A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Category — Pre-Trip

Ticket to Ride


Nearly a week had passed, and still no tickets in the mail. I was mildly concerned: I knew significant OneWorld fare changes went into effect June 1 and I didn’t want any snafus.

When I called the OneWorld round-the-world desk the ticket agent assured me all was in order: “These tickets take time,” she said. “They have to be handwritten.”

Made sense to me. Certainly no two are alike. Still I assumed she meant they had to be individually assembled.

But no, she meant they needed to be handwritten. I hadn’t seen an airline ticket like this in 25 years!

In addition to changing fare rules, as of June 1 OneWorld is moving to e-tickets for its round-the-world tickets. More convenient to be sure, but somehow not quite as romantic.

June 6, 2008   5 Comments

Underneath It All


My girlfriends all want to know: How many pairs of underwear am I taking on our around-the-world journey?

In my whole life, including all the slumber parties I attended as a girl and lingerie-themed wedding showers over the years, I have never talked so much about panties as I have in the last month.

In making a packing list for the trip, I began to understand the obsession with underwear. We’ve got to pack light because we intend to carry our belongings onto the plane, so every item we can delete from the packing list is a bonus.

Plus, lugging big bundles of clothes, cameras, computers, and books up arduous hillside trails to get to the family hostels we’ve booked won’t be easy. (In my imagination, the accommodations are always up arduous hillside trails…)

All along, I hadn’t worried about underwear heavying up the load. A few handfuls wouldn’t take up that much room, right? And what could be more important than a clean foundation?

But seeing everything actually stacked up and laid out for packing is alarming. Even the tiny mountain of cotton briefs can’t be entirely justified. For help, I turned to what has become our travel guru — the BootsnAll website.

On the BootsnAll discussion boards expert travelers debate underwear strategy in detail: I read about favorite brands, the pros and cons of cotton, and whether to go with thongs (that’s a no) or a modest boxer style to make “quick, public changes of clothes go more smoothly.” (Yikes!)

I have learned that, as with technological leaps in electronics, there has been great progress in underwear technology. We are advised to avoid, for this kind of journey, our dungarees and cotton clothing that could take hours and hours to dry on makeshift laundry racks and clotheslines.

Instead, experienced travelers buy cleverly engineered cloth that wicks moisture (essential for those hot days), offers sun protection (not as critical in undergarments to be sure), has odor control (a definite plus), and is made from recycled fibers (gotta be green!).

The other day my friend Laura gave me the perfect gift, a product that makes the following pitch:

“Seasoned travelers save room by packing just one or two pairs of our underwear. They wash one at night and wear the other. Great fit and comfort in the most important layer you will put on.”


Call me old-fashioned: I’m opting for two!

June 1, 2008   16 Comments

Kids View


Caroline and Conor have set up their own blog for the trip, where they will be able to share their unique views without Mom and Dad (mostly Dad) looking over their shoulder.

They’ll still be posting to the family blog, but they’ll have free reign on their site. Uh oh.

May 30, 2008   3 Comments

ADIP: St. Michaels, Maryland

A Day in Pictures
St. Michaels, Maryland

We recently crossed Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge and continued on another 40 miles to spend a day roaming around the maritime village of St. Michaels, Maryland.

This little town of about 1,200 people is a major tourist attraction – more than 100,000 visitors come for the crabs, the harbor and the shops (below).

St Michaels Sign

St. Michaels is known as “The Town That Fooled The British.”

On August 10, 1813, British barges planned to attack the town and its fort in the middle of the night. Fortunately residents were warned of the attack in advance; someone had the bright idea to hang lanterns in the trees to draw enemy fire. When the British attacked, they fired their cannons at the laterns, missing the town and its fort.

Today, the British are in St. Michaels on more congenial terms.

London in St. Michaels

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May 27, 2008   Comments Off on ADIP: St. Michaels, Maryland

Observed in Ka Lae

Ka Lae 8

A gathering of ocean currents just offshore makes Ka Lae (South Point) one of the most popular fishing spots on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Here, at the southernmost point in the United States, more than one fisherman has fallen from the cliffs and been swept away by the powerful Halaea Current.

May 22, 2008   1 Comment

Capitol Hill Ramble

We spent a day on Capitol Hill in nearby Washington, DC, working on our video production techniques. Here’s the result.

May 20, 2008   4 Comments

Overheard in LAX

Terminal 7, Gate 78 at Los Angeles International Airport, waiting to board an early morning flight to Kona, Hawaii, two twenty-somethings in conversation:

When I was a kid, breakfast at McDonald’s and a day at the park – now that was a great day,” said the traveler as he unwrapped an Egg McMuffin.

“It still doesn’t get any better than that,” his friend agreed as he took a bite of his breakfast sandwich.

May 16, 2008   5 Comments

ADIP: The Ka`u Coast

A Day In Pictures
The Ka`u Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island

A four day business trip to Hawaii is not the easiest way to travel — especially when you consider it involves two six hour time changes and twenty plus hours in airports and planes. Still, I made every effort to see a bit of the Ka`u Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island.

This is Hawaii as it used to be, before gated communities and over-engineered family resorts.

Ka'u Coast 4

Melanesians first landed in Hawaii on the Big Island near Ka Lae (South Point). This coast is the southernmost piece of land in the United States.

Ka Lae

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May 13, 2008   3 Comments

Into The Wide Wide World

More than a year ago, when we began dreaming about and then planning our trip we made a very long list of destinations and once-in-a-lifetime experiences we thought we could cram into a year off.

I mapped out an itinerary that had us hop-scotching around the globe, taking in every world wonder we’d ever seen in National Geographic and all 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.

But as we progressed with the planning we confronted reality in the form of time, cost and distance. We began to realize: It really is a Wide Wide World. There’s only so much you can see and do in a year.

We’ve tried hard to study and learn from the many families who have gone before us. Through each family’s account of their travels, we’ve come to appreciate the value of taking your time in a place.

About a month ago, as we began to focus on our air tickets and our itinerary, we started to let go of places. I’m quite sure we’ll have to let go of more. It hasn’t been easy, but ultimately, we believe it will be worth it.

After much consideration, we purchased four OneWorld round the world tickets. We considered other options, but decided the OneWorld alliance and product worked best for us.

One important note for others who may be considering a OneWorld ticket: The fare rules are changing, effective June 1, 2008. Travelers will be limited to sixteen segments instead of twenty. There may be other changes, so be sure to do your homework.

In going with OneWorld, we have given up some flexibility in exchange for some certainty, particularly in the quality of the airlines we’ll be flying.

Under our fare rules, we have 365 days to complete our travel. We can change the date and time of our flights for no charge. We can change our itinerary (i.e., the cities we fly to) for $125 per ticket, per change. Overall, I think it’s quite reasonable.

We haven’t done a detailed plan for each country we plan to visit, but here’s a basic outline, subject to change.

(I’ll say in advance, any advice, recommendations or travel tips will be greatly appreciated).

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May 9, 2008   11 Comments

Quick Story

When we sat down to dinner I told the kids I had bought our airline tickets. They knew what that meant. Dad wasn’t kidding about this trip.

Caroline cut to the heart of the matter for all of us: “That makes me feel excited… and queasy.”

May 9, 2008   Comments Off on Quick Story

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