This summer we won't be sending the kids to camp and hitting the beach. Instead, on June 26th, Scott, Melanie, Lucas and Sydney depart for a 2 month adventure in Peru where we'll immerse ourselves in peruvian culture, volunteer to help those less privileged, hike the Inca Trail and live in the jungle. Follow our blog for regular updates, pictures and videos from all 4 of us.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

70 Days To Go

Well, we're 70 days away and lots of planning is done...

  • Itinerary is set!  We'll be volunteering in Cusco.  Plan is to spend 6 weeks in cusco doing mostly orphanage work (although Melanie may spend 1-2 weeks doing nutrition work), followed by 2 weeks of Jungle Conservancy in the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
  • Flights are booked!  We leave June 26th and return August 26th.  Not a ton of flight options from Los Angeles to Peru so our flight there is a red eye and we have a 6 hour layover in Lima before making it to Cusco.
  • Inca Trail Trek is reserved!  That's right...Melanie, me and our 7 and 6 year-old kids are going to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  Well, not exactly the full trail.  We signed up the 2 day trek where we'll walk for about 6 hours to Machu Picchu, spend the night in Aquas Calientes, tour the ruins and then take the train back to Cusco.  Check out the details here.

But there are still tons left to do...vaccinations, packing, planning and, of course, we're still trying to rent our house out.  Know someone that wants to spend the summer in Laguna Beach?  Check out our rental on VRBO!  If you're interested, email me and we'll work something out :-)!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Volunteer in Peru with IVHQ

Here's a video from IVHQ about volunteering in Cusco...

Summer Plans

As most of you probably know by now, we've decided to take a non-conventional summer vacation this summer.  Melanie, Lucas, Sydney and I plan on spending July and August traveling, treking and taking in another country and culture.  So how did this trip come about?  Well, the truth is I was transitioning jobs and was thinking about taking some time know, read some books, go to the gym and just generally enjoy some down time.  Well, I had coffee with a friend and he wasn't much a fan of the plan.  His 2 cents...if you're going to take time off, make it memorable, travel, get out of your comfort zone!

Well, I discussed the idea with Melanie, and she loved it...rather than send the kids to camp or take in another Bexley July 4th celebration, we'll spend this summer traveling as a family!  Now that it was settled, we just had to decide where to go and what to do.  Well, we knew we didn't want the experience to just be an extended vacation, with 5-star hotels and fancy dinners.  Not only do we need to be a bit budget conscious, we wanted the experience to be both memorable and immersive for our kids so, instead, we settled on volunteer tourism where we'll have the opportunity to see another culture up close by living and interacting with locals and giving back.

We reviewed lots of volunteer groups and ultimately settled on IVHQ.

IVHQ has a great reputation, programs in lots of different countries and reasonable fees.  We looked at lots of opportunities...Croatia, Tanzania, and all throughout South America...and as much as I wanted to go to Africa, we settled on Peru because of the diversity of volunteer opportunities, proximity to the U.S. (central time zone!), and language (Melanie majored in Spanish in college).

So...we're all signed up and ready to go. Keep an eye out here for more details as the trip comes together and watch for video blog posts from Lucas and Sydney documenting their experiences throughout the trip.