“I feel like I’ve already been to Thailand”
Jeff, my man & adventure partner, is referring to all of the planning, research, discussions and daydreaming that has encompassed a good portion of our lives as we plan our next adventure. The exercise is exciting, exhausting and fun, but best done in short spurts.
We are planning a Big Adventure! Destination: Thailand, Laos & Cambodia. It is BIG on a few different levels as we are traveling with my two teenage daughters. Yes, teenage daughters. Luckily, Jeff has a bit of history coaching teenage girls, so unlike most single men, he isn’t too intimidated. Well, he doesn’t seem to be. A future blog 🙂
We are closing in on our departure date Oct. 29th .. 10 days and counting.
I won’t even go into all the preparation needed to leave your day-job for 2 months and how fortunate I feel to have this opportunity, but that alone can be all consuming.
Half of the fun of a big adventure is the planning and anticipation.
So as soon as this trip hit our radar in August, we immediately started surfing the web:
- Airline Tickets to Bangkok
- Hotels or Homestays
- Bloggers recommendations Why Travel with Kids
- “What to do” recommendations
- Rent a home for 3 months or travel around
- Currency Converter
- How much does it cost to living in Chiang Mai for a month
- Transportation – flights, busses & trains
- What to wear
- Etiquette, culture, crime
- International phone & texting
- Available internet
- Packing / luggage
The list goes on and on … so many photos, Blogs, TripAdvisor Reviews.
We are fortunate to live in an area where many people have traveled in that area of the world. We’ve heard reviews & recommendations from friends, friends of friends, bartenders, co-workers and sales reps…its been fantastic, but so much information. WOW!
My daughters are excited to go, but I think for different reasons. Kids seem to stay in the moment and not ponder the future or dwell on expectations.
My youngest daughter, Carly, www.spytraveler.com is basking in the idea of leaving school for 2 months. Oh yes, we will be homeschooling, but she knows it will be a totally different learning experience. She likes the attention of friends & parents regarding her imminent departure. Carly hasn’t spent much time thinking about the planning. She has made a few request, riding an elephant, The festival of lights in Chiang Mai and Zip-lining in Laos, but otherwise she is pretty much just living in the present and enjoying the anticipation of the adventure.
By the way, Homeschooling is a subject that terrifies me. I have so much respect for teachers and their patience, knowledge and organization. Carly’s teachers have been helpful, very understanding and supportive. Homeschooling will be explored in more detail as we continue on this adventure.
Kenady, 18, withdrew from her college classes for the semester. It was a big decision as she was just getting into the swing of college, but how can you pass up an adventure in South East Asia on your mother’s dime? You can’t, I wouldn’t either. Of course, the adventure comes with some responsibilities. She must keep up her www.ladysunflower.com blog … I encourage her to get started now, but haven’t had much success with that. She is living with my Dad & his wife until we leave and feels very much in limbo. Not a good place to be, but again the anticipation of the adventure keeps her focused on the prize. Again, she lives in the moment and doesn’t have to many expectations or requests.
So 10 days out and this weekend I am focusing on packing and getting my house ready.
How do you get your house ready for a trip? Well, your preparation really depends on where you live. I live in the mountains and the average temp while we are gone will be below 30 degrees.
Here is the shortlist:
- Who is going to take care of the cat?
- Find a caretaker for the plants
- Service the boiler
- Should I turn off the water to the house or just in the bathrooms?
- Inform Neighbors of your travel dates
- Hide extra keys or give to neighbors
- What friends and family can I enlist to check on the house & when
- Should I invite friends to stay a few days?
- What if something does go wrong?
- Leave instructions for friends & family regarding emergencies
- Clean out the refrigerator
- Put a hold on the mail
- Tidy the house or setup a cleaning service prior to your return
Our goal is to pack light. We went round and round about what to bring, classic luggage or a backpack. We talked to a lot of people about this including 3 different REI Sales Reps and finally settled on using two older backpacks and then purchasing 2 of The North Face, Base Camp Duffel for the girls.
This duffel was recommended because of its size, durability and offering enough space for travel basics. That’s right, BASICS, which means very limited and we must be selective. Found this Blog: With 2 Kids In Tow, Its Backpacking We Go which has some good information and does address some of my concerns about traveling with kids. Although, my kids are older and hopefully a bit more flexible and independent, as a Mom you do as much as you can to create a safe and enjoyable experience. Also A Girl’s Southeast Asia Packing list has been really helpful.
There has been much debate about bringing a computer. The responsibility of keeping track of it and lugging it around (weight), security, the possibility that WiFi may not be as reliable as advertised all weigh heavily(no pun intended) in the debate. Jeff is not going to bring his and will be using his Smart Phone for emails & internet. I have decided to bring my macbook pro for work, blogging and research.
I want to this trip to be a fun, life changing, enlightening and enriching experience for everyone. In my mind, one aspect of that is to experience the different cultures and how others live differently then we do. With that, I am researching and hoping to expose my daughters to challenges people have in different countries. Education is a big focus and we hope to visit & volunteer in a few schools & orphanages in the region. Hence, we have brought along a few little gifts to give kids along the way – crayons, pencils & sharpeners.
I will keep you posted on the progress … should be an interesting. We will be enjoying the Climb!