Ever fancied upping sticks and travelling around the UK with your family while researching attractions for a travel book? I bet many of you have but one man who really did is Ben Hatch.
Ben and his wife Dinah were approaching forty with little work and money drying up and so decided, after a deal with an American publishing house, to pack their two kids into their Vauxhall Astra to travel the country hunting out child-friendly attractions as well as fun for the adults. Perhaps this was a naive idea considering they were taking two year-old Charlie and three year-old Phoebe.
As a twenty-something non-parent, I wondered how I would react to ‘Are We Nearly There Yet?’. Would it make me never want to procreate? I haven’t had a UK holiday since I was seven and I wondered what this book would have to offer me. After reading this book, there are plenty of places I’d like to visit and it definitely reinforced to me the joys (and tribulations) of parenting.
It is important to note that ‘Are We Nearly There Yet?’ is not their guidebook. That said, it does mention plenty of UK attractions. That’s more to give you an idea of the setting for the dramas that occur.
‘Are We Nearly There Yet’ catalogues a five-month trip that is heart-warming and funny. There’s drama as well as comedy and I frequently found myself laughing aloud at Hatch’s anecdotes. The book also chronicles Hatch’s father’s final few months of life – and Hatch’s feelings about this. There were plenty of tears as well as laughs. This book is a lovely tribute to his father, Sir David Hatch.
Whilst reading this book, I felt inspired to do something similar which is something I would never usually consider.
Even though Hatch doesn’t sugar-coat the realities of travelling with two small children, he does paint the picture of a happy family who, most of the time, adore each other. The kids are full of character and Ben and Dinah’s relationship is a wonderful inspiration. She’s scared of turtles, he’s a hypochondriac – what could go wrong? This book is a no-holds-barred account of parenthood, marriage and travelling.
It is one of the best books I have read in ages.