Ben Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Any successful family adventure takes lots of planning to make certain you cover all your bases. World travel is an adventure, and adventure often takes you on a path off the road of convenience. We covered everything with the boys — the good, the bad and the ugly.
Toilets, for instance! At first, the guys were fascinated to learn Chinese toilets were mostly holes in the ground. For months before the trip, we were treated to their one-liners about pooping in a hole and their versions of the Chinese Squat. Boys never seem to run short on Potty humor.
In America we are spoiled by ‘high-rise’ toilets – a rare commodity in China.
Even though we were ready and prepared, we were still surprised. The Summer Palace, one of the most heavily traveled tourist attractions in China, has a restroom with 22 holes (I counted!) and only 1 ‘high-rise toilet.’ I knew the boys could adapt to anything but was more concerned with what happened afterward. Going in it was paper; coming out, hand sanitizer.
And I played drill sergeant.
Since hand washing facilities are rare and soap seems to be an endangered species in China, we prepared by bringing our own paper and hand sanitizer, and when we ran low, we went on our own treasure hunt. The treasure of course, was paper!
Advanced planning is only a grind if you take it all upon yourself. We used the roundtable approach to share responsibilities and review what we each needed to contribute to make this a successful experience.
Don’t take pre-trip planning away from your kids. They need to be involved and educated. Makes them feel important and giving them responsibilities helps them grow. In blogs to follow, I’ll go over some of my Trip Prep Tips (try saying that fast five times.)
Talk to you Tuesday! Dawn.