Tag Archives: Extended Family Travel

Mt Fuji

monday dreaming: top 5 destinations

I’m loving coming up with posts for the Monday Dreaming series started by MotherOfAllTrips. There are just so many places on this planet which I can’t wait to visit – and of course, since we’re currently planning a RTW trip with our children, we’re already brainstorming ideas for places to go and things to see or do on that trip.

Today, I decided not to focus on one place, but instead to share the ideas which we each came up with on our first “where should we go?” conversation. There are two reasons for this: (i) I want to document our starting point and (ii) I realize that our lists reflect our current interests before we start truly researching countries and destinations. I know there are many other places we should be considering.

I’ve arranged the top-5 lists by person so you can also get a flavor for the personalities involved.

Mt Fuji
Mt. Fuji, Photo credit: Flickr

BigB: Eight years old, a have-toothbrush-will-travel guy, eager to get going.

  • Hawaii. He’s seen the photos of our trip to Hawaii when he was three weeks old, but we haven’t been back since.
  • Mt. Fuji. Studied Japan at school last year and is fascinated by everything Japanese – this is mom-speak for he loves his Nintendo DS.
  • A paradise island like Fiji. Again, a family tale he’s heard of but which happened while he was in utero.
  • Tokyo. Japan is definitely a theme here.
  • The Pyramids at Giza. Interesting, he doesn’t even know that this was the first place I visited as a solo traveler.

Kilauea, Photo credit: Flickr

CAM: 12 years old, prefers to stay at home rather than travel anywhere – except maybe to places he’s already been.

  • Kilauea, Hawaii. A budding scientist wants to see the earth growing in front of his eyes.
  • Ireland. So familiar to him it could be Seattle.
  • Iceland. Oh, also prefers to visit cooler climes.
  • Greece. Paros specifically. This falls into the “places we’ve already visited” category.
  • Seattle

Santiago Chile
Santiago, Chile, Photo credit: Flickr

WanderDad: Current choice for departure date: tomorrow.

  • Chile. To tromp in the steps of that other famous Irishman: Bernardo O’Higgins.
  • Petra, Jordan. Thousands of years old and still there.
  • Thailand. He says it’s for the bar girls, but I don’t believe him.
  • Carthage. Everyone else does Greek or Roman, he wants to learn about the Phoenicians.
  • Iran. A country with a fascinating culture and history.

Havana, Photo credit: Flickr

WanderMom (me): The family juggler, planner and organizer. Chomping at the bit to go, but insisting that we take the time to plan.

So, where or what do you suggest we add to our list of places to visit and why? Leave me a note in the comments. I look forward to researching all of your suggestions.

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Blue Earth

planning a RTW trip with two kids

Blue Earth
NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Have you ever wanted to just pick up sticks and go? To pack your belongings in a bag and travel the world? I have. In fact, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine. I have done so once, when the WanderDad and I moved from Ireland to the U.S. in 1995. When we packed those bags, we were just ‘WanderHim’ and ‘WanderHer’. With everything we owned packed into two backpacks, credit card and green card in hand, we left, with no set plan for where we were going. We thought we’d start by validating our green cards and working in the U.S. for a ‘couple of years’ and then continue traveling. Thirteen years and two kids later, we’re still here. An unfinished journey beckoning during wet, dark Northwest winters.

Seattle Skyline Rain

We floated the idea of packing up and traveling to our children two years ago – when CAM was just finishing elementary school. This seemed like a perfect transition point: we could travel for a year and he could start middle school 15 months later rather than three. It was April, we could be on the road by June. BigB dashed to get his toothbrush as we discussed the idea while CAM (who is our home-body), dug in his heels and resisted the notion with all of his might. We capitulated. If we were going to travel, everyone would have to be on board for the trip to have any hope of success. In fairness to him, we were springing the idea on him with very little notice.

But I didn’t give up on the idea and neither did the WanderDad. It came up in conversation with some regularity, usually with some degree of wistfulness. And then the planets aligned. Or rather CAM seemed to warm up to the idea. His ardent “never”, became a “maybe”. That was all that I needed. I was so excited. And so, we started working on a plan.

Firstly, I needed to verify to myself that our children would be able to manage a trip which would involved carrying their own packs, staying in budget accommodation and using public transit. And so, in planning our trip to Italy this year, we chose to follow this style of travel. They did fabulously.

Next, we met with some friends who had just returned from an extended trip to South-East Asia. It was a good move. Their advice: “start planning early, you won’t believe how many details there are to organizing a trip like this”. We’ve set our tentative departure date as June 2010, to coincide with CAM finishing middle school. Although, if we can go earlier, we will.

We talk about “the trip” at least once a week. The boys are not quite as excited as I am, but they’re definitely eager. Questions are phrased as “Mom, when we’re traveling…”. What a development. They have questions about where we’re going to go, how they’ll stay in touch with their friends, and schoolwork – prioritized in that order. :)

Monkey Dancing

At this stage I’m pre-planning. I’m reading about families who have taken trips like this: sixintheworld and soultravelers3. Daniel Glick’s Monkey Dancing, his tale of his five-month trip with his son and daughter, is my preferred bedtime read.

So far, we have decided that we will:

  • Visit Africa, Asia and South America.
  • Try to follow summer temperatures to help with packing and with general comfort.
  • Adopt a slow-travel style of travel where we stay in one place for 1-2 weeks and take day trips to explore that country, city or region.
  • Prepare for the trip by taking language or skills classes.
  • Integrate adventures, experiences and possibly more learning experiences into the trip itself.
  • Volunteer.

Countries on our ‘must-see’ list include: Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, India, Egypt, Jordan, Chile, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China.

Next up: detailed research into these countries so we can start thinking about where to stay and what to see and do. If you have ideas, suggestions or advice, I’d love to hear from you.

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