Today is our two month travel anniversary. Two months since we packed it all in, had all the stress and worry of packing up our lives and hit the road. In some ways it feels like we’ve been doing this forever, but then other times it seems to have gone in the blink of an eye.

So how are we doing? What is it like to ‘live the dream’ and travel around the world? I thought I’d write a few insights into our life so far, and what our nomadic life is like – aside from all the glamorous looking Facebook and Instagram shots we bombard you with 😉

What are the best bits?

  • Spending time together – this might seem crazy when we are together 24/7 but probably the biggest thing for us is having the luxury of spending time together. Our lives before we did this were so busy, it has been great to slow down and spend quality time together, with the freedom to do what we want, when we want.Every day our kids make us laugh with what comes out of their mouths. We are getting to know them like never before and the four of us are becoming a super-tight unit. It’s not always sweetness and light though, see below in the not so good bits….

 

  • Learning so many new things every day – the old cliche ‘travel broadens the mind’ is so true. Stepping out of our everyday lives and seeing how other people live is incredibly invigorating and makes us very grateful for the blessed life we lead back in little old New Zealand. We truly don’t know how lucky we are, and this trip is certainly making us question the way we live our lives and what we value (don’t worry we aren’t about to go all hippy and rush off to live in an Indian ashram though….yet!)
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Exploring new cultures and making new friends at the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Seeing the good in people – This time around the travel is different for us as we’re seeing it also through our kid’s eyes. We are often a bit of a curiosity as we aren’t the typical SE Asia 20-something backpackers that are mostly in this part of the world.People take the time to stop and talk to us and are genuinely interested in us and our lives. People are so incredibly generous and kind as well. In Malaysia, a lady bought Sophie and Mike an ice-cream because she enjoyed chatting to them. The kids are always being given food, being said hello to, how old are you, where are you from etc. Whenever someone falls over (it happens a bit, both kids and adults!), the locals rush over to us to help pick us up and make sure we are ok. None of these people ever want anything in return, they are just genuine nice people.

 

  • Watching the resilience and confidence grow in our kids – it was always a gamble as to how the kids would cope with this journey. On previous shorter holidays at some point someone has always said ‘I want to go home’. We are amazed at how quickly the kids have adapted to this lifestyle and how they just go with the flow. Not once has either of them said they want to go home to New Zealand.We occasionally get the odd ‘I want to go home’ but it now means that they are tired or bored after a long day and want to go back to whichever accommodation we happen to be staying in at the time (we know because we probe them about what that means!) If they are playing up, we even use the threat of ‘right we are getting on a plane back to New Zealand’ and that sorts them out quick smart!As time goes by they are getting more and more into the journey and are genuinely curious as to where we are going next, what will the food be like, what are we doing there? Sophie in particular is getting very confident in approaching people and talking to them which is great to watch.
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The kids and their new mates at Alona Beach in the Philippines.
  • Going to some amazing places – stating the obvious, but we’ve been to some cool places!  Our favourites so far are the beach at Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia and cruising around Halong Bay in Vietnam. Most of our accommodation has been fantastic given the really reasonable prices we’re paying for it. Like that pool in KL that everyone thinks is at a 5 star hotel, but it was an $80 a night AirBNB apartment!

What are the not-so-good-bits?

  • Spending too much time together! Most of the time we love being together and it’s going well. But sometimes it’s hard and we do get sick of one another! Most of the time we are all sleeping in the same room, and about 50% of the time the kids are sharing a bed with one another. Add all our luggage into the mix and there isn’t a lot of space. Sometimes at the end of the day Mike and I look at each other and roll our eyes if we get yet another question, or request to play superheroes or mermaids or mums and dads (hang on a minute kids, isn’t that what we actually do every day?!). It can be very tiring.To remedy this, we try and have time out if it’s getting too much. Mike runs or goes to the gym most days, I find a quiet place away from everyone to write the blog, sort through photos or read a book. The kids put headphones on and listen to music. Or we split up with girls and boys time – Sophie and I go out and the boys stay in or vice-versa. The days of sharing a room are coming to an end soon as we start slowing the travel down and staying in houses rather than hotels.
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Sometimes we all get sick of one another. Especially early in the morning.

 

  • Travel days – No putting any gloss on it, travel days are hard and we all hate them. In two months we have been on 8 flights, 5 ferries, at least 20 trains and endless bus and taxi rides. Tomorrow we have a 30 minute taxi ride, 2 hour ferry, 45 minute taxi ride, 2 hour airport wait, 45 minute flight, 10 minute taxi ride and we’re all feeling a bit bummed about it. It’s physically hard (we have too much luggage and it’s heavy), mentally draining and the kids get bored with all the waiting around. Going through security gates with all our stuff is a pain in the **** and there are some awesome bureaucrats out there.The saving grace is on travel days we let the kids have unlimited screen time for our sanity and the people around us (apart from in cars and buses as Sophie gets motion sick.) Slack parenting maybe, but they behave like angels and often on planes the people in front and behind say how great our kids are!
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Lapping up that screen time on a train in Vietnam.
  • Parenting and eating out in public – We are pretty much always in ‘public’, even when we are in our room, there’s a room right next door, and you can’t scream the place down because your two kids are arguing over which TV channel to watch.Sometimes we have to discipline them in public (eg if it’s a safety issue where they ignore our request to stand behind the yellow line when a train is coming!) and I hate doing it and feeling several sets of eyes on us staring. Luckily we don’t have to do it that often.Eating out 3 times a day has it’s challenges too. The kids are generally excellent eaters and are doing so well with the food, but if they’re tired or bored (just like at home) it is hard. Here’s a typical meal:
    • The kids want to order junk food and we have to say no. “But Muummmm it’s on the menu”. “I don’t care, you can’t eat fries and ice-cream every day for the next 8 months”
    • EVERY time without fail someone will drop their chopsticks or cutlery on the floor and embarrassed we have to ask the waiter for more
    • We have to wait too long for the food. “Wheeeenn is it commmmming???”
    • Then it arrives and it’s too hot, or it has a carrot in it, or it looks YUCK (Jack at the top of his voice one time), so then we have to do the public parenting thing – “yes you do have to eat your vegetables so you don’t get scurvy”
    • Finally we have to shovel everything down because within 5 minutes it will be ‘can we go now?!!’ My metabolism may never recover.

