“You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system. ” – Erol Ozan
Travel, it seems, then and again for us, is all about perspective. Exploring Oslo, Norway raised our standards so much so that we frowned on New York’s Metro Card calling it “barely a card.” Getting settled into the New York transportation system after three days, off we went to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and there we were greeted with a scratch card… the city’s day pass for tourists and travelers. Let’s just say that it took us four days to look beyond this and give Toronto a fair judgement of the city’s beauty and uniqueness. First impressions. Perspectives. Flexible travelers that we think we are, perspectives matter.
If we have traveled from Manila, Philippines, our home country, straight from Toronto, Canada, the availability of Metro straight from the Union Station and the convenience of family card plus the friendly ticket receptionist, would have floored us with awe. To travel conveniently in Manila, usually takes private-hire transportation and even then, the horrendous traffic and heat (or rain) would leave us scratching our eyes out waiting for the transport ordeal to be over. Transport system in Toronto would be we a very much welcome blissful paradise to experience.
Only,, we didn’t come from a developing country. We transited from a highly developed city, equally diversified as Toronto, it seems to us, equally populated like New York. Transport payment scheme in Toronto is very primitive to us now.
How does this affect how we think of Canada? It should not affect us much. We firmly believe that how we view a country is more of a reflection on us that it is a reflection of the country,
So, this experience, makes us feel empowered. Worldschooling the kids mainly has the purpose of showing the kids the beauty of the world and what men are capable of nurturing what’s possible; highlighting NOT borders, but potentials.
“And patience [worketh] experience; and experience, hope” (Paul, Romans 5:4).
As Malcolm Gladwell argued in his bestseller book, Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours which is approximately 10 years of deliberate practice to become an expert.
With the goal to travel to 100 countries in10 years, that would make us seasoned family travellers. We’re onto our six years of happily traveling the kids along our family adventures, and by far, explored 36 countries, including the new territory we are currently exploring at the moment, Canada!
Yes, there are certain traveling tasks that feel so routine, like appointment with embassies, visa applications, packing, adjusting to jet lag and body clock. These are great expertise to have as a working professional. Patience with documents, mastery of own body sleep and up close encounters with countries diplomats… necessary skills of a future CEO or founder of a corporation, and we can discuss further why!
However, more importantly, though skills which we are yet to master, there are hormones, grumpiness and boredom.
Hormones, there traveling women vs. two patient men makes a team. This means at the very least, two weeks of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) of emotions, the struggle is real. Acknowledging this, makes the battle easier, though we can only monitor, not control. Experiences on the pattern makes it understandable and yes, conquerable, if not tolerable for the surrounding men around these women.
Grumpiness, or bad hair day moments, or waking up at the wrong side of the bed, is also normal during family travels. One day something too personal embarrassing the other. Too close for comfort takes patience and experience, too.
Boredom, because what parents may find interesting, may be so very boring for the kids and the other way around. We would not be telling the entire truth to our traveling adventures, if we would lying if we say “everybody loves visiting .. insert name of place/ country/ region… Nope, most of the time, there’s someone who will rain on somebody’s parade when family travels together.
BUT, there are also the AHA moments, the wonder-at-first-sight moments, laugh-out-loud-together-moments, we-actually-saw-what-happened-together-moments.
AND… these moments turn into memories. Memories that would be from imprints on their lives and define the decisions and actions they would do in the future, what will define who they will be by choice.
Experience together over any material things… no argument there. We’re armed with experience-building patience, even if it takes 10,000 more hours together!
Living up to our main family value, we really are a hopeful bunch.
“Hope is not a prognostication; it is an orientation that no matter how things turn out, they can have meaning.” – Vaclav Havel
Family travelers are imparting the value of consistent hope. This is one of the many reasons we drag the kids around the world. Well, technically, just around Asia, Europe and North America for now. Hopefully, around the world soon enough.
When a traveling family run towards a train station hoping to catch the train on time, that’s hoping for the best.
When a traveling family is almost get denied entry by an Immigration Officer to a country of destination because of visa application requirements concerns and all family members continue showing calm while presenting valid travel documents, that’s hoping for fairness and diplomacy.
