Check out our inspiring travelers for this month! We met the awesome family of Taking the Big Break while in Singapore and spent the day sharing stories and tips while touring the city. The boys were excited to tell us all about their travels and we were so impressed by their knowledge and articulation. Check out their blog here and don’t miss Lorenzo’s section (The Lo Down) where he posts from a kids perspective.
Tell us a bit about yourselves:
We are a family of four from Portland, Oregon. We set off in September of last year to travel around the world for a year with our two boys, ages 6 and 10.
What made you decide to go on a RTW trip?
Our family loves to travel. Even before we had children, we lived overseas for a few years and have always enjoyed traveling and exploring new cultures. Once the children were born, we refused to slow down. Both boys had passports before they were six weeks old and have collected many stamps in their passports. Once the kids arrived, we decided we didn’t want to wait until we retire to travel and do new things, like work with elephants or learn to surf so we’ve continued to take trips whenever possible and love it.
As parents, we love having the uninterrupted time with our boys to explore, learn and experience new things. We love seeing their eyes light up when they are learning new things and hearing them tell stories to their family and friends about the new friends they make, the trivia they learn, and the new experiences they’ve encountered.
At home, it felt like we were caught up in daily juggle of business ownership, household chores, children’s school and sports activities, and more. While we enjoy our life at home, something was missing. We knew that as the boys hit their teenage years, it becomes harder and harder to break away so we wanted to do it before it became impossible.
What has been your favorite place so far?
The boys always dread being asked this; it is so difficult to answer. There has been such a wide variety of cultures, places and experiences, we have had. The awesome places such as Angkor Wat and snorkeling through pristine tropical coral are impossible to compare to the cultural differences of staying with a Japanese family, meeting new friends in an immigration line or sharing dinner with other traveling families around the world.
That said, certainly volunteering for a week at Elephant Nature Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand was one of our highlights. The week of helping care for the elephants was an unforgettable experience, and we met great people there. We even met up with some of them again in Australia and will again in South Africa.
Where are you most looking forward to going?
We are really looking forward to exploring some of Greece and the places that are talked about in Ancient mythology. My 10 year old (who also writes for our blog) has been really interested in Greek mythology for years so Greece was his number one country to visit. He will be planning that leg of our trip this summer so stay tuned….
Tell us about your favorite food or meal you have had on your trip
When we were visiting friends in Japan, we had a Nagashi Somen party on a sunny afternoon in their yard. Nagashi Somen translates to “Flowing Ramen Noodles” which we had to catch with chopsticks as it flowed down bamboo shoots. Our friends’ family made the trough by cutting long bamboo poles in half lengthwise. Water runs down the trough along with the cold ramen noodles. We then “fished” for the ramen, dipping them into the bowl of sauce before slurping them down. As you can imagine, for two boys who aren’t very practiced at using chopsticks, it was a small feat to actually catch. And, normally, there is also some urgency to the meal as traditionally the noodles that make it all the way to the bottom without being caught are discarded.
What has been your best splurge?
Just this past month in Australia, we stayed on Heron Island, an eco-resort in the Great Barrier Reef for three nights. I was really excited about snorkeling in the GBR so it was marvelous to actually stay out on the reef. While it felt like a big splurge, in the end, it turned out to be less so than we expected as it was all inclusive of the boat trips out there and back, lodging, meals, activities, etc for all of us. On clear days, the snorkeling was amazing; we were able to see a plethora of amazing fish, rays, sharks, and coral. For an added bonus, we were on Heron Island during turtle nesting season which also meant turtle hatchlings! For several month beginning in December and January, turtles come up to nest, and 60 days later, the hatchling start emerging. It seemed like every time we walked out on the beach, we could see hatchlings clumsily making their way down the beach. They were so cute!
What do you find hardest about long-term travel?
All the smokers. We come from Portland and honestly, my kids don’t know anyone who smokes. In Asia, it seems like everyone does, even the travelers!
Other than family and friends, what do you miss most about home?
We love to eat and are an adventurous bunch. The kids try and eat almost anything, and we have loved the food all throughout our trip. But at home, we tend to eat a different ethnicity every night of the week – Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Korean, you name it. So I guess I’d say we miss the variety of foods. And, of course, our espresso machine and good coffee.
Any tips or words of advice for those dreaming about traveling?
To take the words of a sports company…… JUST DO IT!
Honestly, before we left we got sick of hearing “I would do that if I could.” Certainly, not everyone can. But we also sacrificed a LOT. We didn’t have cable or smart phones. Our kids wore hand-me-downs. We drove old cars and didn’t carry debt. And, we worked hard and saved for years. It can be done but you have to work hard and plan for it.
For us, there is no better way to connect with our boys as well learn and grow together.