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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Feeling At Home While Far Away

We travel a lot.  Not just the back and forth between our houses, but the longhaul type of treks that change sleep patterns, eating patterns, and language patterns.  So whenever possible, I try to think of things that will make the kids feel at home, the soothing touches that will allow them to relax and enjoy.

Our children take along, first of all, their slipper socks.  These give their tootsies a warm and wonderful feel, no matter what the weather or where we end up.

The youngest, Sashenka, may take a stuffed animal, and everyone has a fleece blanket to cover them while enroute to our next destination, or while once there.  The dogs like the fleeces, too, since they smell of us, and allow for long and leisurely naps on their part.

On the food front, a few granola bars help take the edge off.  They prevent us from buying overpriced and overcaloried croissants, cookies, various-crust pizzas in airport terminals, roadwide kiosks, or late-night eateries.  A cup of noodle soup is easily prepared by adding hot water, and presto-chango, the tummies stop growling, and all is well with the world once again.

One of the biggest challenges is to help the kids avoid the rampant consumerism that comes with travel.  Rather than have them invest in cheap clothes plastered with a place name followed by “And All I Got was This Lousy T-Shirt”, my goal is to head things off at the pass.  I buy them tiny items before we ever arrive—snacks, a coin purse, a simple craft kit, a fun workbook, a few trinkets.

It usually works.  Our four children spend time going through their gift bags, sorting the loot, and knowing that they have something new to work on.  There’s not the need to buy, buy, buy.  Instead, if they do choose to purchase something, it’s thoughtful and meaningful, and done on their own terms.

Might be a little extra work for me, but helping them to feel at home when far away pays off.  They’re more calm, more settled, and more attached to us, no matter where they may lay their head that night.



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