We have been going hard for weeks now. We have all been thoroughly enjoying our travels but have gotten pretty exhausted by the pace we have been keeping. We have all begun to have shorter tempers and frustration levels.
Paul and I had initially talked about planning some rest days in our calendar, but somehow when you only have 2-3 days in any given place it is hard to make yourself stop. There is never enough time to see and do everything!
Last night we were out until 1:00 am with the kids. The Milan Expo 2015 was fun and worth our time there, but we are wiped out now! You should have seen us dragging ourselves home.
So, we slept in until after 10:00. Then we got up, hung laundry out to dry, I cooked some food (Risotto was a hit!), and we proceeded to stay in our pajamas…for hours. I admit, it is nice! We parents took care of some travel details. The kids worked on blogs, caught up on social media, and read. But that is all.
I’m sorry, Milan, that we have missed almost a whole day of time with you, but I am not sorry for the day we are enjoying! I promise we will hang out tonight.
All in all, it has been a good day. A necessary day. Congratulations, Kamaile: it is 4:00pm and you are the only one dressed.
The #SeattleBundas are back at it. This time we have an amazing itinerary over the next seven and a half weeks taking us all over western Europe: Frankfurt, Wurzburg, and Rothenberg ob der Tauber, and Weil am Rhein, Germany; Paris (including Disneyland) and Maison-Laffitte, France; Brussels, Belgium; London, Bath, Clevedon/Somerset, and Haywards Heath, England; Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice, Italy; Thun, Switzerland. We also have a one-week Adriatic Cruise starting/ending in Venice, Italy and visiting the following along the way: Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia; Ancient Athens, Greece; and Ancient Ephesus, Turkey.
As many of you know, we have been committed to the carry-on only, One-Bag travel philosophy now since the beginning of the year.
Before our Japan trip in March, Paul spent many hours researching convertible backpacks. The bags carry like backpacks or they can be carried by a side handle or shoulder strap with the backpack straps tucked away. Also, when it is time to access the bags, they unzip and open all the way flat instead of having to reach down into the top to access like a traditional backpack.
We ended up choosing a couple different bags, all with many fabulous features. We purchased eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior backpacks for the kids because they have a slightly smaller form factor while maintaining the flexibility of several types of compartments. I chose the Minaal bag, with a very simple form factor and fewer sections. I tend to squirrel lots of different things away, so this forces me to stay streamlined and organized. Paul picked the Osprey Farpoint 55 travel backpack which has all of the features we looked for in addition to an attachable/removable day pack.
We each also carry a smaller day bag. Paul has the detachable day pack from his Farpoint, Trey and I have side pouches, and Kamaile has a camera case with a tiny bit of storage. Additionally, we purchased a set of eBags packing cubes for each of us. Everyone gets their own color so we can always identify whose stuff is who’s.
So, has it worked and do we still like this concept? Absolutely! Time after time we see others struggling with large suitcases as they labor from one train platform to another and are so grateful that we carry everything on our backs. So far, both Asia and Europe have had many stairs, cobblestones, and uneven pavement that makes roller suitcases very impractical. Plus, we have saved lots time and money as we have avoided checking our luggage.
One bag does mean a limited number of clothes. But what about laundry? If you don’t have many clothes, you do have to wash them every few days. We have found that it is very simple to wash things in bathroom sinks or bathtubs, or find a laundromat or laundry service. Hotel shampoo actually does a decent job. Keeping up with the laundry only requires a little forethought….You don’t let yourself run out of clean underwear more than once! You also can’t do laundry the night before a travel day because things might not be dry by the time you have to pack up.
I know, I know, all you really wanted to know was what I brought in my bag. Again, we started with research. Basically, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. (If you need a starting point, feel free to look at my pins @labunda or Laura Bunda.) There are many many boards for carry-on only traveling for all seasons and areas of the world. The are also tons of ideas for capsule wardrobes. Travelfashiongirl.com is a favorite site of mine. Paul and I have both also learned a lot from Nomadic Matt . com as well as ricksteves.com. Eventually I picked my favorite plan and modeled my wardrobe after it. I, who cannot follow a recipe, cannot follow a wardrobe plan either, it turns out. So I sort of followed this plan. And this one.
Very important, because I stick with mostly neutral colors, these 13 or so pieces can be mixed and matched to make many outfits. If you believe the articles and pics on Pinterest, over 25 outfits!
One dress, one pair each of jeans, black leggings, and green travel pants, a pair of khaki shorts, one black cardigan sweater, one 3/4 sleeve charcoal blouse, one gray long sleeve tee, one black cami, one reversible skirt, three short sleeve shirts (one blue solid, one black print, one with stripes), one blue tank top, and a scarf. At the last second I decided to throw in another gray cami that is not pictured. Also not pictured are a rain coat, swim suit, five pair of socks, six pairs of underwear, two bras, and a long sleep shirt. This is pretty much the same type of wardrobe that I brought along to South East Asia earlier this year.
My travel outfit consisted of jeans, the gray cami, striped shirt, sweater, and sneakers. Everything else was rolled and put into packing cubes according to category: tops, bottoms, toiletries, and everything else. Together with my bag, this all weighed about 10 1/2 pounds. A few more toiletry items and my Keens were thrown in last minute making my total a little under 13 pounds.
The next question I often hear: Do you want to burn your clothes by the time you get home? The answer is yes. Some of my clothing pieces I left behind in Indonesia when we departed. Several of the items, however, have earned an encore performance and have come along on this trip as well: reversible skirt, travel pants, charcoal blouse, and black cardigan.One week in and the scheme is holding up well. I have done two sink loads of laundry that hung dry on shower curtain rods and hangers. I think this whole plan is going to work again!
