A Pura is a Balinese Hindu temple and the place of worship for the people of Bali who practice Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Balinese Hinduism is a unique blend of Hinduism with local animism and incorporation of Buddhist saints. Visiting Bali is like gaining a glimpse into a secret world. The people of Bali spend a portion of each day making and delivering offerings. These small and beautiful arrangements, primarily made of flowers, are everywhere. A visit to a temple in Bali gives you an opportunity to see hundreds, if not thousands, of these beautiful gifts of thanks. Your family will never forget a visit to Bali.
100 Family Travel Experiences
#97 Visit the Cat Park in Lima
Lima is an amazing and vibrant city. There are so many things the kids loved to do here, but we all loved the park in the center of the city that is dedicated to the feral cats. About 80 cats roam free in the park amongst the flower gardens and trees. The cats of the Parque Kennedy in the Miraflores district are looked after by a group of volunteers. They receive veterinary care and seem quite happy to stay within the park. A walk through the park spotting and counting the cats is an enjoyable family activity.
In honor of Summer 2014, The Wayfaring Family is going to post our favorite family travel experiences every day for 100 days. Enjoy your families this summer wherever you may be. Enjoy dreaming about about the places you will enjoy together in the future. We hope the experiences we share over the next 100 days will fuel your imagination and inspire you in your travel planning.
I am not listing them all below…go to TheWayfaringfamily.com to see the whole list.
#100 Sydney, Australia Bridge Climb
There is so much to do and see in Sydney, Australia that may wonder why climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge is on this list but as a family activity this stands out. It is exhilarating and scary. It gives you the most amazing view of the city and there are lots of different ways to do it! http://www.bridgeclimb.com
What started as a tradition of fishermen erecting markers on the shore to identify favorite fishing spots has evolved into unique public art. Visit Bonaire and take it all in.
Everyone asks me “Did you get sick while you traveled around the world?” and I can honestly answer “No”. We really never got sick, or had any major injuries. BUT since I’ve been home I seem to have every cold, flu, or crud that comes through town. What was it about traveling that was different? How did we manage to stay healthy? Why were we healthier “on the road” than at home? I’ve compiled a list of my educated guesses.
1. Living outside: Most of the places we stayed we lived much closer to the elements. Open windows, no A/C, outside in nature most or all of the day. We definitely got our daily dose of Vitamin D and we weren’t cooped up in a germ factory. Our kids were out of school and probably less exposed to every germ and bug that passed through town. Even with all the plane rides we took our immune systems seemed to get a boost from our daily outdoor life.
2. Exercise as part of daily life. Many of the places we lived required us to walk to the markets, to town or to (and through) the places we wanted to tour. We spent more time hiking, walking, snorkeling, or swimming each day than we ever do at home. Being active was part of our daily living and it felt good. We drove considerably less. Being home it requires much more of an effort. I admire those friends who ride their bikes to work and walk to the grocery or adhere to a regular exercise time schedule. You have to make it a priority here, or you will lead a less active lifestyle than when traveling.
3. Stress free. Yes, I can’t ignore the fact that we left jobs and school and activities behind for a year. We were living a much less stressful daily existence and it was healthy. There are still real pressures while traveling but being “unplugged” was healthy and provided for a valuable lesson about the stress we tolerate here. Trying to reduce stress and too much structure (over-scheduling) has been part of our return plan – but the reality is that living in the US with jobs and two children makes for a hectic daily schedule. That reality has added stress to our lives and we continue to try and find the elusive “balance”.
4. Eating healthy. Part of traveling is enjoying the food. It is ironic that it is often the food that makes travelers sick. We were part lucky but we were also vigilant about monitoring what we ate on the road, making sure to visit any health food store that appealed to us over the street food. I attribute our not getting sick to that. In many places, we never drank the water unless it was bottled. Not even to brush our teeth. We also avoided fruits you couldn’t peel and salads. If it was fried or cooked we generally ate it. We tried most things in every country – including occasional “street food”. In sum, we ate a lot of organic, local, fresh food throughout the world and very little processed food. Eating healthy in the USA is definitely possible – but compared to many places it is more expensive. Also, there are also plenty of ways to eat poorly here at home and it is difficult to avoid the temptation of quick, processed, fried, fatty and fast foods.
