Mum Jess, Dad Berian and Jasper aka The Globetoddler.
We only decided to take this once in a lifetime trip in September 2016. We had never even discussed the prospect.
A quick bout of ‘the fear’ and plans swiftly began forming. By the fear I mean we were looking at schools, both in secure jobs, trying to buy a house and could see the next 18 years of our lives all planned ahead of us. The prospect was frightening. After a quick discussion it didn’t take long before we decided to sell most of our belongings, our cars and put house buying on hold. We had been trying to purchase a house for a few months and had three fall through on us for numerous reasons and wasted a considerable amount of money on fees. Maybe it was a sign. Luckily we were both also able to take career breaks with work which gives a certain amount of security for when we return.
So trip planning began… Where too?! We put a date in the diary after Jaspers first birthday (May 16th 2017) and took all the money in our savings to buy a house plus additional from selling our belongings, cars, shares and the rest of my maternity pay. Yes when we get back we’ll have nothing but maybe by then we will have learnt to live with less. Memories are priceless right?!? We chose Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand mainly because I am a slight over protective Mum. They are all English speaking with good healthcare systems and if God forbid anything did happen I would feel ever so slightly more at ease. Certain travel vaccinations are also only available at age 2 such as Thyphoid which put a lot of the more glamorous and traditionally cheaper locations out of bounds. The vaccination issue definitely took ALOT of pondering and evaluating what the risk really was in certain areas. Currently still breastfeeding Jasper (one feed a day now) I know some immunity would be passed on to him from vaccinations I have had. He would drink only bottled water and eat at ‘safe’ establishments. All considered I still thought I would feel more comfortable personally leaving these more exotic locations until after he has his vaccinations.
And how will we travel?! After doing research on the best method of travel- Motels, Air BNB, Hire Cars, Greyhound Coaches, RV rentals and so on, we decided the cheapest option (and with less restrictions) was to buy a Campervan. This meant travel times and destinations remained flexible which I think we decided was a priority when travelling with a toddler.
On arriving in Vancouver we booked two weeks at an Air BNB and hired a car and car seat for two weeks. We purchased a Dodge Grand Caravan 7 seater stow and go and completed our own camper conversion building a fold out bed, adding a fridge, leisure battery, roof box and awning (keep a look out for our blog detailing how we converted the Dodge Caravan). I will write more about why we chose the Dodge Grand Caravan but in summary car seats cannot be fitted on side or rear facing seats and RV’s do not come with car seat approved passenger seats. I guess yes you could put car seats in these places but I wouldn’t want to take the risk.
Two weeks over and we set off on our vaguely planned itinerary…