Decision Time: Choosing Our First Big AdventurePosted on Jun 2, 2011 | 15 comments
I think every traveling family goes through this process.
With such a big world, how do you decide where you want to start traveling?
We have come up with 4 trips that we are interested in taking next year.
These are lifestyle trips. Open ended journeys that we hope will provide us with great adventures and cultural experiences.
We are still doing our Pretty Smart Villages project, but that is a long-term project and anyone of these trips will provide us an opportunity to settle into a location and work on the project.
Any help you guys can give us is great. It is so hard to decide where to travel when you want to travel everywhere!
What We Have To Work With
To help us decide on our travels next year, you're going to need some of our personal info.
- We are a family of 4, American/Canadians, with 2 kids who will be 7 and 4 when we travel.
- We do have a small car, friendly on gas, and it can hold all of our camping equipment if needed.
- We will have about $45,000 for this trip and we want that to last. We travel very light. Have all the needed equipment to stop anywhere for the night. We may have other income, but we would like the $45,000 to last, at minimum, a year.
- We will use travel insurance abroad, not in the US.
- We will avoid flying if possible. We just find it to be annoying and we like to travel slow.
So there you have it. Pretty Simple.
Now all we have to do is decide where to go.
The Boston to Chile Road Trip
Given what we have, this idea seems the simplest. That probably sounds pretty crazy given the scope of the trip, but it's true. We have the car, the camping equipment and the trip really fits our budget.
Essentially, we would take our time meandering down to Patagonia. There will be no schedule and no set itinerary. Great travel is often spontaneous, and that is what this trip would be all about. We want our kids to learn Spanish, absorb some culture and really learn how to travel.
Sure, we are well aware of some of the "dangerous" areas of Northern Mexico and Central America, but I'm sure we can work it out and get the help of other travelers before we go. We do have some strong connections in these areas and that always helps. Plus, the Denning family of Discover. Share. Inspire. are traveling to Argentina from Alaska right now, so being able to follow their lead is fantastic.
I am also a big follower of the great travel blog Bodes Well and Jason and his family are always pointing out the kind nature of the people of Central and South America. Such endorsements really make me want to swing down south and check things out for myself.
At some point we want to live on a sailboat and make our way around the world. Thing is:
- We don't know how to sail.
- We don't have money for a boat that could safely circumnavigate the world.
- And we don't want to get stuck in the middle of the Atlantic wondering "how the hell did we end up here".
But America has rivers.
Safe and easily navigated rivers.
America also has a great series of inter-coastal waterways that essentially run from New York to Mexico and make it very feasible to sail a small vessel down the East Coast without any real fear of winding up on the bottom of the ocean. A small, used sailboat would run us between $10,000- $20,000 US Dollars and we could live on the boat and sail up through Canada, The Great Lakes, The East Coast and even down around the Gulf Coast. Possibly by the time we conquer all this we would be ready to sail off and take on the Caribbean.
There are so many interesting towns and people running the shorelines of America. We wouldn't mind meeting them. And living on a boat would save us a bunch of money in the long run. I would really like to do this some day.
This seems like something every adventurous family wants to do. John Higham and his family did it and detailed the journey in his book. Our friends from the Edventure Project did it with 4 kids and they even went to Northern Africa. It's just a great, slow way to see Europe with kids. And we would go slow, maybe take our time and live it up for a few years.
There is not to much to worry about in regards to safety, and the biking we know we can handle. We will have a lot of the camping equipment already so that is not much of an issue. I guess the only concern is the money.
Here is the thing about our family. We can be really, really frugal. However, in order for us to play it cheap, we need to lock ourselves away. Avoid temptation. Head off to the woods and go a bit native.
I can't see myself cycling into Barcelona and bypassing tapas bars. And I don't imagine us eating ham and cheese along the roads of Tuscany. I don't think we could resist. Maybe I'm wrong, but my gut tells me Europe, despite it being the home of our ancestors and probably the best place to travel with our young kids, might be a little too pricey.
I will let you European experts help us on this one.
The Slow Crawl through Europe, Russia and SouthEast Asia
If we skipped the bikes and still started off in Europe, we would travel slow and stay in places in Europe for a few months at a time. We have some friends and family in Europe who would make that pretty easy. Plus there is Homesitting, Family Couchsurfing and other creative ways to manage to travel on a budget.
After a few months in Europe we would take the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Beijing and from there we are home free. We have been to China before and SouthEast Asia on the whole is a budget traveler's dream. We have always wanted to go to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and feel really comfortable traveling as a family in these areas. We may even wander down through Malaysia and head off to Australia eventually.
I guess the only drawback of the trip is that everyone does it. I know that doesn't matter much, but I do get kind of overwhelmed by the Thailand travel blogs and kinda just want to try something new.
That said, there is is a reason everybody heads off to SE Asia. I have to remember that.
So there you have it. Honestly, we have no real preference as to where we travel. We have all the time in the world.
We are curious to know what you think.
Do you have preferences yourself?
Do you have any advice for us?
Let us know. And thanks for following along.
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All The Best In Your Adventures!