Thursday, May 31, 2012

What to do with the family pets

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Family Pets

This is a tricky one.

You will need to use your judgement about what is right for you.
Hopefully I have - or will.

‘Santa’ had bought us a Maltese X puppy the Christmas before last.  
She had arrived well before the plans for the trip.

We also had a talking budgie, which had flown onto my finger on Valentine’s Day,
so he was called ‘Valentino’.

He used to imitate in budgie screeching exactly how I would call my son’s name.
Scared the living daylights out of me the first time!
I couldn't believe I sounded like that.

So we decided the first to go was the blue budgie bird.

We ended up selling him with an exotic cage at the Garage Sale.  
Sad for us - and could have sold him ten times over on the day.
In the end, he went to a guy born on Valentine’s Day, so seemed to be the right thing.

Much harder is the dog.  
We love her, she is not de-sexed and we always wanted a litter of pups. 
So the new carer is welcome to have a litter, as long as it is to a smallish dog please. 

So we decided we will try to find some-one who will take care of her for the duration of our travel.  Hard I know, as we do not know how long we shall be gone.
They will just have to consider her an 'indian-giving gift'.
Where she is theirs to keep until we (and if we) come back.

But at the end of the day, she is a part of our family for now.  
She belongs to my son, and is not mine to give away. 

So we agreed we need to find some one who will love her, and care for her, and treat her like their own - well at least while we are gone.  

She would be a great companion for an older person.
She has accompanied us to visits in a nursing home of an old lady we know, and she is blind.  
The dog was a hit!  So many oldies wanted a cuddle and a pat!

She doesn’t bark a lot, is toilet trained, micro-chipped, and registered.
I think that means all the hard work is done.

She also loves to dance!  Anytime the music comes on at the end of a movie, she is up on her back legs dancing with us.  She gets quite upset if you leave her out.  So cute.

Gone are the playful puppy disasters you come home to - where she has eaten your back wire screen door, pulled out all your plants, dug holes in your garden, destroy your brush fence, eat your washing and chew your shoes - and I am sure the list goes on.

She is a great guard dog, and will let you know if there is anyone lurking about, or at your door, and actually woke us when there was a fire once out the from of our home. 

We will keep you posted about her – please contact us if you know of anyone who would like to care for her for a year, or three!

She will only be available when we are ready to go, but we do need to plan.

We just want her loved, and she will be a really loyal friend.

POSITIVE Reasons to Travel Around the World NOW with your child

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If I had a $ for every negative comment and sceptical remark made about my proposed trip, I would be a rich woman traveling first class!  I am shocked, that one of the toughest obstacles, has been other people's thoughts.  So when Adrian from Australian Caravans suggested I write why I would quit my job and travel, I came up with this - thanks Adrain!

So here are the POSITIVE REASONS!
(in no set order)

* My child's education will be enriched
The world becomes their classroom.
He will see and learn language, culture, money, customs, geography, and so much more.
His education will be enriched far beyond your expectations.
Here he sees a joey feeding from its mother's pouch.

* We will become creative, fit and active
Living without a room full of toys, my child will learn to make their own fun, and become fit and active, as you climb, swim, and walk.  
Our own health will improve beyond measure, as long as we do not sit and become a hog on the 
'All you can eat buffet' on a cruise liner!
I want to show my son the world whilst I am active and young enough to be able to, not sitting and waving him off, whilst he does it alone.  Give me the bike, the hiking shoes, toboggan, or the kayak!

* My child learns the value of money
Nothing can teach a young one about what things are worth, until they see what they cost in other countries.  My boy will also learn to appreciate the little things, when he see others who have joy, and little worldly possessions.

* We love to give
One of the reasons we want to go on our trip is because we want t bless others.
We are Christians, and we love to give.  
We love to share.
And there is joy in giving.  
If everyone shared the riches of this earth, what a different place it would be!
We have been given so much in the western world, and others are born with so little.
It is lovely to help others, and make their lives a little bit better.
These children were given a suitcase of toys to share with their friends by my son.

