First Few Weeks of Travel

Buenos Aires, Argentina
April 3, 2019

The best part of this trip is the amount of time we are spending together, away from distractions of work, school, kids’ activities, social obligations, etc.

We always thought we were a close family, but this sort of a trip redefines ‘closeness’. I’ve read many blogs written by the long-term travelers, and they all emphasize family time as the most memorable aspect of their experience. This was immediately obvious to us in the first couple of weeks of our trip. All emotions are heightened – positive and negative. Everyone is getting used to the new environment, random schedules, there is a lot to process but our close proximity forces us to spend intensive time together. We might get into 50 fights in a day (and we sometimes do) but are also forced to resolve them all as many times as it’s needed until the balance is achieved again.

This sort of an environment has given us all a great amount of practice to get some things ironed out. It also puts a spotlight on any toxic dynamics that exist between us. There are all sorts of dynamics between the 5 of us that can use some work but the relationships between the kids and our interactions with each one of them is currently on our minds.
Both Pedja and I became painfully aware of how much we yell at Maksim. At home, that was not as easy to see. He was at school and we were at work for 6-8 hrs per day. When we were home, we were dealing with day-to-day life stuff, he was playing with neighborhood friends, we might have yelled at him for something, he would pretend to hear us, we would get distracted by something else, he would leave to play again, and we were in this constant runaround without resolving much, repeating whatever patterns we had set up, good ones and those not so good, over and over again. We now are consciously working on changing our behaviors and redefining this relationship.

At home, the kids also did not really have to deal with each other as much as they are forced to do now. Nina is having an incredible opportunity to practice new interactions with his siblings. He is driving them bananas but still, we are seeing completely new interactions, new efforts to play, new attempts from all three of them to interact more. He needs a lot of repetition of the same interactions to learn from them. What better opportunity for that sort of a learning lab than a trip like this when all siblings have no one else to interact with than each other. Since they don’t have others for entertainment, they are finding each other to be a lot more interesting company.

This is all spiced up with a moody teenager that at times thinks that it’s more cool to act like she is not having fun so she puts a lot more effort into hiding her joy than letting herself smile big and enjoy life. She particularly puts a lot of effort into not letting us catch a picture of her laughing. With her, one day is amazing and then the next day, we are suffocating her. Looking at her objectively, I can say that I see a lot more true big smiles, a lot of satisfaction and relaxed moments, ready for any sort of a challenge. But when she is not in a mood to interact with us, her coldness can mess with all of us. True teenager in action.

The time is going by anyway, at home or on the road. Our days are adding up wherever we are. Who knows what will come of us after these 18 months. I have no clue and cannot say that all will be well! Time will tell what our next chapters will be like but for now, these few travel weeks have been good. We’ll see if or how long this will last.

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