Wednesday Write-Up: 201 Posts!

I know it may seem silly to celebrate 201 posts, but since I didn’t realize the milestone of writing about our adventures 200 times when I was publishing my post on Monday I thought I would just celebrate it as it is.

In those 200 posts, we wrote about our beginnings, our travels, and how different and wonderful it was to travel with our (then) 2-year-old daughter. Since today I am writing about the number of times I have posted here on And Three To Go, I decided that today I wanted to share some other “numbers” of our travels.

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NUMBER OF DAYS WE HAVE BEEN TRAVELING:   472 days

NUMBER OF CITIES/TOWNS VISITED:  22

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED (NOT INCLUDING LAYOVERS): 13

NUMBER OF FLIGHTS: 30

NUMBER OF TIMES I HAVE FELT THE AWESOMENESS OF THIS GRAND ADVENTURE: Every Single Day! (Cheesy, I know, but I couldn’t help it! It is so true!)

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Our journey has changed many times along the way and it may be changing again sooner than we expected.  For those of you that are new to And Three To Go, we have been staying in Phuket, Thailand. Thailand is currently under a military coup, which has not made its way through our “expat bubble” until recently.

The Thai government is cracking down on tourists who do visa runs to extend their stay in Thailand. We have been getting the correct visa’s to stay here during our stay in this complex and wonderful country, but now the rules are changing. We will not know what those changes will entail until August 12th. Our time in Thailand may be up and we will be on the move again. New places to see, new adventures to be had! Now just to decide where to go!

Where do you think we should go? Help us research our next step (haha) and tell us what you love about the places you suggest!

If you are interested in reading about all of the places we have visited, just click on the name below:

Anaheim Disneyland, Texas, Florida, Curacao, Portugal (Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Algarve), Disney Paris, Hungary, Greece (Athens, Paros), Taiwan, Thailand (Hua Hin, Phuket), Malaysia, Singapore, Tokyo, California, England (Kettering, Bedford, London)

 

Thank you everyone for following along and being a part of our adventure traveling this wonderful world of ours! If you would like to be more a part, feel free to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

photo credit: Aaron Kyle via photopin cc

Monday Montage: Gates

In our neighborhood in Phuket, everyone has a gate. Some of the gates are ornate, some just put together out of old scraps, some wooden, some metal, the list could go on and on. As I have been jogging around this beautiful area that is my temporary home, I have pondered the gates and what they represent to me.  Do they represent keeping someone out, or keeping someone in? Do they add a sense of security in a sometimes scary world? Or are they just a way of showing that one has good stuff inside they want to keep out of the hands of others? Jogging is not much fun for me and so keeping my mind occupied with such philosophical thoughts keeps me going.

In my hometown, there were two types of gates that one would see when it came to houses.

There were “Gated Communities” which usually meant that you lived in a wealthier neighborhood and therefore had more things that you wanted to keep safe from the scary people obviously lining up to steal from you. The individual houses probably wouldn’t have gates (besides into the back yards usually), but the whole housing development would be hidden behind high walls and a remote-control gate (sometimes even a security guard to verify that you belong there). To me these neighborhoods always felt more like prisons than homes, and the gates seemed unnecessary. A showing of fear and paranoia, a person wanting to keep their stuff in and the riffraff out.

Then on the opposite end of the spectrum, there were the gates you’d see over windows, and doors, and blocking off the front yards because the houses are located in a “bad neighborhood”. I am not quite sure what constitutes a “bad” neighborhood in my hometown, except that it probably has problems with gangs and usually the people are living in poverty. There is a quote from Aristotle that says “The mother of revolution and crime is poverty” and though there has not been a revolution in my small hometown (yet), there is real crime in the more impoverished neighborhoods.  The gates in these neighborhoods are not only there to protect the stuff that is in the houses, but the people as well. There is very real danger in these neighborhoods and so the gates are almost mandatory.

It’s interesting (and sad) to me to see the similarities and differences between the two types.

Here in Phuket, most houses have gates and I am pretty sure it is for all the same reasons that they have them in the States. But, there are some really interesting ones, and I wanted to show you some of them.

