Edwina Cagol reflects on the challenges of getting her young children to engage with travel. And whether a theme park counts as a cultural experience...
Taking a year out to travel as family was always going to be more than having a holiday with the kids. It was about spending time with them and trying to develop them. What I’m not quite sure about at the moment is how to go about that.
The kids seem quite unfazed by the amazing things they are seeing, especially in India and Nepal. Maybe my expectations are too high. Or am I expecting too much so soon? Do I just let nature runs its course and see how the kids have developed in six months time? Or do I constantly point out everything to them and make sure they are taking it all in?
Like most things in life I guess the answer lies somewhere inbetween. But finding where that line is exactly seems hard at the moment. I take solace in the thought that it is probably sinking in more than I presume.
To that end, I’m glad Kuala Lumpur wasn’t our first stop. It is very westernised, with lots of shopping areas and brands we recognize like H&M, Tesco, Marks and Spencer's, not to mention all the usual fast food giants. And, much to the kids’ delight, a Legoland.
After five weeks in Nepal and India, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it was a welcome change to stay in a nice hotel, tuck into a buffet breakfast and relax by a pool. Occasionally, we ventured out to see the sights – the Petronas Towers in central KL, and Batu Caves where monkeys roamed in troupes and grabbed whatever they could from unsuspecting visitors.
For the kids though, the highlight of our stay in KL was the Sunway Lagoon waterpark, where they spent the day hurtling down Vuvuzela, the world's largest waterslide. And Legoland Malaysia which, to all intents and purposes, was the same as the one back in the UK.
I must admit, I found it hard to fathom how Legoland could be put into the same category as the experiences they’d had in India and Nepal. But just as my husband and I found temporary comfort in staying in a nice hotel and lounging by a pool, they found comfort in activities that were familiar to them. For a short time, at least, they were able to switch off from the sensory overload of the trip so far and relax.
Edwina and Mauro Cagol are travelling around the world for a year with their three young children. To find out more about their adventures, visit their blog.