Travel Funnies Series: Part One
Kids are hilarious, aren’t there? Adults can be pretty quirky too. We are no exception. Taking five kids around the world full-time has plenty of funny moments. Some may or may not be funny in the moment, but almost always we chuckle about them later. Welcome to the first post in this series!
A side note: Some of these stories require me to be vulnerable in a new way and open to your judgement. We make plenty of mistakes, as adults and as parents. I’m going to give you plenty of ammo to judge and condemn. I kindly ask you to follow the old rule “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.” I feel plenty of mom-guilt for some of these stories, so no need to worry about adding more :)
I am NOT proud to admit that we lost Harrison in Bali, but we did!
We decided to visit the monkey forest in Ubud. I heard all kind of horror stories about monkeys and was pretty freaked about rabies since we opted out of that vaccination. (See my post on vaccines here). When we met our travel friends, Ragged Shoes, in Bali, our kids hit it off. We decided a great way to celebrate New Year’s Day would be to swarm the monkey forest with eight children, 11 and younger.
You need to understand that I have an expectation that is not necessarily shared by Chris: if I have Grace in the carrier on my back, he is in charge of Harrison. We are NOT on the same page about this… . especially when I am pestering him to get out the camera and take some pictures!!
As we walked around the monkey forest, we were having a good time, if a little nervous and cautious. I had coached the kids well: don’t look them in the eye, have NO food on your person, be calm and don’t run. Harrison was particularly freaked out as he doesn’t do that well with new experiences.
After walking around for a while, we all relaxed a bit and even started to encourage the monkeys to come see us. (You do this by just touching your pocket or putting your hand in. They will notice, even from very far away, and come check you out. Usually this means jumping on your head or back!).
At one point, the 12 of us crossed a bridge. Some of us went forward while others stayed back to take a picture. I crossed over with Chris and thought nothing of it. After about 10 minutes or so, my little mom senses started to go off. Where was Harrison? After looking around, the panic bells went off and I started asking the other adults. Lua, the other mom, started to just run back. I hobbled along with Grace still on my back.
Poor little Harry had gone off to the side before the bridge to look closer at a statue and NONE OF US had noticed. Chris got there seconds after Lua to find Harrison SURROUNDED by adults, just like a little monkey. The adults would try to talk to him or touch him and he would scream like a banshee! He has a lovely, distinct scream :) . The adults just huddled in a half-circle around him while he acted like a wild monkey himself! When we scooped him up and walked back to where we were, guess what the first thing he said was (amid our profuse apologies about forgetting him) ? “Dad, can I play on your phone?”
Stuffed Animal Versus The Camera
Tokyo filled so many of my extrovert and urban-adventurer desires. It is a city of constant commotion! So many things to do, so many things to see. I struggle to NOT see it all and fight lots of FOMO (fear of missing out). This becomes especially true as our time starts to come to a close on a location. Typically, I cram that last week FULL to the brim. We then have to take some downtime when we reach the next location and it perpetuates itself. But, I digress.
As Tokyo was coming to a close, I decided to fill one day very full with three or four different agendas. We would hit up Harajuku street, do some animal cafes, then head to a giant transformer statue and end with some arcades at Joyopolis. This is ambitious for even two adults, but really quite unreasonable with five kids. However, I was not going to be discouraged.
Surprisingly, we did accomplish all of my plans. We showed up to Joyopolis with only about 50 minute before Chris would need to head home to start work and kids would need to get to bed. Seeing the staggering entrance price for the arcade should have sent me home, but it didn’t. We went in and I basically stayed with Grace while Chris took the other kids on ONE experience. I proceeded to spend about $20 trying to secure the Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal that we had tried to get multiple times in not only Tokyo but Taipei (darn claw machines!!!). I had no more success here than previous times. By the time Chris was done, I was desperate to have at least ONE experience in Joyopolis.
We hurried to buy tickets (more money!) for an indoor roller-coaster for the big two kids and myself. Chris then occupied himself with some arcades while he waited for us. As soon as we were done (reeling with motion sickness, mind you. I was lucky none of us threw up), we hurried out to the taxi. As we were nearing the street, the inevitable sentence came: “Oh no! I left my stuffed animal!”. Ugh, we were SO annoyed. Chris nearly lost it and was going to make the kids suck it up and leave it, but finally agreed Lucy and Grant could run back in and see if they could get it. We fumed on the sidewalk, stewing about the wasted time.
