Adventure #4Posted: August 9, 2012
I know my most recent Adventure Post was Adventure #2. There was an Adventure #3 in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee but I’ve neglected to address it during my long writing hiatus. I promise I’ll get back to it, but I wanted to write about this adventure while it was fresh in my mind.
We were going to vacation in North Carolina on the Outer Banks, but we couldn’t find a hotel Dreamgirl liked so we started considering other options. Cincinnati had been over a hundred degrees every day for a long time and we were looking for someplace cool.
We’ve never driven the kids more than 12 hours and we suddenly, arbitrarily, decided we could go farther. Montreal was only 14 hours away according to google and it was about 20 degrees cooler…Jackpot. Destination chosen.
This adventure was a whole series of risks and I had no idea how they would work out:
Risk #1 – 14 hour drive to our destination, and back again
Risk #2 – Visit a country where English is not the primary language
Risk #3 – Instead of a hotel, rent an apartment
Risk #4 – Instead of driving after arrival, use transit
Risk #5 – Instead of using a stroller, let all the kids walk
On all counts we succeeded beyond my wildest imaginings…
1. The drive was long, but largely uneventful. We made a three hour getoutandstretch stop each way.
2. I had a great time using my limited French. Rather than struggling to communicate, I found the locals all too willing to switch to English, and my French passable in the rare scenarios when it was required.
3. Airbnb rocked. We stayed in a lovely apartment. The neighborhood was poor, but safe, and the proximity to transit made it a slam dunk.
4. I had very little experience with transit systems prior to the trip. By day 2 the kids loved the trains, and by the end of the trip they knew our two primary lines by heart. As we left each station they would say along with the French-speaking announcer “prochaine station, LaSalle” or “Charlevoix”, “McGill”, etc.
5. I wish we had taken a pedometer. We walked huge miles. I carried lunch every day in a backpack, and rotated carrying kids at the end of each day. Everyone maintained good humor, surprising endurance, and we were able to get to know the city far better than we would have in a car.
While we were away Leo Babauta posted on family travel and I was surprised to find we were already hitting all of his points. It would seem, with apologies to Tolstoy, that happy traveling families are all alike.
Where should we go next?