COUNTRY 9: NEPAL – Mt. Everest, Hinduism and A Whole Lot of Kindness!

“To travel, to experience and learn, that is to live.” – Tenzing Norgay
Nepal is beautiful country. With the country’s majestic landscape, the country has more to offer than any countries of Europe we’ve been to. Add in the Mt. Everest, nothing less than the tallest mountain in the world, to explore, to conquer, to use as magnificent backdrop, or to just admire the wonder of nature at its best! It is no surprise that there are a lot of tourists visiting the country, no matter the season.

our favorite landscape photo!

 

waking up to this for several mornings is serenity!

Nepal is different to our eyes. Instead of churches or mosques, there would be Hinduism temples. There are holy cows (no pun intended) freely roaming everywhere in the country. Holy people basking in the sun, conquering the feat of being holy. It is refreshing to see a new perspective on religion, while enjoying the Himalayas. It is humbling and interesting experience of all family members.

One of the Hindu Temple

 

Pashupathinath Temple where they cremate Hindus when they die

Ten days in the country left us in huge awe with lots of questions about our lives’ priorities. We didn’t see huge mansions or tall buildings yet most of the houses have open rooftops to be able to view the Himalayas freely, probably with a cup of coffee or tea. What a blessing it is to be able to look at the world’s highest peak any given time! Yes, there are no luxury cars, fancy houses or maybe even state of the art appliances and expensive furniture! But who really is richer? Uhhmm, that is a rhetorical question for someone who has wisdom. To experience nature is to live. To actually see beauty of nature in this purest form is to be alive happily! This makes traveling to Nepal worth everybody’s while.

We visited four major cities in the country, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nagarkot and Patan.

Kathmandu – Three lovely days of Hinduism, Buddhism, Temples and Local Living

posing with the Hindus Holy Men

Going to Pokhara to Kathmandu, we followed the land route. We instantly regretted this when we saw two trucks falling off the road, and our local driver nodding it off like it’s the most normal event in the world – “The land route “normally” have two or three accidents daily.” Well, it was not in the tourist information! I don’t remember the kids huddled so closed together for the remaining four hours of our land journey!

Pokhara – Hello Annapurna for Two Days!

by the Phewa Lake, Pokhara overlooking Annapurna
such carefree joy by the lake!

Nagarkot – Four beautiful days of enjoying the sunrise and sunset with Himalayas as backdrop

We feasted our eyes waking up the majestic nature scenery and marijuana plantation (we kid you, not!) We checked in a hostel in Nagarkot where we didn’t need any hotel amenities, the view in itself is the attraction.

Patan – One day exploring Patan plus our Mt. Everest Flight

Our Mt. Everest Flight

The highlight of our trip, is of course, the Mt. Everest Flight. It was a great experience for the family. Seeing the Annapurna and peak of Mt. Everest from an airplane with fellow tourists – the oohss and the aahhhhs! It is an experience of the lifetime.

More memorable,though,  will be how friendly the Nepalis are. Where we live, there are a lot of Nepalis working, expatriates like us. Their noble intention to not cause any harm to anyone or anything is just something that makes us want to convert to Hinduism (being overly simplistic here).

There may not be infrastructures, even the basic ones, in Nepal. The feel-good feeling over any luxuries in life, hearts over pockets – that we could use all of us, any day in our lives.
For our family. Nepal means kindness. To experience that fully from both ways is how we should live fully.

COUNTRY 7: Liechtenstein: The Prince and Us!

“I think it can be taught, but of course, to be successful, you have to be at least gifted to a certain extent. When I was a boy I was taught to play the piano. The teacher gave up soon because I was totally ungifted,” he says. “I think it’s the same with leadership. It’s still a little bit of a black art.”
– Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein on Leadership
 
After our family’s visit to Monaco, a very small country, our family started to become fascinated with small monarch countries. It’s amazing how a small group of (very rich and powerful) people look up to their monarch leader and enjoy all the citizen’s benefits of a what-it-seems to be a powerful state.
 
Liechtenstein is a tiny alpine state nestled on a narrow strip of land between Switzerland and Austria. The landscape of this narrow strip of land is indeed magnificent and resembles mountain paradise.

Turknoys Exploring Liechtenstein

We spent a full day of awe in Liechtenstein. We watched a marathon of healthy people, young and old, we ate at the healthy restaurant, we trekked the path leading to the Castle of Vaduz, where apparently, the Prince of Liechtenstein live. 

A majestic landscape of a small monarch country!
kids watching the marathon!