IMG_1805 IMG_1807 IMG_1808 IMG_1810 IMG_1812 IMG_1815 IMG_1816 IMG_1817 IMG_1820What are your existential thoughts on gates? Do you get bored exercising like me and have philosophical inner monologues about mundane things? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

 

Monday Montage: Plans Don’t Always Go As Planned

I had a post planned for today. A good one I think. But it was not meant to be. I was going to go on a long walk around our neighborhood here in Phuket to show you some more of the sights in our area. But it was storming and too wet for me to venture out, let alone take my phone out long enough to take pictures without it getting too wet. So I have decided to do something a little different today. If traveling has taught me anything, it is that I am much happier when I am flexible about my plans.

I have decided to go through my massive amounts of photos from this year, pick out a few of my favorites, and share them with you! Hooray for feeling nostalgic and remembering all the fun this year has held so far!

And just so you don’t get too bummed, I am including some new ones from this week. Next Monday I will be following through with my plans that were “rained out.” So make sure to subscribe or follow us if you have not already!

My favorite photo of Chad and Zoë on our way to see the sites in Tokyo, Japan.

My favorite photo of Chad and Zoë on our way to see the sites in Tokyo, Japan.

Zoë dancing at Disney Tokyo

Zoë dancing at Disney Tokyo

Z playing with her cousins in Lakeport, California.

Z playing with her cousins in Lakeport, California.

Phuket Town Walking Street

Phuket Town Walking Street

Cape Panwah Phuket at sunset

Cape Panwah Phuket at sunset

My two most favorite people.

My two most favorite people. I love that I get to travel and live this incredible life with them.

Two more things before I say good-bye on this beautiful Monday. First, I have been thinking about how I would like to see pictures and hear about where you live. Would you like to be a guest blogger on And Three To Go’s Monday Montage and show our readers what your part of the world looks like? You don’t need to have your own blog to contribute. Message me on the contact form below if you are interested!  

Secondly, I have finally updated our Pinterest boards enough to share with you all. I would love it if you would follow me there as I not only share some of our own posts, but also helpful Pins that we have used for our travels.  And if you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Happy Monday!

The Free and Fun Things To Do In London with Kids

Not everything in London will cost you your first-born child, in fact many of the things that you can do are free. That’s right, FREE! On one of my recent posts about our time in England a fellow blogger  gave me the great idea to write a post about what a family can do in London on the cheap. So here I am taking her idea, thank you Free But Fun! Please make sure to check out her blog, she has tons of activities to do with kids on the cheap in her hometown of Helsinki and many great craft projects that can be done in any home anywhere!

Before I start, I feel it’s important to tell you the cheapest way to get around in London is by the London Underground or the “Tube”. We had a rental car that we just ended up parking at our apartment the whole time we were in London due to the fact that parking is very hard to find and there is a congestion charge if you drive within the city limits at certain times and days.  Taxi’s are everywhere, but we never took one, so I am unsure as to the prices of taking one.  Anyways, back to the Tube, we would just buy a day pass for zones 1-6 and that would take us pretty much anywhere we wanted in London by the Tube or train, I believe they cost about £8 per adult (Z was free).

Now onto the free and fun things that we here at And Three To Go did in London!

(Make sure to read through until the end as I am going to give a list of all the links that I found helpful in our trip!).

1. The Natural History Museum

This was Zoë’s favorite part of our trip to London, so we actually went twice! I mean it’s free, might as well take advantage of the opportunity right?! The museum is open every day of the week from 10:00 until 17:50.  The easiest way to get there is to take the Tube to the South Kensington Station and then it is a short walk from there.

The Natural History Museum in London. I have never seen a more beautifully built museum.

The Natural History Museum in London. I have never seen a more beautifully built museum.

The queue to get in can get a little long, but does move fast.

The queue to get in can get a little long, but does move fast.

The entrance hall.

The entrance hall.

We spent most of our time in the Dinosaur area of the museum, as Z fell in love with them. She especially loved the robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex that moved and roared at all the tourists. Strange kid, haha.

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Zoë and Chad being T-Rex

Zoë and Chad being T-Rex

Zoë seriously loved this robotic T-Rex, what a brave girl!

Zoë seriously loved this robotic T-Rex, what a brave girl!

There are many other exhibits to see at the Natural History Museum though, and most of them are free to enjoy. There are some areas that they do charge admission for, such as right now there is a Mammoth Exhibition among with a couple other temporary exhibits. The admission charge for those ranges by the person’s age, the exhibits that you want to see and so on. Check out their website for the most up to date information on that.

