Surely, going overseas on a journey three times as long, opens up a whole array of new opportunities. I search the net for comfort, clambering to find that ray of sunshine that will bring all joy to our trip preparation.
The online guides relating to travelling with children are simply endless. The first article I come across reads, "Travelling with children can be a bit like taking a herd of wild goats on holiday" (roughguides.com). Well, that wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I love how it's not pet goats, but wild ones!! The next one I come across is a blog with a lengthy checklist.
Make sure your child is well-rested before flying; Pack a wash-cloth to soak up spills; Pack a small toy as a surprise in your handbag; Take a funny, entertaining picture book to combat boredom; Pack a boiled egg in a zip lock bag and some non-perishable food; Take care of things like refilling prescriptions, laundering and pressing the clothes you will take with you (mydearlizzy.wordpress.com).
I'm thinking I might just pop the kitchen sink in for good measure.
Now that I have tied down my three very excited children to 'rest', filled my handbag with surprises, cooked the eggs and ironed the clothes (that will never happen)…phew…I feel exhausted and decide to try a new website.
I locate our destination on the Australian Government 'Smartraveller' website and read, "We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution because of the high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of serious crime. We continue to see reports indicating that militants are planning to kidnap Westerners". At least they specify certain regions to avoid. I decide to log off.
Nothing has really been helping my cause so I begin to focus on some positives. We are going to be visiting my husband's family, whom he has not seen for nine years. They have never met our children, so all anxieties aside, I also have a feeling it is going to be a special trip. .We definitely have to be extra organised and pre-empt various situations, but all in all if we've covered all bases we can think of, then we just need to trust God with the rest.
God amazingly made the way for us to be able to go in the first place and it is this I need to be holding on to. He has a plan and purpose for our first overseas adventure. I decide to stop searching for worst case scenarios and all the how to's of travelling with children.
Instead I take out the suitcases and follow my heart. I look to the Lord for the peace I need and begin to focus on the wonderful possibilities for growth and learning that we will have as a family travelling to a developing nation.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 4 verses 6-7 to not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html