How Do RTW Family Travelers Plan Their Travel Itinerary?
A Spirit-ful Blend of Serendipitous Wind Dancing and Calculated Pre-Planning
So, now you don’t have to read the article cuz I just gave it away in line one. But if you are so inclined to understand how that dance comes to play, how that actually looks and feels and tastes in real life on the road rtw travel days, read on. I want to thank you again for challenging me with these awesome nuts and bolts questions. Answering them ALWAYS make the best posts.
So, there are two very clear things that carve out our travel itinerary. It’s a sweet tune that goes something like what the Beatles coined so nicely in “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” There is what we plan (sometimes) and what happens (always).
Interested in the insights on how it all pans out from year three of life on the road? Here we go:
This is 100% the Kobi department. Remember, I’m the dreamer; He’s the doer. I say, “Dear, wouldn’t it be so cool to hike the Annapurna Circuit” or “Sh-mukums, how about a year-long little biker-ride through Europe?” in which case he always huffs and puffs, usually grumbles or throws something at me, and heads over to Uncle Google to start forming a plan. I love him that way. It reminds me of one of our earliest play-flirt fights way back when he was that hot 24 year old Israeli security guard with the nice sweaters and black leather jacket who knew how to drive a stick-shift (I know!) and we were bickering about something. “Shut up and drive,” I banter, and he replies in his best Middle-Eastern English accenting, “I’m shut-upping,” and it’s still true today. Same characters, same plot, different scenery, “I’m shut-upping,” and he’s off planning our next amazing adventure.
Our first stop was meant to be Hawaii but that was meant to be a few short weeks after the fear of radiation from Japan and maybe after-shock number two, so we canceled our tickets and booked to New York. Kobi, of course, did all the work. First things first. Find us a place to sleep, and from there, all the other stuff will blossom up beautifully. When we hit the major cities around the globe, like Lima, Peru, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Singapore, Singapore, Singapore (bless her little city, state, country self), Kobi always did the research before we arrived. Where can we stay that’s in a safe part of town, that’s clean, and that’s affordable, and most importantly, what kind of long-term deal can we make that will save us tons of money. That’s how we ended up in very cool places for a week, a month to five months each:
- Nomade Backpacker’s Hostel fb page (Lima, Peru)
- Garden Village Resort (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
- Back Home Hostel (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
- June’s Apartments (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
- and now, Pillows and Toast Hostel (Singapore)
- and, Beary Best Hostel (Singapore)
It was Kobi sitting down for hours in front of the computer that gave us a soft landing that just so happened to work out so nicely that these above-mentioned places became home for this life on the road Nomadic Family. It was at these “planned” city stays that we formed family with the staff, that their business workplace became where we kicked our shoes off and got to fight, make noise, do our world schooling studies, and be us. Each holds a dear and special place in our hearts.
Serendipitous Wind Dancing
And this is the other side of our travel coin, the side we pride ourselves on for it’s dramatically different than what we’d ever heard life on the road family travelers ever do. Families need to be secure, safe, and know what the next step. Families run by responsible parents make wise, calculated decisions with the safety and fate of their children at the forefront of their minds. And well, eh-hem, you would die if I told you how many times we entered the cars and homes of total strangers we met off the street because
- a- we were stranded in the middle of a bad situation and felt either this is an angel here to save us or something darker here to put an end to it or
- b-he/she had a nice smile and looked safe and friendly enough for us to put the fate of our lives in their hands.
It’s crazy, looking back now and writing about it, how, at the time, it all seemed so sane.
Wind Dancing Accommodations
It was exactly these by-chance (which we no longer believe exists by the way) meetings with this guy on a bus ride, that guy who sat next to Dahnya on that flight, the woman with the out-of-control dog, or the man at the next table at the noodle street vendor booth who ended up connecting us what would become our next community and our greatest, most serendipitous life-changing experiences.
- 7 weeks volunteering in a ranch school and living off the land in La Lucha De La Tigra, Costa Rica because Kenneth on the flight was best friends with Kendall who’s mom wanted rent money
- 3 weeks of house sitting in name-of- neighborhood near Boquete, Panama because her dog was out of control
- 7 weeks with the Indian tribe in the jungle of Ecuador because Kobi wandered through the streets of the nearest town
- almost living in this shack in Siem Reap, Cambodia cuz of the guy at the noodle booth
- the taxi dropping us off at Bihn Yen Hotel, Vietnam cuz Five-minutes-ago-we-met-you Philip called them
- accidentally waltzing into the lobby cuz it looked cool at The Led Zephyr in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
- seeing a faded sign that led to a beautiful young mom looking for extra money who rented us her no-electricity, no-water shack off a pier on an island off of Southern Cambodia when we worked with the all-awesome Koh Rong Dive Center
And so, we’ve got this amazing song and dance between poorer countries where we just walk into people and and signs that take us to our next heart-soul nest, and richer countries where we can use the internet to close some sweet deals for a soft landing. Either way, we are surprised and honored each time anew when these ‘business exchange-services-for-money deals’ (which is how the world works) almost ends up becoming the next ‘oh-dear-God-how-did-you-ever-bring-us-again-to-such-beautiful-souls-whom-we-will-fall-in-love-with-and-then-have-to-leave-again’ (which is how the heart works).
So, skitaddle, ping, pong, flip, flop, hum. That’s how this dance goes. Sometimes it’s planned initially, sometimes it begins with a leap of faith, but either way, it always ends up wild and amazing.
When was the last time you trusted a total stranger with your children? When was the last time you let the wind or that random guy in the street lead you to your next adventure? Are we stupid and really lucky or just real travelers that understand that the only assurances you have are fake anyhow and stuff can happen anywhere with anyone so you might as well go down dancing, yes?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you coordinate the ying yang salsa between calculated pre-planning and wind-dancing serendipity.