Holiday of a lifetime
3 MIN READ
It was their passion for adventure that first brought Victoria and husband Ronny Villamizar all the way from their native Venezuela to Ireland.
When they saw the emerald isle, it was love at first sight.
That was 14 years ago.
A lot has happened since.
They’ve adjusted to life 4,500 miles from home and they’ve started a family – Adrian is now 4 years old and younger brother Logan is 2.
But they never lost the travel bug.
Once in a lifetime family holiday
A few months ago, Victoria happened to look over at Logan and realised that he would soon be two years old.
How had the time passed so quickly?
Logan was adding new words to his vocabulary every day and getting more and more independent.
While older brother, Adrian, would soon be starting school in September.
Her boys seemed to be growing up so fast.
Victoria and Ronny had always wanted to see and learn more about Southeast Asia.
Suddenly, it felt like it was now or never.
So they both applied for a career break at work and started planning their family holiday of a lifetime.
Exotic holiday destinations for a lifetime of memories
For 2 months, this summer, their travel itinerary took them to a range of exotic holiday destinations.
Kuala Lumpur, the Perhentian islands, Penang, the Langkawi archipelago, Bali, Lombok, Singapore, back to Bali and then home via Kuala Lumpur.
Before they left, Victoria was ‘a little nervous about how the boys would react to being away from home for such a long time – and the mosquitoes.’
But what was she excited about?
‘So much! The culture, the food, seeing the world through the children’s eyes,’ she says.
‘More importantly, just getting that precious time together with the family – no routine, no work, no commute, just quality time exploring the world.
We will never get this time back and I really appreciate how precious this time is.’
A real family holiday of a lifetime
They brought Mama Carmen, Victoria’s mother, with them.
‘Initially she was very apprehensive,’ Victoria says.
‘She deliberated whether she would or wouldn’t come but finally she agreed and then she had her bags packed 2 days earlier than everyone else.
I guess we know where the travel bug comes from in the family now!’
This was a trip of a lifetime for the family and one they truly believed they must either take now or miss out on forever.
Adjusting to new experiences and routines
One of the challenges they faced at the start was the kids struggling to adapt to the change of time zone which knocked routines like bedtimes and meal times out of synch.
So they were a bit grumpy until they adjusted and could enjoy themselves.
Then there was the food.
‘At the beginning,’ Victoria says, ‘it was fine. ‘Let’s try this. Let’s try that.’
But after three weeks, Adrian and Logan started to rebel.
It was like, ‘oh, I don’t want to eat more fried rice. I don’t want to eat more fried noodles.’
So the family had to try and find some Western food for them for a while until this phase passed.
Enough memories for several lifetimes
But these were minor issues.
The main impression they had was of the overwhelming beauty of the places they visited and the kindness and friendliness of the local people.
Take, for example, their arrival at Pulau Perhentian Besar, in the Perhentian Islands.
‘The boat left us at the jetty,’ says Victoria.
A guy from the resort came in a boat to pick up our bags to bring them to the resort so that we didn’t have to carry the bags through the sand.
We did an early check in and went up to our room, which was practically in the middle of the island inside the jungle!
In front of our room was a big mango tree which was full of bats and monkeys jumping everywhere.’
And their experience of religion in Bali.
‘They make offerings to the gods every single day,’ says Victoria.
You can see them in the shops, the restaurants, even inside cars.
This is what they believe.
In Lombok, it was only in the temples, but in Bali, it was just, everywhere.’
A holiday of a lifetime on a budget
All in all, they spent 60 days travelling around Malaysia (20 days), Indonesia (30 days), and Singapore (7 days).
They took 8 flights, around 14 boats trips, 2 ferries, 1 night bus and many taxis.
The total cost was about €12,000 including flights, accommodation, food, internal transfers and tours for 3 adults and 2 children.
That might sound like a lot but it was for 5 people and it meant Victoria and Ronny had to keep tight control of their budget.
But it was all worth it for a holiday of a lifetime.
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