I started traveling internationally when I was 5 months old! Because I lived in Africa our trips were often long and constraining, either by a car seat or a plane seat belt. My mother, a Montessorian who works with students with special needs, realized that it was important for me and later my siblings to be constructively engaged, if there was to be any hope our being happy travelers. She gave me, and later my siblings, special packets which we were allowed to use only on trips. This was before cell phones and video games. Yes folks, hard as it may be to believe, there was life before electronics! The contents were items that were not in our regular toy chests. They were new and different! The packets mom gave us were treasured for the novelty of their contents and their limited access.
I knew once I had children of my own, they would accompany me on my travels. My husband and I have taken them from one side of the U.S.A. to the other, and from Maine to Florida. We have traveled across the Atlantic and down to Africa. Early in our travels I realized that my children really loved having their own carryon/overnight bags to be “just like mom and dad”. I remembered those packets from my childhood. I decided to create my own version which I’ve dubbed Uhambo bags. These are small roller backpacks that I fill with activities, snacks and an extra set of clothes. There are no electronics, so no worries about batteries or needing a power outlet. They love the surprises they find in their Uhambo packets. Our family keeps these bags separate from our daily life. This ensures the bags are even more exciting when we travel.
Then I started to think about how whenever we were headed out on a car ride, to a restaurant or a day trip I would throw similar things into my purse or a small bag. This got me thinking that a small pouch, containing the “essentials”, would be perfect to keep my kids occupied and all the activities together.
So many of my friends and colleagues have asked if I have any suggestions for them, when they travel with their children, that I decided to share my idea, thus the “birth” of SealPup Gear LLC and the Uhambo packs and pouches.
The philosophy behind the Uhambo Packs and Pouches is to have a combination of things, that are either reusable or disposable, which will keep active minds engaged, without having them spending hours in front of an electronic screen. We wanted to make a product that made travel a little less stressful for parents and fun for kids. Some items require water, which can be easily acquired after passing through airport security. These packs and pouches can be used on a short afternoon trip, in a restaurant or on an international adventure.
The Uhambo Packs are a grab bag of activities with some practical things thrown in, to make life a little easier for mom and dad. You will find a combination of games, crayons, coloring books, paint with water books, a story book, a small collapsable water bottle, a pack of wipes, a travel buddy that doubles as a pillow and a roller backpack into which everything fits.
The Uhambo Pouch contains the same activities, collapsible water bottle, and wipes. All are contained in a convenient zipper pouch that can be stowed in your car, purse or another bag.