08 Aug 2014
in Family Gap Year, Looking Back, Travelling
– No more space in your passport
– Your clothes fall apart despite all the repairs
– Your bank cards stop working as the magnetic strip is in pieces and even Sellotape can’t help
– Everything in your first aid kit is going out of date
– The computer’s hard disk has no space for more photos.
– Some pesky mortgage agreement says you can only rent for 2 years
– You wonder what ‘real life’ is like back at home?
– The kids can’t remember much about ‘real life’ at home
– You can’t face another restaurant meal and drool at the thought of home cooked food and roast dinners
– You can drink tap water at home, or I hope you still can?
– You don’t have to remember to carry loo roll in your pocket at home
– You wonder what it’s like not to be viewed as a two leg ATM?
– You stop bothering to learn more than a few words of a new country’s language
– Hand washing clothes has lost its practical and virtuous appeal
– You have serious suspicions that the kids are going feral
– In England I won’t be tempted to try another Ayurvedic massage on the basis it can’t be as bad as the last one
– You can go wild swimming at home without worrying about piranha, dead bodies or alligators (only the cold will kill you)
– At home wine comes in more varieties than white or red
– Much that you feel blessed that over 2 years of minimal seat belts, beer swilling Peruvian bus drivers, Sri Lankan suicide driving etc. to have only two minor accidents that your luck can’t hold forever.
– After 24/7/365 for two years with the kidz some quiet alone time is tempting
– The kids will kill you if you say ‘we are only doing one more year’
– Imagine wearing jeans and other ‘heavy’ clothes
– Mouldy blue cheese at home is a good thing
– Your son keeps getting mistaken for a girl as he is not cutting his hair until he gets home
– Imagine a country without rabies, malaria, dengue or obscure tropical diseases it takes 5 doctors to diagnose? That’s home.
– You feel you should at least give the kids an opportunity of a ‘proper’ education, even if you secretly and selfishly hope they twist your arm into a few more years on the road once they experience a classroom again
– You sit in hotel rooms, watch mindless TV and order room service rather than explore the latest city
– You look forward to having guests rather than being a guest (that’s an invitation by the way to all our travelling friends, perhaps we can live vicariously through you?)
– You want to find out if ‘travel’ has truly changed you or if you are still middle aged with creaking joints and greying hair?
– You like a challenge and doing something different…
Just 44 hours to go until we land at LHR!
03 Aug 2014
in Adventure, Family Gap Year, Looking Back, Travelling
Tags: going home
753 days into our trip. One week to go before we land back at London Heathrow!
Can’t quite get it all clear in my head!
I lay awake on our last overnight train again reflecting on it all, was it all real?
Ending our Napo River adventure – September 2012
How far we’ve come, the highs the lows, how it will feel after we’re home? More
30 Jul 2014
in Family Gap Year
Tags: India, Kerala, Kochi
I am finally posting this from North India, in July, on our second adventure in India. If you want to see more recent news, you’ll have to check on Instagram. But now, we’re re-winding to February 2014 and our first stop in India when I actually started writing this post…Kerala, South West India
Sunset and the Chinese fishing nets in Kochi Fort, Kerala
The kids slump into their aircraft seats, take a nonchalant look at the in-flight magazine to check out the eating and drinking options, then turn to Duty Free to see if there is anything new they want to try and cajole me into buying (I never do but they don’t give up).
Lara reads the safety card diligently and as usual, takes care to watch the safety briefing…and talk me through what will happen if we land in the sea and ask how she’d get that door open if everyone else was dead! The others have usually got their iPods out by now and are maximising the last minutes of Minecraft or an episode of Black Adder before they are requested to switch them off.
On this flight however we have one distraught boy who has just gone through the trauma of losing his iPod during the check-in and trolley-running ritual in Male Airport in The Maldives. It’s the 3rd family iPod/iPhone loss in the past 18 months of our gap year (or two) of world travel. We can but hope it’s the last.
11 Jul 2014
in Adventure, Education & Schooling, Family Gap Year, General, Looking Back, Photos, Top Experiences
Tags: Asia, Australia, Bali, Cambodia, China, going home, India, Japan, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, second gap year, South East Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam
11th July 2014. We’ve been two years on the road – 104 weeks, or 730 days – where has it gone?!!
Celebrating two years on the road with a ‘cake’ in the Barbie Cafe and a supper at Flavours restaurant, Taipei
And now we’re embarking on Year 3 …. But only for a month, then we’ll be home, which we all have mixed feelings about! Can’t wait to see all our friends and family, enjoy some home comforts and we’re pretty happy about enjoying (hopefully) a pleasant British summertime. More
24 Mar 2014
in Family Gap Year, Top Experiences, Videos
Tags: Maafushi, Maldives, Male, Vilimale, Villingili
February 2014. We arrive in the Maldives, our 22nd country, from Sri Lanka on our 45th flight, and celebrate our 18 month travelling milestone.