* We will bond together
'No-one is born with a crystal ball' is one of my favourite sayings.
I know not the days I am to have on this earth, nor the quality of my life.  
The same goes for my son.
Last year 6 friends were diagnosed with cancer. 
My own Mum died of cancer so I know what it is like to lose her.  
A friend this year had her only child killed in an accident.
Time to think and to enjoy the precious days we have together.
Taking time out of this stressful lifestyle we live, will allow us to spend quality time together.
As an older Mum, this is one of the most important ones for me too.

* We work together
Kids love to help.
I love the fact that my son's year one teacher's class motto was
'Teach them so they can do it themselves' - thanks Miss Brinkman!
I have that planted firmly in my memory, and I can't wait for my child to bang in his first tent peg, or to climb his first mountain.  
This will be a trip of many firsts, equipping my boy with great skills.
Gone will be the whinging, as we roll up our sleeves and do it together, as a team.

* Growing up with less fear
Another great reason to take children travelling is they will try new things without a scrap of fear.
My son is so proud he patted a snake!
Here he just jumps up and sings with the band the Fiji National Anthem; again, with no fear.

* New foods to enjoy
When there are wild and exotic foods placed in front of you and there is no other choice and you are hungry - well you eat them.
I am proud that when we were on an island and the lady peeled a mango, my son sat with the kids and loved it. 
I am fortunate that he loves sushi, eats chives straight out of the garden, and will eat most veggies without a fuss.
It may well be myself, who has to be the brave one in this department.
But am proud that he won't be a fussy eater at the end of this time.

* I need a break, and a new start
I have had a very difficult last few years, after a rough relationship, and then raising a child on my own with pretty much no support.
I am worn out.
I need some stress-free time to recharge the batteries, and find the real me again.
I need to refill with love, so I can love again.
What better way than to love my child, and love others, and to have a new start.

* Kids open doors
Often you are told 'no', but when you have a child who needs to urgently go to the toilet (even if it is really you), people say 'yes'.
They will push kids to the front of the crowd.
They will offer your child food to try.
Allow them to the front of the line.
In this photo, this was a closed off display, but because my son asked nicely, the policeman allowed him to pose with him for a shot - it was an old Australia outback jail cell.
We had our bus breakdown on one trip, and my son was not even two.
Within 5 minutes, my boy and I were sitting upstairs in the home of some lovely Indians.
They gave him food, a juice box, played with him and let me use the bathroom.
Everyone else on the coach crossed their legs, and rubbed their bellies for nearly 3 hours.
Yes - kids open doors!

* We will see the world!
I have always travelled.
I was blessed to grow up with a large family of girls.
My parents though not well off took us away every school holidays.
We had an old Comma van, and no seat belts.
We saw a lot of Australia.
We were given the gift of exploring, and travelling.
I do remember those holidays.
The one that is in my mind more than ever, is Dad with is new movie camera rolling, and he made us girls march around an old prison out in the desert from Broken Hill, with our arm on the shoulder of the kid in front.  We drew a crowd. That nutty family!
It is 100oF plus, and we are acting like goons.  
Thanks Dad for the memories!

* Making new life-long friends
I have so many precious friends around the world thanks to my travels.
Not only do you meet people in the place you are in, but you meet others who are fellow travellers from all sorts of places.
Let's face it, you can be in a 5 star resort, and people can be so snobby, you can feel quite alone.
Where-as, you can go to a local village, and sit with them, and make a real friend.
We went to a Sunday School in Fiji, and they asked my 5 year old to teach a song.
We are now friends with people from that experience, as we offered to send them photo's from the day.

*  No more house work
I'm selling the vacuum cleaner at my Garage Sale.

* No more yard work
Wasted so much of my life on maintaining this garden; pulling those weeds, and pruning the rose bushes.  Time to smell the roses without having to own them.

* No more household repairs & maintenance
Every house has them, and they can burn a hole in your pocket.

The more you own, the more you have to fix.
It weighs you down, robs you of time, and money.
Start to de-clutter.  It is liberating!

* No more House Sale Open Inspections
My poor son is over "expections" as he calls them.
Living in a glass house, is no life for a child.

* No mortgage
Can't wait for this one!

* No utility bills
Yes, we will have bills while we travel, but I have paid for running a big house, and it will be good to be free of most of these costs.

