This is Part 2 of my interview with J&P Voelkel, authors of “The Jaguar Stones Book 1: Middleworld”, where they graciously share some insight into how we can dare to leave the resort and experience the history and culture of Mayan ruins with kids. Click here to start at the beginning.
What were the biggest challenges on these trips?
Taking malaria meds is a problem for small children. They get it in liquid form and it tastes so bad they just spit it out. There are often no restaurants en route, so regular meals cannot be promised. And it has to be said that one Maya site starts to look a lot like another to the children after a while! Oh, and, in remote areas, the state of the bathrooms is often challenging.
How did you overcome them?
I douse the children in insect repellent and I have even been known to make our middle child, who attracts insect bites like moths to a flame, wear a beekeepers hat in particularly buggy regions. Every time we stop for gas, I stock up on all sorts of normally forbidden packaged foods like monster bags of potato chips, bars of chocolate, cookies…. anything! So there’s always plenty to eat in the car, even if it’s not very nutritious. And we always carry lots of bottled water. For long drives, we take plenty of audio books. When it comes to dragging them out to their tenth site of the week, I have been known to resort to bribery. Or give up and spend the day at the pool! But we involve the kids in planning the trip before we go and when we get there, we try to let them plan a part of every day. I don’t know how to overcome the scary bathroom challenge. Bandanas worn over the nose and mouth bandido-style sometimes helps a little.
Tune in tomorrow for advice from J&P Voelkel on how to tackle your own adventure travel vacation with kids, including which sites to try first. Hint: it’s easier than you think! Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 3.
Jon Voelkel grew up in Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia. After college, Jon relocated to Europe, where he began a career in advertising and was named one of the top fifty creative minds in Britain by The Financial Times.
Pamela Craik Voelkel graduated from Leeds University with a degree in English Language and Literature. After stints reviewing books, writing catalogs, and penning speech bubbles for photo-romances, she landed the job of her dreams as an advertising copywriter and soon became creative director.
The pair met at an advertising agency in London and went on to help found their own successful agency. The Voelkels now live in Vermont with their three children, the youngest of whom can summon howler monkeys with her call. To learn more about them and their research, you can visit them online at www.jaguarstones.com.