Truthfully, I’m not the best traveler in the world.
I know this because I’ve traveled a lot and I’ve met people who are great at it. Real naturals. I’ve met travelers who are so physically sturdy they could drink a shoebox of water from a Calcutta gutter and never get sick. People who can pick up new languages where others of us might only pick up infectious diseases.
— Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love
While Drex took the girls to jiu jitsu, I had a quiet house to pack and focus. We decided to “travel light”, which now means: two carry-on suitcases, one activity tote bag, one checked suitcase (to transport large-fluid-ounces of sunscreen, bug spray, and kaopectate), along with my backpack, Drex’s backpack, and a travel-size guitar. Oh, and two booster seats. And two umbrella strollers. (Last time Drex and I went to Southeast Asia, before we were married or had any kids, we just brought along two backpacks— but now there are two more Adventure Buddies, and this is their first really big adventure like nothing they’ve done before, and so we want to create a precedent of joy to inspire a lifetime of travel).
I’ve been planning different super-secret “busy craft” activities (with things like peel-and-stick gems and washi tape— materials the girls don’t normally use) and building up anticipation around all the fun we’ll have on the plane! Meanwhile, Drex has been acquiring and loading apps onto their iPads for what I’m hoping will be Total Entertainment Zone Out, at least for some portion of our Chicago to Tokyo leg of infinity hours.
Apart from the super-secret activities, I’m very proud of my “snack kits.” For example, we have Goldfish crackers, a squeezie apple pouch, and five M&Ms. Then we have a tuna-and-cracker box, another squeezie apple pouch, and five more M&Ms. Okay, not the most healthy (or creative)—I also regret the massive packaging waste in the name of Convenience— but well-fed girls are happy girls in my experience.