What Travelling Transatlantic with two Children Under 5 can Teach you About Life
You think you know stress?
Until you’ve landed in Philadelphia 40 minutes before your connection to Orlando, with two young children desperate to see Minnie Mouse, having been awake for 18 hours since 5am, knowing you still have to make it through immigration and security, aware of the fact there isn’t another flight until tomorrow morning – you haven’t experienced the true anguish of desperation.
But nothing prepares you for having to consciously consider every action you make for an entire day on no sleep.
Travelling is stressful on your own
Travelling with children on your own is several orders of magnitude for difficult.
There is no better metaphor for life. Than learning to deal with unexpected issues and reacting accordingly.
You may have colleagues incapable of listening or competing the simplest of tasks.
Try walking through duty free with a toddler, and a 4 year old who thinks she’s the next Cara Delevingne which entitles her to try every scent that accosts her on her travels to the gate.
And people que to get onto the planes
Like the flights going to leave without you? You’re at the gate, they are literally going to call you up row by row.
the lesson this teaches is that people will always do things that sabotage their own interests. It’s a uniquely human characteristic that we are incapable of relenting our own impatience. Irrespective of the obviousness of our indiscretions as soon as one person acts we must as well. We don’t want to miss out. Queing in airports is group think. Just because one person does something and other copy – it doesn’t mean it is right.
The plane bring its own pearls
Distractions are the name of this game
Every gap between seats is a portal to another dimension, while every back seat must bear an uncanny resemblance to a football as every child seems incapable of resisting the temptation to kick them relentlessly.
The lesson this teaches is that the arbitrary and mundane can become opportunities for entertainment in the face of tedium.
You can make a friend of anyone if you are actively looking. Children posses this unbridled passion for exploration. Whether that’s telling someone about their toy, introducing themselves or asking a question, this natural inquisitiveness is something which is missing in the world.
Children will talk to anyone. Theirs no bias which alters their perception or informs their behaviours. The benefit of innocence is the opportunity it affords for an enriched experience of humanity.
A transatlantic flight is commensurate to your work day. It’s a physical impossibility to remain focused throughout its entirety.
But, we can limit our consumption of distractions and allow serendipity to inform opportunities for connection. These are often the most fruitful parts of our day.
Then you get delayed
You’re forced to sit on the tarmac for hours. There’s an ‘issue’ which provides no estimated time for the fix. Your departure time evolves to TBC but you must remain seated with your belts fastened because it’s an ever changing situation an we could depart any minute.
Only, now we no longer provide refreshments free of charge
What do you do with a four year old who’s thirsty but if she consumes on more drop of liquid she will create a water feature in the middle row of a 747? If you don’t find a solution quick he whole planes going to be treated to a performance detailing in intimate detail where Santa is stuck and what he’s shouting. Any suggestion that the festivities have passed are met with a mocking derision.
Rules are made to be broken
No luggage or trolleys in escalators? Arbitrary things which prevent you reaching your destination should be ignored. Say sorry when someone catches you and ask for forgiveness instead of asking permission.
Never let yourself be late due to bureaucratic nonsense
There’s a time and a place for following the status quo. When opportunities are time limited they can almost always be ignored. There’s obviously a line, but if nobody is going to get hurt, never slow down.
When you finally make it
When you see the smiles on their faces when they hold onto their favourite Characters
It’s all worth it.
Nothing in life worth doing is easy. If it was everyone would do it. But in life the greatest rewards arise from the procreation of risk and opportunity.