Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Planning Long Term Travel with Twin Toddlers

You have probably noticed I'm blogging a lot less these days.  I've got so much on my mind that I get a bit swamped with 'where' to start.  And so I don't write.  Some of the things I want to blog about seem so trivial and I think "Who wants to read this crap?"  But people have been reading my crap for years, so I guess I'll keep churning out the thoughts in my head.

This blog is going to be dealing with more issues on planning for our year (or more) of travel abroad with our twins.  Of course, life goes on, so it won't be just that.  Plus, who really wants to read a year of posts of how we are 'planning' to do something?
Since we've made the decision of YES, we are going to DO this, we've come up with many (almost too many) options of how we are going to do this.

  1. Save up and travel for one year
  2. Save up enough to travel for one year, but plan to work remotely while traveling...and possibly extend the year to years...
  3. Get hired abroad and do short trips while based abroad (Hong Kong, Singapore and possibly India are our best bets)
  4. Get hired abroad, fulfill the contract and then take off traveling for a year (or more)

There are so many variables to each one of these it's mind-boggling.
How much we need to save depends on:

  • what kind of travel we are doing, 
  • which and how many countries we visit, and 
  • what type of life we expect to live while on the road.
Ideally, we would like to travel for two years when the boys are age 3-5.  We're both big fans of slow travel--spending a few months in each location--as we like to dig into the local scene and really get to know that part of the world.  Neither of us have grand plans for a dash-here-and-there-round-the-world kind of trip.
Also, in the past decade, Chicken and I have both covered almost 25 countries and consider ourselves seasoned travelers who have a sense of the places that would be great with kids and those locations that would be difficult.  That's not to say we are experts, only that we are not newbies who feel like we need to get out there and start crossing things off a list.  We love to see new things, but we're also really excited to revisit some favorite places and see it all over again through our children's eyes.

Traveling with a 3 year old is going to be quite a bit easier than a 2 years old. (It is, right?!) Currently, for our month in Costa Rica, we are having to bring pack n plays, strollers, Ergos, and a stock of diapers/wipes.  We won't have to worry about ANY of that when we they are 3.  They will be old enough to walk further/longer, we will be less strict about naps, they can sleep anywhere and use a variety of interesting toilets.

Raising bilingual children is very important to us and we'd love to spend the first year in Spanish speaking countries.  Perhaps Mexico-Guatemala-Argentina?  Maybe we'll love Costa Rica so much we want to return there for a longer period of time?  It would be great to learn a valuable language while we are traveling and have our kids come back fluent.  They are doing so well with their Spanish right now and I don't want them to lose it, so this is a big concern.

In the second year, we see ourselves in South East Asia.  In the past, we saw ourselves based in Bangkok.  But now that we have toddlers and specifically toddlers who beg to be outdoors every possible moment, a big city like Bangkok with little green space does not seem very enticing.
However, Chiang Mai in the northwest has a wonderful climate and is surrounded by lush mountains and greenery.  Furthermore, I have a very good contact there from volunteer days and it's quite likely I could work.
In fact, I could probably do much more meaningful work in South East Asia than I could ever dream of doing here in the USA.
The second year could be Thailand-Malaysia-Indonesia.
There are so many options in this region and we want to go everywhere!

If we only have one year?  We don't know.  Honestly we go back and forth.  Our knee jerk response is SEA because the cost of living is so low, the weather is wonderful, the people are kind and they love children, the food is delicious and it's safe.
But we love the 'goal' of learning Spanish--which cannot be done in SEA.

If Chicken can find a way to parlay her skill set into working online--then we are set.  I think she can do this.  We're networking and planning and it's just going to take some time to figure out what it looks like, but I believe it's out there.
And....if I can find a way to make some money off my writing, then we are double set.

Next Up:  Budgeting for Our Travels


shroomie said...

I am so excited for you and your family- I look forward to reading how you are planning for this trip- and getting inspired about planning some journey's of our own!

Lex said...

Very exciting - I'd love to do something like that. My brother and his wife spent 3 months in Indonesia with their baby last year while they were still worrying about wipes and all that jazz, and found it incredibly easy. South America sounds lovely too.

Vee said...

I love that you're writing about all this. If I can learn from your experiences, all the better. It's something we'd like to do too. How is the whole two-mum family thing fitting into your decisions. There are many places we'd like to visit but we're wary that a long stay might necessitate quite a cover-up and I worry about my kids thinking being gay is something to hide or be ashamed of. Parenting kids makes you so much more visible as a couple. (ha. Part of my word verification to post this comment was HATE)

e said...

I am so excited to hear about your travels. We are thinking of our little jaunt to Marrakesh next month as a very small "test" run for something like a semester or year abroad in the next few years. I too feel the allure of SEA since Ive spent some time there, but feel the same way about S.America and language "goal" -- clearly both/either option would be great!

Strawberry said...

Looking forward to living vicariously though y'all :)

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love your random thoughts!

And of course I'm living vicariously through you and this made me think of a post I want to write.

My vote (such as it doesn't even count) is SEA. I love all of those places you mentioned and the food!!!!