A Kaough Family Travel Adventure p. 3

The final installment of the three part Kaough Family Travel Adventure. Thanks again to the Kaough Clan for finding the time in getting this info down. If I somehow forgot to ask a question you'd like answered...shoot me a line and I'll get a reply back to you...as soon as possible. Enjoy.

 

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Batu-Caves.jpgDid you ever find yourselves in an uncomfortable situation where having Atlas with you was a big concern? No – but when traveling with a child, the only late nights are spent soothing him back to sleep, instead of being out late when trouble tends to lurk. Granted trouble can appear in day time as well but we never had any problems… and we traveled to some off the beaten path places. While in Sri Lanka, we rented a cool apartment inside a walled fort (a UNESCO world heritage site) on a peninsula in Galle. So I took off by myself for a week to explore northwest Sri Lanka, to gain a better understanding of the civil strife they’d recently undergone as well as experience an area that had not been touched much with tourism. Although I did not encounter any issues in the Jaffna area, there are certain places where as a parent, you need to do the research, weigh the what-if’s and make a responsible decision for not just yourself but also your family.

How much of the trip does Atlas remember? He remembers the stories we tell him and when we review pictures, he now knows the stories associated with them. He’s four and a half now and will often say, “You remember that time, when the monkey grabbed the tortilla…” but how much of it he actually remembers, how much of it comes from looking at pictures and videos, and how much of it is real memories merged with stories and pictures until even he can’t discern the two… is all part of the mystery of how our brains work and develop.

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/P1000265.jpgHow, if at all, do you think the trip affected Atlas? That’s hard to say because you can’t really compare what did NOT happen to what happened and the subsequent outcomes. I’d think that it boosted his self-confidence, but he’s going thru a shy stage right now so I’m not so sure about that. He’d quickly make friends and play with other children wherever we went – language is not a barrier when you can barely speak yourself. We were able to afford the luxury of a nanny while in Sri Lanka and in three months’ time, he quickly came to have a basic understanding of Singhalese. I did not believe it at first, as the nanny would repeat basic instructions every day, “Get your shoes, your bag, your clothes…” and I thought no big deal when my wife told me that he understood Singhalese. But one day at a playground, a local woman came up to me and asked where had my son learned Singhalese. She saw the puzzled look on my face and said that he understood everything the older kids were saying. So that was pretty incredible (and slightly humbling as a know-it-all father).

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/River-Man.jpgWhat about you guys? Did the journey change you guys in any way? Anything that may have caught you by surprise? It definitely grounded me, made me realize how privileged many countries and their citizens are. From social security, medical care, even electricity, to freedom of speech or to move about within a country freely, much less travel to others – these are all things many Americans take for granted. It further strengthened the belief that happiness comes from within and not material things. Nowadays when things don’t work out the way I hoped, I just step back and remind myself to be thankful for all the things, material and otherwise, that are in my life. It also further fanned the flame to figure out a way to live in a foreign country so that we can experience different cultures and explore other regions of the world.

What were your biggest concerns before setting off? Did any pre trip jitters or fears ever materialize? The biggest pre-jitters we had was not knowing if or when we might return to St.Croix. And all the associated logistical problems – mail forwarding address, phone contact info, getting our two dogs to my sister in Louisiana who lovingly watched them while we slow-traveled about, renting out our house here and what to do with our belongings… all that took time to sort out.

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bike-Seat-2.jpg
Who Needs a Bike Seat?

Did you have a bucket list of things you hoped to accomplish on the trip be it places to visit, things to do, things to accomplish? Not really, we knew we wanted to be in SE Asia. As we researched each country and then explored it, we’d mark things off of our recently-made bucket list for that country. Other than Thailand and India which we knew we wanted to visit for sure, everything else we played by ear and figured it out as we went along. Talking to other travelers about places they had visited would often send us off in a direction we had not yet considered. That’s how we found out about Varkala and Gokarna, which were both absolute delights.

To prospective couples thinking of doing what you did, what hard earned, words of helpful advice can you offer? Grab a travel guide, do your research… but once you arrive, talk to locals and other travelers and seek out your own path and adventures. Otherwise you’ll keep running into the same travelers, carrying the same tattered Lonely Planet in their backpack, doing the same things you are doing.
If you can figure out a way to work while traveling, you’ll be able to extend your adventures. Be careful making reservations too far in advance as this can prohibit you from enjoying one place while worrying about getting to the next one on time. Be flexible – otherwise you’ll get stressed at things you have no control over.
If you have a young child, definitely breast feed as it is not only convenient but also keeps your child boosted with healthiness. Our son only got sick once in the year that we were on the road.
Don’t over think things too much or else you’ll never embark on our journey – give yourself a deadline, pack your bags and go! The rest you can figure out as you go along.

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Malaka.jpgIf you had the chance to do anything different on your trip, what would that be? Hmmm, if I could do anything different about our trip… we’d still be on it! Maybe not start off with Thailand first as that set the bar pretty high. Now that our son is older, it would be great to go back to places like Chiang Mai, where we could not relax before but now we could. I wish we’d made more of an effort to see Laos and Cambodia… next time!

 

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