Sri Lanka. We had an amazing time. It was so wonderful to have two whole weeks to explore this beautiful country, to lose ourselves in the crazy cities, soak up the culture and the history and marvel at the sheer breathtaking beauty of the countryside. It was particularly special to spend time with family, not just our little family of four, but also with my mum, and my sister and her husband who all flew from England to meet us.
While it really was a fantastic trip, there's no getting away from the fact that travelling with small children is hard work. Not because they were they were being difficult - I actually think that they coped with the long flight, time difference, change in temperature and culture shock exceptionally well - but simply because catering to their needs, interests, food, and sleep requirements is all that much more difficult away from home, in a different culture and during days where we are trying to pack in as much as possible - often without allowing time for a nice refreshing nap.
When I'm daydreaming about an upcoming holiday I always imagine that It's going to be like It was before kids - lying by the pool, relaxing with a book and a cold drink. The reality is, of course, very different. Lying by the pool is more like lifeguard duty; I make no progress through my book because I am constantly being distracted by the inane (but very cute) chatter of a talkative 3 year old, occasionally muttering 'Is that right?', 'Really?', 'Oh that's lovely', 'Yes, ok then' - a dangerous thing to do really as I frequently find myself agreeing to things without knowing what they are - 'Did I just agree that she could have cake for breakfast?!'. My lovely, cool poolside drink gets guzzled by children - or has little fingers put in it - or is spilt - or gets some 'yummy' sand sprinkled in it and all the time I am being splashed or nagged to 'come and play with me' or 'watch what I can do!'
Couple all of this with the fact that they most probably will remember nothing about the holiday and you may very well ask 'Why on earth would you bother?!' Why spend all that money and time and effort? I certainly asked myself that very question more than a few times. But I suppose the answer is in these photographs. Because after the trip is over we forget all those exhausting, difficult, frustrating moments and are left quite simply with some beautiful memories. And even if Ella and Jacob are too young to remember anything specific, I'm confident at least that exposing them to different places, cultures and ways of life most definitely will have a positive influence on them. I believe it will help them on the way to becoming tolerant, informed, broadminded people. That the things they have seen and experienced will provide us with a huge array of things to talk about and discuss. That they will have a better understanding of the world and all the amazing things in it. And besides, in between the exhausting moments we did have a LOT of fun.