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Paloma and Jérémie reinvented the way they travel with the arrival of their baby. Story of a mini van adventure with a baby.
My husband and I just love travelling.
The desire to discover other horizons, to meet other cultures, to confront our certainties in other ways to understand the world…
This has motivated us for a long-time.
What if we know how to appreciate the luxury of a comfortable bed, a hot shower, a meal served in a restaurant; we also love the freedom to travel simply.
As if, freed from the comforts of everyday life, we were much more able to reconnect with what really matters.
That's it, for us, a better life.
that with emotions, with relief.
And then, we grew up… yes, you can say “grown up” as we've known each other since college… but the thirst for adventure has never dried up.
Far from it.
For us, loving the great outdoors and zero constraints, it is paradoxically during a backpack trip that the desire to have a child was born.
I saw these families discovering the world together, and sharing incredible memories, I saw these curious children, amazed by their discoveries, and good too.. and I understood that....
with a child life changes, let's not lie.
But can you do anything else?
Of course not.
We simply adapt.
The desire for a child yes, but not the desire to "settle down".
I wanted to share these magical moments with a family... with my family.I didn't see myself as a “mum”, with all the responsibilities that come with it, but I really wanted to become a “parent”, partner of my sweetheart. The nuance is very subtle, and yet it was the one that spoke to me very personally.
I needed to see "elsewhere" to build my parenthood "here'.It's a personal journey.
Some people don't (and never will) want children, for others, this is an accomplishment. I was in this grey area, wandering between two ideas.
And it was only when I realised that one had to follow their own way of functioning, that I freed myself from the constraints that I asked myself. So I kept my old car, no matter how small it was, because I didn't want to change everything in my life. I carried my son in a baby sling because I felt good like that. And then, above all, we continued to travel… differently. Well... nearly!
We never imagined going halfway around the world with a 2 month old baby. How was the flight going to go? Wouldn't the pressure of take-off and landing be too much for such a small baby? And what would happen if the baby fell ill? And what about the vaccines?For the the day-to-day, we assumed that children are born and raised all over the world, so we would find everything we needed on site ...To the remark.. "the baby will not remember anything... There's no point in travelling with such a small child, ”we simply replied that it was not for the baby that we were going. Knowing how to think about yourself and feel good in your sneakers is also important.
And then, one thing lead to another, we chose to do things more simply. Because, for us, simplicity remains synonymous with freedom. Not to mention that we are incredibly lucky in France and are spoiled, with breathtakingly varied landscapes. You don't have to travel far to experience amazing things. By the way, it was an opportunity to introduce our baby to our distant family.
So, we were in search of a van for a road trip in our beautiful country. It's very simple, you just need to write in “van rental” into the search engine to find specialised sites or advertisements between individuals..
What we love the most are the old, very “Instagrammable” vehicles. They certainly awaken our imagination. The photo shot with the sunset, if possible with the surfboards on the roof-top. Oh yes, we're there already. You just have to imagine it to already feel like you're on holiday. The power of our imagination is quite amazing.
"But how are you going to cope without air con?" “Well... the same as our parents a few years back…”
Oblivious, carefree...Probably.But definitely happy.
And then, this road trip was also a pretext to keep moving while creating our cocoon. Because we weren't ready to give up our desire for discovery and our dose of wonder. It was the perfect opportunity to forge a strong bond with our baby outside of everyday life.
Then we imagined our journey, as we would have done for a foreign country. We like to know where we're going a little in advance, and that also allows us to be on holiday a bit before the departure.
What we didn't anticipate at all, however, was the crazy “sympathy” coefficient that comes with the magic “old van + baby” combo. A great surprise!Almost one of the best memories of this road-trip.
On the practical side, we still had to act as “responsible parents”. At least.So, yes, for sure, we had a little more than two backpacks to carry:
- A little foldable bath.water heated with a saucepan, mixed with a little cold water, and hey presto! it's time for the bath.For us, we simply installed a solar shower and a cabin next to the van to wash ourselves.
- A crib that we put next to our feet, on the ground at night: no risk of falling or suffocation, comfortable for our little one, and it didn't take up too much space.
- A soft baby carrier or a baby sling for short hikes.
- A small beach tent or a tarp to make sure you always have shade for our baby.
- A blanket for comfortable picnics, but also to be able to change the little one's nappy anywhere.
For the rest of the material, nothing very different from everyday life … You just have to find the organization that suits you best. It's not the same for everyone.
If you take baby bottles, just know that it can be useful to take compartmentalized boxes for powdered milk, this will prevent you from being overloaded on the walks.
The second very good surprise on this trip:the ease of a road trip with such a small baby!
We left quite confident, it's true. And that certainly contributed to the smooth running of the trip. But we never imagined that it would be so simple.
At 2 months, a baby still sleeps a lot.Admittedly, not necessarily at the times you would like and intermittently, but still. It's therefore quite easy to move. Unless we are one of those lucky parents? If the nappy is clean, the parents available, the baby has enough to eat …
It's just important to remember to take regular breaks. You can travel, but slower.You take your time.
For the organisation, we kept it simple. Apart from the approximate route we had originally imagined, we lived from day to day. According to what we wanted to do, it's great too.
Restaurant, picnic, cooking with a super cooking set… And, because the space available in the van is limited, not a lot of dishes as we didn't have the space.
Washing up was done at the same time as the shower, that we then left to dry in the sun.
Finding the right spot every evening, a question of feeling or by using dedicated apps.
Filling up with water.
A lot of happiness and laughter.
And everyday, something new to discover. Walks, little hikes. Eyes wide open.
A life without fuss, a life without worries.
A van naturally means slowness. It lends itself perfectly to that timeless parenthesis imposed by the arrival of a child in life. We take the main roads; time to look at the scenery. We stop to take photos, for a walk... Going up we advance even slower which creates a few queues behind us ... But the old van attracts sympathy, so we're never honked. Sometimes we pull over to the side, to let other vehicles take over.
We take care to choose the playlist, we open the windows to get some fresh air, let the wind blow through our hair, and above all, our eyes are wide open! It's so beautiful! Everything we need for a successful road trip. We could have been in a film.
And in the middle of all these wonderful landscapes, we breathe and we build our new life together. Time is suspended, links are forged more easily. We become a family, we become parents. We write a new chapter to our travelling life.
Exactly the tribe I had always dreamed of.