Saturday, February 27, 2010

Goodbye Timor, Hello Bangkok (via Darwin, Perth and Phuket!)

It is Sunday afternoon and I am writing from our hotel in Thailand which is absolutely beautiful and a very nice follow on from the challenges of travelling with children in Timor. It is not until you leave a place like Timor that realise how difficult it really was. The constant and ever present risk of Dhengi Fever and Malaria meant regular coatings of repel, mosquito nets and constant vigilence for the winged nuisances. The general bugs also meant constant hand washing and being on Gus surveilance duty following him pretty much everywhere to prevent him from digesting some unsavoury item. Noting that life for a 2 year old is pretty much the same wherever you are, they don't ofcourse recognise geography, life is just one big playground. In hinsight Timor was certainly more difficult and more work than initially thought and planned for but lessons ofcourse are usually learned this way.
Last message was from Darwin airport and from there we flew to Perth, stayed one night in a very nice apartment before getting up very early the next day to travel to Bangkok, yes another plane. We received a not so nice and very unexpected surprise at the airport. As we stood in the queue and looked at the board we realised that our flight was heading to Phuket, news to us. Our itinerary didn't show any stopover but we had been scheduled on a flight to Bangkok via Phuket which meant yet another stopover and yet another flight, not happy Jan! As well as this we were told that Jen and Nick had been seated in different parts of the plane not only from us but also from each other. Once on the plane we received some good news, we had been given the row of seats at the front which meant extra leg room and Gus not kicking anyone in front. Also despite assurances of a full flight we saw once on board that the plane was only half full and Jen and Nick were moved to sit behind us, as Poppa would say "everything is coming up roses".
As we boarded the plane there was an older gentlemen boarding in front of us and upon meeting with the very pretty Thai flight attendants gave a very worrying little hip wiggling dance that told us exactly what was on his plans for Thailand. Not a pretty sight! It does seem to be the case though that every flight we take to bangkok there is always some unsavoury Aussies on board heading to Asia to do not so nice things. Anyway on with our story....
On the plane we were a little worried about the little master, he had a slight fever and very green boogers and looking a little lethargic. On the plane he soon fell asleep on me and fortunately proceeded to fall into a dead sleep for about 4 hours. He sweated out much of his fever and fortunately for all woke a much happier little man. He had a run around in Phuket airport and was in the midst of a major tanti when all was saved by the purchase of a toy plane, problem solved. The plane was a little shaky that we were flying on and the take off and landing manouveres didn't exactly fill us with confidence but we are still here to share the tale. Short flight to Bangkok, saying goodbye to Nanna and Poppa and then into the transport to our hotel. It is always somewhat disconcerting when you step into your Bangkok transport that has been organised by your client and the driver turns to you and asks you if you know the way to your hotel. Things did not get much better from there as we drove around for at least 30 mins trying to locate the hotel. Fortunately the car was very comfortable and we were all too tired to really notice anyway. Things were all recovered when we arrived at the hotel and found a room that was perfect for us and a hotel with many things for the kids and Bec to do during the week while I am at work, stay tuned for further details.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hi all, We are pleased to say we are back in Oz again if only temporarily. Currently sitting the the qantas club in Darwin midway through a 4 hour layover before heading to Perth. Yesterday we had our final day in Dili which was a great finish to our trip. I had my final day at work and all went well to finish off my program. Bec, the kids and Jen and Nick were able to secure a driver and a vehicle and went exploring through Dili and its outer suburbs. They visited a few sites and went to the markets and had a great time getting out and about. We finished off our day with dinner with my work friends at a beachside restaurant. The evening made all the more special as some of the staff also brought their children with them. My client is from Africa and he has 4 beautiful children with one older girl around Indy's age and several younger children too. Indy and Mags had a wonderful time sitting and sharing stories with obera who had travelled very braodly living in many different countries. We had a feast of seafood and vegetables and rice and had a lovely finish to our week. My clients youngest daughter who was about 1 took a liking to me and I spent half the night carrying her around, much to the disgust of Gus! A lovley way to finish our time in Timor. We awoke at 5.30am this morning to heavy rain and packed our many many bags into the car which we affectionately named the troop carrier as it was a land rover with bench seats down both sides. We all crammed into the back with all of our bags, quite a sight to behold. Off to the airport, soaked in the process and through customs and immigration. On to our plane and flying through the monsoons to Darwin. We now head to Perth on a four hour flight, overnight there and then off to Bangkok in the morning. After the very basic conditions in Timor I think we are all looking forward to a bath and then a good time in Bangkok. Hope everyone is going well back home!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First Leg nearing the end!