* You get to tell your boss where to put their job
Last year, I found myself working for a boss who had their own set of rules.
The boss' eyes were on the score board, and not on the game.
I remember standing outside the street, talking to my friend Jakki on my cell mobile phone, in quite a dilemma.  My boss wanted me to lie on a taped meeting.
And this was not the only time. The first time, I was thrown in the deep end without a clue, and was like scrambling up a rock cliff face bare-handed and trying not to fall.
If I am going to raise my son to be honest, why would I want to lie for this person?
Then one day said boss wanted me to 'use my creativity' on legal forms, and I refused.
Oh the joy I had when I told this boss "NO!"
I then loudly told this person what I thought of their ethics, threw in the job, and left.

* Learn to follow your dreams
My son's #1 dream is to stand on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Mine is to drive the Amalfi Coast of Italy, in a sports car, with some accordion music playing.
Maybe it will be 'When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie, that's amore'.  Who knows.
But dreams are the things that keep us alive, ad it is time for living

* Throw away the agenda, and hectic timetable
I tell people life has been like living Groundhog Day.
So it is time to leave all that behind, and to take each day as it comes.
I won't be wearing a watch.
I will only buy tickets to my next destination on an 'as needed' basis.
I can relax, and let go of the must do's.
The best times happen, without planning.
It is time I can count the stars in the sky, and my blessings!

*History comes alive
One of the wonderful things about travelling to ancient cities, is that the bible can come alive.
To walk the streets where the disciples walked.
In Asia to see things thousands of years old.
Really - it doesn't matter if it is 100 or 1000 years old, our kids need to experience and learn from bi-gone days.
What a thrill to share that learning experience together.

* We get time to read books
We both love to read, and how nice to sit under a tree together, engrossed in a fabulous story.

* I want to find love, and happiness
I am surprised I am adding this, but really, it is time to open my life and to be loved again.
They say you find love when you are not looking, but I think love can be found when you are happy, so I seek to be happy.

* If we don't like it, we leave
Part of the great thing about being mobile, is that when you have had enough, you just pack up and move on - hopefully to greener pastures.
I have learned that owning a home makes you stuck.
You can't get up and go.
We have made an agreement that if one of us is unhappy, and really doesn't like a place, we will talk about it, and be prepared to compromise and leave.

* We can enrich others lives, as we are enriched
I am pleased that we can teach others, especially in poor places.
It is lovely to be asked, and needed, and to be able to help - just to be nice!

So I hope this has inspired you to think about some travel.

If you have some great reasons I have missed, please let me know, and I might be able to add them.

Packing - Clothing and Shoes

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Clothes to Pack

Based on us heading to the Tropics first.
All clothes are suggested to be practical in colour.
Remember you will most likely be hand washing.
Also I suggest packing them in clear large zip-lock bags i.e. all t-shirt together. 
Or I recommend and am thrilled with my purchase of
7 Pcs Nikon Lightweight Travel Luggage Packing Organiser Bags by chicclassicli on ebay.
We bought 3 sets from this lovely seller, and labelled them.
You can just un-pack the individual bags into drawers in accommodation.
It also helps your child keep things neat, and is quick t repack.

stretchy & adjustable 
can be used for both people if parent is slim

I recommend 4 = 2flesh, 1 black and 1 strapless - per adult female

Light to mid-weight ideal for on the aeroplane or coach, & can roll in a ball. 
Take 2 per female. Suggest 1 is black.

including a good dress for dinners 
1 or 2 each female

Track style, Zip-up quick dry fleece - 1 each
Waterproof Lightweight with hood in collar – keep in your daypack  - 1 each
Jacket Dressy / good for both day and evening wear, suggest black - 1 each

Pants / Trousers / Jeans
Jeans Denim (jeans dry slow) - 1 pair each
Pants Cargo or zip off pants to shorts - 2 pairs each
Pants Waterproof  Lightweight  – optional - 1 pair each
Pants Lightweight Track sports pants (can double as PJ pants) - 1 pair each
Pants Mid - warm Track sports pants - 1 pair each
Pants ¾ -  2 pairs per female
Pants stretch - for aeroplane – not track style - 1 pair per female
Pants - Black or Cream 1 smart pair for child (consulates etc)
Pants black - non-crease and as breathable as possible - 1 pair per female

