Instagram gives me a serious case of wanderlust. Since my very early days of using the app I found photographers to follow who captured the kind of landscapes that I only saw in my dreams. It was these photographers who really got me hooked on the app and kept me wanting to come back for more. I follow many more such photographers now, and my “bucket list” of travel destinations grows by the day it seems! But fulfilling the wanderlust is not easy when you’re a Mum to two small children is it? I don’t particularly want to leave them behind, but taking them with me seriously narrows both the times that travelling is possible due to school, and the adventures that can take place whilst away.
I’m very lucky in that my work as a photographer has offered me several opportunities to travel this year. There are a few trips which I’ve sadly had to decline, due to the reasons above. It’s almost impossible for me to leave the kids behind for more than a day or two. However, our recent trip to Cannes sponsored by Hotel Barriere Le Majestic was one which seemed to tick all the boxes for the three of us. School holidays, a short flight, a five star hotel with a heated pool, a private beach, a kids club, exquisite dining… “oh yes I think I can manage this” I said to myself.
Well what can I say, I managed a disaster that only I seem to be capable of. I am a grown up, I really am, yet sometimes I’m not sure I should be allowed to leave the house in charge of small humans! The alarm went of at 3.45 the morning we travelled, we got up and left the house in good time, got to the airport, checked in, went through security, fed the tired children, went to the gate, went to the toilets…. aaaaand missed the flight. Argh!!! I still feel sick to think about it. Walking up to an empty gate and wondering where everyone had gone, that gut wrenching realisation and seeing the bus pulling away from the gate which apparently could not be stopped or returned. Our plane sat on the runway for another half an hour, but there was no way to get us to that plane. We’d missed it by 30 seconds.
My son burst into tears, I almost did too. The only way to get back from a gate by the way is wait to be escorted back through security and passport checks. It’s a very long walk and takes a long time. I then had to figure out how on earth to get my sad and disappointed children to Cannes The solution was an expensive new set of tickets, a two hour train ride to different airport, and a new flight which was then delayed by over an hour. Sigh. Had my kids not been so looking forward to that swimming pool I would have very happily just gone home and climbed into bed for three days.
Anyhow! We made it 🙂 a little later than planned, but seriously it was worth it when we got there. When you climb out of a taxi to be met by a friendly concierge who kindly peels all your bags off you. When you’re shown to your beautiful suite with a balcony and a view over the French Riviera. When you sit and drink a cold beer from the mini bar whilst the children jump happily on the beds. The travel woes already seemed far behind and the stresses of the day were lifted from my aching shoulders.
The next day we had a lovely chilled out day. Delicious room service, the morning in the pool, lunch down at the beach, kids club in the afternoon (and a little exploring for me), an evening beach visit and photography session, more room service and a good night’s sleep. The food in the hotel was amazing, the service was great and all the staff were very friendly and helpful. Everything at the hotel was really geared up towards children, including lovely teddy bear blankets and balloons in the room, and a good selection of food on the menu. My boys really loved the kids club, they are not at all phased by not being able to speak the same language as the other children They easily made friends in the pool with some French boys, who they then saw again in the kids club in the afternoon.
In fact this is one of the loveliest things about taking them to new places. They have already been to Paris over 18 months ago and asked us then what the French for “hello”,”goodbye” and “thank you” were – well my eldest remembered and both of them were very happy to use their knowledge! Seeing my four year old cheerily say “bonjour” to the hotel staff in the lobby was one of the best things about the trip and really warmed my heart. I love that they have some knowledge of other nationalities, languages and cultures. I really hope one day they grow up to be citizens of the world, with a love and respect for everyone and everything in it.
It’s not only the cultural opportunities, but the fact that they had a chance to swim in a warm pool, paddle in the sea and play on the beach. It’s also very special for me to get to spend some time with them like this, away from the chores and the computer. So we had our mini holiday, some fun in the sun, some memories made. I may not be rushing off anywhere again in the next few weeks (haha) but the wanderlust hasn’t waned. I am so lucky to be getting these wonderful opportunities, and I will not be deterred. And now I know – never go to the loo just before your flight leaves.