Backpacking With A Kid 2023



It's been four years since we've embarked on this kind of thing because of the pandemic, and well—we had our son. Life has never been the same as it was but our itchy feet will always win no matter what. And as Christian and I celebrate our tenth year of traveling and being together, we welcome an extra set of feet within our travels. This extra set of feet will not help us become faster but rather, make us slower on this backpacking trip. We are not complaining though and we welcome this challenge as we see familiar places but from a different perspective—from our three-year-old son's point of view.


Our annual backpacking tradition allowed us to discover amazing places and experience the local way of life. We had two months of free time during my school break and we’d come back a few days before the start of the next school year. It started in 2013 when we traveled to Babuyan Islands and Sulu in the Philippines. And then in 2014 where we explored Nepal and Southeast Asia. It was in 2015 when we did our ASEAN Summer Loop 2015 where we went around Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. Beach Hop Asia was our theme in 2016 when we covered the beautiful beaches of Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Singapore. In Same Same Summer Trip 2017, we went back to Southeast Asia where my buddy popped those three little words as we journeyed on Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. It was in 2018 when we had our SEA2Africa 2018 trip that brought us to Bali, East Timor, Singapore and Morocco—my ultimate dream destination. And our last trip was in 2019 during our Eurasian Summer Bump 2019 when I was five months pregnant and we explored China, Mongolia, and Russia.

This is an unfamiliar territory. Traveling isn't always comfortable and we love the spontaneity that comes with it. This time around though, we’re traveling as if we’ve just met each other for the first time—the uncertainties that comes into having our hyperactive toddler son with us. Akira is a son of the world, a kid who’s always wondering and wandering. I know that we won't be traveling the way we did pre-Akira era but I'm somewhat excited for this new challenge of slowing down and checking out things that interests him as a kid, rather than forcing to him things that we think he might like.

Akira may feel that this backpacking trip may all be well too familiar. He's been to Japan, China, Mongolia, and Russia, to name a few—when he's just as big as an avocado in my tummy. I've researched about open public spaces and playgrounds which would definitely make him busy. And although Christian and I are not fans of theme parks and playgrounds, we got to include it on the itinerary because he loves his LEGO bricks and Sesame Street friends.


Here’s our rough itinerary;


Manila > Penang (Malaysia) > Langkawi (Malaysia)> Singapore (Singapore) > Johor Bahru (Malaysia)> Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)> Siargao (Philippines) > Surigao City (Philippines) > Dinagat Islands (Philippines) > Manila 

So it's all about comfort by traveling by taxi rather than walking, watching late night movies in hotel versus late night partying at bars, and more baggage allowance versus cabin baggage. We’ll be slowing it down and let him dictate where he wants to go and when we needed to stop. We may have to endure this unfamiliar turf but we're pretty sure that in the years to come, our son will go and find his own travel buddies the way we found each other. By that time, Christian and I would be back to traveling with ourselves by getting lost in alleyways of unfamiliar places and spending late afternoons with a beer or two in random pubs.

36 days. 3 countries. 8 key destinations. No strollers. Just pure luck. Good luck to us.


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