Poncho Lightweight disposable 
you tend to re-use – goes over your backpack too - 1 each

Summer - 1 pair each
Winter  (or use track pants) - 1 pair each

see my bedding reference - 1 each
Can use as a makeshift tent with your clothesline, sheet, towel, dress, skirt…

Stretch cotton - 1 each
Can double as a belt or around you head for a sweatband

short sleeve cotton - 2 each
long sleeve cotton shirts – suggest loose and long  - 2 each
(remember to cover shoulders in temples etc)

Cargo shorts - 2 pairs each
Dress shorts - 2 pairs each

mix of and sleeveless t-shirts - 6 each 
styles you can wear alone or under as vests

(no iron fabric) 1 – 2 per female
Black past knee length skirt - 1 per female
This one is stretch t-shirt fabric and doubles as a strapless dress
Ideal for temple and church visits, embassy and visa appointments, funerals, dinners ....

Wrap skirt - 1 per female
Handy for the beach or pool - one resorts require you dressed to go to the bar or café

including sports socks, and hiking socks - 3 to 6 pairs each

Swimmers - Bathers
2 pairs each

Swimming - Rashie Top
Short Sleeve - 1 each 
Long Sleeve - 1 each

if room take more – they are what you wear the most - 5 each

T-shirt tops Long Sleeve
(great when sunburnt) - 3 each

T-shirt - Long
can double as a dress or nightie - 1 per female

3 – 5 pairs each

Warm Long Sleeve - 2 each

Wrist and head sweat-band
my son bought an Aussie flag one $2 – great for hiking - 1 or 2 each

Australian Blue Flag Aussie Wrist Sweat Band - Tennis BDO Sport & Australia Day

Shoes for your journey

I have suggested earlier, to go to a supermarket and get a pack of 5 lightweight shopping bags
(you might want 2 packs). 
They fold up to less than hand size, and are great for packing dirty shoes and knotting at the top.
Remember your feet swell in warm weather.

Hiking with tread and are leather

Dressy shoes for Mum
One pair of semi good, all-season shoes in black for dinners etc. 
Slip-on mid-heel are recommended.
Keep in mind you may have to walk a way in them, so best they are comfy. 
Also avoid wedges or and chunky heels as they take more room in your bag.

Flat slip-ons
For Mum on the plane

With closed in toes, and tread soles for comfort and all day Summer walking

Try not to get white – you look like an American tourist so I have been told, and in some countries USA folk are unfortunately not so well accepted as UK or Aussies 
(no offence intended in this comment).

Jandals flip flops or whatever you want to call them.
Great for communal showers. No-one wants athletes foot!
Get ones that are super squishy on the bottom, and that don’t rub.

Walking shoes
Which are cool, and comfortable, and I don't mean sneakers

Wet shoes
For coral walking
A must have if you do not want to try and walk holding your child as you drag your thongs through the ocean.

Packing - Food and Utensils

Food, Drink, Utensils and Sundries in alphabetical order

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Bottle stopper or cork
What do you do with half a bottle of wine and no cork?

Chopping Board
Small lightweight plastic board – we found a 15 cm length one.

Bug Screens for cans
These come in a pack of 12 for $1 at the Reject shop.
Plastic so you can wash them.
Ideal for places where there are flies, bees and wasps.
Note - if a bee or worse wasp flies into your soft drink can because they are attracted to the sweetness, you can swallow them. they can stick (a wasp repeatedly stings) your mouth or throat.  This can cause death, so this little gadget it worth having !

Coffee plunger
Make sure it is Small. (You can buy the ground coffee on arrival)
I need good coffee to start my day.
Try to get a metal one – not glass if you can! Like hen's teeth to find.  This is a campers dream friend.
I bought this all metal 3 cup one, that is only 14 cm tall in the body and 20 cm tall over, and is all metal. Got it on ebay and highly recommend the seller " bigg_battle ".

