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House of Travel Specialist
Ever dreamt of running away to see the world? Bestselling author Sam Pease did exactly that. For nearly two years. With her 10 year old son, Jet. Covering over 160,000 kilometres and more than 50 cities, the trip was packed with adventure, education and fun. These are Jet's tips for dealing with your parent on a long trip.
“When my mum told me that she was going to sell our house and use the money to travel the world I thought it was an awesome idea! We did zillions of amazing things like seeing a space shuttle in Cape Canaveral, touching roof tiles melted by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and camping with nomads in the Sahara Desert. But some of the little things were just as memora¬ble, like someone thinking I was actually French because I’d gotten better at speaking it. The trip was incredible, but if you’re going away with your parents for a long trip you might need some tips for dealing with them.”
1. Parents are obsessed with taking photos
Parents like to take photos of their kids standing in front of things like ruins, signs and beaches. It can get quite boring but try and be patient with them. Think of the photo-sessions as payment for the amazing adven¬ture you’re having.
2. Parents LOVE old buildings
You. Will. See. A. Zillion. Old. Buildings. Some of the palaces and castles were cool like the wooden ones in Japan but the ones in France in Avignon and Carcassonne were huge and crazy! I liked being in the dungeon but my mum said we had to leave because it had bad energy. I tried to tell her that scientifically speaking that’s not a thing, but she said she was beyond science. Face palm.
3. Behave. You’ll get free stuff
Being polite gets you free sweets and chocolates in restaurants, cafés and shops. They say, “Oh you’re so polite” and give you yummy things to eat. If your manners are good you’ll get the food.
4. Be part of the planning
When we made our mega-bucket-list my mum included silly things like Tinkerbell’s Alaskan Unicorn Retreat and Madagascan Makeupland — like Disneyland but just for make-up and hair products. She tried for ages to convince me that they were real! I laughed so much I got the hiccups.
Ask if you can choose one meal a week. Parents always want you to try new tastes and flavours, which can be fun, but sometimes you just want to find out whether pizza is the same in every country.
5. Museums are not boring
The best museums are interactive but if they’re not, make your visit into a game to find the oldest or weirdest thing in there; it’s so much fun! The oldest thing I saw was in China – two million year old man-made beads. We did loads of science activities, which I loved but the best was the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. We found a Geiger counter there that tests radioactivity but the only part of my body that made it go off was my bum.
6. Tell your parents to get lost
I don’t mean actually tell them to get lost; tell them about the getting-lost game – where you do walking off-map urban adventures. I call them magi¬cal portals because we usually end up in a space–time continuum into a completely new world, miles from where we wanted to be. But then we’d always find an amazing ice-cream shop or a funny sign that my mum would turn into a very rude word. So, I like magical portals.
7. Scary things will happen. But your mum will save you
My mum always says this cringe thing, “I’ll protect you like a bear carry¬ing two chainsaws,” but when something scary happened at the National Museum in Beijing I was glad I knew it.
Security was tougher at the museum than at the airport. I got patted down and scanned, my bag was searched and the museum guards with massive guns took me away from my mum. I didn’t know what they were going to do with me and I was scared. They made me drink from my water bottle three times at one-minute intervals to prove I wasn’t carrying an explosive. My mum was angry and yelled at the guards but they had guns and didn’t speak English so it was difficult for her to do anything about it. Eventually when they confirmed my water bottle wasn’t going to go boom they let my mum come to me. Even though it was scary, the museum was awesome because we saw life-sized ancient terracotta army statues and badly restored 2000 year-old stone panels that had been fixed with giant globs of PVA glue.
8. Playgrounds are free
Parents like to pack heaps of plans into each day but make sure you have some do-nothing home-days where you can just relax or play in a park for a bit. Travelling can be tiring but my mum says that’s a #champagneproblem.
9. Parents misunderstand. And worry
In Dallas, Texas I asked my mum what a grassy knoll was. She ranted for 20 minutes about JFK’s assassination, the magic bullet theory, Cuban missiles and a bay of pigs (which I thought sounded like a cartoon) but all I wanted to know was what a “knoll” was… It’s a small mound of grass. Sometimes it’s just best to let parents have their moments.
My mum worries a lot; especially on flight days. In Japan I started call¬ing my mum the Samurai Worrier (warrior) because she always thinks of the worst-case scenario. She says that she plans for the worst and expects the best but I think she just likes worrying. She disagrees. She says, “I don’t “like” worrying, it’s an uncontrollable side-effect of being a mum.”
10. Parents don’t know what five minutes is
My mum always says, “We’re leaving in five minutes!” but it’s never five minutes. I always ask if it’s a short-five or a long-five, which could be 45. The best way to deal with it is to always have something to read with you – that way you can still have fun while she’s chatting with new friends. Remember; not complaining gets rewarded with more fun, calm parents, later bedtimes and sometimes chocolate!
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