Parents take two young sons 13,000 miles round the world using every form of transport EXCEPT planes


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Categories: Life Stories
  • Bruce Kirkby and his wife Christine Pitkanen took their two sons aged three and seven on a holiday of a lifetime
  • They travelled by canoe, carrier ship, tuk-tuk, riverboat and even a yak as they went from Canada to the Himalayas
  • Their adventures were filmed as part of a nine-episode series, which saw them reach a remote Buddhist monastery

Travelling with children is a challenge for most parents - so the mother and father who took their two boys, three and seven, on a 13,000 mile journey from Canada to the Himalayas without a single plane journey deserve the utmost respect.

Bruce Kirkby and Christine Pitkanen's ultimate destination was a cliff-side Buddhist monastery in the Zanskar Valley and to get there the family's modes of transport included rickshaws, yaks, trains and canoes.

Their epic journey was filmed for a nine-episode series, Big Crazy Family Adventure, which shows how they achieved their ambitious goal and saw incredible sights such as the Great Wall of China and Hong Kong’s Shingo La Pass along the way.

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Intrepid explorers: Bruce Kirkby and his wife Christine Pitkanen took their two sons Bodi and Taj, aged three and seven, on a holiday of a lifetime including seeing sights such as the Great Wall of China

Apart from planes, the brood journeyed 13,000 miles from Canada to the Himalayas using every form of transport including the pictured rickshaw in Kathmandu, Nepal Their adventures were filmed as part of a nine-episode series, which saw them eventually reach a remote Buddhist monastery in Zanskar. Pictured are Bodi and Taj Kirkby poking their heads out the Shatabdi Express train for a look, as they fly along the tracks to Chandigarh, India Not the usual mode of transport: The family got the chance to ride on yaks as part of their epic land and sea adventure

Kirkby and Pitkanen describe how they had dreams of staying at the Buddhist location but that the 'someday' never seemed to come.

Following the birth of their sons Bodi and Taj, they decided to clear their schedules and head out on the road in pursuit of fulfilling their mission.

'We were attracted to the idea of the grand, overland journey - a romantic thing of the past almost now,' Bruce told MailOnline Travel.

Their decision to attempt the mission by land and sea was one inspired by Bruce's dad's emigration from England to Canada in the 50s, where he returned by steamer.

'Planes are kind of like magic time machines, we get in, have a meal, snooze a bit or watch movie, and wake up in Bangkok or Singapore - which a few generations ago would have taken four weeks or more to reach,' he expanded. 

'In that sense, planes diminish not just time and distance, but everything else in between, the great frontiers and natural barriers and civilizations.'

The family witnessed colourful flags and bunting decorating Manali in India on their mission to the Himalayan monastery in the Zanskar Valley

The Kirkby family set off on their Big Crazy Family Adventure 

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