Hot-cold cups with sipper seal lid.
These must stack inside each other.
Can double as a breakfast bowl if needed – we carry in our daypack.
We got these great insulated cups.
the band is removable so they stack inside each other, the lid has a movable seal so you can sip as you go, and can double as a breakfast bowl too.

at Reactivate, and was great to support their Mission and Christian Charity work.
Check out their groovy coffee shop and Recycle Store
on Henley Beach Road, Torrensville in South Australia.
Connect and support them at their shop:
Or visit their great church:
Please note - I am not affiliated with this church, but I love what they do and so wanted to give them this plug through my blog !

Clip together knife, fork and spoon cutlery set (we found cheaper to buy from overseas on-line than a camping store) and / or a 'Spork'.

Drink Sachets
You can get some great drink powered sachets to take with you.
I bought two lots on-line.

Drink Bottles
Suggest at least 6 - 8 various bottles between 2 as you can fill with juice etc.
Keep specific pre-labelled bottles for various liquids.

Roll up drink bottles are great
Great for wine, spirits, milk, or juices – suggest specific colour
Also great as they can be frozen and lightweight

Aluminium drink bottle with ring handle and hanger for belt.

Spray / sipper drink bottles are a must when hiking.

Drink Bottle covers are a must too
Buy a pair of Aussie Socks or wet suit drink bottle covers.
You will be amazed at how often a drink bottle is dropped and our spray / drink bottles can crack.
You can wet the sock to keep the bottle cool too. 
We bought two of these bottles and undid the inside spray thin inner bottle and discarded. That way it just sprays directly from your water.

Food to bring along

A few small of emergency cans of food with ring pull tops in your front pocket of your luggage.
Often there can be hours on a bus and no food at remote airports if you arrive late. Must be able to eat these uncooked and cold, so suggest fruit etc.
Microwave popcorn small flat sachets. Yes really – those sealed, small flat packets.

They are really handy as a snack in international airports and bus terminals.
We found handy on arrival once when all the food stalls at the airport had been closed and we had a 3-hour bus trip. Was a lifesaver as the bus broke down.
If need be use the parenting rooms as they have a microwave.
Remember – these are tips for a long-term traveller on a budget.
Snack bars, and biscuits.
Make sure they are sealed and labelled.

Tube - sealed of Vegemite

Long-life juice and / or milk.
Handy for the first morning when you have no food, or need it in your coffee, or a long bus trip
Again carry as above as some airlines will not allow on planes, and some countries you must declare on arrival.

Small Sharp 
Ensure it has a long enough blade to cut a loaf of bread.
I found a lightweight cerated cheese knife in a holder. Ideally try to find a folding one, but so far, I have not managed to find a folding long blade knife that can cut bread, but will add when I do.  Don't want to spend a fortune, and customs sometimes confiscate knives anyway - even in luggage.

Plastic contains with lids
Must fit inside each other.
We used 4 Tupperware ones – the lid acts as a plate, the bottom is a bowl and you can store food – great for all you can eat breakfasts where you can gather extra for snacks or lunch.

Plates - Dinner
2 per person matching very flat dinner plastic (not melamine plates) = 4 total
Extras are used when preparing meals and sometimes get lost.

Pocket Knife or Pocket Tool
Suggest one with many functions
I have one with 32 tools
My son has one with tools only for child safety reasons he doesn’t have a knife
Always carry in your backpack but not on planes.

Vegetable peeler
Make sure it is small and with a non exposed blade.
Optional – but found useful for potatoes and fruit we preferred to peel in 3rd world countries.

Packing - Stationery

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Stationery and Accessories

Calling Cards
We have our Blog addresses, and our names (first names only is ok) and emails on here.
I suggest you don’t add your mobile phone number as you give these out to a lot of strangers along the way.
Vista Print is who we used and were great.


Glue Stick

great for keys

The Da Vinci Code - Travel Journel (Brand New)

Ideal to stick tickets etc, child to draw pictures, and improve the child’s writing skills, and is a daily record.
This can be part of the home-schooling
We went to Typo (3 A4 lined for $10) that have a range with pictures on the front so we have a journal for my son each other first sectors of the trip.


Pencil Case with Zipper

Pencils - Lead

Pencil - Sharpener
not on the plane - it has a blade and can be taken

Pencil Set - Coloured

Rubber bands

Small plastic - not metal

not on the plane -  can be taken

Sticky tape
Small roll not on any dispenser with any sharp edge on plane