Tag Archives: Familytravel

#89 Ascend to the Batu Caves: 100 Family Travel Experiences

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The beautiful and impressive Batu Caves, near the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are a fabulous family experience as they have something for everyone. The Batu caves are first and for most a shrine and a place of religious importance. You will see Hindu families participating in many hindu rituals.

Guarding the caves is a giant statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, that stands an impressive 42 meters high. The adventure lover will enjoy the hearty climb up the 272 steps leading to the cave. It’s not an easy ascent and even more daunting for those dedicated souls who have fasted and/or participated in ThaiPuSam.
http://www.fest300.com/festivals/thaipusam

For the animal lover, Macaque Monkeys line the steps and try to steal food and act silly. There are lots of photo opportunities. As a rule- never feed the monkeys!

http://www.malaysia.com/galleries-batu-caves-5.html

#91 Visit a coffee farm Guatemala: 100 Family Travel Experiences

#91 Visit a Coffee Farm in Guatemala

Any opportunity to learn how something is made is a great experience for a family. It always amazes and delights to learn the process from start to finish and somehow it makes you appreciate the products a little more. My kids feel that way about Guatemalan coffee. Taking a tour of Finca Filadelfia coffee farm is a day of fun and education. We started with an amazing zip line through the Guatemalan tree canopy. It was Fast paced and loaded with gorgeous views.

My kids were not sure they were going to like the coffee tour but they were mesmerized once it started. Coffee in Guatemala is grown on the volcanic soil and grafted from two different plants. The process is fascinating. You can see is drying in the sun and watch the hand sorting. Taste testing at the end is just as fun as the coffee is some of the best in the world. We bulk order it so we can enjoy it at home now!
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http://filadelfia.com.gt/guatemala/

#93 Hike a Volcano in Guatemala : 100 Family Travel Experiences

#93 Hike a Volcano in Guatemala

The city of Antigua, Guatemala is surrounded by 3 beautiful and active Volcanos. For a thrilling experience be sure to hike to the top of Volcano Pacaya. Pacaya erupted as recently as 2010 raining ash on the surrounding cities. It is hot at the top and if you bring marshmallows you can actually roast them over the hot rocks and fire. It is a tough climb. You’ll be offered assistance to get to the top.  You can expect to be followed by eager gentlemen offering you rides on horses and by children renting inexpensive walking sticks. I accepted the horse about half way and have been heckled by by family ever since. (It was worth it!) The climb is not easy but you will be rewarded for your efforts! Bring LOTS of water and snacks for the top. Bring your own marshmallows! Be careful…Volcanos are still dangerous. Fuego, the neighboring Volcano erupted a few days after our hike, causing the evacuation 35,000 residents and shutting down airports as far away as Miami. It was an amazing site to watch from our little house in Antigua.

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#95 Visit a Temple in Bali: 100 Family Travel Experiences

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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.

#97 Visit the Cat Park in Lima, Peru : 100 Family Travel Experiences

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.

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#98 Scuba dive in Fiji : 100 Day of Family Travel Experiences

100 Day of Family Travel Experiences
#98 Scuba dive in Fiji

One recommendation for a great family activity for travel is scuba diving. I am an avid diver and passed it on to my kids. Being able to enjoy this activity together and explore the underwater worlds together has been amazing. Fiji has some of the most amazing soft coral you will ever find and even if you don’t dive the snorkeling off the beach was fantastic. Fiji is an absolute paradise and a great family destination.

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Five reasons I think I was healthier while traveling

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.

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Chiang Mai Flower Parade

One of the favorite events that we just stumbled into last year about this time was the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Parades, music, flowers, and dancers. This huge festival happens usually in early February and will be held February 7-9, 2014.

We just happened to be in the area and saw it on the schedule last year. The parade went right by the Inn where we were staying and we sat outside and ate and took in the amazing sights. The elaborate floats and costumes were stunning. Some floats display the history and heritage of the land, some pay homage to Buddah or the king and others represented organizations or trades. Each was fantastic and they provided us a beautiful gallery of photos to come home with!

Here is a collection of our pictures to enjoy. If you are in Thailand now – make your way to Chiang Mai to see the Chiang Mai Flower Festival.

http://www.tatnews.org/chiang-mai-flower-festival-2014/

Starting point for travelers: Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Cover of "Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide ...
Cover via Amazon

The BOOK that started the idea of long-term travel for us. If you don’t have it on your shelf – go get it. Be warned: We gave it to two people and both have since embarked on their own version of long term travel experience. It’s really motivating! Not a “how to” as much as a philosophical guide.  Good for the soul of those wanting to get started!

http://www.vagabonding.net/book/

“Vagabonding” is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveler Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel, once thought to be the sole province of students, counterculture dropouts, and the idle rich. Potts gives the necessary information on:

financing your travel time
determining your destination
adjusting to life on the road
working and volunteering overseas
handling travel adversity
and re-assimilating into ordinary life
Not just a plan of action, vagabonding is an outlook on life that emphasizes creativity, discovery and the growth of the spirit.

Rolf Potts funded his earliest vagabonding exploits as a landscaper and an ESL teacher. He now writes and speaks on travel-related issues for dozens of venues worldwide, and his travel essays have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Outside, The Best American Travel Writing, and on National Public Radio. He keeps no permanent address, but feels somewhat at home in Bangkok, Cairo, Pusan, New Orleans and Kansas.

You can do it too! Long-term travel with family IS FOR EVERYONE. But everyone must do it in their own way.

My family and I returned in May 2013 from almost a year-long adventure traveling the world. We visited over twenty countries and six continents. We have two kids who were 10 and 14 at the time and we lived our dream. It has changed the way we look at life.

The truth is if you asked me three years ago if we could do this kind of trip I think we all would have said “no”. We were the typical American family. We were over-scheduled, over-indulged and way too busy to take a year off. There was no way our jobs, the kids’ sports, or our life would allow us to “up and leave”. Amazingly, once we made the decision to go – everything fell into place.

The specifics of why we chose to go and how we did it are in another blog. And truthfully they are unimportant to you. Every family’s reasons for going, how to go and where to go will be unique. Just like parenting choices, buying clothes or decorating your house. We have different styles of travel. There isn’t a “right way”. BUT traveling with your family is good. The benefits are plenty. Finding a way to make it priority and to make it happen will pay off. It will be the best decision you ever made.

This is why I am starting this blog. I am here to motivate and charge you with taking the first step. I want you to just say you are interested in traveling with your kids. Then help you find the way to make it fit with your lifestyle.

There are plenty of websites that will give you the “how to’s” and connect you to the people who have done it. I will help you navigate them. I will get help you stay motivated. I just want you to reach the point where you say “I CAN DO IT!”

We did it. You can too. You don’t need to do it the way we did. Just use us as an interesting story that motivates you. I’ll tell you a bunch more and maybe, hopefully you’ll find your own path!

If you want to read our story:
http://www.andtheyreoffblog.com

Before the trip!!!
Before the trip!!!

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#longtermtravel #travel #justdoit #travelwithkids #familytravel