Home from Vietnam

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By Katrina Griffiths

Before we left for our big trip to Vietnam, I spoke with friends about my fears that all of the travelling would unsettle the children. What if they became bad-tempered, naughty and difficult? Or worse, that I would then also morph into the kind of mother that I don’t like being i.e., bad tempered, naughty and difficult.

I planned to travel in such a way that we would stay about a week in each place, sometimes less. Was I insane? Was I asking for trouble? I guess I was trying to fit in as much as we could over the two-months but in hindsight, I would definitely give the children at least 2 weeks to settle in each place, since we were away from home for so long.

The first month was fine. It was actually my husband who was most unsettled; he was trying to wind down from the stress of a very hectic year. Later, the children’s bad behaviour crept in slowly, so slowly that I didn’t even notice it happening and found myself reacting harshly, not being sensitive to the needs of four angry, frustrated kids. When we returned home to Sydney it was practically within hours that everyone turned back into human beings. I realize now that two months travelling around Vietnam is hard on young children and while I would do it again in an instant, I’d choose three or four stops instead of nine. Yes, I thought nine stops was being conservative…

Lesson learnt!

This Easter, instead of taking them away from home, I’m taking home with us. A mobile home! We have rented a 6-berth Apollo campervan, which we’ll drive down to country Victoria. Its got everything – Its like a campervan Rolls Royce! I can’t wait! First stop, Gundegai…