The Real Maldives on a gap year budget!

February 2014. We arrive in the Maldives, our 22nd country, from Sri Lanka on our 45th flight, and celebrate our 18 month travelling milestone.

Maafushi, Maldives.

Maafushi, Maldives.

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

Tea, temples and so much more in Sri Lanka

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!

 

Sri Lanka!

Sri Lanka!

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.

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A Borneo Adventure and a KL Pit-Stop!

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

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 reducingimage 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.

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Back to Bali – and more friends and festivities …

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 - Angel explains to Erika the offerings shes going to place  around our home, Lara helps Kadek clean the pond and Kadek helps Ben figure out how to design and build a kite:)

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.

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Friends and Festivities in Malaysia and Singapore

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 crazy stuff!

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!

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Sumatra Jungle Adventures

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.

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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!

Clearly we’re not winning any awards for our light carbon footprint over the last 3 months!

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