Well, we are officially just over half-way through our big trip, so I thought I would reflect on a few things we have learned thus far traveling internationally and traveling together. We are in pause mode, as we have stopped in Penestanan, Bali (near Ubud) for one month, mostly to have a break from constantly moving around. We exist a bit as though we live here. The kids are in school part-time, we have connected with some expat families, and we have developed neighborhood friendships as well as a daily routine. Such has afforded me a moment to think about how awesome this trip has been for our family. It is time to appreciate it on deeper level, before it becomes yet another life event of the past.
Ok, so what have we learned?
We are now more fearless when it comes time to just get up and go, whether it is for a 2 hour outing or a journey across international borders. Going to a new country, sort of a big deal, but not really. We just dive in!
Letting go of material things is not hard, from very small things to big, namely the contents of our house currently packed away in our garage, which we really could care less about at this point. Merle has not mentioned Thomas the Train and his wooden set once.
That we can in fact all sleep together in one room.
That Merle is always a really good sport to sleep on the floor, especially when he is the only one doing it.
You will not necessarily get sick in a developing country from the food or overall lack of sanitation. Sometimes, you will even find restaurants like this:
How to pare down over time on a long trip: leave something behind everywhere you go.
We have learned to be more tolerant of situations we would normally never have our kids in, such as dirty accommodations, crowded markets (I am not talking Target) sleeping on floors, walking through mud mixed with who knows what, walking in a crowded street, or when people want to touch them or take their picture, sketchy toilets, having no idea what will arrive on the dinner table, and traveling without car seats. Sometimes, we have no choice concerning the latter.
The kids now know how to fear cars and motorbikes more. For the most part, they now cross a road, even the smallest path, with safety in mind.
We can at least say 1,2,3, hello and thank you in 4 different languages.
That little kids are not necessarily adverse to trying new and/or weird foods, and I am talking WEIRD WEIRD like scorpion. Merle is our man for this.
Kids can adapt to a nomadic life like it is nothing.
Humans can thrive both in the nomadic state and settled state.
Our kids don’t care as much as we do about nice accommodations. They do not notice black mold, rat poop, dust, grime, a crummy roof, and have learned to sleep anywhere, through anything. This is the back view of our rather nasty, leaking roof and poorly maintained pool in Penestanan.
That Mathilda is absolutely not freaked out when holding big bugs, such as a fighting beetle, preying mantis, stick bug, or gigantic, fuzzy caterpillars.
Mathilda loves animals. She does not judge them even if they need a shampoo.
Merle is the best sleeper of the family.
We expected to miss our dog Hazel, but we miss her exponentially more.
Travel makes family a tighter unit.
Travel can make siblings good friends, even best friends.
Looking at these pictures taken of Mathilda in Nyaung Shwe, Burma back in October makes me realize how quickly she continues her metamorphose into a big girl. She seemingly was born grown up already and is growing up more, way too fast! If you have kids, take a moment from your device and appreciate what you have. Before you know it, they may be crazy adults like us, taking their own kids to far flung places where anything is possible.