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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 12 Nov 2005
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Travelling with children

This is a good one.
Having just read Sam Rutherford's post in another thread I thought this would make an interesting topic. I'm sure there are lots of views and ways to keep the kids happy.
Personally I travel with my wife and two children. Wife and I are in our 40's and the children are; boy 15, girl 13.
Since 1998 we have driven our own car from the UK to France, Spain and to Tunisia last year. I find I have to plan no more than about five hours driving time a day, even breaking this with at least a couple of stops.
Just one other point. I do not think that travelling with children of any age, or when pregnant is irresponsible. Afterall there are both young and pregnant people in all of the places that we visit. What could be better than to share all of the experience with those closest to you.
Over to you.
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  #2  
Old 12 Nov 2005
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I don't want to hijack your thread or anything, but also I am interested in this topic, but in terms of motorcycling. It would be great if people posted their opinions on both forms of transportation, cars and motorcycles. How old should children be before bringing them along on a motorcycle trip through lets say Africa? With a car I would say any age as long as you are not to far away from civilisation, your car has airconditioning. I would think that the key is to put in plenty of entertainment for the kids, camel rides, safari, swimming, etc.
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  #3  
Old 12 Nov 2005
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I guess people have seen this couple on Triumphs who had a child mid-trip and continued with a sidecar when he was old enough:
http://www.worldtriumph.co.uk/
Unfortunately they don't update their site.

Have look also at this swedish couple and their chidren
http://www.olmhagen.se/default.shtml

Simon
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  #4  
Old 12 Nov 2005
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I don't think travelling with children is a problem !
We went out to Mali last Christmas over six weeks, travelling in an elderly 110. We have five children - aged from 14 down to 3. We 'made' a roof tent - literally a small 3 man tent tied onto the roof-rack (boarded), and made up a wooden platform across the back for the others to sleep in. My wife and I slept outside.
The younger kids were more adaptable than the older ones - which had a few AAs (Atitude adjustments) - having aguements while at police checks was not the right thing !!
Generally having kids with us made police checks etc easier - espicially with the little ones putting on 'cute' smiles etc.
I think at times it also kept us saner. I must admit loosing my cool the third time the trailer tipped over, but it was probably the kids which stopped it happening the first and second time !!

Medically, my wife is a nurse which helped. The inevitable delly-belly was the worst that happened to us.

Go for it I say.

Pete
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  #5  
Old 13 Nov 2005
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In January we are going to travel around West-Africa for 3 months with 2 little guys under 2 years old. Does anyone have any suggestions how to avoid excess of kisses and kuddles from locals? Are there nappies easily available in Mauri, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and Burkina?

our site: www.twinplanet.net

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  #6  
Old 13 Nov 2005
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Hi all you travelling parents

I'm glad to see this thread here at HU.

Kevinrbeechs advice is to drive max 5 hours a day, and I agree with this.

I've heard parents make up games for their children: counting cars, telling stories using the things they see from the window etc. How are you guess entertaining your children while driving? DVD, GameBoys, cards, drawingboards, nothing, playmo ...

I will be taking my 10 year old on a 3-4week trip next summer. For her to find a purpose for being on-the-road for such a long time, we will find her a project that will last the whole trip. Such a project could be like collect information on children her age, or information on local music (her favorit). When we come home we will use the info collected to make a short presentation for her class at school.

Petelewis, can you show us picturs of your car with the tent on top and how you arranged the back of your car.

Jakob


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  #7  
Old 18 Nov 2005
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Hi All,
we are going to leave for Morocco,Mauritania and Senegal, with probably a visit to Gambia too, 30.11.2005, with our 16 months old baby.
Some claim that it's total irresponsibility and we should leave him at home with grandparents, but we don't share this opinion. Having collected lots of information, the whole seems to be reasonable and manageable. By the end of october, we did a trial-trip to Corsica, venturing around all the island, and the whole trip turned out to be a 100% success, for the little Peter too. The most important, to keep him happy, is not to break his usual daily rhythm of sleeping and eating. So the itinerary should be planned keeping that in mind.
Peter
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  #8  
Old 18 Nov 2005
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Right, I'm entirely for travelling with one's kids. If you give up going on holiday to interesting places just for them life gets boring, you, and they, end up frustrated.
I'm not going to have the problem for another ten years, but how does one keep adolescents from pouting and grumbling on such a trip?
(it's got to be better than having them hang aroung in your local town centre)

That's my opinion, now the most important question,

How does one convince She Who is Too Cautious that travelling with a toddler(s) is no more risky than staying at home, and that they will benefit from it?

Advice please
Ta
Luke
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  #9  
Old 18 Nov 2005
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I'm not convinced how much of all this travelling is really the best thing for the children. You can still get them the adventure and cultural good stuff by basing out of a hotel in India/Bolivia/Senegal - and then doing short trips out-and-back each day.

