Family Travel

Sharing an piece of adventure with BozAround

May 14, 2011

Taking a long break to travel around the world is most surely on many people’s wish list. In most cases it lingers in the back of one’s mind, something to daydream about, to escape reality. But there are also great examples of people who just jump and do it. Like the Boz (Vanessa, Ceki Marcelo,5 and Amalya, 2 years old), who, at the end of 2010, left their cosy Primerose Hill home with a back pack for a 4 months of adventure around 13 countries. They visited Singapore, Burma (Myanmar), North Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia, Fiji, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. A trip that Vanessa documented along the road on her blog BozAround. She shares a few moments of the adventure with Pirouette…

How long it took you to plan/prepare your trip It’s hard to say, because we had wanted to take a sabbatical ever since we met with my husband 14 years ago. So it was in the back of our mind for a long time. It’s only when our son Marcelo started going to pre-school that we realised we’d better do our round the world before “real” school would start. The actual preparations for the trip was pretty fast, 2 months or so. Time to get many of the visas (Burma was 2 weeks, the longest) and the many vaccines (we told the children each vaccine was for seeing a specific animal: snakes, elephants, monkeys..it helped a bit). However, I have been collecting articles and bookmarks on places I’d love to visit for a long time so the information was within reach. We bought a round the world ticket, which is a very economical way to do it with some constraints, and organized locally about half of our trip, while the other half had been planned before we left home.
The equipment you took to stay connected with the world during your travels I had my IPhone but it’s only good if there is free wifi as data roaming is extremely expensive. My husband had a blackberry for internet back up connections. We also had an iPad , bought before leaving, mainly for the children – I had downloaded a few of their favorite DVDs there and it proved very useful on the road. And my laptop so I could post regularly on the blog (the iPad would not have been good enough). So we had quite a heavy IT bag which was a pain in the airports, but everything turned out quite useful. . However I must say that in Burma we had zero connection with the rest of he world for 14 days, and in a way, it would have been nice to live like this for five months…
Your best travel companion My husband Ceki, and our 2 children Marcelo & Amalya. And my birkenstocks:-)
What you missed the most during the trip Nothing!
The moment from the trip that will stay with you forever There are a few and it’s hard to choose. Maybe that day when we stopped at a girls monastery near Inle Lake in Burma, and there were about 20 young girls rarely visited by foreigners there. They greeted Marcelo and Amalya with so much warmth, invited them in their dorm, offered all of us tea and cookies and even though we could not properly communicate, we stayed there for a while smiling and giggling at each others, saying the few words we had learnt. Marcelo and Amalya loved that moment and often talked about it afterwards.
A difficult moment of the trip Luckily we did not get too many but it did feel that we were preceded by disasters..We were about to fly to Christchurch when the earthquake took place.Then we had just spent our first night on a remote Fiji Island when we woke up to the news of a tsunami alert. And we were just going through immigration in Marrakech when we heard of the deadly bomb. Retrospectively, the moment when we learnt about the New Zealand earthquake was perhaps the trickiest. We were driving on Great Ocean Road in Australia, staying in a farm with no internet and mobile connections, and no availability to stay an additional night. So we had to re-organize ourselves on short notice with limited communication access… In the end it all worked out well.
The place where you would be happy to get stuck for the rest of your life
So many places! One that ticks all the boxes is Savusavu Bay, on the Fiji island of Vanua Levu. It’s the picture-perfect paradise island. But the Desert of Atacama in Chile would not be bad either, provided it’s nearby a well in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama..Or Inle Lake in Burma as long as the current disctatorship no longer exists…
Would you say that such an adventure is for everyone I would say that it is much easier than most people expect. Children adapt much more easily than we think. However, it does require some flexibility and a sense of adventure…
Your advice to parents who want to embark in a similar adventure Just do it! Don’t rationalise it too much, and don’t postpone it too much either..Our travels have been made easier by the fact that we always chose carefully where we were sleeping. Whether it would be a charming guest house, a family-friendly apartment rental or a more pampering hotel, I always researched well to make sure that it would feel like a home away home. TripAdvisor is such an amazing resource for that! For that reason I think we never felt homesick. Also, don’t bring many toys! Just one or two is plenty. It’s more fun to buy as you go, and swap with children met on the way..
What Marcelo will keep in mind from this trip “When I took a tiger on my laps in North Thailand” and “when I went horseback riding without my shoes in Uruguay and we saw a dead whale on the beach” but NOT “when I got stung by a jellyfish in Australia” and also”when I went snorkerling in Fiji and saw all the nemo fish”
How about Amalya? I don’t know if she can dissociate our trip around the world with her daily life at home, as this trip represents about a quarter of her life so far! She has only just turned 2..But Feeding the alpacas on a farm where we stayed in Australia was definitely a highlight. Or riding a horse with a gaucho in Patagonia.
Funny how everything involves animals in their favorite memories…
For this first round the world, we traveled for five months and it was never too rough. Now that we’ve seen what it’s about, hopefully we can leave again one day, for longer and with much more trekking and camping involved..maybe as the children get older…

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