Archive for the ‘2007-07 to 2007-08, Pre-Trip and Travel’ Category

First Arrival!

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

We landed in San Jose’ about 9 AM Friday, and after an almost four hour (harrowing yet beautiful and exciting) bus ride to Quepos, we arrived in mid thunderstorm to be met by our host family. The area is beautiful and we visited with the family and some other guests from Alaska that left early this morning. We have Saturday and Sunday to relax and wander around town (which is slightly smaller than Fort Smith) before we start classes (early! at half past seven) on Monday morning. We’re told it rains most every afternoon for a couple of hours, but it is glorious and sunny (and HOT!) this morning. We are in the same time zone as Edm. and the NWT but the wireless internet is too slow to use the WIFI VOIP phone. We’ll check-in again later tomorrow or so!

On Our Way!

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Wow! We’ve finally left town and what a wickedly busy week in Edmonton it was… Unfortunately we missed getting a chance to visit a lot of people that we wanted to, but time was pretty limited. Most of our plane bookings throughout the entire trip are red eye flights to save a bit of extra money. When we land in San Jose, Costa Rica on Friday the 10th, (at about 9:00 AM) we have a couple hours to make our way to the public bus terminal and then we have a 3.5hour milk run ride down to Quepos where we’re staying with a local family. It looks like they have a great place, and we’re really looking forward to our stay there. We’ve been told by many others that have visited Mexico, central America & South America that it is very common to have strong iron fences around the home property and that most kids stay at home until they get married. The information that COSI school sent us is:

Monther: Maricela Umaña Quirós, November 19, 1960, Housewife
Daughter, Annia Carranza Umaña, April 14, 1981, Receptionist
Son, Randall Carraza Umaña, April 25, 1982, Receptionist
Son, Luis Gabriel Umaña, January 24, 1989, Maintenance

The day before we leave…

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Claudette and I are both screwing around on the computer a bit!!!  Tonnes of “higher priority” stuff to do and yet here we are, weak willed and messing around & procrastinating.

We had a neighborhood block party on Saturday and all had a fantastic time! We closed down either end of our short road and set up the lawn chairs, a massive sound system, a water slide and an extensive buffet table.  Ann & Nat organized everything, and the whole neighborhood as well as many other friends from town (plus Hay Rivierra!) joined in for a great socially relaxing time. Troy kept (somehow???) getting wet and went through several clothes changes, while the rest of the kids ran rampant around the houses playing all sorts of games. It was initially organized as a send off party for us, but turned into an awesome gathering for all to socialize and have fun at! I’ll upload some pictures shortly to the gallery.

We met with our tenants last night and went through all the things about the house (and neighborhood) that they need to know. That stuff is all set! Now we just need to finish a bit of packing and cleaning…   We head off to High Level tomorrow (Tuesday) just before noon to spend the night there. We plan on meeting up with the Gauthier’s for the night and visiting a bit before they come home the next day and we head on to Edmonton. From there we have a week for errands and a bit of family visiting and goodbyes before flying South to Costa Rica on August 9th. Whew!!!


Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Here’s a rough line map with labeled segments of our entire trip. For a more thorough list, please see our spreadsheet itinerary link.

The Google line map routing page is:

Google Map Route

Tours & Bookings

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

We are starting with two weeks of Spanish lessons for the entire family in Costa Rica at:

Then we have a Gap Adventures family tour booked for Peru & Ecuador (the Galapagos Islands):

For Australia we Have a camper van booked for six weeks starting in Sydney and finishing in Brisbane. We have no idea of a route and are still toying with the possibility of a super long (and straight & boring) drive to iconic Ayers Rock. Any suggestions or comments of worthwhile sights in Australia are heartily welcomed. Please send any comments to: travel (at) The Toyota van we are renting is from: Voyager

After that we have no major tours or “equipment” bookings. We’d like to have one through Egypt & Jordan but no tour companies that we have found on the net are interested in taking bookings from families this far in advance for the time frame we will be there. Other than that we’ll probably rent a small car from Rome through Europe until Paris. We’re still looking into the possibility of some helpX or woofing farm stays depending upon how our money is holding out by the time we get to Europe. After the grand old Chunnel ride we’ll rent another small car in the UK to tour around there until we hit Dublin and then fly back to Halifax in Canada.

There are an abundance of travel reference websites (commercial & private) which Claudette & I have devoured. The most recent one I stumbled upon is from a family that most closely seems to resemble ours & our situation & goals than most others that we have encountered. They traveled for ten months back in 2001 & 2002. The main difference is that they schooled their three kids for the duration and with their comments it strongly solidified our feelings of not wanting to bother with “official” curriculum while we’re traveling. Too funny that the wife/mother’s maiden name is also James…

The Journey’s about to begin!

Monday, May 7th, 2007

And we all can’t wait! A couple entries of our previous BLOG I had set up were reanrranged when I transfered over to wordpress. At least we weren’t part way into the trip when it happened.

We don’t have renters for the house yet, but there are a couple of good prospects. We do however have our plane tickets for the first half (time wise) in hand though, and all of our passports! We have the Spanish school in Costa Rica booked and are pretty excited about the beach school being our first stop. Rick is going to take scuba lessons in Edmonton first and Claudette, Alex & Luke will be taking snorkeling lessons as well.

Claudette & I have decided to not bother with taking a laptop computer. instead we’ll buy a PDA with a fold out full-sized keyboard. This will easily suffice for blog entries and our individual daily logs. Every week or two when we get handy to an internet computer we’ll publish the blog entries and backup picture and journal files.


Several friends and family members have made plans to meet up at various spots along our rough route as well. There’s always room for more though! The latest addition to this list is Rick’s Dad & his wife Dianne who have secured a friends villa in Greece for us to share for a couple weeks in the Spring of 2008.

So plans and bookings are progressing well. Our itinerary is at the list page, (link available from the main website). Any suggestions or comments anyone has for spots to see or places to stay along our route are welcomed by way of the comments section or by email.