It may not be as cool, but that's going to appeal more to kids (having their (relaxed) parents' undivided attention, near a swimming pool etc.). Finding things that they can do 'in the back' whilst on the road does not sound like what they would ask to do given free choice.

I'm going to take my kids all over this fantastic world, but only when they will enjoy the experience as much as I do!

And as for taking kids on the back of a motorbike?! I find riding pillion boring REALLY quickly - and I have at least a fighting chance of looking over/around the rider. The sidecar possibility is intriguing - but in that case why not get a car!

In wait for the inbound responses - my main point is:

Of course it's possible, but who are you REALLY doing it for?

Sam.

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Old 18 Nov 2005
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Quite clearly at toddler size, ME!

At what age does a child start appreciating travel?
At what age does a child get annoyed that their parents want to share all those wonderful experiences out there?

We met a 4 year old travelling with his parents in BF and later in Ghana who had developed a marvellous personality and really enjoyed the travels in their knackered Renault 4.

I would like to be a fly on the wall of the ANAUTICA (http://anautica.free.fr/) truck to learn how two young adolescents cope with life on the road.

One of the best travelogs with kids has to be the Kingsmills'trip (can't remember the link), and even then there's not much info on how many and what sort of complaints came from the back seat. Geoff, if you read this perhaps you could enlighten us.

Kids are marvellously adaptable, and have a capacity to overcome cultural and language barriers where big kids (us adults) would sometimes hesitate.

IMHO travelling with kids is an enriching experience, I feel that from the age they start noticing their environment travelling becomes a wonderful educational experience.

(edit) I must be wearing rose coloured glasses at the moment, but you get the idea.

Luke


[This message has been edited by Luke (edited 18 November 2005).]
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  #11  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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My experience of travelling with kids has been fantastic and personally I find it hard to see many negative points at all. Our 5 year old has now spent a nearly a quarter of her life in the Sahara doing some fairly long trips and I personally think educationally and socially its done her the world of good. She (as a native English speaker) also speaks passable Berber Arabic and French, makes friends where ever she goes and quite frankly has non of the social / racial hang ups that we generally suffer from in the west. I really can only see this as a good thing. We have tried hotels (very good and very bad) on occasion (we spent 6 weeks in SA and Namibia this year being “civilised” as my wife was 6/7 months pregnant ) but for us it was a disaster – give us a bush camp any day!! – how do you entertain a small child in a hotel room apart from the TV? We gave up - rented a Toyota and headed to the North to some empty space to go camping as soon as we could

Our travel plans will now have to be curtailed now the eldest has started school but every opportunity will be taken to continue this soft way of educating our children. I benefited masivly from growing up in East, West Africa and the Middle East – so why shouldn’t my children if I can make the effort? At the very worst it’s a fantastic way of actually spending time doing something fun with the kids
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  #12  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Good on you Dwair,
I hope to be able to do the same.
Distance learning is also available for school level courses, and you'd be amazed how easy it is to fit a 5 hour school day into about 2 hours home study time.

Kids are very adaptable, I wonder how your 5 year old will adapt to what western society calls civilisation in school form. With her experience the teachers are going to adore her; as for the other kids... (they can be cruel little s***ts when all they know comes from children's hour)

Happy trails
Luke
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Old 24 Nov 2005
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"And as for taking kids on the back of a motorbike?!"

Replying to Sam, age is a factor but so are the way you have brought your kids up and your relationship with them.

My daughter traveled with me across Iran in the summer heat aged 15 (when many teenage girls supposedly have difficult relationships with their parents). She loved it as much as I loved taking her.

We’ve done trips through Jordan, Syria and Turkey on which she based her G.C.S.E. artwork. We’ve been to places that are important for an understanding of European history together (Gallipoli, Ypres, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Auschwitz/Birkenau).

She’s 18 now and has her own life but I know that, like me, if she could she’d be back on the bike at the drop of a hat. I could go on for ages about how good the bike experience has been for us. It might not be for everyone but it works for us and I recommend trying it if you have an inquisitive teenager who yearns to see the world.
Stephan
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  #14  
Old 28 Nov 2005
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No issues with teenagers doing vehicle based travel (out in the desert they can even drive/ride themselves!).

No it's the 0-6 or so that I reckon would prefer to do other things than sit in the back of a car for several hours every day.

The reason we, as adults, are not doing the 'Encounter' truck trips is to have a measure of control over our experience - and that lack of control would be the position of a small child on these trips.

If the hotel etc. choices have not been good ones - that again reflects on your choice of hotel (and luck!) than the relative merits of the different options. I did also say that you should use the hotel as a base from which to set off into the local country - it's not to watch tv!

Sam.
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  #15  
Old 5 Dec 2005
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Hi,
Sorry Jakob, haven't been on for a while. IF you are still interested in a piccy of the tent on the roof I can email one to you. Drop me an email on peteatlewistribe.co.uk

Pete

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