First family trip overseas – VANUATU

VANUATU 2015

Our first family trip overseas. Planning this trip was so exciting. I hadn’t been overseas since I was a little girl and that was to Papua New Guinea to visit family. Lulu, our eldest, was 10, Preston was almost 8 months old. I think I checked to make sure our passports hadn’t magically grown feet and disappeared about 5 times leading up to the trip. I had also packed and repacked our bags a few times. Our first trip overseas was starting out to be stressful as I was preparing for every scenario, which, for future reference to anyone who wants to take their children on holidays. Let it go, whatever happens will happen, and I really wish I had someone giving me advice and telling me to relax. #hindsight

At the airport – Vanuatu bound!

OVER PREPARED AND READY TO GO

It’s a bit of a mission to get to Vanuatu from where we live in Queensland. Well, I consider it to be when hauling precious cargo like children around.  First, we fly to Brisbane (our capital city in Queensland) and spent the day there with some friends before flying out that night. We are all excited at this stage, until we get to the airport.

Here comes the stressed out #Mumlife bit.. The hauling of luggage, prams and children was enough to put anyone off taking the kids on a holiday.  Then you have the outgoing passenger cards to fill out for everybody.  And I’m thinking, why can’t there be a check box on them for parents to tick for children under one, and just didn’t make sense to me. Alas, I still completed all the forms.  NOTE TO SELF: No point complaining because nobody listens.  All while this is happening my 7 month old has been begging for boob.  YES. I’m travelling with a demanding breastfed baby.  You start to stare at your children and begin to think if it will actually be worth it and if we should have left the kids at home hahah then you’re thinking that they had better appreciate this trip.  (Not really staring at the children, just into space trying to picture paradise)

We get on our flight and there is about 10 people on the whole flight (midnight flight) so we could literally have a whole row to ourselves if we wanted to, though Lulu was the only one who took up this opportunity, she thought it was great.  Dad aka Zac (husband) thought the Nambawan beer was pretty good, and so did I 😉  Preston got comfortable for a feed and he was out to it before we could even get into the air.  This was the best part, finally we could enjoy the fact that we were on our way to paradise.

HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH

Some consider Vanuatu the happiest place on Earth.  And I can understand why.. You’re greeted with beautiful song and the smiles when you disembark and walk through the airport,  Ni-Van locals ALWAYS have big, genuine smiles.  You are made to feel very welcome on arrival – even when you arrive at midnight.  Then, if you arranged hotel transfers your drivers are waiting for you with an adorable shell necklace, cold drink and a cold face towel.   We are pretty much sold on Vanuatu being our home away from home at this stage. Completely loving all aspects.  #easily pleased

What can I say, this was our first trip and it’s the little things that matter 😂

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Local kids stopping to say hello after school

OUR WEEK IN VANUATU

Our week was filled with delicious food, beautiful people and an amazing experience.  This is where I appreciate the fact that I could have my kids with me and that it is in fact all totally worth it.

The Ni-van locals absolutely adored the kids, especially the little fat one.  We couldn’t go anywhere without people squeezing our little fat man.  We enjoyed lunch at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water and the staff were more than happy to take Preston off our hands while we enjoyed our meal.

Enjoy your meal while staff keep your kids busy

We visited a couple of schools where the kids were more than pleased to show off what they had been learning about and would even share some of their songs they had learned.  If you’re looking to visit schools on your trip to Efate, Vanuatu there are so many to choose from, if you’ve got the time you could almost visit them all.  The schoolkids are so eager to learn and their communities do a fantastic job with them considering their resources are short and if you travel prepared I suggest packing some books and pencils to donate and/or visit with a little extra Vatu (Vanuatu currency) to purchase locally made items.

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Local school built by the community

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Experiences like village tours, jungle walks and dugout canoe rides were my absolute highlight.  These would have to have been my favourite things.  If your really game, try some local Kava, but take this as your warning.  DON’T drink too much unless you want to find yourself in a state of some type of full body paralysis.  The locals have great stories of tourists who have had more than recommended and they needed to be carried home.  I do recommend you ask where a Kava bar is that is made with bottled water.  Some villages make it fresh for the cruise ships that are docking so I suggest to head more towards those bars.