Lucy and Grant soon returned with the prodigal stuffed animal AND a bonus: Chris’ camera!!! The camera that is worth several thousand dollars and was left on the arcade machine with the stuffed animal. Phew! That was a close one. We would have been devastated to lose the camera, but more so to lose all the footage and photos. We surely ate our words in that moment!
Surf Board Donation
This event, along with some of our other funny stories, is in one of our videos. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you don’t miss our bloopers also! Apologies to any die-hard fan who not only READ this blog, but suffered through one of our first videos to hear this story!
While in Kauai, Hawaii, we were determined to get least get on a surfboard. I heard from another travel family online that they bought a surf board from Costco and then sold it used at the end of their stay. Sounds like a great idea! We decided to do the same.
We bought the board and some bungee cords and strapped it onto our big SUV. We took it to Hanalei beach and…… Lucy nearly drowned. It was awful. She got caught in a rip-tide and thankfully had a little boogie board (basically a big piece of foam) that probably saved her life. This was so stressful and traumatic, we didn’t really use the surf board at all. I think Harrison and Lincoln might have jumped onto it once or twice in the shallows. We packed it up and left, feeling very grateful we didn’t lose a child that night.
The next day, my mom flew in from Colorado. Not even thinking about it, I headed out with the surf board on the roof. About 20 minutes into my drive, it hit me the board was on the top. However, it’s just a two-lane highway, so I didn’t want to pull over. About one minute after this realization, the board started to vibrate rapidly and then, poof, it came off! I saw in my rear-view mirror the board fly off the back and somehow, miraculously, not hit the car behind me. I pulled to a stop as quickly as I could and put on the hazard lights. I got out, a little nervous and jittery, hoping I wasn’t going to get chewed out for this. I noticed someone was picking up the board and thought, “Oh, how nice that they are helping me!”
Much to my surprise and confusion, the car then sped past me, along with the backed-up traffic behind it. I was so confused.. I was literally running back to the board and suddenly traffic was moving on as if nothing had happened. Turns out, that “nice” stranger just popped that board into the back of his or her truck and sped off!
All I could do was return to my car and call Chris to tell him the board we had yet to use was now gone! I don’t envy whoever took it- it’s got some bad karma!
Kyoto Driving Disaster
When in Osaka, we planned to visit Kyoto, Japan. If you follow any serious travelers, chances are good you’ve seen the classic red gates of Kyoto, hundreds and hundreds, in a tunnel. This against the green, lush backdrop of Japan is stunning.
Pretty much everyone takes the train around Japan FOR A REASON. I had fully planned for us to do the same when Chris suddenly announced he wanted to rent a van. He wanted to experience the freedom again of having a car for the first time in many, many months. I was mega annoyed and did a horrible job at being a good sport. I just kept gripping and gripping about it. Turns out, I had plenty of fodder too.
First of all, there are intense tolls on the highways. We paid probably $100 for tolls alone! It was $9 here, $13 there and I’m both chuckling and fuming.
Second, we get to our first destination, planning to spend the night, only to discover Chris has left his tech bag, which has his work computer AND all his camera gear. Oh man! The worst thing to leave! So we actually headed back to our home in Osaka that first night so he could work and grab this bag. The next day, we set off again.
We stayed in two different hotels in Kyoto, which was quite the experience! No cribs at all, it turns out, for those cute Japanese babies. They would look at us like we were crazy when we asked about a crib. All tatami mats, which meant some tried kiddos and tired parents. We were about ready to call it quits!
On our second to last day, we drove to the shopping center we wanted to stay in. Traffic was awful and there were TONS of people. We could tell parking was going to be an issue. It had ALREADY been a big issue the night before: we had unknowingly parked in an HOURLY lot overnight. That set us back about $150.
As we turned into a shopping area and started to look for parking, Japanese people started banging on the windows and gesturing to go back. Turns out, our Google Maps had us going down a pedestrian street!!! Yikes! Poor Chris had to then back up, amid the many pedestrians and dirty looks, until we could get out and find a paid-parking lot. He finally admitted the car is not something he would recommend. :)
Feel free to share a funny travel story or two of your own! I love travel stories. They often make the most favorite memories.