When a first time family hikes in an unfavorable weather up a gorgeous landscape in a foreign country and keeps the hyper mood, that’s hoping for an awesome adventure.
When presented with a bad customer service and the traveling family maintain a good attitude towards all people, that’s hoping for the goodness of humanity.
Emily Dickinson may have written it in a poem eras ago, but as family traveller, it is in our traveler’s literature pack.
“Hope”is a thing with feathers (By: Emily Dickinson)
Fact: Philippines has now completed 10 years without the distinction of producing even one chess player GM.
10 years?! Ang unang reaksyon ko?! NOOO!!! Ang gagaling kaya ng mga Pinoy sa chess! Our traveling family discovered chess when our then Under-9 wanted to play in tournaments. Tatlong taon na suporta sa among GM-wannabe made us realize the obvious – there’s not much exposure sa mga Filipino chess players around the world.
More than 40 days in Serbia playing chess has improved our now U12 chess player. Bakit? Kasi ang daming tournaments na accessible at puwedeng mag join both tourists and locals alike. Knowing chess is one thing, having the opportunities to play in tournaments makes a lot of different. Sadly, if we stay in the Philippines for more than six months, we doubt na magkakaroon ng ganong karaming tournaments.
Kaya naman, pagbalik namin dito Qatar, we aim to be engaged in the already existing Pinoy Expat Chess Community!
We are very fortunate to be now part of the Filipino Chess Player League – Qatar! ANG GAGALING NA MGA CHESS PLAYERS! There are a lot of stories na nanalo sila Top Prizes even defeating GMs who are globally known na sa larangan ng chess! Every single tournament na hosted ng Qatar Chess, for sure laging mag Pinoy! Kakaproud grabe. This group of people for sure will accelerate our chess player kid’s GM GOALS!
Hence, this appeal – please reach out to them to sponsor more tournament!! To kick start, we held the first blitz tournament last 25 February , kahit sa bahay lang venue we tried to accommodate para naman masimulan muli ang OTB tournaments. Grabe, you can feel the passion for chess and love of chess games! Imagine what could happen when tournaments are FIDE-rated na.
And the bigger point – ang daming GM-material na Pinoy everywhere. Kailangan lang talaga ng suporta. In our little ways, let’s give help.
Here are some photos from this tournament.
Another Fact: The Philippines used to be the #1 chess-playing nation in Asia. Now it’s not even #1 in Southeast Asia. (Consider the point I’ve outline how good in chess Filipinos are! Kaka-sad di ba?!
Now the question is : May magagawa ba tayo to reverse this ? If so, what do you think should be done? How can you help?
Our family has a clear conviction that family travel is one of the best gifts we can give to each other. From planning the travel itinerary to long after arriving home, this has proven to be true. Indeed, during the pandemic, our family travel history has proven to be quite beneficial to strengthen the family bonds, personal relationships and every family members’ resilience and strength in dealing with adversity such as the quarantine and loss of loved one.
Family travels enables us to form a much stronger relationship with each other. We all benefit from exploring familiar culture and not-so-familiar ones. Family travels give a better appreciation of the big picture, the fine, intricate and sometimes overwhelming details and, of course, love of life in its entirety – glory and gory!
Who would have thought that these family travel memories would have us equipped in dealing with the pandemic? Here’s how it went for us:
Memories are forever. A lot of ice breakers. A lot of “DO YOU GUYS REMEMEBER WHEN…. Inserts a funny anecdote.” A lot of inside family jokes. A lot of “blackmail” materials against each other. Priceless. We could get stuck at home for a year (hey, this happened!) and we won’t run out of stories.
Global education in any form. We have been using Zoom, Teams and other online means way before the pandemic. Nothing new to see here. Reading books for days and days – oh yes please! Learning is everywhere. Besides, with all the “souvenir” books we have been accumulating from our 40+ countries of travel, we have plenty to read for the next months or so.
Strong family bonds. Been there, done that. We already annoyed each other to death during our family travels. What’s almost a year of quarantine stuck in a small space together? Cabin fever for a year? That’s nothing. We have already endured days and hours in flight delays and travels in all transportation mode.
