Archive for the ‘Pre-trip planning’ Category

What a weekend we’ve had!  We left Berrynarbor in our camper heading for Exeter to get a spare wheel which had not arrived on the camper.  Upon arrival it turned out the place the camper owner said would have a spare for us had never stocked wheels for this camper nor heard of him!!!  Made a few phone calls to wreckers to hunt down a wheel then found the nearest campsite to Exeter.

Bede became super excited after arriving at this campsite when he discovered it was just down the road from Haldon Forest “Go Ape” which is a franchise that allows people to climb on high ropes courses in native forest tree-tops.  He has been finding these brochures all over England and finally managed to find one close enough to where we were staying to go.  Children under 16 have to take an adult so I found myself wearing rockclimbing gear and climbing into the trees with him the following morning.  Good thing I used up all my adrenalin in the morning because the afternoon was a little bit hair-raising.  Meanwhile Leah, Emmett and Florence explored Haldon Forest, including an awesome natural playground and Emmett hired a bike and did some Mountain Biking.

Following “Go Ape” we headed off the the Tetherton Town Fair because they were having a “Birds of Prey” show and Bede’s latest interest is in Falcons and other birds of prey.  This is where things got interesting.  The clutch in our fateful camper suddenly stopped working on a busy roundabout, which had three pubs on the corners around it.  Given that smoking inside is now illegal in Britain this meant I was able to rouse several men with goatees and shaved heads to push us out of the roundabout.  The kids were thrilled to be driven to our next campsite in a towtruck with the camper up on the back.

So tonight will be our last night in the grey and white camper.  After two and a half weeks of mucking around with this camper we just want to get on with our trip and we are not prepared to risk anything further going wrong with the camper or to wait any longer for more repairs or vehicle swapping.  So we’ve arranged to hire a similar (but much newer, flasher) camper called “Blanco” for the next few weeks and we’ll be meeting him on Wednesday (in Shrewsbury so we get to see lots more of England tomorrow on our way to pick him up).  In the meantime we’ve got a Skoda for a rental car, to Leah’s chagrin!

This afternoon after ringing 50 camper hire places to find one with a rental still free for a the summer and then finding a rental car we could drive one way to Shrewsbury we headed off to explore Dartmoor in the Skoda.  We had a Devonshire tea while in Devon, which was on my list of things to do here (lots of clotted cream Lisa).  Then we found a lovely miniature pony farm that had a playground only for kids OVER 1.1m and 6 years, to the boys’ excitement!  The ponies and donkeys were friendly and cuddly with lots of babies so Florence was in her element.  And tomorrow they are having a falconry presentation so we’re going back in the morning!


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I’m sure I’ll manage to update this blog a bit more often than every 6 weeks once we’re underway.  Life is busy here getting ready for Christmas.  A plan is also coming together for our trip. 

We leave Australia on March 7th 2010.  The rough guide from there is 1 week in Bangkok, 3 weeks in Cambodia, 1 week in Zambia, 3 weeks in Kenya.  Then 5 days in London, Egypt for 2 weeks, back to London.  Pick up a camper and have 3 months in the UK and Europe.  Next stop Vancouver, Canada, then Mexico and then 2 weeks in San Francisco before heading to NZ for a month with family.  We then intend to spend another 6 months or so in South Australia.

We’ll be volunteering in both Cambodia and Kenya and may also do some volunteering in Eastern Europe.  Our boys are researching interesting aspects of each country on our itinerary over the next few weeks as we get organised to go.  This week will be Cambodia where we’ll be staying in Siem Reap and visiting the Temples at Ankor Wat and volunteering in local primary schools.

On our recent trip to Melbourne we had some practice runs with taking public transport while carrying all our gear on our backs and managing the children. Photo courtesy of Emmett – we instructed him to get all the gear in, clearly faces weren’t part of the plan!

In fact there’s more gear in that pic than we will have with us.  Being fastidious I think I’ll devote a whole post to our gear and then everyone can tell me what we’ve forgotten!  Leah has certainly been using her excellent online shopping skills to buy more stuff to ensure that we can take less! 

Let us know if you’ll be anywhere on our itinerary – we’d love company…

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Hello world!

WordPress supplied the title and I think it’s a good start to a blog that will be about the Skinner-Vennell family and our trip Round The World.  There are five of us, Anna and Leah are the mums in our family, Bede 9, Emmett 6 and Florence 21 months are the kids.  Currently Anna works as a doctor and Leah, who is a teacher by training, is home educating the kids. We are in the preparation phase right now with a departure date of mid March 2010.  

In some ways our adventure actually began this year, with a move to rural South Australia from our home in New Zealand.  We’ve had lots of exciting adventures here (you can see some photos at www.skinner-vennell.smugmug.com) and we’re all looking forward to stepping right outside our comfort zone and learning more about the world on our travels.   

We booked our tickets this week and I’ll see if I can post a link to a map type itinerary when I have played with this site a bit more.  Leah is in New Zealand this week as her brother got married on Saturday (Congratulations Ben and Erin) so she is shopping for a list of gear we have decided we’ll need.  We have been looking at lots of other family RTW blogs to get good advice from others who have tried such a challenge with their children.   Some of the most useful have been: Six in the World; JamesWorld.  So we’d love to hear from all our friends and family and even random strangers who have travelled the world – what were the most challenging, the most exciting and rewarding, the scariest things that happened to you?

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