose the kids to different cultures, but some of the environmental factors, like carbon footprints for example, are hard to ignore. So this year, traveling locally feels like a win-win.
A quick recap (for context)
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that we have a lot going on this year. Well, it’s nearly the end of April (eek!) which means we’re already a third of the way through the year!
At the start of the year, I sat down and made a short Bucket List and thought about my 2019 Resolutions and since we’re four months in I has a quick re-read of those posts. So, am I on track? Well, yes and no.
Firstly, we had a lot of really, really stressful stuff happen early on. Things that I just did not see coming. And that’s life, really. But it meant really digging deep and figuring out who I was and whether I was strong enough to handle it all. Turns out I am but it’s not a test I’d like to go through again any time soon! It also meant reassessing our financial situation, and that means cutting back even more.
One of my bucket list items was to get a part-time job. Well, it turns out that taking classes, writing a thesis, raising two kids and managing a household is a bit of a crazy load. The part-time job isn’t going to work. Luckily, this little blog is starting to gain some traction and earn me a little bit of money (thank you, beautiful readers!). Add to this chaos the volunteer position that I did manage to get (so I can at least tick that one off my list) – I’m doing some work helping new mums bond better with their babies.
Unfortunately, there were some life complications for our friends we were planning to head to South Asia with as well. There’s something in the water in 2019 I swear! Luckily, we’re just postponing the trip until next year rather than canning it completely, which gives us more time to save and plan.
So, with all that said, we’re in the situation now where local travel is more important than ever. And it’s actually turning out to be quite wonderful.
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The benefits of letting the boys just explore at their own pace: they are more likely to try new things, more likely to cooperate with each other, and more likely to communicate their needs to us. Here’s to more weekends spent exploring with the little guys! . . . . . #playbasedlearning #learningtogether #kidswhoexplore #kidswhotravel #travelwithkids #travelwithlove #lovetotravel #travelthroughtheworld #familytravel #familytravels #familytravelblog #familytravelblogger #traveltribe #southaustralia #southaustralianbeaches #southaussiewithcosi #southaussie #porthughes #yorkepeninsula #darlingescapes #thetraveltag #traveltagged #traveltheglobe #globalkids #exploreaustralia #australia_shotz #sagreat
Local Adventures, Family Adventures
At the start of the year, knowing how crazy it would all be, we sat down and planned a few getaways that would allow us some family time. The act of planning itself was awesome actually – we spent some family time planning together, setting the expectation that our travels were designed to make family time a priority. As I said in last week’s post on traveling with kids, family meetings are a great way to discuss plans and expectations and make sure everyone’s on the same page. They’re also great for checking in and making sure no-one’s overwhelmed.
Not only that, we also planned some trips with other families; while these are almost always full-on, they present the kids with fantastic opportunities for exploratory play with their peers while the grown-ups get to enjoy some grown-up activities too.
At the start of March we went down to Robe, on the south-east coast of South Australia (about four hours drive from Adelaide if you don’t stop). We packed five families into a little cottage near the beach… well, four families actually, we chose to sleep in a tent so the kids could “camp”. The kids had plenty of buddies to play all manner of games with, ride their bikes with, and explore the beach. The adults enjoyed a bottle of wine at Cape Jaffa Wines, and a few of us even went four-wheel-driving (off-roading to you Americans?) in Little Dip Conservation Park.
The weekend after, we took our American friends up to the River. This was glorious. And this is the thing – when you make friends all over the world, sometimes they come to you. It’s still possible to introduce your kids to different perspectives from around the globe, even when you stay local. I’m actually working on a separate post about this experience because there’s a whole story behind it.
At the end of March, we went back up to the River with a different set of friends. It was colder this weekend, so the kids were able to have classic outdoor experiences like roasting marshmallows on the fire. And again, it helps to have different perspectives around – while I was busy apologising for the weather and the inability to do anything we’d had planned, my friend was busy reminding me that “you make your own fun”. And she was right.
