Every year during the Myanmar Thingyan celebration, the expats leave town. In Yangon, the streets are full of parties and people spray each other with water for several days. The grocery stores, offices and restaurants are all closed; there's just not much to do. It makes sense to get out and travel in the region for a week or two.
For our first two Thingyans we headed to the beach, and suffered extremely hot temperatures. This year, we wanted to go somewhere cooler. When our friends first suggested that we go trekking in Nepal, I thought it sounded a bit ambitious for a 2-year-old, 4-year-old and two 6-year-olds. But we found a tour company that seemed to understand our needs, and a route that sounded feasible. I tried to suppress my anxiety whenever someone said, "trekking? With CHILDREN?" and off we went.
Dusty, polluted, and colorful, Kathmandu was our first stop.
Each family hopped into a rickshaw (the first of many slightly terrifying experiences on the trip) and we did some sightseeing.
The next morning we discovered the difficulty of domestic travel in Nepal. What was supposed to be a short flight to Pokhara turned into an all-day wait at the airport. The kids didn't complain once, but the adults found it very frustrating.
When we finally started our trek along the Annapurna Circuit, Charlotte proved herself to be a strong and fast hiker.
And the Himalaya mountains proved to be spectacular, as promised.
My favorite part was walking through villages and seeing daily life of the people who lived there.
We explored temples on mountain paths...
We enjoyed nature...
And best of all, we enjoyed each other's company.
If you're thinking about trekking with young kids, I recommend you take it slow, and be as flexible as possible, because you just never know what will happen when little ones are involved.
As for photography, I spent weeks debating whether I should bring my nice DSLR or just rely on an iPhone or the little Fuji camera. In the end, I brought the Nikon DSLR. I probably could have gotten by with the Fuji or a newer iPhone, though. If you really love photographing landscapes and mountains, then it might be worth it to take a nicer camera. But in my case, I'm much more interested in portraits. It was a lot of extra weight, lugging around the body and two lenses (my faves: an 85 and a 24); I also worried about leaving my expensive gear in hotel rooms, so I had to carry it with me everywhere we went. So, my advice is to travel light, and try to focus on the experience more than the photos.