A road trip through Europe in a motorhome, together with a 4-year-old, a newborn and the dog. Maybe this idea will only give you palpitations and stress. There is certainly a bit of healthy tension, but that certainly does not prevent the couple Davey (32) and Leonie (34) from making this trip.
“We want to travel through Europe for six months from September, together with our three-year-old son and our newborn baby,” says Leonie. “I am now 37 weeks pregnant so when we travel the baby will be four months. You are always busy. If it is not busy at work, then you have other obligations or hobbies. You are kind of lived by everything and everyone. That is why we would like to take a break with the family.”
Traveling for half a year with baby and toddler
“I have always said that if children came into play, I wanted to focus more on Europe for holidays,” Leonie tells Famme. “I see a lot of people going out with the camper and that really appealed to us. We’ve never done it ourselves before. It’s nice that in Europe everything is relatively close to each other. If something goes wrong, you can be back home within two days if necessary.
Everything now fits together nicely. We have both taken full parental leave. This really allows us to go away for a long time. We both thought this was the right time. Our son will be four in October and can easily join us before he is of school age. Davey and I have been together for thirteen years now and I personally think we have traveled too little. Now we can do this for a longer period and we do not have to take school holidays and compulsory education into account. On the other hand, I would seriously consider home schooling if we had a similar plan again in the future
Traveled too little
Davey has followed the Tourism course himself, but would have liked to see a bit more of the world. “I never wanted to be the one with a nine to five job. I wanted to see the world. Now I have a permanent job and I have the house, tree, animal life. I am very happy with this, but still I want to fulfill my travel plans with my family.
I also like to take more time for things. At home I do everything under a certain time pressure. For example, if I have a flat tire, I quickly cycle to the bicycle repair shop, while I can sit down for this during the trip and enjoy tinkering. When we started working on a campsite in Italy a few years ago, we took more time for everything. There were fewer distractions.
“The idea of camping was born from the idea of a simpler and minimalistic lifestyle,” say Leonie and Davey. “Our focus has long been on being able to spend more time on the things that really matter and wasting less energy on unimportant things. The focus on the family is also very important to us. We just want to be able to really enjoy together, without all the obligations around it.
A trip like this is not only an experience for your children, but also for yourself as an adult. By really taking the time for the family and yourself, you also work on your personal growth and get to know yourself better. What is really important in life right now? At the same time, this journey is also a digital detox.”
Now or never
For Leonie and Davey it feels like it’s now or never, because otherwise it will take a while before the children are big enough or no longer have school age. “You can always postpone things, but we are still young and healthy ourselves. You never know what the future holds. We’d rather regret something we’ve done than regret something we haven’t done.
Leonie also finds it exciting to go on a trip somewhere. “Strangely enough, I would never have done this with my first child. I think realistically, what does a four-month-old child actually need? That’s really the family and being together. We can actually focus very much on the little one, even more than in the Netherlands, I think.”
They especially find sleeping a thing. “You do sleep in one room. Our three-year-old son is already quite a light sleeper, so with all that crying of a newborn baby, that is going to be a challenge.”
The couple will start in September with a route to Scandinavia via Germany, Denmark and finally Sweden. We will also include cities, but the focus is really more on nature. From there we will first drive back and then visit the countries of Germany, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia.
We would also like to take part of Northern Italy with us if we can and then drive back to the Netherlands via Portugal, Spain and France. It’s quite a journey to cover in five months, so we’re just taking it one day at a time.
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Traveling for half a year with baby and toddler in a camper, Leonie (34) goes for it