Archive for January, 2013

List 4/52 – 5 Things I’m Wondering About This Week

1. Do we need a stroller or should we get an ergo carrier? Or both? Ed is in that stage where he wants to walk but wouldn’t last a whole morning out and about without being carried. He’ll be almost three when we leave. Will he want to go in a carrier? Will it be too hot? I know the footpaths will not be great for stollers in Asia but what about around temples, museums and in shopping centres?

2. Backpacks or wheely bags? Or one of each?

3. Clothes for teaching in Thailand. T-shirts are apparently not appropriate.

4. Is Air Asia X worth the savings to get to Malaysia or should we go with a non-budget airline?

5. Will Ed be toilet trained by July? (We haven’t started and he’s very much opposed to the idea at the moment.) Or would it be easier for travel if he wasn’t?

Sunday Planning Session

We’ve designated Sunday nights as trip planning nights where we’ll talk about what needs to be done next in the planning. Last night we firmed up our departure and homecoming dates and today Dave has officially put in his leave request.

Firming up the dates caused us to reshuffle our overall itinerary a little. I’ve updated the itinerary page with the new details but basically we decided to do Scotland at the end of November and head to Europe from there before coming back to London for Christmas. Previously we had Scotland after Christmas but I think by then we’ll be focussed on getting home and won’t do it justice. This way we’re still fresh for Scotland and we can just relax after Christmas with Dave’s family before we fly home early January.

In other planning news I’m working on the to-do list I posted yesterday. Passport photos are done. I had another DIY attempt for Edward this morning and gave up and went to the post office. They managed to get a good one on their second try. So now we just need to finish filling the applications out.

Here’s a passport photo out-take. It wouldn’t be so hard if they didn’t require the mouth to be closed! It reminded me of doing Lillian’s first passport photos.


List 3/52 – to do this week

1. Get passport photos for the kids. (We tried DIY-ing them today using this website and I think I got an ok one for Lillian but Ed might need a professional).

2. Complete passport applications times 3 (two renewals for Lil, one new one for Ed).

3. Firm up departure and homecoming dates so Dave can put in his leave application at work (he already has verbal approval) and we can seriously look into booking our first flight.

4. Research visa timeframes for Thailand. We think a tourist visa will be the go seeing as we’ll be there for longer than the month they give you on arrival by air or the 14 days by land.

I think that’s enough for one week.

Itinerary Issues

When you say you’re going on a six month trip it sounds like a long time. It sounds like you could just take it easy, travel slowly and see everything you want to. Then you start allocating months and weeks to places and it rapidly fills up. Then you cut places out (Bali, Sri Lanka, Oman) and then you try and fit the remaining countries in to the weeks you have. Then you remember you’ll be travelling with two small children and you realise you’ll have to cut out even more places within those countries that remain on the list.

Then I go around in circles thinking ah, let’s just wing it when we get there and decide where we feel like going once we arrive. While the other half of me says plan! plan! fit! all! the places! in! Then I remember the two small children again.

In our pre-children travel days we used to spend about three nights in most places. Three nights gives two full days and some half days to see a place. This worked on our South East Asia trip. Some places we stayed longer but no more than four or five nights. This is not going to work on this trip. When you factor in the kids, and rests, and what you can reasonably fit in to one day, as well as long travel days, it makes more sense to spend longer in fewer places. They might be able handle a short stretch of frequent town changes if we then stop for a week or so somewhere.

You may have gathered from Sunday’s list that I’m focused on Malaysia at the moment. It’s where we’ll start and somewhere we haven’t really been before (except for our honeymoon in Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur). So I’m looking at maps and researching places and distances and travel times and figuring out what we might be able to handle. While the other half of me says just arrive and decide from there! I guess there needs to be a balance. Oh well, the planning is half the fun!

List 2/52 – Places I googled today in the name of research*

1. Kuala Lumpur

2. Melaka

3. Singapore

4. Ipoh

5. Cameron Highlands

6. Taman Negara

7. Penang

8. Langkawi

9. Bangkok

*Appearance on list does not necessarily mean we will go there.

List 1/52 – Things I am particularly looking forward to on the trip

I love a good year long project. In 2010 I did a 365 photo project and I’m currently on my last month of another photo a day project. I’m a little over the photo projects though, so when I came across this 52 Lists idea at Meet Me At Mikes I decided to go for it. I love a list too and I’ll be doing it here on this travel blog because I’m already over run with lists related to the trip. I’m planning to post a new list each Sunday and hopefully I can keep it up once we’re travelling. So here’s List 1 (catching up for last Sunday).

Things I am particularly looking forward to on the trip:

1. James and Cara’s wedding on Koh Phangan.

2. Spending time as a family without the daily rush of work/school/activities.

3. Returning to Scotland and showing Lillian where she was born.

4. Thai food.

5. Visiting friends and family.

6. Christmas in a cold dark place! (London.)

7. Seeing the kids experience new cultures.

Travel with children…if you must

We’re at Dave’s Dad’s farm this weekend and I always like having a read through the Emily Post Etiquette book there.

If you must take the children...teach them to crochet

Ms. Post is not entirely encouraging towards travel with children! But she makes some good points and we’ll certainly be thinking of ways to keep the kids occupied during the longer journeys and stop their cunning clutching of other passengers. I wonder if Lil would like to learn how to crochet?