So we’re not going to be able to brag about our light carbon footprint – it’s a long old way around this globe and with low cost airlines luring us to take more trips to explore more new places never on our original itinerary, More
23 Mar 2014
in Adventure, Family Gap Year, Top Experiences, Travelling
Tags: hikkaduwa, Kandy, Kandy Guest House, mirissa, Sri lanka, Uduwalawa
We hadn’t thought to include Sri Lanka in our plans, but when we realised it was a good place to apply for Indian visas and we could take a cheap flight from Kuala Lumpur and head on to Southern India, whilst hopefully meeting with our friends from Penang who had put us up for 10 days in December. We booked our flight and then discovered our Bali friends were on the same flight too!
The early morning wake up, the sad but quick goodbyes with Oma, and our departure from KL is thankfully appeased by the excitement of seeing the Pearces at the airport and trading seats to be with friends on the plane.
23 Mar 2014
in Adventure, Family Gap Year, Top Experiences, Videos
Tags: Borneo, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mari Mari Cultural Village, Nak Hotel, Orang-utan, Orangutan, Petronas Towers, Rasa Ria Orangutan Sanctuary, Sabah, Sandakan, Sepilok
First to Borneo…
After a second month-long stay in Bali we are all too soon saying goodbye to friends again, and flying off, this time, to Sabah, the more easterly state of Malaysian Borneo for 6 days. This was a fairly last minute plan, partly because the flights were ridiculously cheap and partly to see if Borneo lives up to the exotic jungle destination it’s cracked up to be!
Adventures on the Kinabantangan river, Sabah
Having seen orang-utans in Sumatra, now we would see them in Borneo, the only other place in the world where orang-utans survive in the wild. Hopefully we will see other wildlife too! The epilogue in the book we’re reading together ‘Running Wild’, written in 2005, about orang-utans being hunted and losing their jungle to palm plantations, suggests that they could be almost extinct by 2014 given their reducing
numbers. Thankfully recent research shows that number were not quite so low as estimated at that time but nonetheless, they remain critically endangered and their numbers continue to be reduced.
23 Mar 2014
in Education & Schooling, Family Gap Year, Foodie Central, Kids Stuff, Top Experiences, Volunteering
Tags: Amed, Bali, Bali Asli, Bali Treetops, Indonesia, Jodie o Shea, Kue, Lovina, Penestanan, Ubud
We fly back to Bali from Singapore because we loved it so much a month ago and decided it was worth looping back for Christmas and New Year and seeing more of the friends we enjoyed our time with on the last trip! We have a relaxed 3 weeks in the most glorious villa we’ve rented near Ubud.
The beautiful villa and beautiful Balinese friends who look after it, and us. Here is Angel explaining to Erika the offerings she’s placing around our home, Lara helps Kadek clean the pond with Angel’s little boy and Kadek helps Ben figure out how to design and build a kite:)
Tucked away down a small ‘gang’ or alley in the midst of rice paddies, in the village of Penestanan, with three wonderful staff looking after us – Angel, our housekeeper, Kadek our gardener and Wayan our security guy who is around the premises all night every night.
22 Mar 2014
in Family Gap Year, Kids Stuff, Top Experiences
Tags: Flat Stanley, Malaysia, Oma, Penang, Singapore, Travelling friends, Universal Studios
We arrive in Penang, north west Malaysia from Sumatra, Indonesia…
It’s the middle of December. Our main reason for coming to Penang is the chance for a quick stop to meet with five or six other travelling families who we’ve met ‘on line’, shared experiences and tips and enjoyed each other’s blogs. And thanks to another super cheap Air Asia flight!
Families on the Move meet up in Penang. It’s fantastic to meet up and get to know other crazy families like us who are living the dream and so nice for the kids to make friends with other kids doing the same as them!
We are invited to stop a night or two with one family and have so much fun together we end up staying ten. Lara gets to be a bossy big sister to the twins Max and Sebastian, who amazingly, let her get away with it!
21 Mar 2014
in Adventure, Family Gap Year, Top Experiences
Tags: Bukit Lawang, Grand Aston City Hall, Indonesia, Medan, Orangutan, Sumtra, Tangkahan
You’ve maybe seen the highlights of our busy December travels through Sumatra, Malaysia, Singapore and back to Bali in our Christmas update….. but these places and adventures deserve their own telling and photos… I’ve been working on a series of catch up blogs for our travels around Asia. This is the first.
Posing with our elephant friends after a morning of scrubbing and showering each other!
When I started compiling this series of catch up posts, we’d just hit our 18 month travelling milestone and two days later we were taking our 46th flight and arriving in our 23rd country – India! But that’s a few posts further down the line!
Clearly we’re not winning any awards for our light carbon footprint over the last 3 months!