Thursday, June 5, 2014

The ACE family 5 point travel day game plan

As mentioned previously, Stockholm is comprised of 14 islands. Surrounding Stockholm is one of the largest Archipelago’s in the world, comprised of around 20,000 islands. WOW!

The last 3 months Cam, Etta and I have been surrounded by the city. Since we love nature we decided to take the 2 hour ferry to the outer archipelago and sail to the island of Finnhamn. Finnhamn is known for its beautiful forests along with small inlets and smooth rock formations that provide some of the best swimming areas of all the islands surrounding Stockholm. Finnhamn is also great because it is on the outer skirts of the archipelago but is home to a great hostel that also has small one room cabins with kitchenettes.

The day before we got to Finnhamn we found out that the general store where you buy food on Finnhamn was closed until the summer months which start the middle of June.  On a nearby island, about a 10 minute row boat and 90 minute hike away, there is another store where you can buy provisions provided the weather is nice enough. Simple enough I suppose, but finding this out the day before leaving was not good.  The news of the store being closed caused some family stress, but nothing we couldn’t handle in the end.

It never ceases to amaze us how we get through these travel days. It is comparable to a team that is executing a practiced plan on game day. We had been through our fair share of travel days as a couple and had come a long way in our game day execution. Ten months ago we acquired little Etta on to the team and things changed. We can’t pretend there haven’t been some bumps in the road, but the adjustments have been made, and I have to say the ACE travel day chemistry was possibly at an all-time high on this day. 

Our approach to travel days involves 5 main points: 1) preparation, 2) teamwork, 3) communication 4) managing/improvising around mistakes and most importantly, 5) just getting ‘er done! Our travel day to Finnhamn went like this:

1. Preparation
- Preparation starts at least 24 hours in advance of the departure, usually with one of us saying something like, “Hey, aren’t we going somewhere tomorrow?” followed by some serious strategizing and then a flurry of activity.
-We had to decide whether we should have Etta nap on the go in the morning and make it to the boat well in advance, or let Etta nap at the apartment and cut it close on the boat departure – game-time decision: anything for a well-rested baby, let her nap at home and then book it to the boat.
- Pack all our bags. Most of this was done the night before but we still had a few things to pack after getting ready in the morning.
- Make a grocery list.
- In the morning, get dressed, give Etta a bath and we take showers.
- Etta has her morning nap to help ensure a peaceful boat ride.

2. Teamwork
- During our darling Etta’s nap, I buy 4 days’ worth of groceries and haul them back to our apartment where we are staying.
- Cam does the dishes and finishes the packing.
- After Etta’s nap I breastfeed Etta and Cam packs the nomad baby travel bed.
- We pack the stroller with all our extra food and leave the apartment exactly 1 hour before the boat departure. “I wonder what we’ll do if we miss the boat…” says Cam as we make our way to the bus stop.

3. Managing and improvising around mistakes
- I drop one of the bags and baby lasagna spills everywhere. We keep going and decide to clean the bag later as we do not have any time to waste.
- We board the bus. I cannot lift the front of the pram because it is too heavy with all our food. I carry Etta and our heavy ‘school’ backpack and Cam takes the big pack and the heavy stroller.
- After taking the bus we then take two different trains to get to our destination. We get off the train and go the wrong way… we turn around… Time is running short and we are worried we will miss the boat. We spot the boat from across the harbour but still have a ways to go.

4. Communication
- Cue the ACE emergency plan. We are about to miss the boat so we do what works best. I tell Cam to run (!), leave me behind and hold the boat. He is a long distance ultra-trail race runner and so doesn’t hesitate to put the pedal to the metal. He runs with his big pack on and the stroller in front of him, weaving dangerously through the crowds. I am walking as fast as I can with Etta in the front of me and heavy school back pack on my back. By this time my shoulders are killing me.

5. Get ‘er done!!
- We make the boat just in time. We pat each other on the backs, congratulating ourselves for pulling it off and then off we go on our way to Finnhamn. Let the ACE Adventures continue!!!
Fun times on the boat!

One of the many islands in the archipelago.

A fortress on an island called Vaxholm that was constructed in 1544. This fortress was also used in the Pippi Longstocking movie 'Pippi in the South Seas' in 1970. In this movie it was used as a pirate stronghold. 

We arrive at our destination. Finnhamn!!!

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