It is Wednesday night in East and our first leg is nearing the end. We have begun to settle into our travel legs now and the kids are all going well, healthy and enjoying their new routines. My work here in East is nearing completion and depsite a very slow start and a few concerns about the value I would bring it would seem that we have made some strong progress and our programs have been well received. Despite the fact that we are in a very 3rd world country the issues within the NGO (Non-Government Organization) office environment could parallel dynamic any office anywhere in the western world. Issues with managing to deliver to increasing demands with limited resources, the need to develop clear and coherent strategy that people can understand and follow and the need for effective people management systems that motivate and direct people's efforts. Again people working very hard but Struggling to see the wood for the trees and prioritise Amidst the treadmill approach to each day. I am always pleased when you feel that your efforts start to make a difference and you hope will leave some form of lasting impression. It is also very rewarding to be working with an organization that does such important work. It is great to be able to explain to the kids that the organization I am working with is working very hard to fight for the Timorese children and make a difference in their lives. Final day tomorrow here in Timor before flying to Darwin then Perth on Friday.
At the end of the day it is always great to finish a long day walk back into the hotel and see Bec sitting by the side of the pool with the three kids having a great time. After the difficult moments it is great to settle into the trip and see everone comfortable and happy. Tonight we shared dinner with a lday I am working with here called Jiji. She works in Bangkok but is originally from India. It was lovely to see our Indy talking with Jiji sharing travel stories and experiences together. Indy is growing up so fast and is quite the little lady in her conversations now. Maggie is swimming like a fish and loves the chance to work on her freestyle which is getting very good. Maggie is by far the more adventourous with her food, having spaggheti for dinner and then eating half of my chicken dish also. Indy is very reserved and usually sticks to the bowl of chips, although she has been enjoying the lasagne they cook here. The food is pretty basic in the game, certainly not a highlight as it is in Thailand and India. Our little man Gus is loving his diving into the pool and just spends hour after hour jumping in, getting out and jumping in again. At breakfast he just runs around and around the restaurant which has a square running track around it, not sure it is actaully a track but works well for our Gus. He is such a happy kid, and provides great entertainment to all around with his 'Moon Walk' and 'Dinosaur Roar', as well as many interesting and funny facial expressions. The hotel here is basically the base for the New Zealand UN police force and we are the only tourists think that we are here, perhaps the only ones in East! Bec has been doing a great job with the kids and mixing a few short day trips with some time at the hotel for the kids, and Bec, to recharge. Kids have been sleeping well which is a blessing, Gus in his cot and Bec and I sharing one of the kids in each of our two rooms. Tomorrow I am off to work to finish my week and I have organized a car and driver for the rest of the crew to head out and see some sights. I started the day today with water leaking profusely from the roof in the bathroom and I hope this was able to be fixed while I was at work today, we'll see. We Decided to take a course of anti-malarial drugs this time around given the high risk in Timor, needless to say this has proven a challenge getting Gus to consume a tablet each day. Bec has been strategically placing the tablets in his dino lollies and she is now rationing these to make sure she can see out the box! So far so good. Well its nearly 10pm and time for bed. Thankyou for your emails and responses, it has been fun sharing our journey with you and always great to get a response to what we are writing. Hope you are all well and life is good! One last thiing from Bec, I am not sure if I shared with you all that on the weekend we visited a massive statue of Jesus on the coast. We Walked up the very long and very hot walk to the top of the mountain to see this massive statue. Gus in his usual way pointed at the statue and said 'Bad Dude! " We are not sure how this was well received by the hundred Timorese christian students who followed us up the mountain. We might need to break Gus out of the Bad Dudes reference as I am sure it will get us into trouble somehwere along our trip. Anyway Goodnight for now!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bags Almost Packed!

