Driving across North America
So, continuing with our theme of “slow travel” this year, we decided to do a road trip with the kids from Ontario down to Mexico for the winter. I confess, neither Marcus nor I were convinced that this was going to be a good idea. The furthest that we had traveled with the kids before was Florida. When we would do those trips, we would drive through the night to minimize the travel days required. With this trip, we took 8 days to drive from my Mom’s, down to our apartment just outside the town of San Miguel de Allende.
I have to say; the kids were awesome on the drive. We generally drove between 5-8 hours per day, and then stayed the night in a hotel. I managed to use credit card points to pay for all our Marriott hotel stays along the way, and it gave us an opportunity to try out a Marriott brands that we hadn’t stayed in before.
Three days into our trip, we took a “rest day” from travel and showed the kids one of our favourite cities – New Orleans. We managed to pick a rainy day for our New Orleans adventure, but by the time our coffee and beignets while we sat in Café du Monde, we had managed to forget how rough the trip in from our hotel had been.
A short walk away from Café du Monde is the Central Grocery. Artie got to try a famous (and authentic) Muffuletta for the first time. Surprisingly, the boy who eats olives by the jar, wasn’t so fond of the olives in it.
We walked through Jackson Park.
And… we took the kids to see Bourbon Street. It was relatively quiet on a Thursday afternoon… but there were still a few characters around enjoying the things that Bourbon Street is famous for.
We browsed through the market.
Then, later that night we went out to enjoy some more Louisiana cuisine. I managed to get my Oyster Po-boy. It was fabulous. Mmmmm….
After our short visit to New Orleans, we spent two days driving through Texas before crossing the border into Mexico at Laredo. Crossing the border itself was super easy. However, finding the place where we had to get our visas and our car import permit was a bit tricky. It you ever decide to do it yourself, and follow the signs and it feels like you are going the absolute wrong way… then you likely are going the right way.
Even though our Spanish is a “work in progress” we managed to get through the visa and car permit process without too many problems (once we found the place). It helped that we had everything ready (Mexican car insurance, and all the required documents) before we got there. Then we were on our way.
Because we were unfamiliar with the roads and route down here, we decided only to drive during the day while in Mexico. We stopped for the night in Monterrey and San Luis Posito before we finally made it to the apartment we have rented until the end of January just outside of San Miguel de Allende (SMA).
Our landing in SMA hasn’t been the easiest of our travels. There have been a lot of issues with our apartment (hot water, internet, power, items broken, etc.). We expected there to be some issues in Mexico, but perhaps not this many. The owner though has been responsive, and is working through things. We are grateful for that.
One of the appeals of SMA for us, is that there are so many other travelling families like ours here. One of these families took us for a tour of the town last Friday to help us get our bearings. We met a few other families at a meet up in the main park in the town on Saturday as well. We are starting to feel like we are getting our bearings here, and it is starting to feel more and more like “home”.
We decided early on, that we would only do formal academic work with the kids when we were in a location for a significant amount of time. We knew that the discipline to do “daily school work” (for both the kids and for us) was going to be tough to maintain when we were changing “homes” frequently. With the amount that we all must “take in”, and learn and absorb in new locations, there really isn’t a lot of mental space left to manage academic work either. For our family, this has worked well. So, now that we are in Mexico, the kids have started back on their academic work. They have daily quotas for how much work they need to do, and both kids are blowing their quotas out of the water. If anything, this long break has made them more eager to do what needs to be done. As a parent, this is a cool thing to see.
After the intense traveling that we have done over the past 8 months, we are looking forward to taking things at a slower pace here in Mexico. We’ll continue to post about the learning adventures that we have, but those are likely to come at a slower pace too. I’m grateful for all the amazing things that we have seen, and just as grateful for some time to rest now too.
About the Author
Professionally, I am an e-learning instructional designer who breaks down the barriers of space and time in learning. Personally, I'm the Mom in the Little-Green Family, and co-planner in our adventures.