We're off!  (.... almost) (written 31 July 2001)

New Zealand

A few months ago, we were wondering what to do next. My job was not working out. We had just sold the house that we had bought in Rosedale because of nervousness about both my job and the Toronto real estate market. 

Sarah suggested we travel for a year. It did not take a lot of time to decide: the kids are at a perfect age (Mark - 13, Heather - 10, Chloe - 8; See their pictures), and at the moment we don't have a lot of commitments to tie us down. All things considered, it was now or never.  

Our goal is to give the kids an appreciation of other cultures, as well as just seeing all sorts of interesting animals and plant life. We also wanted to have one incredible experience as a family - I guess you might call it a defining moment for us. The kids won't be living at home for too many more years!

We had initially investigated volunteer work - but found that very difficult to organize for a family of 5 who only wanted to stay for a few weeks to a month at any one place. We will keep our eye out for opportunities while traveling.  

The past two months have been filled with organizing. 

We had to: 

  • leave our rental house in Toronto. 
  • put the furniture in storage
  • extend the lease of our house in Vancouver to the existing tenants
  • organize the kid's schooling so they do not miss a school year while traveling
  • straighten out banking so that someone will look after things (we are hoping to do most of it via internet)
  • sell one car and put the other into storage
  • decide on travel routing
  • get OHIP approval for out of province medical coverage
  • look after insurance (furniture and car in storage, extra medical insurance)
  • get shots, medical and dental checkups
  • find families to look after the two cats and the bunny
  • buy a laptop and digital camera to record everything
  • get a passport for one of the kids
  • get visas for Australia and China (we'll get other visas while en route)

So many people have been terrific at helping us get organized that it is hard to thank them all. The kid's schools (UCC and TFS) have been great at organizing school work. Geoff and Tess are taking excellent care of our Vancouver house for another year. Both sets of parents are helping with banking and other 'business' matters. The Cohen / Goldhar family are looking after Heather's bunny. and the Legh-Jones family deserve a special thanks for looking after our two elderly Siamese cats (aged 18 and 16).

It takes a lot of organizing, but without these individual's help, we would be unable to leave.  Thank you! 

Travel Routing

Since we have a year, our idea was to go to places that are difficult to get to from Canada. We can do Europe and South America later when we have less time for travel. 

We have bought a round the world air ticket - the price is right (about $5000Cdn for adults - although I understand it has gone up a lot over the past year), and we get a lot of flexibility: our choice of 15 stops and 35,000 miles.  

Our itinerary so far includes:

  • Japan for two weeks with travel via a JR Rail pass.
  • China for four weeks traveling mostly by rail from Beijing to Hong Kong
  • Singapore & Kuala Lumpur for a few days then to Medan (Indonesia) by ferry
  • Bukit Lawang Orang-utan rehabilition centre for a day or two
  • Tuk-Tuk (Danai Toba). A peaceful and inexpensive lake resort in Indonesia
  • New Zealand (3 weeks each on North and South islands by camper van)
  • Australia (2 months in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Cairns, Darwin
  • Bali, Indonesia (10 days)
  • Thailand for a month with a possible side trip to Hanoi Vietnam
  • India for a few months with a possible side trip to Nepal
  • London to visit relatives with a possible side trip to Africa for a safari (depending on money and if we are 'traveled out' or not)
  • France for a bit to stay at Elizabeth (Sarah's sister) and Bob's cottage in the Dordogne (east of Bordeaux).

Stay tuned!

We hope to update the web site every few weeks once the trip starts. If you would like to receive our e-mail newsletter with trip reports, please send an e-mail to <<sorry - this service no longer offered >> with the words 'subscribe trip' in the body (not title) of the e-mail. You will be subscribed automatically. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to <<sorry - this service no longer offered>>  with the words 'unsubscribe trip' in the body of the e-mail.    (Note - these e-mails have already been sent.... if you would like to read them, please click here and scroll down near the bottom of the page. )

We leave for Japan on August 16. We expect to return in June or July 2002.

If you want to read about our trip, start here with Japan.