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There are so many places to swim and snorkel so don’t forget to pack your snorkel gear and water shoes.  Vanuatu also has the ONLY UNDERWATER POST OFFICE in the world.

You will never fall short of things to do in Vanuatu!

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to Cyclone Pam, so we are yet to discover more of the island.

HEADING HOME

We were extremely lucky to be able to get on the last flight out of Vanuatu.  Personally, I think it had something to do with travelling with a young baby.  The airline called us and told us that they had flights for us free of charge, this was after trying to book a flight earlier in the day with no luck.

The drive to the airport at 4am was a nightmare.  A cyclone was due to hit that day and the rain was so heavy we couldn’t see a thing.  So, I switched on the go pro just in case something went wrong on the drive over.  The airport was absolutely packed full of people trying to leave the country and there were families lined up out the door trying to book tickets.  This is why I thought to be extremely lucky when the airline contacted us with our reserves seating.

What was worse is that Preston had an upset tummy.  We ended our Vanuatu experience with a demanding breastfed baby with diarrhoea in a very congested airport.  Not pleasant but thankful to be flying home.

 

We returned in 2017 and married at a little paradise location we found on our first visit.

Is Vanuatu on your list of places to visit?

All in all it was a fantastic first trip despite the evacuation 2 days early!

♡Bleakley Family

 

 

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First of hopefully many blogs..

Our Wedding Location
This photo is my own from Our wedding in Vanuatu

FIRST of all HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.  I hope this year brings you lots of laughter, great health and new adventures.

FIRST POST!!

I’ve been sitting here for the past week trying to figure out how to write my first post. I now have a new respect for writers. Writers block is real and I am, by all means no writer. I don’t even read books but I guess now is the time to start.  It’s not easy trying to think of how to start or what to open with and I think for me it is the uncertainty of not knowing if I’ll be able to actually continue to find things to talk about, but I have nothing to lose, so here I go.

I have little to no writing experience. As far as I go with writing it’s the odd appreciation post on Facebook or if I am updating friends and family on my daughters outstanding sporting achievements and even that was kept to a minimal.  She is a national multiclass athletics champion by the way, with being awarded Sportsperson of the Year, two years in a row..#proudmum

I have been asking my 13 year old daughter (the athlete) for help and she has been reading over what I have written to see if she thinks it sounds good. YES! Mums need help sometimes and what better person to ask than your tech savvy teenager.

Together, we have been thinking of topics to write about and we, including my husband decided that we will stick to family travel & lifestyle with a lot of local. When I say ‘a lot of local’ it simply means we are faced with the harsh reality of needing fulltime jobs and we will be blogging our litte road trips (see what I did there), while we save for our major trips.

THE START

Our journey started when my daughter was diagnosed with a severe rod-cone dystrophy – Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition.  My darling daughter is legally blind. Now don’t get me wrong, the diagnosis hasn’t changed much of her lifestyle at the moment. She is super resilient, has adjusted well and is an oustanding athlete which keeps us busy and I think I struggled with her diagnosis more than what she did, BUT..and the is always a but, being diagnosed with this rare condition means that there is little known about the condition.  Which means, from what I understand, she could go blind at anytime or she could be lucky enough to maitain the remaining vision for a long time.  Being faced with something like this and realising time is precious, it changes your perspective.

We gave her the idea of a visual bucket list, simply, a list of things to see and do before and if she were to go blind. This has since turned into a family bucket list.  And here we are, ticking one little thing off our list at a time.

Sharing our life so publicly is a huge step and sounds a little crazy but what better way to start the new year: with a new hobby.

We’d like to give other families encouragement, inspiration and tips while travelling with children and welcome all the help and tips that you can share with us because lets face it, travelling with kids can be challenging, escpecially with a toddler.

Most importantly we’d like you to start talking about your bucket lists and start ticking things off tour things to do list.  Your bucket list doesn’t have to be huge, it could be as simple as finding out about your local attractions and making the most of what is in your local area. Just because you’re not a ‘tourist’ doesn’t mean it can’t explore the area or book a tour.

And there you have it, our first post!

Bear with us as we stumble our way through learning the ropes of blogging.


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