Appreciate the little things. It’s in the detail. Devil is in the details. Art is in the details. Full focus on every day blessings is good for the soul. Appreciating each other and showing them. “Please,” “thank you” and “How can I help?” are few of the phrases we are used to saying to each other again and again during family travels – short or long travel itinerary. These words mean a lot in confined space – saved a few lives and hormonal outbursts!
Life is enriching. Every day. No Matter What. Yes – say that several times over. Looking at life as an enriching experience is natural for travellers. The perspective of looking at the huge wide sky and realizing that the a lot of other places have the exact same sky with variety of perspectives, is a fantastic blessing, not a limitation nor a curse. And this happens, we look at the window from our home during the quarantine period, and there’s appreciation; there’s a deep knowledge that life is always enriching.
When the world is wide open again for family travel, we will continue realizing our family goals. Until then, we will keep utilizing the benefits of our previous travels. There’s a lot t hang on to.
BIG YES to “Never let your memories be greater than your dreams.” YET, memories can be a strong powerful tool NOW to dream some more for the future.
Free educational and fun family activities Turknoy style aka deep-rooted into our family lifestyle are readily available in New York. There are lots of ideas, discussions and pondering mover aching feet and full stomach. Our senses are all overwhelmed.
Broadway is to talent and making it big in the world;
Times Square is to branding and consumerism and making it known in the world
Then, then… .. Financial District is money management and getting power over money in the world!
And until then… let’s get all the money vibes from The Wall Street Bull’s Balls. Legend has it that those who touch them will have prosperous and wealthy life. So, oohmmm we go. Seriously, we saw a Hindu lady who was actually doing this like a solemn prayer. So why not?
“My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength.” – Sicilian artist Arturo Di Modica, creator of The Charging Bull.
Broadway, Times Square or Wall Street, New York can make dreams come true for this fearless and are able to stand tall and proud.
Freedom is NOT the absence of fear… but by being able to act fearless.. whoever we may be!
World citizens, worldschooler or not, New York sets an example. It may be the place, it may be the city’s history, it may be capitalism, it may be a lot of things… yet we firmly believe that these ideals can be replicated.. anywhere in the world. Dreams are dreams without time zone and coordinates. With positivity and a lot of hard work, sprinkled with luck (bulls’ balls!) dreams do come true, whatever they may be.
Straight from Oslo, Norway, like a real Viking explorer , off we crossed the Atlantic Ocean to New York, New York wee hours in the morning, straight to breakfast and off to see places for the second time.
We’ve written about hope and goals and we’re excited really to realize baby steps to leap frog moments towards achievements of our family goals, travel goals included.
But for now, New York, New York!
First stop, Times Square early in the morning and we feel like we are in the living room as the place was still “unpopulated” New York style.
Second stop, Central Park, wishing to meet Tom Hanks or John Wick accidentally!
Third stop, hungry for some Filipino food, hoops NOT… scratch that… we are world class.. so off we walked more to get a taste of the world’s most famous chickenjoy – Jollibee in Manhattan! Oh hot, was it crowded but we were determined.. and hungry and drilling over this chicken joy!
“Oslo’s contemporary art” is something that simply ceases to exist. From witnessing the art within the Astrup Fearnley Museet, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s solely hare-brained to categorize the art in such ways. Perhaps it had been easier to group masterpieces of which had been bizarre to the eye in a single group; although each and every piece had been produced with a pastiche of particular passions, each had been fashioned with idiosyncratic intentions. This is my opinion, due to the fact that I find hardship in distinguishing similitude between denim doused canvases, shopping cart creations, and paper-carved coups.
Based on my self-reflection, I distinguish a certain depth in “Oslo’s art”, the miniature brain-muddles it’d take a person to disentangle a sole piece, and the mystery that envelopes it, for unless you were to pry open the mind of the certain creator; you’d never truly fathom the depth that had originated from the marvelous masterpieces I had witnessed today.
Check out a simple version of my art based on my previous experiences in Oslo, Norway:
Who is Alfred Nobel?: Alfred Bernhard Nobel, 1833 – 1896:
Considering the fact that Nobel had been infamous for the birthing of the “Nobel Peace Prize”, along with five other rewards based on various categories; (eg. chemistry, economics, literature, physics, physiology, and medicine.) I had never guessed his career had commenced due to the exact opposite.
