Of all the amazing things to see in Rome you might ask why on earth I even mention Cats. The reason is simply that my kids love animals and needed something a bit different one afternoon. So we went in search of Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for homeless cats in the heart of Rome. Here dozens of homeless but cared for cats live among the ancient roman ruins. My children loved searching for and photographing the cats. Inside, there is a shelter that sells some trinkets and you can donate to help the cats but the fun is seeing the sleepy kitties among the ruins. We did something similar to this in Lima, Peru and it was such fun and a nice break from visiting sites.
I’ve seen a lot of weird and wonderful things in the world but one of the strangest and most amazing experiences I ever had was a day hike into the Amazon Rainforest to feed electric eels. We first had to go fishing into a “pond” filled with caiman, snakes and more birds than I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to see a pair of the elusive and prehistoric looking hoatzin bird. We caught several small fish, ate some lunch and then hiked inland until we came to what amounted to little more than a hole in the ground that looked like a mud puddle. We tied our fish to some sticks and line and were told to lay them along the edge. The fish were still alive and flapped…. but quickly a huge, slimed, giant eel came out grabbed a hold of it. There was a strange shocking sound and the fish and eel splashed around. Then things quieted down as the dead fish floated up and the eel began to eat it. Our guide explained that the eel had used it’s electricity to shock the fish and then it begins to eat. It was by far the weirdest thing I had ever seen. They just came out of the ground and looked like gigantic earthworms. The sounds they make when shocking the fish is both disturbing and bizarre.
My kids fed them about 8 fish and we had a great time. I don’t think you can get that kind of experience anywhere else in the world but by actually going to the rainforest. It is the kind of thing that one has to experience by being there to really comprehend how truly strange it is. No zoo or sanctuary could ever truly replicate this experience. It is one of kind. Check it out with your family. I promise they’ll be amazed.
It’s been well over a year since we returned from a our “big trip”. A year round the world. Before that it was almost a year of planning and preparing for the trip and then after there was a year of relishing in the trip. We also had lots of travels this past year that kept us hopping. Today, I find myself in that lull period. I am in-between travels. We have a big construction project at our house that takes my time, my kids are knee-deep in school and at ages that require a lot of taxi service. We are back to working to pay for the next travels as well as all the ones we took. As much as I’m enjoying the time with family, pets and homelife I am longing for the road and adventure. Vacation planning really isn’t a substitute for a traveler and anyone who has long term traveled understands this. There is a desire to explore and see the world. Leave the security of the known and see what comes next. Daily routine at home is beautiful and I do remember how fleeting it really is. But, I also remember how much more time I spent with my children on the road. How we spent the best part of our days together not just the moments between events. I am envious when I see the traveling families still doing it. It’s such a unique experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it.
I love to travel. I take my kids everywhere and I can see the impact that traveling has had on them. They already beg to travel more. They have a developed world view. I’ll continue to blog about family adventures as we do more and what I’ve learned. I just miss the road.
My friend is a great teacher for Year 2 students in New Zealand. She is American and was offered the job two years ago when New Zealand needed primary school teachers. Last month she came home for her grandmother’s funeral and her visa application was denied because the recent labor and market search suggests their isn’t a need for foreign teachers. She has decided to return to her job as a volunteer so that her children can finish the school year with a consistent teacher. The school wants her. The children love her. Only a teacher would take a job unpaid for her children. She will finish out the school year and then return home. PLease consider helping fund her so she has a few living expenses these next few months. She’s only 24 and doesn’t need much but every dollar helps!
Read her story and visit her page below
Fraser Island is a must visit when traveling to Australia. Wild Dingos roam the island and you are sure to see several families within close proximity. Just remember that they aren’t friendly. The Island is beautiful and every stop was completely different. We did a guided tour which is typically not our thing but it was great to see everything the Island provided and after seeing the number of people stuck in the sand in their own cars I was really happy we had the super bus. A two day tour gets you all over the Island to explore the many amazing ecosystems and areas it has to offer.
The ruins of the old Maheno shipwreck provided a picturesque photo op along the 75 mile beach. There were lots of places to go with amazing cliff views to look down at the water and see all the fish. We met lots of new friends wading in the tidal pools and getting crashed amongst the waves , swimming in lake Wobby, hiking through the rainforest, tubing, running down giant sand dunes and laughing on the bus. It’s a tour worth taking.
Amsterdam is an amazing city. Easy to get around whether by foot, bike, taxi or water. There is plenty to do and sometimes it’s hard to decide to take time to go see another science museum when there are so many good ones at home. It is my recommendation that you take time to see Nemo. You can’t miss the Nemo building. It looks like a giant green ship in the harbor. Once inside, every exhibit is hands on and fascinating. They even have a laboratory where kids can sign up to do there own experiments. Kids will want to spend hours exploring each floor.
One of the most fascinating and unique exhibits in Nemo is their Teen Facts section. The Netherlands has a very different and open view of sexuality and Amsterdam is a town in which prostitution is legal. It’s not surprising that the science museum takes an open and active approach to addressing the body, puberty and sexuality at their science museum. To American’s it may come as a shock to visit the “teen peep show” where kids over 13 are given coins to watch videos of other children discussing sex, first experiences and answering questions. You’ll find art figurines posed in sexual positions and even a manual french kiss machine. Where this is shocking to most Americans it is all part of good communication in the Netherlands. If you are taking your kids to Amsterdam it’s probably a great idea to have these discussions as prostitution is a part of the city of Amsterdam’s history and probably will bring up some questions anyway. I found we couldn’t visit several of the sites without passing side streets with women in the windows.
Traveling for a year, I often wondered if my kids would adjust to the wide variety of foods they would experience. I have one kid who loves and will try everything and anything and another who generally limits his diet to noodles or rice. Generally, my kids adjusted really well to all the different foods thrown at them. They’ve tried everything from grubs to gourmet.
It was truly a pleasure to get to Singapore and find streets and plazas filled with choices. A beautiful aromatic blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Western smells. You’ll find a similar blend of faces in the crowds of people gathered each day to eat. Pick a food and try to find a place to sit. My kids had a few favorite places they insisted revisit but what I loved was that everyone could get something different. It was like a food festival everyday.
It would take hours to go through every dish available and pointless to recommend a place as I honestly believe the fun is in the exploration and choosing.
As with any place when traveling, caution with food is important. As a rule I suggest one avoid anything that can’t be peeled(as in fruit or vegetables) or cooked thoroughly. As much as I love salads I’ve seen more travelers go down with a bad stomach because of leafy vegetables that can’t be peeled.
Nonetheless, I’m pretty adventurous and there are plenty of interesting foods to try. I loved the steaming pots, the satay, and fried carrot cake. Be sure to try a durian.