Do you have any stories or advice about packing for traveling? I would love to hear them.
About twelve hours until we leave the house, about 24 goes until we leave to go to the airport, and 29 1/2 until we take off.
I look around the house. Bags are packed in the front room. Our things are almost all put away. The kitchen is almost clean, counters all cleared. The refrigerator is almost empty, I just finished the last of the milk. We’ve run all of the errands. We’ve had most of our last meals with friends and family. It is difficult to name all of the feelings going on.
Sad to miss friends, especially those who are moving away while we are gone and the neighbors we are used to seeing every day.
We are excited for a big adventure: new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.
There is definitely some nervousness and concern.
I am concerned about our first flight out, I would really appreciate it if you would pray about that with us. For our first flight (over twelve hours), we don’t currently have any seats together. I really do not love the idea of my sweet kiddos sitting next to complete strangers. We will be getting to the airport plenty early to see if there can be any movement.
We are so excited to arrive in an area of the world that is so unknown to us. We will be in Indonesia for the first three and last three and a half weeks of our adventure. The middle three and a half weeks we will be touring Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I am anticipating learning so much about people, language, food, and culture. We have watched videos and read books in preparation, but I can’t wait for it all to be “real” to us. Bandung, here we come!
Above all, I have a huge feeling of something amazing about to happen.
Continuing to live out what we call our S.A.F.E. principles for this time:
Service (our friends and people we meet)
Adventure (um, everything about this trip from eating to moving from destination to destination)
Fun (see amazing cultural and natural sites) and
Education (again, just about everything we do well be a learning experience)
I really don’t know what God has in store for us, but we are ready to see!
So, this will be my longest time ever away from home, I mean, more than two whole months! Man, that’s just crazy to think about. We’ll be staying with some friends that are living in Bandung, which is just west of Jakarta, Indonesia’s Capitol. We aren’t just going to stay in Indonesia, we’re going to go to some other countries in Southeast Asia too: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos on a 25 day tour.
We’ve been planning, preparing, and prepping like crazy! Mainly, all the “P’s.” But, the worst part of the “P’s” is IMMUNIZATIONS. Blugh.💉 I was worrying and dreading and worrying and dreading and worrying and dreading and worrying and dreading! But, when we got to the doctors office, it turns out that for one of the shots, you could trade out for pills! And the other shots that aren’t pills, are only for grown ups! Two of the pills that we take now are typhoid and malaria. So much for that worrying and dreading.
The other thing is food. I’ve got to get used to Indonesian food! In order to get ready, we’ve been having more Asian, and more spicy foods. For example, the other day we had spicy Asian stir fry, which wasn’t a really big deal because I don’t mind heat, I kinda like things spicy! My mom even made our green beans spicy with Sriracha.
We leave soon (May 11th!), so I’ve got to get to packing, I mean, I just packed for two weeks in Japan, now I gotta pack for two months for Southeast Asia.
Hooray! We have made more plans: We are heading out to Indonesia for a couple of months and will be spending a three and a half week chunk of that time on a tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. This is all so exciting!
Warning: the following blog is full of obnoxious and unresolved tedium. I may be ranting rather than blogging.
In preparation for travels, we are following the CDC recommendations for vaccinations. We are all up to date with regular vaccines and were easily able to acquire the oral Typhoid vaccine as well as the Malaria meds for all of us and the Hep A for those that didn’t have it yet. Yay.
We are so blessed to have amazing health care coverage. Wait for the “but”…
But…it was all smooth sailing until we tried to get the vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis.
This is an illness that is considered endemic in many Asian countries. It is carried by mosquitos and incidences go up when the rains come down and more so away from cities, especially in and near rice patties. As we will specifically be in these areas at the beginning of the rainy season (the beginning of peak season for the disease) we and our doctors thought it would be good to get this vaccination in addition to the others. No biggie, right?
OK, seriously, I have spent over twelve hours on the phone over the last three days trying to obtain this vaccine in a way that is covered by insurance. We have been through four different pharmacies, multiple phone calls to our medical practice, and many hours on the phone with insurance. Each time I speak to the insurance company I think I have been helped and guided in the right direction, only to find out that isn’t the correct information once we have contacted the next pharmacy location! Then I get further info, with a more restrictive set of directions to follow and repeat the process again. This pharmacy isn’t covered, that one is. That pharmacy doesn’t carry that vaccine at all, oh, that pharmacy that has the vaccine in stock isn’t actually covered for this item as it has to be billed through medical, not prescription, and they aren’t allowed to do so, oh that pharmacy is covered but not really, now you have to go to a certain kind of clinic, wait, that clinic doesn’t take insurance at all (wait, why are they on my preferred provider list then?), and so on.
Gah! This is ridiculous, people!
Why don’t we just pay for it out of pocket? Because one shot is almost $300. Ouch! Besides, isn’t that why we pay to have insurance?
And, as I said earlier, this is not a solved issue yet. I will let you know what the end result is later. Sigh.
I‘m still not even sure how to go about planning! But nonetheless we are gathering materials and have a wish list board. We have a shared spreadsheets on our devices. And a Flipboard magazine full of articles. And a Pinterest board for packing ideas. Have you any idea how many hours of YouTube we have watched of not only destinations but on all of the different “best” backpacks ever?
I just want to go! I want to see! But there are some things things that should be sorted out ahead of time. But right now I don’t want to think of the details of going. I am having the hardest time making a grocery list and menu plan (Yes, Honey, I do always have one, even if it is just in my head.) for this week because our Japan trip is taking up all of my available brain space!