note: This post may become an article in the tips and techniques section when i am back from Germany!
Tomorrow i am going to Germany with my freinds. We are visiting the [largest indoor waterpark in the world](german water park indoor largest) for a few days. This is my first trip to mainland Europe and my first time in a country with a different language.
With that in mind, i thought it would be useful to share some of the tools i am taking with me and some of the techniques we will use. For the most part we are building on the routines and patterns we have established with visits to centre parks.
Our travel plan is to catch a train to an airport, then ride a plane to germany, then get a bus to the waterpark.
Without a doubt the biggest help for me will be my ear defenders. I have a set of plextor ear defenders and a pair of plantronics noise cancelling headphones.
By keeping the overwhelming noise out i waste less energy "coping" with it and i have more energy for the thing i want to do. With the ear defenders i don’t get as a spaced out and i find it much easier to focus on what i am doing.
My squeeze vest applies deep pressure to my body and helps me to stay calm and to feel "in one peice". It stops the very odd floating apart feeling which can be very difficult to manage.
I will be taking it for use on the plane and probably for sleeping when we get to the waterpark. It provides a very nice amount of pressure and, like the ear defenders, help me to better use the energy i have.
I will take lion as i always do, so i will be able to hug / hide behind him if needed. I’m also taking a colouring book and a few other sensory toys. The more well known textures / smells and sounds i can take with me the calmer i will be.
All the clothing i am taking is from the same range and has the same feel. The exact designs change, but the feel of the clothing is the same. This consistancy helps to reduce the stress due to excessive variation. I am taking a pair of identical swimming shorts too.
I’m taking four electronic devices with me. My iPhone, my Watch, my iPad and my iPod touch. All of the devices have speech software installed so i can communicate if i need too.
I am also asking our german freind to translate a few phrases for me and preloading them so i can explain the basics if needed.
My plan is to mostly use the iPad and iPod on the flight / during the day and keeping the iPhone for emergencies. If my phone is charged, then my freinds can easily locate me and my watch can act as a beacon etc.
This technique is a little different to my normal approach. I really crave structure and sameness so i like to be in control and know exactly what will happen.
However, for this trip, we knew from the outset it had more moving parts than i could plan for. So instead of making a plan for the trip, my planning is all about staying with my freinds and trusting them to sort out the bigger things.
If i can make sure i am calm and not too overloaded, then they can sort out the rest.
When all these tools and techniques are combined i should be able to be calmer and less overloaded and therefore have a more fun!