Our Journey Part 4: 4 Weeks On The Road & Lessons Learned So Far
Wow, I can’t believe we’ve already been on the road again for 4 weeks…last time I wrote about the countdown to leaving our home and what we did to prepare and already I’m writing a post about what we’ve learned so far. I guess most of you will know already that that’s what happens with children & babies…not only do they learn constantly but so do you!!
So here’s a bit of an update about where we are now (both physically & mentally) and some thoughts about what we’ve learned since being location independent & nomadic with a young baby….
We’re currently in Thailand on the island of Phuket. We came here because we knew it already (which we thought would be an easy introduction back into location independent nomadism with Mali, our daughter) and my parents were going to be here for some of the time we were here.
We had a 1 week stop off in Dubai to stay with my brother and help Mali acclimatise to both the heat & the time change more gradually and that worked really well. But…we’re already thinking about moving again!
Every single time we stay somewhere, we learn more & more about what it is we look for in a place and what kind of place lets us live the lifestyle we want.
It’s no secret that while we enjoy the nomadic lifestyle, we’re actually on a quest to find those 1-2 (maybe 3) places in the world where we’d like to shuttle between each year and we do envisage settling somewhere at some point – at least for 6 months of each year. But unfortunately Phuket isn’t it. So we’re thinking about heading further north to Chiang Mai and seeing how that suits us.
Experiences So Far Of Being Nomadic With A Baby
We had all sorts of fears, anxieties and worries before we set off:
Would it be too much for Mali? Would it be unsettling? Is she going to scream for the whole flight? Will she cope with the heat, the time zone change, the mosquitos? Are we being irresponsible and bad parents for doing this to her?
Thankfully most of those fears have been allayed – although every now & then we do still wonder if this really is the *best* kind of lifestyle for Mali. Actually I’ve come to the conclusion that at her age (5 months), location doesn’t really matter but I think it will be more and more of a factor as she gets older.
For now though, here are a few of the things we’ve experienced & learned so far since we’ve been on the road again with Mali in tow…
Equipment: On a practical note, we have uhmed & ahed about the equipment & stuff to bring with us for Mali. I’ll be writing a post about some of the gear we’ve been road-testing but here’s what we’ve found so far:
- In a hot, humid, tropical climate a buggy isn’t really necessary: you’re unlikely to walk around much and if you do, the baby will get really hot unless you get some kind of fan-contraption rigged up. If the baby is still small enough (or if not, you’ll need a strong person around!), a sling seems to be the best thing to use. We’ve hardly used our buggy – only in the malls a couple of times – but we use the sling almost every time we go out, particularly since Mali loves being able to see the new stuff around her.
- We expected to be able to get some of the basics really easily in Thailand; things like a simple changing mat (we have a travel one but wanted a cheap one for the apartment), packs of cheap babygro’s/onesies. Have we been able to get them? No! They seem to have all the fancy stuff (changing mat integrated into fancy changing table) but none of the basics.
- We really struggled for a baby bath since there’s no bath in the apartment and at 5 months, Mali’s quite a large & long baby. My parents had got the biggest baby bath they could find before we arrived but it was still too small, so we now use…a blow up paddling pool w/ our regular bath support! It works brilliantly & because it’s light, means we can take it with us elsewhere.
Flying with a baby: I had all sorts of stress about Mali hating flying, having problems with her ears and screaming for the whole flight. The reality? She played happily through the first flight from the UK to Dubai and slept a little (it was a day time flight) and slept in a bassinet for 90% of the 2nd flight from Dubai to Bangkok, despite being woken up at midnight to traipse to the airport!
No crying, no screaming and her ears were fine, despite not feeding on the way up & down, as we were advised by our health visitor. I can’t tell you how awkward it was though, trying to breastfeed her on the plane with a Muslim family next to me & trying not to expose myself, while at the same time trying not to let Mali’s kicking feet kick their child in the head!!
While a bassinet is useful, in future we may try & select the seats which give us a row to ourselves (use Seatguru to check out your plane & seat configuration) so we’re not sat next to another family with their own kids, reducing the cramped space even further.
Heat, humidity & bugs: We have acclimatised Mali fairly slowly to the heat by keeping the air con or fan on most of the time but gradually turning it down so she gets used to the natural temperature here. I’ve been very wary of dehydration and at the advice of our health visitor, have just offered her more milk, more frequently particularly when she seems to be hot & bothered.
So far, we’ve not had a problem with mosquitoes but brought with us some natural repellant rather than anything chemical-based (and certainly not DEET-based for a baby). We’ve managed to avoid the mosquitos by staying indoors at prime feeding time (dusk) and being vigilant about keeping the doors & windows of our apartment closed. We also have our homeopathy kit at the ready, in case of any bites and know which remedies to apply should Mali get any bites.
And the biggest thing we’ve learned so far?
Thai nappies (diapers) are crap!! We must have tried every brand available (including western brands here such as Huggies, Drypers etc.) but unfortunately nothing is as good as Pampers.
The best ones to use here (and thanks to everyone on Twitter who also recommended these) are the Mamy Poko brand – they’re slightly more expensive than others but worth it and are the closest thing we can find (both in comfort, fit & performance) to Pampers.
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