I’ve just realised that December the 1st, the launch date of my third book, What Goes On Tour Camping, is also the 10 year anniversary of the date we left New Zealand on our epic, around the world, family O.E. It’s time to take a trip down memory lane.
This time 10 years ago we were frantically finishing up our day jobs, packing up our home, trying to book hostels in far-flung corners of South East Asia, as well as easing our 9 and 6-year-old kids into what life on the road would be like. To be honest, we were making most of it up as although the grown-ups had travelled a lot, we had no idea what it would be like to travel for eight months with two small humans.
As our small humans weren’t able to carry any substantial luggage we decided that between the four of us we would take only two backpacks. This gave each of us a supermarket-sized bag space for clothes. The rest of the husband’s backpack was stuffed with sleeping bags and towels, the rest of mine with every kind of medication and first aid supply in existence. The kids each had school bags they could carry on their backs for a couple of toys, some paper and coloured pencils etc…
This arrangement also allowed the adults to have hands free to hold onto a child each while we were walking between transport and accommodation. For extra security, each child had a whistle on a lanyard that they could blow if they got lost and on the lanyard was an emergency phone number in New Zealand. It seems crazy now when mobile phones are permanently glued to everyone’s hands, but we travelled without any form of telephone. We had an iPad (1) for blogging and keeping up with emails.
We sent the kids to school on their final day in the country, to give us time to finish off last-minute tasks. We picked them up straight from there and got a ride to the airport where we’d booked to stay at the Sudima so we were nearby for departure the next day. There had been a market day at their primary school recently and one of our offspring had purchased a stress ball. This was a kids version of a stress ball, a balloon filled with flour. We got our first taste of how different travelling life would be with kids when after flying on a domestic flight to Christchurch we checked into our international flight to Kuala Lumpur. As we were at check-in said child was playing with the stress ball. That is until the balloon ruptured spewing white power all over themselves and the check-in counter. I was sure at that point we’d be denied entry to the flight for appearing to be smuggling anthrax or cocaine.
Thankfully we made it safely onto the plane and to our first stop, Malaysia.
I didn’t really have any expectations of KL but overall I quite enjoyed it. We landed late and it was well after midnight before we arrived, weary, at our guesthouse, Paradiso, where we were greeted in our rooms ensuite by an enormous tropical cockroach. Murray dispatched it in a very un-Buddist way with his jandal. Paradiso was located in Bukit Bintang which is a great area and very central. Our first full day was all about survival and getting through until bedtime by visiting the nearest playground and the KL Gallery.
The next day we ventured further afield to the Batu caves. The kids had their first experience of free-range monkeys much to their delight. We scaled the 200+ steps with me bringing up the rear. It was a fantastic view at the top and well worth the hike.
In the afternoon we taught the kids some traveller survival skills. While our B&B is totally adequate for our needs it could never be described as flash and the closest you get to a swimming pool is the breakfast area after one of the regular tropical downpours… So… Traveller lesson number one, how to walk into a flash hotel like you own the place and lounge by the pool for an hour or so. The kids mastered it in one go, quick learners, and we had a refreshing dip before returning to our budget digs.
It’s hard to believe 10 years have passed since then… stay tuned for more throwback travel adventures. If you’d like to follow my fictional travel adventures What Goes On Tour – Camping is on sale during its pre-order period. You can order it HERE
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