5.Good healthcare. We had our shots before we left. We took anti-maleria meds where we needed to. We had everything we needed before we left and were able to find pharmacies around the world to get us staples when we needed them. Preventative healthcare, our general good health, and a lifetime of good healthcare prepared us for a year of traveling. I can’t say enough about starting with a good foundation as a means to help you stay healthy.
So as I sit here, congested with a head cold, envying how warm it is in Fiji in February, I will say that traveling was a healthy experience for us. I’m going to have to work on making life at home just as healthy… or I’m just going to have to get back on the road.
While traveling around the world last year our family often met people who loved to travel, had been traveling or were about to travel. It was a common topic that bonded us to strangers in foreign lands while sitting in airports, restaurants, camper parks, and queues.
What often struck me was how many travelers from other countries, especially Australians, come to America and do a trip that most Americans have never done. We heard the itinerary over and over again. It was often the same and maybe varied in a stop or two, or by the amount of time they took, but the flow of the trip was usually the same. Here is the sample itinerary:
Fly into New York (Always a destination.)
Drive, train or Bus down the Coast To Washington, DC (Always stop here.)
Drive, train or bus to Atlanta, Georgia (Always a destination! Token southern city.)
Drive, train or bus to Florida (Various locations from Disney to Miami.)
Drive,train or bus to New Orleans,Louisiana (Always a Destination, Token music and food city.)
Fly To Colorado (If ski season.)
Visit The Grand Canyon/Arches National Park, etc.
Drive to Las Vegas (Always a Destination. It wouldn’t be America if they didn’t go to Vegas!)
Drive, Train, bus to Los Angeles/Hollywood (Always a destination.)
Stop in Hawaii
(Sometimes this trip is in reverse order.)
Wow! We heard it from people over and over. Young students taking a summer trip before they start work, couples coming to explore America, and retirees taking a vacation. The concept of a North American Tour was normal for people from other countries but being American, I had never thought of the “North American Tour” on such a grand scale.
Most Americans would be hard-pressed to drive their family to Florida for Spring Break and would never think to stop and look around on the way to get there. Seeing the idea of the American Tour makes me think about the way I live in the United States now that we are back. I will try to appreciate our travels even if it is just out of the county – and not the country.
We tackled the 3 week drive across the country to start our year of traveling. We drove from Kentucky to Los Angeles and sold our car before hopping on a plane to start our Round-The-World adventure. We rafted the Grand Canyon, drove through Kansas, took in a baseball game in St Louis, MO. and saw Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. It was epic and taught us a lot about traveling before we left our home soil. I saw it as the start of our adventure. But I have plenty more to go!
I challenge my fellow Americans to try to hit the States on the above list if you haven’t already. Then try to hit all fifty! Explore your home and surrounding areas! When we can’t travel abroad for whatever reason… travel closer to home.
Traveling is a way of life that can be enjoyed in foreign countries – or right here in the USA!
It was our first Christmas home after two years of having Christmas’s on the road. Even though our time on the road had taught us to be more frugal and buy less we still found an awful lot of stuff under the tree on Christmas morning. Everyone was all smiles but there were shrieks of joy and surprise when we opened the huge surprise gift my awesome hubby gave us.
The gift was wrapped the same. There was one for each of us. We were told to open them at the same time. The kids managed to rip them open first and I knew it was something big. I saw the black book first. It was a cover for our well worn dive logs that we used on our recent Round the World adventure. When I opened it, out fell a paper detailing a trip booked for Spring Break to Bonaire, the shore diving capital of the world. Each of had a different Bonaire guide book or dive information. It was amazing.
I have never been surprised with a vacation before and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was getting so antsy to travel that I found myself constantly planning hypothetical trips. After a year on the road we had returned to the hustle and bustle of our Kentucky lives. School, sports, and family commitments now dominated our free time and we found making the time to travel abroad getting harder and harder.
We learned from the “Big trip” that in order to make it happen you really just have to commit to the trip and make it a priority. The other commitments will work out. Sometimes it is nice to have someone do that organizing for you! What a gift! Thank you David for making the commitment for us. We are all thrilled!!!
Diving is our family’s passion. We did over 25 dives on our Round the World trip. (Read my post at 72andrising to learn about why we love diving with our kids! http://72andrising.com/scuba-diving-best-family-sport-round-world-adventure/ ) Bonaire has some of the best shore diving in the world. Meaning one can rent a truck, drive to a dive site and go in right from the beach. No boats or guides needed. I can’t wait. I’m excited and ready for advice and suggestions from all who have traveled there!!!
