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Travelling with kids

Sylvia Fanjoy (l), Jessica Sunter (r) and new arrival at Riding the buses

Sylvia Fanjoy (l), Jessica Sunter (r) and new arrival at Riding the buses

There’s a new addition to the Riding the buses team. He’s only three weeks old. Jessica (with her husband Ian) brought him into this world. I’m just the Nana. This weekend the baby is travelling to a cottage that’s on a First Nations Reserve, a six-hour drive north. May is the month we open cottages for the season here in Canada.

I’m confident the baby will be a world traveller. Why, even before he was born we were planning his first trip to the Canadian Rockies. That will happen this summer and involve a flight across this vast country and a road trip in two of its provinces, Alberta and British Columbia. He’ll probably see his first bear and definitely come upon an elk or two.

I’ve read that flying can be painful for babies because their ear passages are small and that there are ways to alleviate that.  Airlines provide information on including formula, breast milk, juice, and baby food in carry-on luggage. I’ve been learning about diaper-changing tables and child-restraint devices on airplanes and to bring a collapsible, umbrella-type stroller instead of a bulkier one. If we were leaving Canada for the holiday, the baby would need a passport; as it is, a birth certificate will do.

I’ve followed advice on making bookings in advance when travelling with kids. We’ll be staying in cabins this time instead of tenting but plan to spend one night in a wilderness hostel described as being “off the grid”: No phone, No electricity, No showers and Outhouse toilets.  I’m confident we can manage that. Others will join us on this adventure, adults and children alike. So it will be a trip with kids.

Travel when young to places unlike home can be deeply influential. Farley Mowat, for instance, a famed Canadian author of books on the north who died earlier this month, said that the trip he made with his uncle to the remote shores of Hudson Bay when he was a boy was a turning point in his life, influencing him not only as a writer but also as an environmentalist.

Not that I’m suggesting our little road trip this summer will have much, if any, impact on an infant. But in doing this we will be passing on our family’s tradition of valuing travel and that means a lot to us.

Happy travelling.

Sylvia Fanjoy

(c) Riding the buses 2014

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