Well lucky we did not write this blog last night as I think that at that stage our bags were almost packed for the next flight home! On more than one occasion bec and I asked why are we doing this again?? It all started the night before when I had a nasty attack of what is now famously known as 'Dili Belly'. As I sat on the toilet gushing through the eye of the needle and searched the room to spot a bucket I could use to vomit in at the same time things were not looking good. As we have 3 rooms between us all I was hoping that my loved ones in the other rooms were not experiencing the same as I Predicament given we all shared the same meal for dinner. Fortunately I was the only one to suffer. Fortunately my edpisode was as quick at it was impactful and within the hour it was well and truly over. My body was able to eradicate whatever it was that was causing the problem. After the hour and trying to get back to sleep I was awoken by India's stirring restlessly in the bed. After several turns and squirms I began to worry that my beautiful girl was suffering the same illness that had Struck me down only a few hours before. After a trip to the bathroom and several stomach cramps I Decided to reach for the Phenergan tablets, Indy's wonder drug from previous trips. Sure enough within the hour Indy had recovered and was showing significant signs of improvement. Needless to say though that a full nights sleep was not to be had. Soon enough Bec and Gus Decided to join us and we all started to experience the start of 'cabin fever'. I showered and headed off to work with little sleep and no breakfast and hoped to survive the day as I left Bec with the crew looking for some form of entertainment. Needless to say my day was not as impactful as I had hoped and I returned to find Bec feeling less than enamoured with her first day alone in Timor. I returned wondering if I could do anything at all that would be of value to my clients and Bec struggled to entertain the kids in the hotel for the day. Having followed the kids around, constantly wiping hands, cleaning and washing dummies moved anything that we were both ready to pack our bags and head for the next flight home! The last time we felt this way was on our flight to the U.S. last year when a few hours from landing Indy started to get very unwell. She started to vomit on the plane and get very upset. Indy proceeded to be very unwell for the next many hours and as we came into land I sat in the middle between Indy and Maggie. Bec had Gus perched asleep on her lap. The approach to landing was a little rocky and as I held the bag for Indy to be sick in I glanced over to Bec who also succumbed to the call from below and was losing her delicately breakfast in her bag. That is one thing my wife does very well, she is one of the quietest vomiters I have ever seen, not sure if it has come from years of experience? I then looked over at my beautfiul Maggie who started to go a light shade of green. As I sat there holding one bag for Indy, sharing words of encouragement for Bec and with my other hand spare dived for another sick bag and tried to open it with one hand, and you guessed it too late. Maggie proceeded to launch 15 hours of plane snacks all over me, the seats and everything nearby! We ended up getting a wheelchair for the Indy off the plane and travelled to the Holiday Inn LAX. Despite assurances my travel agent that the building works had been completed (they had not on my last visit!) We were surprised to find the presence of very loud drilling and construction works constantly blareing in the hotel. For the next 3 days Indy vomited every 30 minutes, every drop of water and none of us slept for more than an hour at a time. We had the locum doctor out to see Indy who carried with him and drugs prescribed from his kit was a bit of a worry. We then headed to a medical clinic which was clean and efficient and able to provide us with some immediate support. The initial jab seemed to do the trick. Unfortunately as the day went on Indy returned to her constant vomiting schedule and in a very sleep deprived state I took her around to the local hospital in LAX. As I Walked in with Indy it looked like the waiting room was full of swine flu and the hospital was slum like in terms of its Cleanliness. As I sat there counting the minutes I Decided to stand up and take my girl out of the hell hole! We returned to the clinic and was Advised that if we did not see any improvement soon we would soon need to head to a hospital. The only thing my beautiful but neurotic Eldest daughter hates needles is more than hospitals. Having had enough of the constant drilling and construction works we Decided to head to the Westin hotel, much nicer. Unfortunately though having seen no improvement in Indy we Decided to ask the Westin concierge about some medical help. The hotel's driver took us to the local clinic which was in the backstreets of LA with only spanish signs and no confirmation of the presence of an actual doctor. We did not even get out of the car and asked the driver to take us to the closest hospital. We headed to Santa Monica hospital with Indy at this stage looking very usual Gaunt and her scarily skinny frame slender looking. We arrived at the santa monica hospital to be informed that the waiting time would be at least 4 to 6 hours. In a state of absolute exasperation we pleaded with the receptionist for help. By this stage we were almost spent and had very little left in our tanks. The receptionist suggested we head to the Santa Monica pediatric hospital around the corner, thank God! We arrived to a hyatt like entrance, No one in the waiting room, immediatley were admitted and put in a private room with plasma television on the wall. Indy was probed and tested to within an inch of her life and given a much needed drip with fluid. As the drip was drained the life we saw our return into a special princess and she started to look and sound like our Indy. This was only after an X-Ray, Ultrasound and anal colonoscopy that you would not wish on your worst enemy. Within 24 hours the Indy who hadn't been able to hold down a teaspoon of water for 4 days was hoeing into a Foot long hot dogs and was back to her old self. We on the other hand were completely exhausted as I headed off to work for the week. Within a few days and a few full nights sleep we were enjoying our trip and having a great time.