Last weekend we drove to Moonta, about two hours north-west of Adelaide on the Yorke Peninsula. We had all sorts of adventures up and down the whole Peninsula and the kids learned so much about the historical roots of the towns we explored, about farming and fishing, and about the environment that surrounds them. Here’s our guide to the perfect Moonta holiday.
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— thinking globally, living locally — . . It’s pretty clear from our attire that this snap was not taken anytime in the last couple of weeks… we’re absolutely sweltering at the moment! Instead, this was taken a couple of months ago. We went out to test the new drone and found ourselves having a totally random picnic on a rocky beach in Normanville. There’s an easy 4WD track that runs along the beach, and I don’t know a single kid who doesn’t enjoy a spot of rockhopping! Unfortunately on this day the weather wasn’t it’s usual glorious self, but Normanville is place I and many of my friends hold close in our hearts. Just an hour south of Adelaide, many of us would spend idyllic summers here as kids (back before globetrotting was as affordable as it is now!) I still love taking the kids to all the local haunts I used to hang out in as a child, and we’ve decided to make 2019 the year of “thinking globally, but living locally”. . . . . . #adelaide #southaustralianbeaches #southaustralia #sagreat #southaussiewithcosi #liveglobal #familytravel #familytravelblog #familytravelblogger #visitsouthaustralia #visitaustralia #travelwithkids #kidswhotravel #kidswhoexplore #darlingescapes #abmtravelbug #normanville #fourwheeldrive #explorewithkids #familyfriendly #picnics
“Think Global, Act Local”
Have you heard the phrase “think global, act local”? If you haven’t, it’s basically about trying to act with sustainability in mind and considering the big picture when making decisions. As a phrase it’s always resonated with me and its something I wanted to incorporate into our family values this year.
Traveling locally allows the kids to understand the environment they live in. They get to explore national parks and learn about the local flora and fauna that forms our ecosystems. They experience local weather patterns and the natural phenomena that occur at different times of the year, which in turn informs family discussions on what we can do to help the planet and where we fit in the “circle of life”. Having these experiences helps the kids to understand their place in the world and feel empowered to look after it.
Some of the places we’ve travelled to this year have been agricultural areas. We’re experiencing quite a severe drought at the moment and again, travel in these areas informs various discussions. We talk about the farm-to-table process, what goes into growing and making the food we eat, and the lifestyle of farmers. We’re able to talk about supporting local growers and producers. We’ve also been fishing, and a big discussion there is about sustainable fishing – only taking species that have stable populations, and only taking fish that are the right size.
Keeping a travel mindset
At first, adopting a “travel locally” motto might seem a bit boring; something to do when you’re out of options. But if you’re used to traveling a lot, why should this be any different, just because you’re closer to home? Why should the experience be any less exciting?
Alternatively, if you’re not used to traveling much (especially with kids), why not start with your home state or country? You speak the language, you have the currency, and you know the customs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t completely step out of your comfort zone and have a lot of fun in the process.
The key is to keep (or attain) the travel mindset. Why are you traveling? Is it to get away and recharge, is it to broaden your horizons, is it to inject a bit more excitement into your life? There are so many reasons why we travel. But the key is to remember that everything you see is new and to treat it as such. If you walk into a little country pub in a town you’ve never been to before, ask the staff about the town and the building. See if you can chat to the locals. I guarantee you’ll find out something fascinating. Is there a local museum? Even if it looks small and naff, go inside.
So what’s next?
Now we’re really in the thick of 2019, my thesis has to take priority. We’ll be seeing a lot more of the River as Mr W attempts to distract the kids while I work, work, work. It’s due at the start of October though which seems far away, but it really isn’t. And then freedom! (Aside from grad school interviews and scholarship applications, ha!)
We have plans to get back over to the Yorke Peninsula again soon, and we’ll be exploring the Riverland in much more depth. We also hope to head a little further north to Clare and the Flinders Ranges. Heading north is great in the winter time as it’s drier than the coastal areas.
Later in the year we’ll be taking a few days to explore the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria before our friends’ wedding… and we’ll most likely be taking this trip without the kids (you know how important we think it is to do this sometimes!)
Let me know in the comments what local experiences you’ve had recently!
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