Alfred Nobel had had specific interests since he had been birthed, one of which had included nitroglycerin. Having been influenced by people of intellect such as himself, it hadn’t taken long for Nobel to develop interest in the chemistry department. Despite the fact that nitroglycerin, at the time; had been eminent due to the fact that it had been the most unchancy reincarnation of explosives in the 19th century, Nobel had been quick to toy with it.
This had resulted in the death of five people, including his youngest sibling. During one of his nitroglycerin-congested experiments, the building; much to my non-existent confoundment, had, well…exploded.
This had left Nobel at a stunned state for a matter of five seconds in the duration of a decade; for he had quickly brushed himself off, determined to avenge the day Emil had perished by…
the production of explosives!! From that day forward, Nobel had been positively driven to produce trustworthy time-bombs, occasionally tweaking for the better of battles.
That is, until he had stumbled upon the feet of Baroness Bertha Von Suttner. From the day the had met, they had been considered as the closest companions. Von Snutter, the prodigious pacifist, as well as the perplexing pen-woman; and Alfred Nobel, the… dashing dynamite dude?
Fortunately, the beautiful baroness had been able to clean his act up a bit, no matter of the fact that he had custody of four beach houses in countries of which he spoke fluently.
As much as Von Snuttner, as well as Nobel had been best buddies; they had never considered themselves as the “romantic”. Proving this point, Nobel had later on courted some woman that had been 1/2 his own age, although ‘suppose “love is love”. Since I had already began to delve into dalliance, I might as well state the fact that Alfred Nobel had never gotten around to marrying; not to mention the fact that he had never had offspring. (Dad/Mom: Yeaahhhhh!!)
1896, October 10, Midday,
was the day of the death of Alfred Bernhard Nobel. The procession commenced, the coffin had been enveloped with fragrant flowers. Later it had been discovered that:
at his deathbed Nobel had had something of a guilty conscience. Having done dynamite deals a majority of his life, he hadn’t exactly contributed towards peace until he had written his will.
Why was the Peace Prize named after him?:
What lay written in Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s will, was the fact that he had requested a platform be made for the means he had devoted his life to. Thus began the birth of the Nobel Prizes, and the distribution of 1 million dollars, as well as a memorious medal every December 10th, the day an admirable man had gone gallivanting to the heavens; an armful of explosives at hand.
Who are my top 3 favorite Nobel Peace Laureate? Why?:
Baroness Bertha Von Snutter, the very first female Nobel Peace Laureate, not to mention the fact that she had greatly impacted Alfred Nobel’s life, and future decisions, and possibly the past itself.
Denis Mukwege Mukengere, for the temporary exhibition at the time had displayed the deeds he had done, and the wounds he had healed for the victims of awful armed rebells. (The most recent Laureate, 2018.)
Nadia Murad, along with Denis Mukwege Mukengere, she too was rewarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, for after her execrable experiences as she was held captive in the city of Mosul where she had gone through things no human should ever withstand; she had managed to escape, and is now the founder of Nadia’s Initiative, “an organization dedicated to helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities”.
What would you I in the future to win a Nobel Peace Prize? How? When?:
Contribution to climate change, and before everything smelts to smithereens.
Mom: “How, how, how???”:
Somehow incorporate geothermal energy for household heaters, stoves, etc. Despite the fact that there is indeed a possible percentage that global warming mayn’t be real, although the discovery of new energy could contribute nevertheless. If this fact proves to be true, I’d like to get behind exactly what warms the earth, and help the walking skeletons that have become our arctic animals avoid extinction.
She had been buried in bed for the past ten minutes, debating on whether it’d be worth it if she had finally dragged herself out; although when it had come to it, her body felt as if it weighed a ton. Her brain barked and brandished psychological threats, though her body displayed no signs of swaying.
She squinted her eyes against the rouge ray of white light that had found it’s way through the gaps between blinds as she wiggled her toes and stretched her spine. Her brain had swapped tactics, and was now shuffling through memories of homework that had yet to be thumbed through; coincidentally- or rather voluntarily loitering on certain sore spots.
