Do We Travel?
Welcome to our Where page. It shows where our family has travelled to in the world.
We started off with shorter trips. Our then much younger family members spent 4-5 weeks backpacking in and around many South East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia. We loved the shorter trips so much that we jumped into the big league and took on backpacking around the world for 365-days in 2017.
The shorter trips taught us everything we needed to know to make the longer 2017 travel journey a success. In a nutshell, the shorter travel trips we completed between 2012 and 2016 is viewed as our family backpacking apprenticeship years while the 365-day was the professional 2017 gap year!
And like all good resumes, below is an overview of our backpacking journeys to date from most recent. We’ve also included a map and some photos of our backpacking tribe.
Sixbackpacks’ 365-day Family Travel Adventure
2017 was an epic year of travel for Sixbackpacks. We departed home, routine, comfort zone for the opportunity to take a year out of our busy home-work-school triad to travel slow and immerse our family in the amazing cultures of the world. Check out the map.
Sixbackpacks’ in Cambodia: The 3rd Family Travel Backpacking Trip
This trip was broken up into two components. The first in Phuket was two weeks of rest and relaxation. The second was a backpacking trip with more adventure.
Phuket, Thailand – 26 June to 11 July 2015 | Cambodia Adventure – 11 July to 26 July 2015
The best bit about both trips – we got to spend it with extended family. Thailand was spent at a resort with my parents Pete and Rob, while Steve’s sister Andrea and her two boys Luke and Harry met us in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a two-week tour of the country.
My parents had been contemplating a family holiday overseas with us all for a while. There were 11 of us – 2 grandparents, 4 parents, 5 grandchildren, and numerous soft toys! It takes some time to get your head around planning such a trip. But they did it and we got to explore and play in Phuket for two lovely weeks. But if you know us, the Sixbackpacks, we’re not the resort kind of family.
Bring some backpacking back! Extended family dynamics changed in Cambodia – 3 adult parents, 3 teenagers and 3 tweens. It was one of the best experiences we’ve had overseas – backpacking around Cambodia via buses for two weeks staying in dorm accommodation in Siem Reap and literally getting lost while visiting the Angkor Wat temples in a massive thunderstorm! Plus there was a homestay in the rural area of Kampong Cham where we played soccer in the further torrential rain with the locals, hitting the restaurants of developing Phnom Penh city and understanding the devastating era of the Killing Fields and S21 Prison.
Sixbackpacks’ in Myanmar (Burma): The 2nd Family Travel Backpacking Trip
A four-week backpacking trip in and around Myanmar departing on 7 September 2013. We really enjoyed exploring this recently opened-up country to the world. We are ultra-excited, knowing what backpacking is all about since travelling throughout Vietnam last year, but realise Myanmar – a little more unknown and harder to travel through – will test our travel tenacity.
We commenced our journey in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) and the former capital city and make our way north following a circular loop of buses around the country to see the cities of Inle Lake and Mandalay then a ferry meandering down the Ayeyarwady River to the ancient temple city of Bagan. A short drive to the west coast to a less popular beach area called Chuang Tha Beach for some swimming in the Bay of Bengal.
I’m a book lover, so I collect books along the travelling journey. So not good for baggage weight or my back! The opportunity to travel by train east from Yangon to Moulmein where the likes of Kipling wrote Road to Mandalay (which was the only city in Myanmar he actually visited) was there but we ran out of time. The main pagoda is the setting for Burma Girl. George Orwell also spent time in this city and wrote Shooting an Elephant which was an experience he had while a police officer in the city of Mawlamyine/Moulmein.
The other city I would have loved to have visited was Myitkyina located north of Mandalay in the Kachin State. Unfortunately, due to civil unrest in this area, it’s a no-go tourist zone. But the city itself has an amazing colonial history and to this day still operates cinderella-style carriages within the city as its mode of transport.
We also plan to make a difference in Myanmar (as per Vietnam 2012) and assist very poor families living in and around Yangon as well as an orphanage outside of Mandalay. Our fundraising effort was led by our four school-aged daughters – Charlie (Year 7), Ashley (Grade 6), Billie (Grade 3) and Dacey (Grade 2) with the support of their school communities and sporting clubs. They sold colourful silicon wristbands with a message on them – Supporting Orphans of Burma. The needs of the orphanages in Myanmar are just as needy as those in Vietnam, maybe even more so due to Myanmar being one of the poorest countries in South East Asia.
Sixbackpacks’ in Vietnam: The 1st Family Travel Backpacking Trip
How appropriate that it was the American Independence Day – 4 July 2012 that we chose to be departing on our very first family backpacking trip to Vietnam.
Our daughters are Charlie (11 years), Ash (10 years), Billie (8 years), and Dacey (6.5 years). Carrying backpacks around Vietnam. Commencing in the capital city Hanoi and then boarding a number of trains and buses all the way down south to bustling Ho Chi Minh City.
Call us inspiring, call us crazy…we’re probably a good mix of both. Here are photos of the four girls in 2012!
We embarked on a 5-week journey that changed our lives forever and made us travellers and backpackers forever.
Our Personal Goal – Why We Family Backpack
Backpacking provides our four privileged Aussie millennium daughters with an opportunity to experience the world outside of their normal life/perspective and classroom and it doesn’t cost the earth! It’s possible, and if we can do it with four kids anyone can!
I also want to give my daughters a unique set of experiences while they’re young enough to be influenced by them and grow into their experiences. They will get to see for themselves how so many millions of people live in the world, often a vastly different life to what they term ‘normal’ life back home in Australia. I hope it gives them an insight into our amazingly diverse world, motivates them to be more empathetic and understanding towards others and difference, and they catch the itch to continue travelling and exploring and wandering around the world when they fly the family coop.
Sixbackpacks’ in India Trip: The Lisa-Only Solo Travel Backpacking and Volunteering Trip
How does solo travel, female solo travel fit into this preoccupation with family backpacking travel? Somehow! When I’m given an opportunity to travel and help make a difference in the world I’ll take it with both hands!
Steve and I worked everything out – kids, school holidays, annual leave. On the home front Steve could cover most of the school holidays with the girls with help from grandparents, and on the work front I negotiated some time off without pay. Before I knew it, I was booking my solo Air India flight to New Delhi. This trip represented my second solo trip away without my Sixbackpacks family. The first was a trip to Europe in 2006. Having four children under five years (in my late 20s and early 30s) I was never going to get a chance to experience a Contiki tour. So at the tender age of 33, I travelled alongside a bus full of young-party-goer-20-somethings to Europe for 3.5 weeks. If I could do that, I could accomplish India on my own. I was going to be away from my family for 42 days in total this time.
I spent the first few days in the capital city Delhi just lost! It was cold too and I was alone. Great lesson in resilience when things are not going your way. I organised a golden triangle tour: Agra to see the Taj Mahal, Jaipur celebrating New Year’s Eve 2014 with samosas and a Kingfisher and Ajmer/Pushkar (for a ride on a camel in the desert).
I got around with an Indian driver named Ravikumar (Ravi for short). Ravi moved to Delhi to get driving work and left his young family in their rural hometown. He worked for a couple of years in the sprawling capital city of Delhi in an attempt to make ends meet.
I started the four-week volunteer immersion program with nine Melbourne University students after exploring Delhi and the Golden Triangle solo. We met each other at the airport and were transferred to Buldhana by drivers Sagar and Sam. It was here that I immersed myself in the diverse Indian culture and fell absolutely in love with it.
Delhi & Northern Golden Triangle
28 December 2014 – 4 January 2015
India Volunteer Immersion Program
5 January – 5 February 2015