Travelling vicariously through someone else can be surprisingly satisfying. Once you get past the intense jealousy and hatred that is. It’s Claytons travel – the travel you have when you’re not really travelling. I guess you could call it armchair travel, but it’s rarely that relaxing. Hence the reference to the classic 80s ad for a non-alcoholic drink called Claytons – “the drink you have when you′re not having a drink”.
It’s a bit more complicated when your partner is the one travelling, because that tends to have some intense child-rearing implications for you. But then again, talking about where Daddy is can help the kids deal with his absence. So whether Daddy is wheeling and dealing in New York, or Nanna and Poppy are cruising the Greek Isles, it can be fun to play along.
Christchurch to Queenstown
Once a year hubster escapes from ordinary humdrum daily life to take on the physical and mental challenge of a charity bike ride. A Tour de Cure type of thing. Everybody seems to be doing it these days, especially if you’re male and over 40.
All of his rides have been with Chain Reaction, raising money for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. In particular their work to find a cure for congenital heart disease. He’s done Sydney to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney, Gold Coast to Sydney, Tasmania, and now the epic event – New Zealand. Land of bloody big hills.
To help the kids feel connected to where Daddy is and what he’s doing I made a travel map. Of course it was only when I finished that I realised that it would have been even better to make it WITH the kids. Oh well. There’s always next year.
How I made my travel map
- Pin board – I didn’t want my travel map to be permanent, so I used a pin board from Big W ($26).
- Maps – I included three maps so that the kids know where he is in relation to us. The first shows where New Zealand is in relation to Australia. The second shows the whole of the South Island, while the third shows the ride route. Google is a great source for these maps or you could photocopy an atlas like I did.
- Photos – for our purpose I used photos from previous rides, but photos from the destination would be great too – tourist attractions, cityscapes, local food.
- Mark the route – I used orange sticky labels and push pins from the supermarket to make mine. The finish point of each day of the ride is marked with an orange flag, with the day, location, number of kilometres and elevation that they will travel that day.
- Decorate – I’m happy with my hearts to represent both love and the cardiac research, but feel free to go crazy with scrapbooking paper, ribbons or wherever your creativity takes you. The clear push pins are from Kikki K.
For the kids and I it is a jumping off point for discussions and for looking things up on the interwebs. We’ve watched the Haka on YouTube, talked about sheep, learnt some Maori and looked at photos of the various towns they’re stopping in. But your kids might like to make a contribution to your board –
- They can draw the flag of the country
- Get some travel brochures and they can cut out photos of landmarks or tourist attractions
- Have drawings or photos of the mode of transportation being used like a plane, car or boat.
- Explore Pinterest for more fabulous ideas like this adorable plane on a string.
Make a permanent artwork
If you would like to create something permanent, you could record all the places that you have travelled to. I love this idea to make a custom-shaped corkboard for this purpose. You could even make his travels one colour, your travels another, your joint travels a third colour and your family travels a fourth.
Get the message across
Since I hogged all the travel map making, the kids made their own artwork with this sign that hangs in our kitchen. Blackboard and chalk from Typo.
So he knows that we’re there in spirit, travelling along with him.
More info – Chain Reaction charity bike ride
Is there someone in your family travelling soon?
Perhaps a travel map could serve double duty and be taken for show and tell?