A lot of people have asked “why asia?” Well, for starters, if we were to plan something similar across Europe we would probably be back in a few short months after our money ran out. In Asia, our dollar will allow us to travel a lot further for a lot longer. The other main reason for Asia is because of my (Bel’s) love affair with the region. It started in high school when I was introduced to Bahasa Indonesia and continued through university as I completed a Bachelor of Asian Studies majoring in Bahasa Indonesia and spending a year in Yogyakarta ‘studying’ Indonesian. In the year 2000 I then did a similar gap year to the one we are doing now with my bestie, Fi. We like to think of it as our ‘beach and bar tour of South east Asia’. This time round it will be a little different. Probably won’t drink so much, may skip the full moon, half moon, quarter moon and every other party Thailand has to offer. We also aim to be awake before midday each day and I dare say jumping on the back of random motorbikes might be a bit tricky with the three kids. Then again never say never. I am especially looking forward to revisiting some of the places I travelled 17 years ago , getting a fresh perspective and seeing it through the kids eyes. We have also planned plenty of new experiences for us all. I am hopeful we will make it to Sri Lanka if the political situation settles down and can’t wait to experience Hong Kong, China and Taiwan for the first time. Asia is crazy, vibrant and completely different to our life here in Australia. It is also exciting, affordable and reasonably close. It’s somewhat familiar ( to me anyway) and I can’t wait to get started. Indonesia here we come. Let’s hope I can still remember some of the lingo..
Whoa.. getting ready for a 10 month trip is not simple. Well it might be if we didn’t have to pack up a house, relocate pets, arrange alternate schooling, work out a budget, a travel plan and not to mention how to fit all of our stuff into two backpacks.
What has been the most stressful part of the planning process? Packing up the house hands down. Sorting through our stuff and working out what we needed and what was just taking up space. I estimate that we ended up letting go of about fifty percent of our stuff. Stuff that had just accumulated over the years. Stuff that wasn’t actually needed and wont be missed. Why did we have cupboards stuffed full of stuff? We had enough linen to open up a Bed Bath n Table. Let’s not mention the serving platters and salad bowls. Our hoarding was strategically hidden in boxes and behind cupboard doors. Not only was it cluttering our physical space but our mental and emotional space as well. As I went through every draw, every cupboard and every box I sorted into keep/ throw/ regift piles. I won’t lie, it was cathartic , it was freeing it was satisfying to let go of our stuff.
Now I am not going to pretend that we still don’t have way too much stuff. I am sure that when we return and unpack box after box I will be bewildered at how much stuff we still have. I will say that presently there is a bit more mind-space to appreciate that our most valuable possessions cant be bought in a shop; that we can can live happy fulfilled lives without accumulating stuff. We are going to meet people on our journey who compared to us don’t own nearly as much stuff as us. Hopefully the kids will see that other kids happily exist without IPads and doll collections. Ideally we would have been able to gift some of our stuff to these people, but two backpacks, five people… there’s just no room for the stuff!