Goodbye South Korea & Japan: End of Trip Reflection

Fun at the beach on Zamami Island

Fun at the beach on Zamami Island

As 2015 is coming to a close and our trip is nearing its end, I thought it’s time for some reflection. Yesterday, as we were riding around Zamami Island, we stopped for a break at a beautiful view point. Neil had just woken up from his morning nap in the trailer and was happy and chatty as usual. We took him out, changed his diaper, had a snack and hung out, just the three of us. I suddenly realized that those will be the moments I’ll miss the most.

Practicing standing

Practicing standing

We spent the last three months traveling by bicycle in South Korea and Japan. We left when Neil was seven months old. If we put him down somewhere, he stayed there, he was eating very little and the clothes we packed for him still fit him. A few days ago he turned ten months, and what a difference those three months made. He crawls really fast and uses every object he finds to pull himself to a standing position. He eats a lot. And all of his pants were purchased on this trip because the rest became too small or too dirty.


Every meal is a family meal

We are together as a family 24/7. There are no breaks. But in a way it’s easier than being at home. First of all there are two of us. If we are not riding, we can watch him together or take turns. Usually at meals Gili is in charge first, while I get a chance to eat and then we switch. I put Neil to sleep at night. Sometimes one of us will take him for a walk or play with him while the other one can rest or read or write blog posts. But a lot of the time we just hang out and spend time together.

Little by little we developed a routine. It’s not a strict one and it’s not set in stone, but it works for us. It will be difficult to get used to our previous life. To what some people call a “normal life”, because in the past three months this became our normal life and to think of anything different is a bit difficult right now.

Story time

I am sure it will be OK and once we are back in Vancouver we’ll get used to a new routine and life. But I do hope and know it will not be the last time we are on the road together. Neil may be a bit older and what worked for him on this trip may not be relevant on future trips. This is what is so special about this time, right now. It will never be repeated. That’s what makes me a bit sad as this trip is ending.

Dinner in the toilet

Dinner in the bathroom

It’s not that it was all easy. Some nights were tough, some days were more challenging. The weather wasn’t perfect to say the least. But Neil adapted easily.  A few days ago it was pouring rain again. We had to cycle back to our tent and we hoped the rain would ease. But the longer we waited the darker it got and eventually we cycled in pitch black, no lights and in heavy rain. It was the longest 1.5km we had ever experienced. When we finally arrived, all the covered areas by our tent were wet as well since the rain went side ways. The only dry spot we could find was in the bathroom. I was pretty upset. But then I looked at Neil and he was happy. He didn’t mind that we were having our dinner in the toilet. He didn’t even know. Then I relaxed and we had a good meal. We all have something to learn from babies.


Taking a nap in the tent, Jeju Island

As parents we make decisions all the time. You don’t know if you are making the right decision, but you hope so. I didn’t know how it would be to travel for three months by bicycle with an infant. I didn’t know if he would like being in the trailer or eventually grow out of it. I didn’t know if he would be a good camper and would like sleeping in the tent night after night. Now, I do know though, that going on this trip was one of the best decisions we have made as parents.

Good decisions

A happy family

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6 Responses to Goodbye South Korea & Japan: End of Trip Reflection

  1. Jan Whitehead says:

    We always underestimate how resilient and adaptable babies and children are. So excited to know it all went so well. It will be a culture shock to return but there will be a next time, keep dreaming. Thanks for the great blog. Good luck with the next segment and happy new year.

    • Maya says:

      Thanks Jan. I totally agree, kids can adapt to almost anything and they don’t need a strict routine. Hearing you and Warrick and seeing pictures of you hiking and traveling with Keith from a young age also encouraged and inspired us. Happy new year and looking forward to some adventures together.

  2. Peta says:

    Super cute pics!

    I can see where traveling with a baby is easier, in many ways, than being at home..!

    What a great way to instill the “travel bug” in Neil from an early age, and look forward to reading more of your adventures in the years to come. Each different in its own way, each special. Change is of course a constant – how great that Neil got 3 months of devoted time at such a critical age developmentally with BOTH parents 24/7 noticing and enjoying all the changes day to day…AND doing what you love and enjoy. Makes total sense.

    • Maya says:

      Thanks, Peta! It was indeed incredible to share this time with Neil and also helped us to develop as a family. Of course we are already thinking about the next trip and actually got excited about Myanmar. Keep the great posts and photos coming and enjoy your travels!

  3. Len says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated all along your adventure, and for the reflections at the end of it! I’m sure it will be an adjustment to get back to life in Vancouver, but you three make the most of everything. And now you get to go play in a winter wonderland!

    • Maya says:

      Thanks Len! Glad you are enjoying the blog and thanks for your nice comments. We are very excited to be back in Winter Wonderland soon, but for now still enjoying a bit of warm weather in Israel. Stay tuned for the last blog post of our journey on a few magical islands in Japan.

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