I gave notice at work, we moved out of our house so the renters could move in, and we are basically beginning The Adventure! Exciting! Scary! People who are just now hearing about it have some questions, often the same questions, so here goes: What?! We are taking about a year to travel around the world. Who??? My husband and I, both in our 40’s, and our four kids aged 9, 9 (yes, twins), almost 12, and almost 15. Where!?! We are driving to Vancouver (via Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, OR to visit friends and family), then taking a ship from Vancouver to Shanghai, spending some time in Eastern China on the way to Laos
Vietnam **** by train and bus. After a few months in that area ( Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand), we have loose plans to go to India and then back through China to Russia on the Trans Siberian Railway. We hope to go East from there back to the US, possibly across the Atlantic Ocean in the Fall of 2016. Why the heck? We want to see the world together while our kids are still home with us. They are homeschooled and we are taking advantage of the freedom we have as homeschoolers. We parents value what we have learned travelling and we want it to be a part of their education. We parents want to do this while we are relatively young and healthy, rather than after retirement when health issues can surface. The kids want to see different things they have read about, like different animals, landscapes, and structures. Doesn’t everyone like to travel? I think it’s kind of self-evident. How in the world…? I assume this question is about finances. We have talked about it and planned for it over about 8 years. Two years ago, we refinanced our house and paid off credit cards. As for income, my husband has a few small properties he rents out and we will have some income from that. We also are taking out a low-interest loan on one of the properties so we don’t have to use credit cards so much. We are going low-budget (hoping to spend $100-$200/day) and we researched lower-cost areas to explore, thus SE Asia, India, and Eastern Europe. Western Europe and Australia, as contrast, are probably not within our budget. We plan to travel slowly and get longer-term rentals of weeks to months rather than nightly hotels to help lower expenses. As for other logistics, we have looked at blogs and other resources about travelling, especially detailed family travel blogs such as soultravelers3, traveljunkies, GlobeGazers, and NomadicFamily. What about school/friends/healthcare/natural disasters/political unrest? We homeschool, we hope to keep in touch on the Internet and also meet new people, we have traveler’s health insurance and we got medications and vaccines for what we could, can’t do much about earthquakes and all wherever you are but we’ll avoid obvious danger zones when it comes to natural and human-made threats to safety. I hope to continue this blog to keep friends and family updated. So, stay tuned tripsters, it’s going to be a wild ride!!
**** Update: Vietnam is looking unlikely due to unforseen visa hassle. We went through it with China (6 weeks, 3 rejections, total cost of over $200 per person!), which we had to do because we can’t board the ship without Chinese visas, but Vietnam is not a necessity. If you’re interested: the Vietnam visa by land costs about the same as the China visa – around $130 per person – but only lasts 3 months rather than China’s 10-year visas we now have! Arriving by air in Vietnam, it is about half this, however it requires prior planning (applying in advance online for an “approval letter” then dealing with more paperwork at the airport) as well as, for us, buying 6 plane tickets and the 6 visas, which would really add up. And I prefer to go by land since we want to travel slowly and see things. If we find another way, we may make it to Vietnam, but for now we are planning to exit China into Laos (visa cost = $35, available at border, yes!). Especially interesting, this route takes us to Kunming “the City of Eternal Spring”, and Xishuangbanna, where there are minority villages and an elephant reserve!http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/world/asia/in-land-that-values-ivory-wild-elephants-find-a-safe-haven.html?_r=0