Australia has been on our travel bucket list for a few years but for some reason, our plans always fall through. Hindi talaga sya matuloy-tuloy. (It really never pushes through.) Finally, we made it to the land down under this year, even though there were a few hiccups that almost made us miss this trip. (Again!) This trip to Australia is extra special and I was extra excited to go because it’s my first overseas travel since my birthday in July 2018. This is also the first time Kyle will travel on a long-haul flight, so that made our trip memorable as well.
The funny thing about our family is that we aren’t the types who plan our travels ahead of time. Paul and I have a lot of responsibilities and constantly shifting schedules, so we usually plan trips maybe one to two months before. The furthest we can plan ahead is three months but that rarely happens. That’s why EVERY time we plan to go to Australia, we can never pull it off. It was just really hard to get everything together.
One of the other reasons we kept putting off Australia is because of Kyle. He’s traveled a lot and I actually call him my little jet-setter. He really loves to travel with us. But anyone who has traveled with children knows just how much work is involved. Hindi biro talaga magdala ng bata (It’s really no joke to bring kids along) when you’re traveling. I restricted Kyle to a maximum of five hours of flight time during the first four years of his life. He can only come with us if the travel time is five hours or below, kasi medyo nakakapagod talaga yun mahabang flight (because long flights get really tiring). Our rationale is that we can always take him next time when he’s older.
Like I said, we almost didn’t make this trip. The only difference this time was that I really pushed for it to happen. One of the companies we work with had an incentive trip and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. We also put a bit more effort into our trip preparation but our plans almost fell through because of a small misunderstanding. Paul initially wanted to join this trip but he eventually decided to cancel because of his schedule. Having done a bit of travel right before this trip, Paul has already spent a lot of time outside work the past month. He also has a lot of responsibilities he needs to manage, so he backed out of the group trip.
A month before our travel date, Paul reconsidered going to Australia because a friend was inviting him to Melbourne there to look at business opportunities. He asked me if he still had time to get a visa, so I decided to call the agency to check. It was also around that time when the visas of our team were released, so I asked if our visas were already out. It was only then that we discovered our application was never lodged with the embassy. The agency thought the whole family was backing out of the trip, not just Paul! Medyo na-stress ako nun. (I was a bit stressed then.) I sat back and thought of what to do.
I decided to pursue the application even on a short timeframe since our papers were already with the agency. The short version of the story is that the agency who handled our visa application was really good and efficient. We got our visas ONE WEEK before our flight date, so that was the only time we bought our tickets to Sydney. Of course, the tickets were really expensive. What can you expect? It was one week before travel.
We often consider comfort when we fly, especially with Kyle. But when I saw the ticket prices, I realized it was really not practical anymore. We definitely want to go, so I booked economy seats for us. I was kind of worried about Kyle because it was a red-eye flight – he’ll need to sleep and he’s very malikot (active and frisky) pa. I was already imagining how tiring it would be. Thankfully we got through it well and I’m actually really proud of how Kyle behaved on the plane.
Kyle is can be mareklamo (a complainer), though it’s really more of maarte (very selective and delicate). I already saw how things can go wrong at syempre (of course), my parenting instincts kicked in. After booking the tickets, I talked to Kyle and explained to him that the flight won’t be like our other flights. He won’t have a very big space, he won’t be able to move and sleep comfortably, he won’t be provided with a lot of food – basically, all the comforts of business class won’t be available to him. It was also clear to him that it’s going to be a very long flight compared to previous trips. When we plan our travels Kyle would often ask how long the flights are and he would choose destinations which are closer, like Hong Kong or Taiwan. He prefers short trips so he won’t get bored on the plane. This time, I set his expectations about the flight and made him know that I don’t want any attitude or bad comments when he sees that there’s not enough space on the plane, etc.
The talk really helped because when we were on the plane, Kyle was well-behaved. This trip is proof that explaining things to kids really helps manage their behaviors later on. Before we left, I kept telling Kyle that we will be flying at night and we will arrive in the morning so he will need to sleep. He won’t have time to sleep when we get there. We’ll be meeting the other team from our company the day we arrive because it’s the only time available for us – they’re leaving Sydney the very next day. I told Kyle that there won’t be time for us to rest when we land. Kyle understood this and he was really good on the plane. An hour after departure, Kyle went to sleep and he slept the entire flight. I woke him up when we landed and told him we’re already in Australia. He opened his eyes and he was really surprised, “We’re in Australia already?” he asked. I said, “Yes, and Australia is really excited to see you!” He smiled and said, “See mommy, the flight is just very fast!” He didn’t complain at all and I was really, really proud of him. I personally had a hard time because we had a lot of bags and it was more cramped than usual. But I survived the trip – I’m just not sure if I can survive that way for more than eight hours!
With all the things that happened before our trip, it almost seemed like Australia was going to be a disaster. But how Kyle managed his first long-haul flight made me feel really positive and even more excited about being in Sydney. I’ll write about our experience in Sydney in my next post – including tips on where to go and what to do! Stay tuned!