As I write this we have recovered from our initial induction to life in East and enjoying our trip once again. I had a good day at work and feeling like I added some value to those I worked with and Bec headed out with the kids and Nick and Jen and had a great day. 24 hours is a long time when traveling with kids! We have enjoyed a quiet drink "Reflecting on the day and kids are happy, parents are happy. I Will Retire for now and let my beautiful wife share some of her day's experience.
Well following on from my husbands wonderful writing talents is always a little challenging! Yes it's true, after all the initial excitement leading up to experiencing a new country for the first time, its beautiful hills with its lush valleys filled with low-lying clouds and little Dwellings nested amongst the hills, the romance was dying! As I reached to pull out some hair (it was too early to turn to the Gin!) After I had tried to stop Gus from putting his dummies off the floor into his mouth, Maggie from her eating Coco Pops out of an unwashed bowl and Indi remind that she past her due malerials anti-all at the same time I did wonder ... WHAT AM I DOING?! It was so much eaiser with Gus last time in India (at 4 months) when he couldnt walk, talk or eat and things were far more within my control. Now he is a typical boy, on the move constantly looking for trouble, wanting to put everything in his mouth and now suffering from cabin fever in the height of humidity? All a great recipe for Insanity. But yes, writes Nick as we got through the day, as they (Whoever they are) say the only way to go is up when you hit rock bottom! and yes today was a great example of that. After the usual breakfast struggle where we try to eat whilst Gus chasing around the restaurant, stop him from falling down the stairs and the constant prevention of ingesting non-sterilised items in his mouth! we headed off for the "big smoke" the city of Dili. Well, yes, blink and you might miss it. No high-rise buildings or shopping centers, there are a few shops of sorts and mostly single story Dwellings Confronting amongst some sights. Indi had a bit of a hard time today after we Walked past a slum-type dwelling with a family, including a young child, living in very unsanitary conditions in Rags with monkeys in Cages, not very nice! Lucky Mags was a little more distracted!
Well the kids are needing attention! so time to go and Rid-up and take the anti-malerials, wash the bottle in a stainless steel jug with boiled Bottled water, oh yeah and have another wine! So take care all and thankyou for following us, hope our adventures are providing you with soem light hearted relief.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Petruccos have landed!

As I sit and type this blog I am in our room looking out at Bec and kids having a great time in the pool in our hotel in Timor. As always it was no easy feat getting here although we made it relatively unscathed. The night before leaving Melbourne little Gus had a very rough night teething we think, and kept Bec and I up half the night. As we were preparing to leave Maggie was playing outside. She was, as always dressed in all her spleandour looking like a real rock chick! As she was running around the back yard she stepped in one of Hugo's landmines. For those of you who do not Know Hugo, he is our beautiful 40 kilo black labrador who leaves a pretty formidable mess behind him that Maggie unfortunately stepped in. Now usually this wouldn't be a massive issue, but Maggie had on her Converse shoes which she hasn't taken off since she received them on Christmas Day. Well we scrubbed and washed and in then end got out an old toothbrush and 45 minutes later they were cleaned. Ofcourse there was a fair share of drama in the process. For those of you who know my wife Bec you will probably be able to see the following picture, there we were packing the car running around getting ready. Bec, in her wisdom decided now was a great time to vacuum the kitchen floor! Not quite sure why, it looked fine to me, and of all the times to vacuum the floor I am not sure about now, anyway, she obviously felt better for it and finished with a smile on her face! So off to the airport flying Jetstar for the first time. All was going pretty well as we stepped on to what looked like a new plane, plush leather seats and two rows of three seats between the 5 of us. As we were heading to take off it sounded like someone was sawing wood under the plane to which Gus in his usual assertive manner starts yelling out "shh shh". We got up into the air and Gus was looking pretty good, fell asleep as usual on the take off and all was looking good. Next thing a very cheery and very loud first officer decided to have a long chat to us about our flight which inevitably woke the little master up, and he is never happy being awoken mid nap. We started to look very much like that family you really do not want on your plane with the screaming 2 year old who had decided the only thing that was going to make him happy was running up and down the plane, which ofcourse he could not do. After about a 30 minute wrestle he decided to head back to sleep and all was pretty well until just before landing when the little master awoke again and this time his mood had deteriorated markedly. As I struggled to contain him I look over to Bec she is diving into her backpack and pulled out a packet of lollies! You can imagine my dismay at the thinking here, a very tired and angry man being offered a packet of lollies. Gus decided at this time that his short powernap was all he needed to recharge and turned his attention to once again finding the best escape out. At this time Bec really came into her own producing a new packet of dinosaurs which pretty much kept Gus happy until we landed. As we landed the whole plane shook like it was about to fall apart and we all hung on and hoped. Even little Gus looked a little concerned as the plane struggled to hold together in one piece. Landing in Darwin was very hot and humid with thunderstorms imminent. Nanna and Popsy waiting with the Tarago and off we went having a look around Darwin. The accomodation in Darwin was very average but at the end of the day we were all too exhausted to worry too much about much of anything. The rooms were very hot and when you have a tired 7 year old sleeping on top of you and rolling around the bed it is always harder to get some sleep. Gus awoke once again in the middle of the night and needed Dadda ofcourse, as he already had mama and this clearly was just not enough for the little man. A quick cuddle and a bot bot and he was once again off to sleep as were the rest of us, at least until the wake up call at 3.30am. Despite Gus being in a dead sleep as soon as Bec whispered his name he sat bolt upright and was ready to go. Our big girls Indy and Maggie were absolute champions as they somewhat reluctantly got out of bed and dressed for our trip to the airport.