We meandered through the free exhibits for some time. All the areas were very stroller friendly, but they do have a coat check area where you can also check your stroller if you don’t feel you need it. The coat check is also free! I love it.

I would definitely recommend planning at least a couple of hours at The Natural History Museum during your trip to London. It is a must see.

1. Green Park and Hyde Park

The parks in London are beautifully kept up and are wonderful places to let your young ones run around. We enjoyed both Green Park and Hyde Park during our few days in London. Both of them are well-organized and offer much for kids and adults alike.  There are playground area’s for children, but we never made it to them, Zoë was perfectly content running around and chasing the pigeons and looking at the ducks and squirrels. I especially liked all the little kiosks that sold ice cream, like the Mr. Whippy’s I wrote about in one of my other posts… yummy. The ice cream wasn’t free, but it was worth the £2 in my opinion.  Hooray for parks (and whipped ice cream)!

The Parks are free, but it does cost to rent a chair to sit in.

The parks are free to enjoy, but it does cost to rent a chair to sit in.

3.  Piccadilly Circus

This area is a tourist trap, but it does offer a lot of picture opportunities. In fact it reminded me a lot of San Francisco’s touristy area or the pictures I have seen of New York City’s Times Square. There was a Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum, a plethora of chain restaurants, and the famous Piccadilly Circus Fountain that is compulsory to take a picture of when visiting London (right?). There are also many of the theaters where you can see plays, such as “The Lion King” and such.

Zoë with (a statue of) the tallest man in the world, in front of the "Ripleys Believe It Or Not" Museum in PIcadilly Circus

Zoë with (a statue of) the tallest man in the world, in front of the “Ripleys Believe It Or Not” Museum in PIcadilly Circus

The fountain in Piccadilly Circus... It was a bit foggy obviously.

The fountain in Piccadilly Circus… It was a bit foggy obviously.

On a side note, if you choose to take a hop-on-hop-off bus, most of them start in this area, you can actually buy the tickets in the Underground station at the information desk. I know, those are not free, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

Take the Tube to the Piccadilly Circus stop and you are there.

Also, another side note… Did you know that Circus actually is used for the word Circle, here I was expecting a show and all I got was a round about. Haha.

4. Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey

Okay, we did not enter any of these buildings, but we did take many pictures of the outside of them.If you want to enter these buildings, it is not free, in fact it is quite expensive.  We were content to marvel at the grandeur in the details that  were painstakingly included on the outside each of these monuments of London history. In the area, there were also many statues of noteworthy politicians from all over the world, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and Winston Churchill among others.   You can easily walk around here for a couple of hours and see everything.

To get here take the Tube to St. James Park or Westminster stop.

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Elizabeth Tower & Big Ben

Elizabeth Tower & Big Ben

Walking around the House of Parliament area.

Walking around the House of Parliament area.

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower

 

5. Buckingham Palace

Again, we only saw the outside of the Palace, as the tours were not happening during the time of year we were there, but even the outside was a great opportunity for pictures. It has a large road and walkway to it that is blocked off from traffic so your children can run free and use some of their endless energy.  Buckingham Palace is where you can see the changing of the guard at 11:30 (get there very early for a good spot)… we did not make it to that, but apparently it’s fun to watch.

Also, there is a little gift shop around the side that has all sorts of interesting monarchy things for sale… I have never seen so many postcards of the royal family anywhere else! Or so many Welsh Corgi stuffed dogs (apparently the Queen has this type of pup).  I still kick myself for not buying a postcard of the royal family… oh well, hindsight I guess.

Buckingham Palace Gates

Buckingham Palace Gates

The roadway to Buckingham Palace.

The roadway to Buckingham Palace.

 

These are just the highlights of the free things that we were able to do in London. I would very much suggest you check out the links I included below for more fun and free things to do in London. They were incredibly helpful to us.