Six seconds later she had found herself in the bathroom.
It wasn’t hard due to the fact that the rooms within their current apartment- like any other, had practically been pulverized among one another, and she had been able to cover the living room with what had been consisted of three sluggish strides; although it’d be difficult to deny the fact that the dread that lay within her notebooks had egged her on a tad.
She slouched in front of the wall mirror, much to her mother’s dismay. Her mother’s voice bounced about in her head, her face that had remarkably mimicked one of a Saber-toothed tiger at the time flashed before her eyes. She grasped her toothbrush, although she couldn’t help but straighten her spine. Her hair jutted out at every angle humanly possible, though as much as she fingered fruitlessly it had bounced back to it’s former maddening mane-like glory. It was definite. She was indeed related to ferocious Felidae.
She breathed in the cool, crisp air. Her shoes clicked against the damp pavement, as it was slightly drizzling. Rain patterned against the roof of her hoodie, a mollifying melody. She yearned to dampen her hair, although wasn’t quite as zealous at the thought of awaking sniveling and stuffy the day after. She clicked across the wooden bridge, the usual light tone of oak mirrored one of spruce once it had been drenched.
She proceeded to pass sculptures that would have been considered scandalous if not for knowing Norwegians, eyeing a few people she presumed had been posing for the wrong reasons.
20 minutes later, her clicks had become less enthusiastic; if anything, they had morphed into piteous shuffles. Dad had map at hand, cracked at the rim; although allegedly function-able nevertheless. She made a show of her discouragement plastered at face, frowning at what seemed like scraps of metal that had miraculously managed to cling onto one another; although her father- oblivious to the lack of approvement, sauntered off, offspring ambling afterwards.
Another 20 minutes later, after passing the scrap-metal-map among one another, as if the change in person would affect the topography itself; they had found themselves at the point where they had started, the sought-after Grass Root Square quite literally underfoot.
She glanced at Dad, a mixture of triumph as well as daggers. He made a I’ve-had-three-kids-nothing-surprises-slash-tires-me-anymore kind of face, as he scrutinized the sculptures.
In all modesty, she had seen quite the number of sculptures in the span of her 13 year old lifetime, though nothing compared- or rather embodied anything nearly as unique as this.
From a further prospective, it seemed as if slabs off of the pebble-gray pavement seemed as if it were levitating; although at intimate inspection, hundreds of thousands minuscule men- and women, had been bolstering the bottom.
Their sizes varied, depending on whether they had been maintaining the weight of stone; since the immensely minute figures seemed only to sprout in the stead of numerous blocks. Their tiny jade heads clustered together in order to embody a single large, lime slab.
Their minuscule mouths appeared to gape in agony as her brother layered the slab the tiny figurines were bearing with his rear. A flat, elevated surface was equivalent to an inanimate object worthy of bottom smothering. At least, through a certain someone’s eyes.
Numerous people swept by, not a single fleeting glance at the grass-like population that had literally been sculpted under their noses. Well, we’re definitely one to talk, although considering the multiple renovations that took place surrounding the area, it’d be considerably difficult for anybody to spot. Anybody who wasn’t trodding all over it, that is.
With the expanse of knowledge she had unveiled that day, something bubbled at the pit of her stomach; something of a melancholy melody. The world had ballooned a green 50,000 time’s bigger that day, for how would she ever make it, if tens of thousands of people; excluding those below five inches, were clambering for “it”? She knew the answer, although the thought of it sent bile belting up her throat. How? Well, first things first.
I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results. – Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Nobel Peace Center is located in Aker Brygge and it’s really close to where this traveling Turknoys stayed for several days. The Nobel Peace Center is a showcase for the Nobel Peace Prize and the ideals it represents. The Center is also an arena where culture and politics merge to promote involvement, debate and reflection around topics such as war, peace and conflict resolution.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor, and philanthropist. Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him.
Quote on Obama’s Nobel speech acceptance ..on climate change..apparently, the kids favorite topic on how to win the Nobel Peace Prize for their generation.
…the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and activists who call for swift and forceful action it is military leaders in my country and others who understand that our common security hangs in the balance.