We were a little worried about the plane to Timor as Pospy had done some research into the planes and determined they were built by a Brazilian company which he suggested were famous for their mardi gras floats and had then ventured into plane building! Despite Popsys concerns the plane was a very new mid size jet that we all enjoyed our flight on. The girls played their DS and Gus slept the whole way again returning to his A grade performances we are used to. Flying into Timor is a beautiful experience with some incredible mountains stretching out to the amazing ocean. Clear flying conditions produced some incredible views as we came into land. As the plane turned making its approach we saw a tiny little runway perched on the edge of the coast. It looked far too small for us and we were all a little surprised as we saw the plane head for this runway. As we came down over the sea at one end we all held out breath as we waited for some harder ground, then as we did and touched down we all held our breath again as the plane reversed the engines and strained to pull up before the other end of the runway. We of course made it and despite my best attempts to build the anticipation there really was no issue. As we pointed out the airport I think Bec looking straight at it said 'where?' not quite believing the little building was indeed the airport. The usual official welcoming party of guards waiting guns at the ready but wearing smiles bigger than their weapons. The little master strutted onto the tarmac as though he was a prince returning home and Maggie with her sunglasses and outfit was looking to avoid the paparazzi! Indy as always looked her pensive self sussing out her environment. Good thing we had Popsy with us and his stack of cash as we had not managed to get to the Bank to get our US dollars and despite Popsy's angst at handing over the loot we all managed to pay our $30USD visa payment and became official guests of the Timor people.
We made it through customs and saw our driver from the hotel. We had our usual look of surprise as we told the driver their was 7 of us, he was expecting only one, this depsite my email three days ago confirming our transfer to the hotel. We were very fortunate that the three italian men in their suits encouraged us to go firt and they would wait for the driver to return to get them, so off we went.
First impressions of Timor were very similar to our time in Cambodia with the obvious poverty very easy to see and very few examples of wealth. Every third vehicle was a UN, red cross or some other NGO vehicle displaying the clear need for help and support. The roads were very rough and a mix of bitumen and dirt and the housing was very average mostly slum like conditions evident.
The drive along the esplanade was interesting (Indy just said crazy!) with the inevitable fishing people and neverending stalls of hanging fish ready for sale. We arrived at our hotel and despite the galvanised iron frontage walked through to an virtual oasis with a nice pool for the kids surrounded by single bedroom rooms. We have 3 rooms next to each other and in comparison to the surrounding accomodation around the hotel we are living in absolute luxury. We settled in with the kids hitting the pool to freshen up and a few of us heading to the local supermarket. As always seems to be the case these days I am amazed at the choice of products available in these countries, pretty much anything you would like. We stocked up with food for the kids, fresh water, and a range of other treats to keep everyone happy. Back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep with the little master sleeping with Indy and I for four hours and Bec and Maggie getting a much needed rest, although Maggie spent most of this time in the pool. Toward the end of the day Maggie stepped out of the pool with her eyes looking like she had gone 5 rounds with Mike Tyson! We all enjoyed a refreshing swim and Gussy demonstrated no fear as he must have jumped into the pool over a hundred times. He has this thing at the moment where he refers to certain things as 'bad dudes' which he gets from watching his movies. There were three UN policeman sitting together in the pool when Gussy went up to them and pointed saying 'Bad Dudes!'
