I love entering competitions,I love to travel and I love to blog, so when this travel-themed blog comp hosted by moneysupermarket.com came up, I just couldn’t resist having a go!
What’s my dream grand adventure right now? I want to take my family backpacking in Southeast Asia! I’m Scottish and my German husband and I met while backpacking in Australia, where we now live. We have both travelled pretty extensively in Southeast Asia, individually and last time as a couple on our extended 7 month honeymoon in 2009, which included Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. We both LOVE travelling and we’re not about to let the fact that we now have two little daughters stop us! We know it won’t be quite the same as before – doubtless we shall face many new and exciting challenges as parents – but we also know for sure that it’s still possible, and we can’t wait to share the world with our girls. What better education can there be? And how much fun we are going to have!!
They are still very small and at the time we plan to go they will be just under 2 years and 4 years. We’ve never travelled overseas with little people before, so we want to keep it quite simple for this first trip. We’ll travel from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur or vice versa. That will be our epic activity – the whole distance overland with two littlies, by as cheap a means as possible in order to stretch the cash as far as possible. We’ve always travelled budget and with the locals, and we know how to keep the costs down. There’ll be buses and overnight trains, which will be a great adventure for the girls. We’ll visit some islands for the scuba diving (special expenditure!) and snorkeling, and fit in heaps of beach time and temples. Best of all, the food!! I can’t wait to introduce my girls to the fabulous Thai and Malay street hawker tastes, sights and sounds – and of course that’s cheap food, which will help us to keep the budget in check. We’ll take in Melaka, Pengang, the Perhentian Islands (Besar is my favourite place in the world, can only hope it hasn’t changed too much!), Koh Phi Phi, Koh Pha-Ngam, crazy Bangkok…now I’m also thinking of Pai and Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand but that might have to wait until the next trip!
Just writing about it gets me so excited. Time for a little daydream with my old battered Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and a cuppa before the baby wakes up. I am so ready for our Grand Family Adventure. Bring it on!
I have always loved to read, and since ditching the television I am of course finding the time to read more, which is wonderful. I’ve found that my tastes have changed a great deal in recent years, a natural progression I am sure, given that I am now in my late 30s, and at a different stage of life, as a relatively new mum. Gone are the days of being sucked into a Jane Green or a Marian Keyes for relaxation – for some reason the old style chick lit just doesn’t hold my attention the way it used to. I’ve always mixed the chick lit with the more highbrow stuff, both have their time and place. Nowadays, however, my “chick lit” seems to be a good Joanna Trollope, which is a bit worrying – can I really have reached that stage?!
Whilst backpacking in Southeast Asia a couple of years ago I discovered many new authors in the book exchange stores and guesthouse swap shelves over the seven months or so we spent wandering around over there. Choice can be quite limited so you’re forced to try books you might otherwise not consider or even come across, which is a great thing. For example, I read all Wally Lamb’s novels and loved them. I also read George Orwell’s Burmese Days, while in Burma. It was incredible to go up into the hill station outside Mandalay and actually see all the colonial houses, the clubhouse, places Orwell probably visited during his time as a police officer in Burma. During that trip I also read J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, reread A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, and worked my way through several other novels set in colonial times in places such as Singapore and Malaysia.
On many occasions during that trip and during a previous extended stay in Southeast Asia, and particularly when visiting Burma, I felt ashamed and embarrassed to be British. I am no great expert on all the historical details of the time, but it seems clear that the British took everything they wanted and more, and left broken countries in their wake when they departed. Not to mention the abhorent, inherent arrogance and racism of Empire. However, I have always had a fascination for Merchant Ivory type films and novels about the British Empire and there was something so special about reading about those times in their proper settings.
I haven’t read anything of this nature for a couple of years now – motherhood does tend to limit one’s concentration span and free time I have found! – but last week in the library I happened upon Bone China by Roma Tearne, which is set in Sri Lanka (where I have not yet been) in the early 1940s, as the British are preparing to depart. I find I can really disappear into this novel, which is wonderful, escapist relief, and much appreciated particularly at the moment when I am having some issues sleeping and relaxing. It is also a thousand times better than watching mindless nonsense on the telly to wind down! So, I am now compiling a list of similar titles to get from the library and I plan to escape into the days of Empire as much as possible in the few short weeks left until my daughter is born. If you have any suggestions, please share!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 29/31
We had a lovely weekend away and today I decided to just leave all the post-hol clutter and washing and take Miss M out for a walk and picnic in the Botanical Gardens. The temperature in our little subtropical corner of the world is apparently only 23 degrees this afternoon but it feels much warmer. I’m not feeling very energetic to say the least, but I am feeling very content. When we drive 10 minutes down the road to the lush green Gardens or go for a walk by the Pacific Ocean I do always without fail still take note and count my blessings – it’s a far cry from Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, fond though my memories are! But after almost three years here I no longer really feel like we’re in a foreign country on a day to day basis. However, when we go away somewhere as we have done this weekend, I suddenly find myself travelling in Australia! It’s great! Beautiful, beautiful scenery, great weather, gorgeous beaches, and kangaroos! The roos are of no interest to Miss M whatsoever, lil Aussie that she is, but to her parents they are still an object of some excitement. I also still get a bit of a buzz out of seeing palm trees and parrots! What can I say? Might sound a bit mad to some but as always, it’s the little things, isn’t it? Grateful, much. Happy Blogtoberfest Day 16!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 16/31