Archive for March, 2013

List 13/52 – Books On My Bedside Right Now

The library has been getting a workout lately…

1. Lonely Planet Thailand

2. Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei

3. Rough Guide Thailand

4. Teaching English Abroad

5. Lonely Planet Laos

6. For Better or For Worse: One Family, One Boat, and One Brand New Life

7. Rough Guide Laos

8. Captain Pugwash: A Sticky Moment

9. Lonely Planet Philippines

One way tickets to Singapore are booked! You can read more about plans for our big family trip on theplaceswegoblog.wordpress.com

List 12/52 – The Scotland List

I’ve been very focused on the Asia part of the trip so this list is all about things I’m looking forward to doing in Scotland.

1. Showing Lillian where she was born and where we were living.

2. Taking the kids to the awesome playground right around the corner from our old flat. Lil was just getting big enough to use it when we left.

swing!

3. Visiting castles! From the tiny Broughty Castle to the big Edinburgh Castle and probably some others in between.

Edinburgh Castle

4. Visiting the Discovery Ship and Museum and the Dundee Science Centre. The latter is something we never visited while living there but I think the kids would enjoy it. We might also visit the Glasgow Science Centre. It’s in an awesome building.

5. Having a meal at The Ship Inn, where we used to go with Lil as a baby and where the barmaid’s name was also Lillian.

6. Highland cows!

Highland Coo

7. Walks on Scottish beaches.

cloudy broughty ferry

8. And just maybe some snow.

snowy park

Travel Purchase – Kinderpack Toddler Carrier

Earlier today

While we’re umming and ahhing about whether to take the stroller or not one thing I have been sure of is that we will need some sort of carrier for Edward. He’ll be 2 and three quarters when we leave, turning 3 halfway though the trip. He likes to walk (or scoot, but we’re not taking the scooter!) but he doesn’t have much stamina.

As a baby, for both kids, we used a connecta carrier. This was great when they were little up to about 12 months or so but I never found it particularly comfortable for back carries. Here’s Lil in the Connecta at four months old in Scotland:

connecta carrier

And Ed at 12 months old in Queensland in the same carrier (I made a cover for it):

walking

Anyway, I’ve passed the Connecta on to a friend with a younger baby and was thinking I would get an Ergo for the trip as it looks more comfy for back carries. Then I read this post from Georgia of Documenting Delight comparing the Ergo with a Tula toddler carrier. Well, I had never heard of the Tula and had no idea there were even carriers out there specifically made for toddlers.

So I did a little research and found the Kinderpack toddler carrier. It looks quite similar to the Tula but ultimately I chose the Kinderpack because of the option to get one with a ‘koolnit’ panel in the back. This is a light mesh type material and is good for warmer climates. The heat and humidity of South East Asia has me a little concerned for comfort in a carrier so the koolnit feature won me over.

The carrier arrived last week and we’ve taken it on a few test runs. We’re calling it the piggyback carrier and Ed is pretty impressed with it so far. I’m not sure what Ed weighs at the moment, I think about 12-13kg. I wore him walking Lillian to school and back one morning and found it quite comfortable and Dave tried it out on the weekend. Here’s another look:

Test ride in our new toddler kinderpack. Hoping this works for our big trip. He liked it!

You can see the koolnit panel in this picture. It looks like the carrier is a bit dirty but that’s Ed’s t-shirt showing through the mesh bit. So let’s hope he likes being carried on the trip!

List 11/52 – I’m wondering if we need…

1. A stroller – I think we’ve decided to take it but I’m still wondering.

2. An inflatable camp mat as a kid sleeping option.

3. Sleeping sheet bags for the kids.

4. Rabies vaccinations.

5. Malaria tablets. (More research needed for points 4 and 5.)

6. Actual guidebooks or digital versions?

7. An external harddrive for photo backup and storage.

List 10/52 – 10 Travel Blogs I’m Enjoying Lately

In no particular order…

1. Where’s Sharon? (and Joshue, Soraya and Isaac) – an Australian family currently on a six week SE Asia trip.

2. Travel Chameleon – Written by a Malaysian traveller.

3. Travel Junkies – An American family on a two year trip with an 8yo.

4. This World Rocks – Dan and Alissa have just begun their round the world trip.

5. Active Backpacker – A couple travelling and blogging, currently in SE Asia.

6. Escape Artistes – A mother and son travelling team, currently in China.

7. Finding The Universe – Has had some great Thailand posts lately.

8. Living Outside of the Box – A family of five travelling the world.

9. Malaysian Meanders – An American family living in Penang.

10. 8 Miles From Home – A couple from the UK living in Thailand with their dog. Love their videos.

To Burma Or Not To Burma?

If you look at our itinerary tab you’ll see that we’ve allocated most of October to Myanmar/Burma. Over the weekend I started doing some more research into visiting Burma and we’re now undecided about going. Things I learned:

– Burma is having trouble keeping up with the numbers of tourists now visiting.

– As a result hotels are in short supply and prices are high for what you get (especially compared to other countries in the region.) Another issue is tourists reserving rooms at multiple places to ensure a place to stay which makes a bit of a farce of the whole reservation system.

– Ground transport infrastructure is not good. Trains are expensive, slow and uncomfortable. Most tourists seem to fly in a circle between the four main cities. Flight prices are reasonable but add up quickly when you times by four people.

– Unlike other countries booking as you go is difficult and many people pre-book their accommodation and transport for the whole trip through a local travel agent months before arrival.

– Things are changing rapidly. The Lonely Planet is only about a year old but already prices are out of date as they rise quickly.

Considering all these things we’re now wondering if it would be best to give Burma some time to adjust and perhaps visit in a few years when the kids are older. I’ve emailed some agents to get an idea of costs anyway but haven’t heard back from any yet.

Without Burma on the itinerary we have about six weeks wide open. Three(ish) of those weeks we were planning to spend in Thailand before and after Burma. We’re now thinking about spending more time in Thailand with a side trip to Laos. We loved Laos in 2005 and would especially like to revisit Luang Prabang. Decisions decisions. The good thing is that if we decide not to do Burma we really don’t need to make any other deicisions until we’re there.

So, to Burma or not to Burma? I am torn because it looks like an amazing place, just logistically more difficult and expensive. Hmmmmm.

Temples of Bagan

(Photoof Bagan from edbrambley on flickr)

List 9/52 – Things Dave Is Looking Forward To

I’ve done the things I’m looking forward to, and the things Lillian is looking forward to, so now it’s Dave’s turn. (I tried asking Ed but all he said was wheat-bix and I don’t know how much of that we’ll be having!) This list of Dave’s could have been just food items too, but he did throw in a few other things.

1. Spending time with the family

2. Bagan (Myanmar/Burma)

3. Noodles for breakfast

4. Street food

5. Time to think about things other than work

6. Dumplings

In the spirit of food, here’s a picture of one of Dave’s breakfasts in Laos from 2005:

Laos