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Some long term dreaming


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Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: July 31st, 2015
Hi All,
It's been a while since I've given thought to a big trip, and I don't have one coming up anytime soon. Still, I like to dream, and am thinking long term of RTW type trip when my son, currently 9 months old, (and possibly a future sibbling) will be old enough to remember it. So I'm thinking around a decade from now. At least it gives lots of time to set aside the cash.

With that admission of a lack of immediacy out of the way, I thought I'd post some questions, see what people think about a plan like what I'm dreaming about. By my math, if I leave in July, this would go 14 months. Not technically RTW since it never crosses the Pacific, but, uh, close enough.

South America - 7 weeks

Africa - 8 weeks
South Africa

Indian Ocean
Madagascar - 2 weeks
Reunion & Mauritius - 2 weeks

SE Asia - 6 weeks

New Zealand - 4 weeks
Australia - 5 weeks

Bali - 3 weeks
Japan - 4 weeks

Asia - 9 weeks (there's a specific overland tour lasting just under 6 weeks from China to Turkey that I've always wanted to take)

Europe - 9 weeks

So. Thoughts? Destinations you'd cut? Anything you'd add or think I'm missing?
My math suggests I could add more time in Japan, or another destination in between Australia and Japan without messing up time-related things I'm worried about. I was thinking about that, and whether to add in the Phillipines, and the thought crossed my mind "how will that be any different from Bali, or Thailand, where we will have already been."

If I'm having thoughts like that in the very early planning stages, it brings up the big question...how do you stay engaged and enjoying yourself on a trip like this, and finding it just boring after a while.

I know that taking some time off is important. My thinking was that in New Zealand we'd probably rent a place for the whole time we're there, or at least 3 weeks. Maybe do some day trips, but basically just take a breather from moving around all the time. Similarly, there's a few places along the way I'd hope to stop at least a week in one place (Buenos Aires, Bali, Reunion, maybe).

When I did travel long term before, there was much less flying - it was primarily an overland trip - and ultimately after 5 months we WERE tired and ready to go home. Which was good since it was always intended to be a 5-6 months trip.


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  • Added on: September 19th, 2015
I am not going to recommend cutting some places out but I think there are some challenges in the itinerary worth pointing out.

Peru/Bolivia/Argentina. That's actually quite a bit of ground to cover in 7 weeks. The season is fine for Peru and Bolivia. Not so sure about Argentina.

Namibia. Distances are long between civilization and I can't recall any place being somewhere that I would consider using as a base as a family. Also speculating that the weather (probably in the evening) might be a bit cold. I saw a tv series a few years back and on one episode there was a family overlanding across Africa in their jeep. The kids spent most of the time in the back of the jeep and were bored and miserable. It's kind of how I envision Namibia would be like with my family until maybe the kids are around 16 or so.

Botswana. Similar to Namibia.

New Zealand. Looks like you are getting there around Christmas time. Probably want to make sure you get the flights there and out sorted out well ahead of time. I wouldn't be too keen on spending my time in New Zealand as a base. Too much to do. Relax in Australia or SE Asia on the beach.

Japan. Coincide your time there with the Cherry Blossoms. I've lost track of exactly where we are in the year now, but appears you might be there just about right anyway. Western food choices in grocery stores are limited or expensive (pretty much all fresh fruit) so that might be challenging for some kids. Otherwise it really is a great travel destination.

Overland tour across Asia. That would be a tough one with a family. Especially after nearly a year on the road. I've always envisioned cycling the Silk Road with my kids when they were grown. Maybe as part of their gap year or possibly over a few summers when they are in university. Probably just wishful thinking on my part.

Now, as to the question of how to stay engaged on a trip like this. Tough one. I am starting to come to the conclusion that long term travel might not be the best solution to travel with my kids. I mean, it's better than nothing, but not might be as good as living abroad for a year or traveling over summers where one could choose a destination relevant to the development age of the child and/or perception of the world that they might be lacking. But none of those choices might resonate with you either. And, if not, what about traveling for the summer, putting your kids in a school for 6 months (Spain and SE Asia seem fairly popular) and then traveling for 6 more months before the next school year begins.

Some of your trip overlaps with the Its a small world after all family travel blog. I always thought that was one of the better itineraries and trips I've seen blogged by a family.


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Location: Sydney, Australia

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  • Added on: October 27th, 2015
Nothing wrong with long term dreaming, although your plan will I'm sure look very different by the time you go. Particularly as your kids will be old enough to have some input as to what interests them.

My big piece of advice would be to enjoy planning, but when it comes time to go keep things flexible. I love planning my trips, but having the freedom to change your plans is part of the joy of long term travel. Also the flexibility will be part of what stops you getting bored/exhausted. Your plan has you moving quite quickly, which will always be more tiring. On our trip for example we had 5 months in Africa (East and South), 4 months in South America, etc. Even then we missed out on a lot of countries, and a lot of interesting places in the countries we went to. It did mean we could chill out and spend a week on a stunning beach when we needed a rest, or just found ourselves somewhere we didn't want to leave.

To assist in the flexibility we left countries that are easier to see on shorter trips, like Japan, Europe, America, Australia, NZ etc for another time. This also has the advantage of these being the more expensive places to travel generally.
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