The first six weeks we found this really hard, but it is definitely getting better as it becomes the norm and I think we’ve all relaxed a bit with it. We’ve learned that it is generally doomed if we venture out without colouring-in books and a big stack of felt pens, in which case they will happily sit there quietly drawing until the meal arrives and Mum and Dad get to relax for 5 minutes. We also relish the places we stay that have a kitchen so we can do our own meals.

So far we have resisted bringing the iPad to restaurant tables which I am infinitely proud of – not judging anyone that does by the way, it’s just give our kids the opportunity and it will become the norm, and our travel is too long-haul for that to become the norm.

 

  • Going out at night and mixing with other people – most of the time it isn’t a problem, but sometimes Mike and I think ‘it would be really good to see what the beach nightlife is like’, or ‘we really fancy just popping into that cool looking little bar for a nightcap’. The reality is that most nights we are home by 7pm as the kids are exhausted, so we haven’t seen much of the places we are travelling to by night. The plus side of it is that we are getting plenty of sleep and are reading a tonne of books!
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    A romantic sunset – complete with grizzly, tired, over-hungry kids.

    We’re also craving a bit of adult and other kids company. We haven’t seen very many other families around, and generally backpackers avoid us like the plague as we have that dreaded thing with us – KIDS 😉 Older people talk to us though and we’ve met some great and inspirational ‘silver travellers’.

    We belong to an amazing Facebook group called ‘Families on the Move’ that is full of travelling families like ours, so we have arranged some meet-ups with other families once we get to Bali and Europe. And we have organised for the kids to attend some school and drama classes once we get to France, so hopefully we will make some ex-pat and French friends that way.

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Best mates but looking forward to making some more new friends soon.

What’s next?

We’ve packed a heap into the last two months, and we’re getting ready to slow down a bit over the next two. We have a few more days left in the Philippines, then we are back for 2-night KL pitstop before we hit Sri Lanka.

We’ve altered our plans a little bit in Sri Lanka, as we realised we were trying to pack too much in, and it was going to be too hard travelling on public transport with all our stuff. So instead, to pace ourselves, we’ve chosen less places and are staying put at each destination for longer. We’re also basing most of our time by the beach, and have arranged some self-catering accommodation for some of it, as that seems to be where we are at our happiest. To be fair the kids have been troopers and have seen more than enough temples and cultural sites. We need to pace ourselves!

Then it’s off to the big city of Bangkok for a week, before we fly to Bali for a month. We’re all looking forward to having a proper base for a chunk of time, separate bedrooms, a good kitchen and we are renting a car the whole time we are there so we can be a bit more independent in where and when we go places.

Thanks to everyone who has read the blog/Facebook/Instagram posts – we love it when you comment as well as it makes it feel like we aren’t just talking to ourselves! If there is anything else you’d like to know or see us write more or less about then let us know 🙂

xxxxx

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Big kisses from us!

 

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0 Comments

  1. Love reading your updates, what an amazing time you’re having. Nice that you’re sharing the challenging bits too.
    Safe journies

    1. Hi Sallie, lovely to hear from you! Yes we’re having an amazing time for sure, it’s pretty good most of the time but I guess we’re just facing normal parenting challenges but in less familiar surroundings….Hope you’re all good. Love Kylie xx

  2. Great to read about the good and not-so-good about such long travels with kids. I guess the best part here is that the kids are getting enriching experience that will stand them in good stead as older adults. And the two of you will not have regrets later. I would love to see how you go about planning for such long vacations, and balancing it with everything else.

    1. Hi Vibes, certainly no regrets, it is one of the best things we’ve ever done and hopefully giving the kids a little insight into what the world is like so they can go off an explore further if they want to when they are older. Good idea, I’ll put together some thoughts on how we put this trip together, the logistics were actually pretty massive, and I have loads of tips to share 🙂 We have another few weeks of travelling around fairly regularly then we are settling down a bit for longer stays in places, so I will have more time to write hopefully. Hope you and Sangeeta are well. Love Kylie x

  3. I loved reading about this and all the highs and lows! We always find that our kids do a bit of a ‘leap’ when we are away, Marcella started walking in Bali, Freddie crawled for the first time in Melbourne and walked when we were in Rarotonga! I love seeing how the kids adapt to new places and try new things when we go on holiday, I think they love getting out of routine too. I can’t wait to hear how Bali goes, locals just loved Marcella when we were there, I think you will find that everyone is so lovely to kids! I actually had a dream about you guys last night so I wanted to check in and see how you were going, it sounds like it is pretty incredible so far, travel safely today, Jess x

    1. Hi Jess, so lovely to hear from you, your kids are born travellers too by the sound of it! We’re all good, having the time of our lives, it’s seriously the best thing we’ve ever done. Think about you guys (AC peeps) often believe it or not! Say hi to everyone. xxxxx

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