We’re two months away from our next big family adventure! We’ve been looking forward to it for months and I can’t believe it’s getting so close.

So, what are we doing?

We’re going to AFRICA and more!

We start with a 3 day layover in Morocco. Followed by 4 weeks in Togo, Benin & Burkina Faso…

W Africa Names

…and end with 10 days in Paris and Germany exploring some Christmas markets.

I’m not sure if I’m more excited for Africa, or the Christmas markets!

So, why did we pick this?

Randy suggested West Africa cuz it’s not a common vacation destination. We want a local experience. The potential to be the only tourists in a given place at any time. To interact with people and experience what it’s like to LIVE there. This is easier to do in less-traveled locations.

Since the girls are still little we’re trying to focus more on travels centred around culture and animals. It’s more meaningful for them to experience something as opposed to just witness it. We’ll save the bigger monuments for another year or two.

Africa is FULL of experiences, animals and culture. Especially West Africa. Benin is the birthplace of Voodoo. There’s a few small safari parks with an abundance of wildlife. We’ll spend time at a homestay in our guide’s village. Learn about slavery at the castle where millions of slaves sailed for the Americas. Visit the painted mud-hut villages in Burkina and Togo, and floating villages in Benin. Every day will be an experience!

Elephant

Kacela’s especially excited to see the elephants. Luckily they’re found in relative abundance in both Benin and Burkina Faso. (Photo Credit: StockUnlimited)

Plus, this part of Africa is relatively safe. Sure, Mali is a mess right now, which I’m super sad about. We’ll be SO close to Timbuktu without being able to visit. And Burkina Faso borders Mali, with a travel advisory against the 50km adjacent to the Mali border. We can handle staying away from there. Other than that, these 3 countries are small post-colonial democracies who each earned their independence from France in 1960.

I’ve been joking that France is likely less safe than West Africa right now.

It might not be a joke.

So why are we going to Europe?

Many of the flights out of West Africa pass through Paris. And we LOVE Paris. It’s the perfect excuse to stop for a few days.

Then I realized…it’s Christmas market season!

Last year when we were deciding on our Christmas vacation I wanted to go to Germany to the Christmas markets. Randy said no. He didn’t want to leave winter for winter! I get it, and I’m grateful for it now cuz we had an amazing time in Honduras. But, the idea of the German Christmas markets has been taunting me ever since.

When I realized we were going to be close, it was added to the itinerary. We’ll do a quick 4-day tour of Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Freiburg and Basel, then head back to Paris for 6 days of delicious food before coming home.

Right now I’m busy figuring out what to pack and what we’re going to do. I’ll write about both of these things in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!