Packing lightThis time next week, we will have (hopefully!) just stepped off the first flight of our next adventure.

We are off; it’s a Euro Extravaganza! The Big One. Visiting some of Daddyo’s family, skimming the surfaces of a couple of gorgeous cities. An introduction for the big boys to other worlds. Planes, trains, boats, and automobiles.

I’d hoped to write more about the planning part of this journey over the past few months (because there have been mega plans to plan) but, you know, real work and that very important business of bending over and picking up crap from every floor in this house on a half-hourly basis just kind of eroded any spare writing time.

The plan.

Armed with a block of time, cheap fares to Paris, and broad expectations, we flung a few options around the dinner table. The thrust of this trip is to celebrate a significant birthday for the family patriarch, so time spent in his ancestral highlands was one requirement. Cue the camper van. Son #1, the S-Man, is studying Greek, and son #2 studies Spanish, so that informed their requests. And there are some continental destinations that it seems timely to introduce the pre-teens to, just to whet their travel appetites. Usually we’re fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants travellers, quite lassez-faire with plans and bookings, but the reality of a family of five (one a toddler) hitting some of the big stops during European summer meant we needed to book, and plan, and make lists, and be generally pseudo-military about it all.

Over evenings and in stolen half-hours, bargain flights were scored, cars rented, airBnbs and private apartments and hotels and syrma locked away. Serendipitously, we are travelling during the Euro2016. The boys are soccer fanatics. I sold a kidney and bought them tickets to a quarter-final for their birthdays this year.

The DIY itinerary stretches to 3 pages (and the font’s 8-point). We’ve stuffed it full of goodies. Tempted by some ridiculously cheap air travel, and with more than a little air-mile guilt, we’ve overloaded our plates. And, though daunting, that’s pretty bloody awesome. I’m a little excited.

First stop, Sydney.

The pram.

Despite all of our family’s other prams being bought secondhand, for this trip I’ve invested in a new carry-on extravagance: a Mountainbuggy Nano, and I’m already infatuated with it. Hell no, we’re not sponsored, but I’m quite happy to report on its progress as we go. So far, the nearly-two-year old’s already taken to it, and (joy!) sleeps comfortably. I have invested my faith in this object’s ability to maintain our sanity. I have become a pram nerd.