Family holiday mayhem

We’ve decided as a family to make sure that at least once a year we go somewhere together that we’ve never been before. Family misadventure is usually part of the fun – the crazy stories you reminisce about after the trip. If you grew up watching Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon’s vacation film series, you’ll understand what I mean. 

Before kids, we’d both travelled a great deal but when children came along we kept our holidays domestic. Now, with kids aged 9 and 11 we’re ready to travel overseas with them. And knowing full well how fast the last few years have flown, we know it won’t feel like long before they head off to explore the world independently or will prefer to holiday with friends. Now there’s an imperative to really make the most of the next five to ten years. They’re also old enough to remember holidays and gone are the days of worrying about their endurance levels throughout the day. In fact both of them can physically out-do us a lot of the time.

Our last family holiday was our first overseas trip with the kids. We chose Bali because we thought it wasn’t too far a flight and they’d get to experience a different culture. Because we wanted them to truly experience a different culture we stayed away from the big gated beach resorts and more in the thick of it in Seminyak.

Whether it’s domestic or overseas, the trips we take together are like family team-building sessions. We always come away with memories of great adventures and funny stories to add to our own little family’s folklore. 

This trip was no different. Even the rocky arrival where our lovely villa host met us at the airport with the news that our villa was unavailable due to a sewer issue will be something to chuckle over in future years. And I’m sure my husband and kids will dine on the story of watching me go into overdrive, firmly dropping the words lawyer and refund into terse dialogue, ensuring our lovely clean villa became instantly available with no evident sewer issue whatsoever.

We rode elephants together, patted a lion, cuddled a baby orangutan and ventured up into the mountains of Ubud where the Monkey Forest was full of entertaining little monkeys. There were certainly a few things ticked off on the bucket-list this holiday.

We spent a day in the famed Waterbom waterpark where my children mastered a wide-eyed look of innocence when assuring me the ride they’d just been on was not scary at all, begging me to join them for the next round. In I went with my 9 year-old on “The Macaroni”. It turned out to be a hell-ride-in-a-tube that elicited the loudest scream I’ve ever heard from myself, prompting three lovely Balinese attendants to greet me with a repeated “are you ok ma’m?” as I shot out of the darkness.

Swimming pool games, braided hair, sunset dinners and precarious walks in sweltering heat on streets where motorbikes randomly lurched onto the so-called “footpath” were all part of the big adventure.

Sometimes you don’t realise it until in hindsight, but family holidays are the times we’ll often remember for a lifetime. During every family holiday my daughters and I are subjected to some dad-humour referencing his favourite old National Lampoon films. Someone in our family fancies himself as a little bit like goofy Chevy Chase behind the wheel, leading the charge to family misadventure. On our trip to Tasmania a couple of years ago there was even a suggestion we should have purchased matching velour leisure suits for our stay in a really strange resort he’d booked that was like a Scandinavian theme park, circa-1980. This time in Bali, he thought he was funny suggesting he buy us all matching Bintang singlets for the trip home (suggestion quashed).

We can’t wait to do more and planning our next adventure together is a great way to finish every holiday. We always end with a laugh about the fun things that happened and a chat about where we’d like to go to next. Making those plans in advance helps get us all through the busy school term or next quarter at work. And every time we do it we’re creating happy family memories to last a lifetime.

by Jenny Mina

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