Dadcation - Our family decision to let dad go it alone!
My husband was reaching a milestone birthday and, of course, we began to discuss how we should celebrate it. At this point I should say, my husband is a surfer. So anyone married to a surfer will know he already knew what he wanted to do. Surf!
And anyone with young children will know, beaches that are good for surfing, don't tend to be good for young children! We began to research where could accommodate all of our requirements? My husband checking all the surf spots in Asia, and me a chic beach getaway that was also child friendly. I run a child friendly travel site, if anyone was up to the challenge it was me! Right? We did find some amazing options, but we were like Goldilocks...too expensive, too remote, but we never found the elusive 'just right'. Bali came the closest, but at the end of our search realisation dawned, a compromise had to be found. And we are good with compromise, as all parents learn, you have to evolve and adapt your concept of a 'holiday'. And no one can ever truly prepare you for your first "holiday" with children! We are a tight family unit and family always comes first....but the more I thought about my husband and how he puts us first above anything or anyone else I had a 'eureka' moment. And that was, I didn't want him to compromise .....at all. So I suggested (and trust me this is out of character!) that he went alone. I wanted him to go to whichever surf spot he really wanted to surf without having to worry about it being a good spot for children, or had he been in the surf too long, or if he had been in the surf too long was I going to be in a mood!
My husband had travelled the world before we had even met, and his adventurous spirit is apparent to anyone who has ever spoken to him. He eventually settled on the Aliota Resort, Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra. Flying from Hong Kong to Jakarta and then on to Pedang. A ferry boat and then a speed boat for three hours. To an area know as the 'Ring of Fire'. My husband had taken the 'no compromise' to the extreme!
So with two surfboards and one rucksack we dropped him at Hong Kong International Airport. It felt strange seeing him off. I had twelve days with the children by myself (blog post on this coming soon!). Over the days we had very little contact due to the remoteness of the Island, but being so disconnected actually made me worry less. I had no idea how big the surf was and therefore couldn't worry about it!
When my husband returned, he was a younger version of himself. Physically, of course, surfing gets you in shape and he had surfed a lot (and had all the war wounds to prove it). So he looked amazing, but you could see in his face that he had completely unwound. He was so relaxed and that adventure loving spirit that I had fallen in love with was back! Having time apart bought our family even closer together. We had new experiences to share with each other (a rarity after 15 years of marriage). When talking about his trip my husband was animated and excited to share his stories and tell me about new friendships. And the challenges of just learning how to socialise with a new group of people when you are not being introduced as someones dad/teacher/husband, just being a surfer again.
Would I make the same decision again? ......Yes, without any doubt! ......but don't tell my husband just yet. My husband found that he did have to compromise in the end. His compromise was not sharing the experience with us, but I am sure the moment our children are strong enough to surf those big waves he will get to share this special place with them ..... while mom goes for a Spa Break!