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In the end, it basically came down to a choice between our son and a garden gnome.

My wife and I thought it would be great fun to continue the quirky traveller’s tradition of “liberating” a gnome to take along with us on our Asian adventure. We felt that some poor old bored gnome would profit greatly from seeing the sights in Korea and, later, Southeast Asia. 

Following protocol, we would send photos to the gnome’s owner and would one day also return the gnome to his original home – with a nice photo album and (most importantly) broadened horizons.

However, it quickly became apparent that this great notion presented two problems – space and weight. 

The key to backpacking is to pack efficiently and to travel as lightly as possible. There will be times during our journey when we have to trudge a fair distance with all our gear. It will probably be hot on these occasions, and I know from experience that every unnecessary pound will be cursed.

Given that we’re travelling with our cute little toddler, Ian, keeping everything to a manageable volume and weight is already a challenge. We’re basically Sherpas for our little boy, and the amount of diapers, clothes, creams, toys, picture books and food required to keep Ian in good repair on the road will be considerable.

Ian himself takes up an ever-increasing amount of space. At fourteen months of age, he is already 34 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. He’s also a very hearty eater and will only get heavier. Of course, he will also need to be carried and will ride in a backpack-like contraption which I’ll wear.

I suppose if we left Ian behind, we could bring a garden gnome. Heck, we could probably bring three, but this was never an option.

Ian is far cuter than a gnome, is endlessly entertaining and gives really good hugs. He won hands down.

So there you have it. That’s why we are gnomeless.

Now we’ll see how the little guy does as we spend about a day travelling from Calgary to Busan, South Korea, on March 23rd. I’m hoping he sleeps a lot.

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