Dinner at the hotel is always an interesting experience first time around. Between all of us we had lasagne and chips, grilled chicken and portugese potatoes, calamari, and beef curry,a veritable United Nations Feast. The food was not bad, not great, but not bad. We retired early and slept well!
As we greet the morning Nanna and Popsy remind us of what life would be like travelling without kids. Popsy has been up for a lovely walk along the beach, exploring Timor, Nanna is showered and dressed and ready for breakfast. We have been spending the past several hours since 5am trying to get Gus to sleep for a little longer, deal with the girls sniffles and moans and get ourselves upright and into the day. The days of absolutely relaxing travel are well behind us now but we ofcourse wouldn't change a thing. We are so lucky to be able to have our kids with us and experience all of this together. And ofcourse to have nanna and pospy here is a godsend and they provid invaluable support to manage the multiple demands of our 3 kids!
Today we decided to hire a car and driver and have a look around. We started with a trip to the ANZ bank to withdraw some funds from the ATM and put popsy at ease as we were able to pay him back. When you hand Popsy money you always see a bit of colour return to his cheeks, those of you who know Popsy will know what I mean. We drove around the esplanade around to the famous statue of Jesus. It was a very long walk up to the top and we had lost 30% of our body weight in sweat but the views from the top were breathtaking! Driving through the local streets always brings you down to earth as you see the absolute poverty that surrounds you. We know from our friends that our trips to places like Timor are seen as at best adventourous and at worst downright crazy! But our view is that we want our kids, as well as ourselves to experience what life is like for many people on this planet. We inevitably have talks with Indy and Mags about how 90% of the earths resources get consumed by just 10% of the population and talk about how this happens and why. We strongly believe this is important for all of us to experience, especially our kids. We hope that as we return to our lives of relative luxury that we can all take back just a small piece of our experiences and that this will help us make the right choices in life. There are always times when we travel when we question is it worth it and the answer inevitably returns to Absolutely! Despite the many challenges we face travelling with kids and it is a daily if not hourly challenge it provides such a wonderful opportunity for conversations with our kids that are only possible through experience. What this will all mean as they grow up we will have to wait and see but we hope will provide a well rounded experience of all that life is about.
When I spend time in places like Timor it always puts me in a very reflective place and gives me more questions than answers ofcourse. Why are we so lucky, why do we have what we have, what have these people done to deserve lives like this. It is not so much the material possessions but more the life of relative safety and wealth. I remember the terrible images on Australian TV of young men dying at the hands of a machete wielding men while they were trying to escape. I remember at the time this haunted me for many days and now as we drive down the streets of Timor it brings back those memories and you just cant help but wonder why. These are obviously questions beyond my ability to answer but I believe I am better off for considering the question.
So here we are in Timor...... Look forward to keeping you posted on our trip.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The night before take off

As always seems to happen, here we are the night before we take off and it has come around so quickly. You always have these grand ideas about just how prepared you will get this time around and the inevitable reality sets in and you realise you just never have the time to do what you would like to. Fortunately Bec is a super woman and has done a great job organising visas, tickets, immunisations, house sitters, food for the kids, and packed the bags! So despite my minimal efforts of support we are quite well organised, all things considered.
Travelling with kids is always a very different experience to trvalleing on your own, there is so much more to think about and it is never a straightforward proposition. There is ofcourse a significantly higher degree of responsibility and the pressure to get things right and to be prepared. The old days of throwing some clean underwear in your backpack, a toothbrush and few bucks are well and truly behind us.
We have been very fortunate to have had many trips with our kids and they are very good travellers. I think all of them were plane broken before 6 months of age with Gus experiencing his first trip overseas to India at 4 months old. For this next adventure we head to Darwin, fly to East Timor for a week, back to Darwin via Perth to Bangkok, Thailand for a week and then to Chennia India for 10 days. In India we spend some time in Chennai, catch a train to Bangalore and Mysore then back to Chennia for a couple of nights. When we return we then hitch our camper and head off up the east coast of Australia for four months. This is a trip we have been looking forward to for a long time and has been many years in the planning, so we are all very excited. While in India we are looking to secure funding to rebuild a school which will enable we hope 150 indian kids including a number of orphans to attend school. Of all the things we have done in India this is the project that we are most excited about. Education is such a fundamental platform for life for kids.
Travelling with kids is never boring and always eventful - stay tuned for more details.