Goodness me - Curious Plan is 200 days already! In one way it feels like we set off yesterday and in another like we've been doing this for absolutely ages. It also felt like an appropriate milestone to stop and look back over our trip. Here's our top ten reflections on the ups, downs, highs, lows and lessons learnt so far.

1. 200 days – where have we been:

Our first stop was 6 months in Bali, a beautiful country we fell in love with. Exotic enough to offer adventure but developed enough to feel safe as a starting point for our travels. Since then we have visited Singapore, Malaysia and are currently island hopping our way down the Andaman Coast in Thailand. We very excited to finish up the year with a trip back to Australia for Christmas with grandparents, family and friends.

2. Favourite place:

The Perhenthian Islands has to be one of our favourite spots in the world. A little slice of paradise just off the North East coast of Malaysia. Coral fringed white beaches, azure blue waters with a stunning backdrop off lush, green jungle and absolutely nothing to do but swim, snorkel, kayak or dive.....

Totally away from it all the island has experienced very little development - no internet, no roads, no traffic and no distractions. And the best bit - no shoes. We took our flip flops off when we arrived at our chalet door, we picked them up a week later.

3. Worst bit:

Our most challenging time was just 3 weeks into our trip when we found ourselves in a terrifying trip in an ambulance. Our precious little Millie (only 9 months old at the time) was hospitalised with pneumonia. Luckily after 5 days of outstanding care in the shiny new Siloam hospital our brave little soldier was ready to come home.

Her illness seriously rocked our world and there were many times we questioned everything we were doing. Was it fair to be dragging two young kids to the other side of the world? Were we taking unnecessary risks with their health or wellbeing by embarking on these adventures? Were our lifestyle choices selfish - should we jack it all in and head for the relative safety of "home"? We took the next few weeks slowly and gave everyone, especially Millie, the chance to recover and rebuild our confidence. We realised that illness can strike anywhere and perhaps this was a lucky escape - we now make sure everyone's health and safety is the top priority when choosing locations to visit.

4. Best thing in our backpack:

Travelling with two young children we couldn't live without our Littlelife Arc travel cots. The ultimate portable travel cots they make a handy little tent for the girls to sleep in, and pack down to just 2.5kg. They also come with a removable sunshade so double up as an outdoor playpen for on the beach and ours have been used for plenty of poolside nap times! Mesh panels provide peace of mind protection from pesky mossies and the scary diseases they carry in these tropical climes. The girls absolutely love the security and familarity of their tents as we move around from hotel room to villa.

5. Least useful thing packed:

Where do we start? We have sent over 25Kgs of luggage home since starting this trip! We had so many ridiculous "just in case" items including jackets and jeans - for travelling in Asia where temperatures are consistently tropical - no idea what we were thinking! Our biggest learn is travel light, do laundry frequently and you can buy virtually everything you need on the way.

6. Best bits about travelling with kids:

The rewards of travelling with kids are huge. Some days it's frustrating, tiring, challenging and bloomin hard work; but the adventures we're sharing together more than make up for it. We have freedom and are lucky enough to choose every day how we want to spend our time together. We live in each other pockets and are learning together that home is not a place but a feeling. We sometimes drive each other slightly bonkers but are closer than we have ever been and are making memories to last a lifetime.

7. And the worst bits:

Without a doubt it's the missed moments in the lives of the people we love so much. It's actually not just the big milestone events - weddings, 40th's and babies - although there have been plenty of those we would have given an arm and a leg to be there for. What we miss most is the ordinary day to day mundanity of being in and out of the lives of our nearest and dearest. Jessica breaks my heart a little when she pleads for playdates with her friends and we miss the spontaneous catch ups, the chats over cups of tea (and wine..) and the nights out. If only we could all be teleported home for regular catch up's then this life would be perfect!

8. Biggest lesson learnt so far:

The only way to travel long term with small children is slowly. Packing up and moving around drains a lot of time and energy and cranky, overtired children mean stress for everyone.

We find the best combo is to be on the move for a maximum of a three weeks before basing ourselves in one place for a longer period of time. Having somewhere to settle also means we get an apartment rather than hotel rooms. More cost effective and everyone benefits from room to spread out, routine and the opportunity for some home-cooked meals.

9. So… how do you pay for it?

One of the biggest myths is that we secretly won the lottery - unfortunately not! We have both always loved travelling and the idea of taking our young children on a big adventure in their pre-school years was a dream for years. We planned, worked hard and saved to make it a reality. Our main source of income is from the rental of our house back in London; a property we worked hard to save for and lovingly refurbished from top to bottom before we left.

I also became an absolute demon e-bayer and sold an extraordinary amount of random stuff; raising some additional funding for our travels. We sustain our adventures by living within a daily budget which allows us to live very comfortably but no blow out 5 star luxury!

10. Top tip for anyone thinking of embarking on an adventure:

Just do it - travelling with our kids is the scariest, maddest, greatest decision we ever made. There is no doubt that packing up your home, quitting your jobs and leaving everything behind is a big decision. It is perfectly normal to feel daunted at times yet once we'd packed our bags and boarded that flight it felt like the most obvious decision we ever made. We've come across lots of families along the way, travelling with kids in tow, and I haven't yet met anyone who wasn't happy with their decision. Just find the courage to take the leap - you won't regret it. 

2 Responses

  1. Prue Barber

    Love love LOVE reading these blogs. So inspiring. Everyone should take this leap of faith and follow their hearts and dreams. Proof it really is possible. x


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