On our high-flying Skylanders adventure

November 5, 2014

Dear Max

To my little special travel partner, we’re back from a spectacular trip to San Francisco with Skylanders, as part of the recent release of their new game, Trap Team.


It was a privilege to be invited with you on a special trip that would see us flying for more than 21 hours from Joburg to San Francisco.

I admit I was a bit nervous to travel so far with you. These press trips are challenging enough without having another little being to look after, and I was worried about fatigue and jetlag for both of us, plus I panicked about how you would manage on the whole, and around the media team.

But as if to teach me that fears are nothing more than just that, our trip was smooth sailing (flying?) and I had some of the best days of my life experiencing this with you, my awesome travel partner.

Each day, I sent your dad Whatsapp messages that pretty much had the same sentiment each time: “he’s great, excited, helpful, kind, and loving xxx”.

From the moment you helped me wheel the suitcase outside our house to wait for our Uber taxi, I knew it would be okay, that you would be helping me as much as I would be you.

Our flights to Atlanta and San Francisco flew – I didn’t count down agonising minutes, and everything went smoothly and quicker than I anticipated. Your love of planes and flying surely helped, along with your patience and curiosity.

We arrived at our hotel in the afternoon, and you immediately wanted to explore. We went to a few shops, and you eyed a Disney Planes toy that we got two days later, just before you left. You patiently waited while I scoured my favourite shops (Nike, Sephora, Apple Store, MAC, Converse), and then we headed with our group for dinner, where you fell asleep upon arrival.

The next morning, after a pancake breakfast (what else?), we headed to the Skylanders studio in our limo-type bus, driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, and seeing the picturesque San Francisco elevations and scenery.

I hope that you will one day be able to remember your day there, because it really was something special. There we were – in a place with some brilliant game makers, and the same place where the latest Skylanders was produced.


There, we played, spoke to some of the creators, saw a 3D printer printing some Skylander figurines, conceptualised our own game and characters, and learnt more about this exceptional toy story. What I loved and what inspired me was how much fun people there are, and how much fun they clearly have with their jobs.


Their desks are filled with toys, and they haven’t stopped seeing the world and experiences through the eyes and hearts of a kid. It’s probably one of the reasons you were so chilled there, and why, even as the youngest child out of four there, you weren’t shy to participate, and ask and answer questions.


The rest of the time was spent eating, shopping, chilling, walking and boat hopping to Alcatraz. While it was a short trip, it was big on heart and fun, learning and seeing.


You completed the trip for me, and I’m grateful for your help, fun, questions that keep me thinking, and love. Thank you for being a superb travel companion and son, and for the memorable miles.

I miss it all already.


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  • Kirsty

    Having been seated in the row in front of you during the last (super lengthy) leg of your very long journey, I can attest that you have the best little travel companion ever. Would not have even known he was there had I not seen his adorable face when I stood up. Sounds like an incredible trip, feel blessed to have met you. You are clearly doing a great job of parenting!

    November 5, 2014 at 11:34 am Reply
    • Tanya

      Kirsty, glad I have proof 🙂

      It was amazing meeting you. Hope we can catch up soon, and hope you’re settling in well back “home”.

      November 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm Reply
  • Name *MeeA

    Sounds like a fantastic trip – So glad you both had a blast! 🙂

    November 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm Reply
  • Heather

    Wow what a fab trip! Looks like he could really put his love of planes into the trip, that’s probably why he enjoyed it so much. Big boy!

    November 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm Reply
  • Luke

    Hi Tanya,

    Luke here from Activision. The SA team just sent me the link to your post. I’m so glad you had a good time and that Max enjoyed it (and that the flight home wasn’t too bad after such an exhausting few days). What a fantastic write up on the trip. Thank you again for travelling so far to join us at the studio.

    very best,


    November 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Thank you for having us LUke. It was a memorable experience. We’ll treasure it and talk of it forever…

      November 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm Reply

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