Friends, I am about to be a published writer. On Tuesday night at around midnight, just before we headed out on our vacation, I sent an inquiry to a local magazine asking if they might be interested in my writing for their next annual issue. I didn’t know when it was to be published; in fact, I assumed I had missed the deadline since it was a summer publication. Writing to them was on my “to do” list, however; and checking off that list before a trip is a genetic necessity for me; so I wrote.
When I checked email on Thursday, I saw their reply: we love your ideas! Can you write up the first two by Friday?
Gulp. “Yes!” I replied. “How many words?”
My next two vacation evenings were spent trying desperately to get my daughter to sleep at a decent hour; and, when that failed, drafting, editing and completing two 600-word articles starting at about 10:35 each evening until midnight. (Important note: my husband would undoubtedly have made time for me to write, had he not been in a different country attending a yoga retreat at the time).
I’ll let you know more about the results in a while. One of the articles was about traveling with a toddler. As we near the end of this trip, I have a lot more insight than I did when I wrote it a few days ago. Here, unsolicited, are the tips that didn’t make it into the article.
- It doesn’t hurt to think of the toddler first when making plans. Everyone needs to have fun on a family vacation; but if the toddler isn’t having fun, no one will. Ensure that your location and schedule allow time each day for lots of activity combined with quiet and rest.
- We have found it worthwhile to include at least one of the following activities each day: playground; running on grass or down a nice trail; playing at the beach; or a non-pressured get-together with other kids.
- Pack even lighter than I told you to in the article. How do I have too many clothes yet again for myself, and not enough for her?
- Have a plan. Book a hotel, know what activities you want to do, when they happen, and how to get tickets. Be able to go straight to where you’re going. We have discovered our uncanny ability to not do this, and while we luck out a lot, we also lose time as we try to plan on the fly.
- Snacks. Lots of them.
- A first aid kit: include a thermometer. She came down with a cold one night, and I complete freaked out.
- Make the little things fun. My daughter’s biggest delights on this trip have been saying “We’re going to Saaaan Fraaaaan Cisco!!”; exploring every corner of our hotel room, including trying on the bathrobes; running along between our hands; putting things into little bags; and, apparently, “shopping for mama” as she picks items out of stores for me. An attitude of fun has made things fun.
- Also: don’t do work during vacation. Which I’ve done. And am stopping.
Happy summer vacation to all of you!