In the mean time, I’ll be posting from the South as I’ll probably hit several southern states before we leave!!! Merry Christmas!!
- Bonaire and Grenada (rmadventures.org)
- Dancing in Bonaire (largeself.com)
- Bonaire Marine Park needs YOUR help! (savebonairemarinepark.org)
Taking time off to take a vacation or travel to a dream destination is really hard for us Americans. We have a lot of pressure on us. We are a hyper-scheduled society and we like it that way. We have work commitments, school commitments, sports and tournaments to attend, family to see and annual family obligations we feel compiled to meet. These are things we feel we must do, but also things we like. They are what ground us and generally help make daily life good. There is nothing wrong with these things.
Having just returned from our year “off” – I have learned a few things. Being one of those hyper-scheduled families that was loaded down with commitments before we left, I completely understand how a schedule can come to dominate one’s existence. People looked at us as if we were crazy to pull our kids from select soccer and leave our annual routine. Well, we did it. We took the year off. We had an amazing experience and we are back. We returned and things are pretty much back to the very full schedule we had before we left. We learned to let go a little and we enjoy an existence that is a little less crammed full, but it is still pretty busy. We are, after all, Americans. We can’t help it. Schedules and routine are a real and normal part of our life here.
In the US, we typically get less vacation time than other Countries. (U.S. Workers Trail Rest Of Developed Countries In Vacation Time: Report ://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/us-vacation-time-report_n_3333563.html) With an average of 16 days per year there is barely enough time to make it to every family get-together, hit the nearest beach or hiking trail for a week, and relax a few days on your couch – never mind visit another country. Taking an extended vacation from your job or career requires serious prioritizing. One that requires closely examining your finances, preparing for an extended absence and/or taking a long hard look at your career choice.
So I am writing today to help you understand that I really get it. It is hard to break away. It is really hard to let go of a schedule and those commitments. So, if you want to do it you have to just make it happen and say no to your regular commitments. You must prioritize your trip. It is really hard for us to do that in the USA. We are not encouraged to do it. It runs counter to our societal “norms”. It might mean saying no to your friend’s wedding or your annual Fourth of July party. It might mean pulling your kids from a sports team for a summer or homeschooling. It might mean leaving your job. These things are terrifying and require a huge leap of faith. There will not be a lot of people in your community that really understand what you are doing. There will be lots of people who support you but are not sure what you are doing or how you are doing it. Online you will find a huge group of travelers who have done it. They will understand and will help you through it.
Take the leap. You can do it. You will not regret it.
Start by making it a PRIORITY.
- You Need a Vacation. Really. (thehartford.com)
- Family Holidays & Travel Directory (free-toddlers-activity-and-discipline-guide.com)
- Study Shows Rise in Number of Staycations (virtual-strategy.com)
- Why save those vacation days? (cnn.com)
- We Deserve Time. It’s Money After All! (raisingjoneses.wordpress.com)
One of my favorite experiences on our Round the World adventure was our two weeks in the Amazon. We did so many things that pushed us out of our comfort zones. I conquered my fears of bats and bugs mostly because I didn’t have a choice. The bats were huge and the bugs were everywhere. It was hotter than I have ever been and we hiked and traveled far into remote jungles to see the mysteries of the Amazon. We all ate grubs and piranha to try local delicacies, and because… we caught them. We fed electric eels in a mud hole because… we could, and when else would we get such an opportunity!
It was these experiences that are best told by my ten year old. His blog was mostly short videos of our adventures captured by his sister.
The link to his grub video is here. http://hotstuffbylee.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/video-blog-grubs-are-gross/
I have attached his eel blog below. Enjoy!
Feeding Electric eels
So we found ourselves miles up the Amazon River getting out of a boat to hike. We hike about 15 Minutes and we already saw 3 different of birds. We hike for 2 hours and we have seen 20 different birds. We get to this this small double decker dock and we go fishing! We caught 7 fish. We also saw 4 caiman! Then we hike for another 30 minutes. We got to a puddle that was 1 square foot. I almost jumped in it but then I see an electric eel come out! It was huge. They were gray with a red bellyAt one moment in time there were 5 in the puddle.Our guide says there were under ground tunnels so they have lots of secret places. We gave them the fish and you heard them shock it.It was amazing! I hope to do it again!