Thank you again Free But Fun for the idea for today’s post! And thank you to everyone else for reading and following along on our adventures! If you would like to see more of us, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

My list of helpful links for London:

Five Best Days Out with Kids in London by  Four Kids, One Mom Travel London

Visiting London With Kids by Bubs on the Move

London With Kids by Act of Traveling

5 Things To Do With Kids in London by Escape Artists

Where To Take a Toddler in London by Blog London

Three Days in London With Kids by Fathom

Six Things To Do in London with a Toddler by St. Ermins Hotel Blog

10 Things to Do in London With Kids- 5 Of Them Free! by Travel With Bender

A Walk in London or Wrestling at the Changing of the Guards by Travel Tales of Life

 

If there are any other links that you think would be good to add to this list, please leave them in the comments and I will add them!

Wednesday Write-Up: Unending Exhaustion

As I lay dying resting during my recent illness, I thought about this blog much of the time… Well, that and how I desperately wanted to feel better of course. Luckily I am feeling almost all better. I am also lucky that my wonderful partner-in-crime helped and filled in for me on Monday so no posts were skipped despite my body telling me it was done with my abuse. I am sure thankful I married such a great guy (Thanks Chad!).

Anyways, I have come away  from my little health hiccup with a renewed desire to make this blog the most interesting, most informative, and most personal blog possible. Who knew that delirious fevers are good for is opening your mind to new ideas? I feel like I have some good posts in store for And Three To Go. Not only that, but Chad and I have also been talking about taking the blog in more directions than just written posts as well. It should be interesting and fun!

On a different note, I admit that my creativity has been drying up these last few months, I have been struggling with overwhelming exhaustion. Well, I have been tired since I had Zoë, which makes sense, most people who have small children are often tired and sleep deprived. But this lack of energy and focus I have been struggling with has continued to get worse and worse, especially since I weaned Z last year. I originally chalked it up to hormonal changes and a possibility of post weaning depression. Then I thought it was because I wasn’t sleeping enough, but now Z sleeps through the night and I get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. I am still dragging every day.  It can’t possibly still be hormones as I am sure that they would have re-righted themselves by now… I mean, come on, it’s been a year right?! So I am thinking it must be something nutritional or physical, so I am going to go to the doctor here and get a full medical work-up. I am hoping it is something easy like an iron deficiency. If it’s not, then I hope it is some other sort of easy fix, because I want to have energy and be normal again!

I didn't have a picture of me yawning, so I figured a lion yawning would be a close second.

I didn’t have a picture of me yawning, so I figured a lion yawning would be a close second.

Until I get my check-up, I am hoping you all can help me. Have you ever had a time when you just didn’t have the  “get up and go” you once had? What did you do?  Was there a supplement or diet change that helped?  Leave me a comment and let me know. Hopefully I can get my head and energy back so I can move forward with all the wonderful things I have in mind for this blog! Thanks for reading and commenting.
photo credit: RayMorris1 via photopin cc

Monday Montage: Thailand Birthday

By Chad M.

Stepping into the shoes of my illustrious wife is always daunting. She keeps up the blog with devotion and drive, and sticks to the schedule with a perseverance I can only admire. I am the erratic one. The “this is a good idea” for a moment sort of man. Check out my blog. I recently deleted all content, not that there was much, and most of what was there was an excuse for not writing more… I don’t plan, schedule, or do “lists.”

That being said, you know things are dire if I am keeping up this blog when Jenny simply can’t. We’ve had our off days before, and I wrote my excuses for her, and then it was Britain’s fault, but this time it is due to illness. Yes, sickness has struck the Mitchell household. After several plane rides, a Thailand birthday, and rainy days, Jenny and Zoë’s immune systems have yielded to the bug.

Don’t worry, they are all right, the doctor checked them for anything serious and all seems okay… but in the meantime you will have to put up with my humble offerings on the Monday Montage.

Without any further ado, here they are:

Last day in London. Zoë and Me. (We even have lightsabers in real life.)

Last day in London. Zoë and Me. (We even have lightsabers in real life.)

She had to rent the dolphin stroller on the way to Phuket Fantasea!

She had to rent the dolphin stroller on the way to Phuket Fantasea!

 

She loved her Dino party.

She loved her Dino party.

Learning and having fun planting watermelon and basil. Things grow fast here!

Learning and having fun planting watermelon and basil. Things grow fast here!

B'day Celebrations. She had way too much fun with her friends!

B’day Celebrations. She had way too much fun with her friends!

Finally back in the land of good food and sun... and she gets sick... :(

Finally back in the land of good food and sun… and she gets sick… :(

The food didn't make us sick... It is ideal!

The food didn’t make us sick… It is ideal!