FAQ: About our trip Around The Black Sea (2010)
Why around the Black Sea?
For us it was clear from the beginning that our first big trip with small Hanna should be by car. So suddenly our two backpacks transformed into a Renault Espace – a real family car – full of nappies (they took up most of the space), baby food (easier to have it readily available), baby clothes (because this kid is growing every day) and travel bed for Hanna (so she has her own castle and a safe, well-known place). This time we’re not the hitchhikers anymore, but the family who can pick up other people.
Secondly we had to choose a not too distant route in order to be able to come back home quickly, if needed. So all of Latin America will have to wait for the future.
Thirdly we were both more interested in the East than in the West. European Union countries are becoming more and more similar to each other: shopping windows are the same everywhere, people wear same clothes. So… into the East! We looked at the map and the Black Sea route came up naturally. Such a nice, complex circle. At least one of us has been in almost all nine countries before, we know the languages (Russian, Polish, Ukrainian); we have many friends on the way. And there is the sea which will remind us that it’s our holiday!
Why start now?
Because it’s the best thing ever to see how your baby starts to move, stand, walk and talk. Not to miss a second. Thanks to this trip our small new family is spending every single day together.
Furthermore the German state subsidizes the first 14 months of any baby’s life (“Elterngeld”) which encouraged us to do what we always wanted: not working, but traveling, being with our baby. So let’s go!
How can we travel with such a small baby?
We believe that what a baby of Hanna’s age needs most is: food, sleep and… happy parents. The view outside of the window can change but her teddy bear is the same, the songs in our car are the same, the way we play together in the morning is the same. She is discovering the world very intensively: her first meeting with the sea, falling in love with dirty, homeless dogs in Romania, the sound of cows, sheep and birds.
The timing of our trip is good for us – because Hanna is still cannot walk (so she cannot run away), toys and parents are still entertaining enough (so we don’t have to stop on playgrounds), and she still sleeps twice a day (we can use this time for moving forward).
Since there are babies everywhere, it’s actually no problem to get baby food, milk, clothes, Pampers anywhere. It’s just a state of mind thinking that kids make everything more difficult. A baby can enrich your travel experiences with their curiosity. People smile more and are more helpful around a baby.
Where do we sleep?
Firstly: all you need are friends. Some give you their bed, a space on the ground, others will help with emergencies like finding a hospital or dealing with the police. Fortunately we have many friends in all the countries we’re going to. So it’s possible to use washing machines or update our blog. Secondly: we prepared our car so we can comfortably sleep in it. Thirdly: we have a tent.
And in worst case scenarios, there are always hostels and rooms to rent (which may be cheaper than one night in our house – that we subleted for the time of the trip).