Conscious travel is something I have always attempted to instill as part of our family values, during the upbringing of our children. For me, this has been facilitating our kids in encouraging them to think about what they eat, where they buy it, where it comes from and working within a budget to do so, with a desire to eliminate as much waste as possible.
Australia is not the cheapest of countries (in comparison to the UK) to buy food in, but we found if we came out of the mindset of wanting to eat the same in Oz as in the UK, we could balance out the cost and keep the price of our shopping down. Especially as we were staying in motel accommodation along the way, which proved to be an expensive way to spend a few short hours of sleep in.
This is where we discovered our love of flavoursome red soil potatoes, which we now use in our Bombay spiced potatoes, the vegetarian option in our street food business in the UK, kitsch foods.
Whilst on the road in Australia, we travelled nearly every day, making our way from Darwin to Sydney by car, passing through the Northern Territory and into Queensland, before travelling further down the coast to our final destination.
The driving days were long but fun, as we all (most of the time) enjoyed our time together as a family.
One of the things we had to get on top of pretty early on, was the routine of our journey. (Don’t drive at night as kangaroos are prone to jump in front of cars and if you are like me get seriously distressed when killing the dreaded cane toads that pop like bubble-wrap as you drive over them, it is good advice to heed) We began to rise and set out from our overnight stop around 9 in the morning, normally driving the day then retiring approximately at 4 pm.
This left us plenty of time to find the local supermarket and sort ourselves out something to eat for the evening.
On occasion, we would set a budget, hand the aussie dollars over to whichever one of the kids were going to do the cooking that evening and set them free in the supermarket to find a nutritious meal to feed the four of us with later.
During the meal we would discuss the food they chose – whether it is better with certain items to buy the more expensive option as opposed to the cheaper. Growing an appreciative awareness of Australian hydroponically grown salads and realising that in most places we could buy big juicy aussie steaks for a fraction of the cost of those in the UK.
They then held the responsibility of cooking for us as a family before we all pitched in and cleared up after. We discovered the children had a genuine interest in participating. Enjoying looking for new and interesting ways to serve up the nightly meal and tempting us all with lovely yummy home cooked dinners that any adult would have been proud of having made, let alone any 12 and 14 year old.
Education doesn’t always have to come in the guise of school and even when living in one place, engaging your kids in taking part and learning about the family finances and costs involved in living within or outside of society provides them with skills that will last a lifetime.
As we observe our children stepping into adulthood, using those very skills put in place on our travels, we know that the learning they have taken from it, is something they can put into practical use in their daily lives.
What learning would you like to be the facilitator of, in your kids?