Feb 20, 2013

One Year Home

Hard to believe that just over 2yrs ago, we were at the beginning of our year-long backpacking trip with our kids.  In some ways, it seems that it was a lifetime ago.  And now, it’s been over a year since we’ve been back to ‘normal life’.  While the past 13 months have been a bit of a blur, full of highs and lows, here's an update of where we're at:

In some ways it seems like our trip was just a dream, but because it was a shared dream, we know it was real.  That’s the good thing about traveling companions—you have someone who can vouch for your experiences and memories.  And traveling as a family is all the more reinforcing—we can supplement each other’s memories and thus keep the trip alive.  The many beautiful pictures we have adorning our walls at home also help too.

But don’t’ get me wrong—we don’t sit around all day everyday talking about our trip.  Far from it.  Real life is much too demanding to allow that.  However in the most unexpected moments, one of the kids will randomly bring up a memory that they have and ask us to expand on it.  ‘What was the name of that place where we went on that boat trip?’ or ‘Remember that waitress named Atune from Koh Phangan?’  The kids’ memories work in wonderous and unexpected ways!

And we still have random discussions on theology which began during our travels.  Recent events in our lives have also no doubt served to keep that line of enquiry alive.  Not sure what to think though when our 5yr old says things like ‘I know that dying is part of the circle of life’.

Definitely without a doubt, the kids have grown and matured a lot since we first left on our trip.  Then I was worried about our eldest child’s social skills and her lack of confidence.  Since coming home and starting school, she’s ‘blossomed’. She’s quietly confident and self-assured, although still a bit on the shy side.  But the friendships she’s since made or renewed, since returning home have all added to her sense of self. That’s the down side of traveling—kids don’t get enough opportunities to make friendships with kids their own age.

Looking ahead, it looks to be a busy year.  Our youngest started kindergarten/prep two weeks ago and loves being a school-girl at last. Already we have a nightly double dose of readers to go through as well as writing journals.  Both girls also have a small assortment of extra-curricular activities that we’re trying to balance.  There’s also a 3-week trip to Thailand planned for mid-year.  Despite our current hot Australian summer that sees us at the beach on average once a week, already I am longing for the carefree lifestyle that we had during our time on Koh Phangan last year.  While I do remind myself how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place with a nice lifestyle, near daily massages for $6USD, eating delicious freshly prepared Thai cooking and being together as a family without distractions of work, school, friends and activities are things that I can’t help but dream of at the moment.

Until then, I must remind myself to be grateful and thankful for what I have each and everyday.  And hopefully I will feel like writing/updating more too.


  1. Thankyou for sharing x I use your blog lots to research little family holidays and inspire some adventure! We hope to head to Sihnoukville in April and enjoy some downtime xx bron

    1. Thanks for your comment Bron! hope you and the kids have a great time in sihanoukville--email me if you want anymore info!


  2. Hi, just found your website and am really impressed. I shall devour it. Am trying to convince hubby to do what you did. I am a numbers girl too and great to see someone do the numbers well and include everything and encourage others to follow their dreams. Sorry to hear about your sister. I have a brother in law and two neices in Canada as well so our trip would include Canada too. I am thinking overland Singapore to London, also have family in HK and Cambodia. Then flights to Canada and home or maybe a bit of a US road trip. So many options! Thanks again - I shall enjoy the website!!!

    1. Hi Nicole
      Thanks so much for your comment! If there is anything more specific that you'd like advice with, feel free to send me an email: with2kidsintow AT gmail DOT com

      If this sort of trip is what you wish for, then I hope you make it happen one day soon xo

  3. HI I'm thinking of taking the family on a traditional tour of Thai, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam - but we only have a month...I'm a bit apprehensive and was wondering what its like travelign with kids out there...they're 2,5 and 9


    1. Hi Veronique
      Well, I think you can tell from our posts about our travels in those countries (except Laos), that traveling with kids in tow was fine. Of course, if you do it overland and on a tight budget as we did, it is a bit more arduous and slow, but definitely can be done and everyone survived ;)

      However, with only 1 month to travel, i would not recommend that you try to visit all 4 of those countries! Vietnam and Thailand in particular are geographically very large countries and it takes time to travel, unless you plan to do a lot of internal flights. Particularly with your 2 younger kids, you would need to allow more 'down time' to recover from longer travel days, or to break up the travel days. I would recommend that 1 month in any of those countries would be more pleasant and memorable.

      Hope this helps--good luck. feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions.


  4. thanks heaps for the reply!!food for thought..