Keeping fit whilst travelling and on a budget.

I’m no fitness buff, most people who know me will be able to tell you that. However, I like my food FAR too much to diet, so for me, exercise is the best way to keep in shape and feel good. I found that once I hit my 30’s, suddenly I could no longer eat (or drink!) what I used to get away with. The problem with travelling is that you are generally reliant on restaurant food and everyone knows that restaurant food tends to be higher calorie and not usually as healthy as what you can cook at home. We also spend quite a lot of time on our trip being fairly sedentary – sat on planes, buses and trains for long periods; sat in our room whilst the kids do their school work, writing blog posts, planning the next stage of the trip, catching up with the news back home, etc. All this combines to quite an unhealthy travelling lifestyle. We do walk a lot and have done a fair amount of hiking and exploring, but probably not at a pace to make much of a difference to our fitness levels, Of course, this is not representative of everyones style of travel – we know plenty of folk who have enjoyed Yoga retreats and the like; but for us, this trip is about family travel on a budget and those kind of boot-camp options are not on the cards for us.

Beach running
Running on the beach in New Zealand.

Before we left on this trip, I was running regularly and trying to take part in 10K races and half marathons every few months to keep me motivated (I’m naturally lazy…). When we first left the UK and landed in New Zealand, it was cool enough to continue with the running. In Australia we were thrilled to join in the Saturday ParkRun movement, which is something we participated in as a family, both as runners and as volunteers, every week back home in England. It has been pretty cool to add Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney to our stats! However once we moved to Asia, it was often too hot to run and I found it difficult to run on paths that are either non-existent, un-even, or cluttered with motorbikes, open manholes and other dangers. When running, I just like to look ahead and concentrate on the keep moving part; the constant stop / start and checking for danger makes the whole run not really worthwhile. I’ve heard some people join gyms wherever they stay for more than a few days, and some are lucky enough to have a gym onsite where they stay. For us this isn’t a reality – basic hostels don’t have gym equipment and it’s not in our budget to pay out for gym membership, however short-term. Instead, I have embraced YouTube exercise channels and Pinterest fitness boards. There are so many free work outs available online to address any kind of fitness need: from specific abdominal / lower body / strength training, to bikini workout programs, 5, 10, 30-day specific fitness challenges, plus popular fitness personalities usually also have their own channels, offering free workouts. So far I have completed the 30-day squat challenge and various 10-minute solution workouts (these are brilliant and literally only take 10 minutes!). I’m currently working on Fitness Blender 5-day challenge:  Improvisation is important- need weights? No problem! I have used 1 litre bottles of water and weighted luggage! Yoga Mat? I’ve make do with usually damp towels! Working out in the privacy of the hotel room, complete with air-con and shower close-by, has been a good solution for me. The most important thing is that I am trying to remain active, so I feel good and hopefully can return to running with a fair amount of fitness when we return home in a few weeks. Thats the plan anyway…!

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Teaching children to take tablets: a success story!

For part of our trip through South East Asia, we have had to take anti-malarial medication. Malaria is not something to take chances with, so taking the recommended treatment is potentially life-saving. It is also very expensive. The medication we needed to take was not available in anything other than tablet form and this has been difficult for the kids because they have never had to take tablet medication before. To add to the pressure on them, we didn’t have any ‘extra’ or spare tablets, so it was essential that we all took our treatment exactly as prescribed. This blog is all about how our kids managed to learn the skill of taking tablets.

Malaria is a disease of the blood caused by the Plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted from person to person only by a particular type of mosquito, called the anopheles mosquito. This type of mosquito is a female mosquito that typically bites between the hours of 9pm-5am. Malaria is important because it is one of the top killers on the planet. 1 child dies every minute from malaria – just over 450,000 children a year – 90 per cent of these children are from Africa.

Compared with Africa, malaria is not as common in Cambodia where we have been travelling, but it is still a problem in some specific areas. We stayed in Battambang, a city which unfortunately has one of the highest levels of treatment resistant malaria in South East Asia. This means that most commonly available anti-malarial medications are not effective here, and if you are unlucky enough to catch it in this area, then it can be difficult to treat. So, malaria avoidance is extremely important.

Continue reading Teaching children to take tablets: a success story!

Siam Insect Zoo. By Rosie.

Yesterday we went to the insect zoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We got a songthaew, which is kind of like a taxi and a bus mixed together because it can pick up lots of people who all sit in the back together, but it drops everyone anywhere they need to go. They are always red. There was quite a lot of traffic on the way to the zoo, which is normal in Thailand.

When we arrived at the zoo, the first thing we did was get our tickets. Continue reading Siam Insect Zoo. By Rosie.

The Bamboo Train, Battambang

On the outskirts of Battambang, Cambodia, is a length of railway track called the ‘Bamboo train’. Previously used as a method for transporting cattle and other animal livestock to the surrounding fields, this mode of transportation is now marketed as Battambang’s main tourist attraction and nowadays it’s people who ride this track, sitting atop a wooden train bed (pallet) mounted upon steel wheels, which is then propelled along by a petrol engine.

When you arrive at the location of the Bamboo Train, you only know you are there because of the snake of waiting Tuk-tuks gathered nearby, with drivers waiting hopefully for their passengers to return safely. It’s located in a village behind some houses, down a muddy lane. At first sight on arrival, there is no official ticket office, instead a ‘policeman’ explains you pay $5 each and then a guy comes along to take your money. He then jumps back into his pickup truck to wait for the next tourists to arrive. When ready to ‘board’, you climb onto a “carriage” and sit on the cushions provided. These cushions are vital. The ride can get bumpy.

All smiles before the terrorSo after the rip-cord is pulled to start the engine, the driver physically moves the engine backwards to cause tension in the drive belt and the carriage begins to roll forwards. At this point we thought, All is good! This is fun! The sun is shining, the wind is in our hair and it’s a lovely gentle ride through the jungle bush of coconut and banana palms….

Nice feeling gone.
Continue reading The Bamboo Train, Battambang

Top 6 most annoying things when travelling with your parents. “Mum, Dad, we’re not 4 years old you know.”

Just a word of warning. Mum and Dad don’t know we’ve posted this. But whatever. They wrote about how annoying it can be traveling with us, so now it’s payback time! Spending time with your parents ALL the time isn’t necessarily a kid’s idea of fun. They think they’re doing us a great favour bringing us on this trip. It’s OK, but sometimes, it’s just boring. Especially when they say the same things to us all the time.

Smile kids! We're traveling! Isn't it fun!!!!!!!!!!!
Smile kids! We’re traveling! Isn’t it fun!!!!!!!!!!!

We put our heads together and decided that these are the Top 6 most annoying things when traveling with your mum and dad:

Continue reading Top 6 most annoying things when travelling with your parents. “Mum, Dad, we’re not 4 years old you know.”

travelling the world with the kids in tow….

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