Having that bold tourist attitude, after the long beautiful trek up the Castle, we knocked at the gate of the Castle of Vaduz and asked with lots of enthusiasm the heavily armed guards where the entrance to the Castle is. To which they replied with a polite laugh, that the Castle of Vaduz is not open for public as the Castle is where the Prince of Liechtenstein lives.

Castle of Vaduz , not a museum but a monarch residence!

 

Ooopps!

We retreated to our family photo taking when the citizen running pass by and we asked him, again boldy, to take our family picture with the castle. Poor guy didn’t have any choice; we won’t let the moment pass by without that family photo.

One of our most loved family travel photo!
Turknoys Exploring Liechtenstein

 

And then the gate of the Castle of Vaduz opened! The BMW car drove out of the Castle, the Prince on the driver seat looking so ..”normal.”

We were not sure it was the Prince himself until another citizen, this time a beautiful woman passed by us and we asked her again to take a family photo of us (yeah, we know, tripod, right?!) and she asked: Did you see the Prince?

And husband replied, quite merrily: Yes!

Kids were curious and happy. The prince driving his own car, without a desperate princess running after him asking him to save her! A prince who is actually a real person living in a real life castle.

Just like that, our kids’ eyes were open to the “real world.” Which turned out to be more wonderful than what Disney fairy tales want us to believe!

It turns out the Prince Hans-Adam II really lived quite a great monarch example. One of the wealthiest monarch who saved his family’s business right after business studies like any other normal student. He then saved the country and built a name for it, hence, he is quite well-loved among all the citizens.

 Prince Hans- Adam II will always be a great example of a leader for our family. 

We feel very lucky spending one day in Liechtenstein. The Prince will never know how much his life gave so much impact to a traveling family like us. Yet, we will remember this as one of our fondest traveling moment.

We want to be part of this world!!

What a beautiful place to be!!!

The Camel Story

Look out! Camel Crossing!

One of our favorite story goes:

Not too long ago:

Baby Camel: Mother, may I ask you some questions?

Mother Camel: Sure, my son.

Baby Camel: Why do camels have hump?

Mother Camel: Camels are desert animals. We need the humps to store water and we are known to survive without water for a long time.

Baby Camel: Why are our legs long and feet rounded?

Mother Camel: Obviously, they are meant for walking in the desert better than anyone does.

Baby Camel: Why are our eyelashes long? Sometimes these bother my sight.

Mother Camel: Those long eyelashes are your protective cover. They help protect your eyes from the desert sand and wind.

Baby Camel: The hump is to store water for long days in the desert, our legs and feet to walk in the desert and our eyelashes as protective cover. Mother?

Mother Camel: Yes?

Baby Camel: What are we doing in this zoo?!
 

Moral Lesson of the Story: Skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences are only useful if you are in the right place.

Travel Lesson of the Story: Find the perfect place for your skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences. Travel. A Lot. Get to know all different places in this world. The world is huge to settle for the zoo.

Home Education Lesson of the Story: You can’t really know how to use your skills, abilities and knowledge and gain experiences if you are stuck in the zoo!

Kids look up to their mothers and fathers for the answers. Most of the time, the obvious questions need the obvious answers. Obvious answers need obvious actions.

We home educate our children. We aim to travel. We want to use our capabilities to the fullest. Zoo is so confining. That’s obvious, right?

Camels shouldn’t be in the zoo but in the desert! Free range!!! ❤

Turknoy Family Trail

“Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prior to being bitten by travel bugs, our family are advocates of customized education even when our kids were attending their early years of ‘education” in schools. We believe that every individual is unique and every kid has their own preference and phase of learning depending on their inherent talents and capabilities. We believe it so strongly that we even think it is commonsensical. Think evening gown, tailor made vs. store bought. Kind of obvious, right?
However, the Turknoy parents were educated in a traditional fashion. Our minds were molded to have the mindset that if we enroll our kids to the best school available, then we are doing what every parents should do. That we are good parents.

And we wanted to be good parents.

We paid exorbitant amount of tuitions for several school terms. Imagine this, one school term for one kid is equivalent to one parent’s lifetime education, including the graduate school, in our home countries. No worries, we used to say. We are trying our best to be good parents.

We picked up and dropped our school diligently to school, on time, every day. We got off work to attend parent-teacher meetings to discuss about the school curriculum which our kids probably learned at home already. We wanted to good parents.
We required our kids to do their tons of homework (starting at age 3!) and nagged the kids about studying hard and forced the kids to learn something they didn’t want to know, that some of them are not yet capable of learning, because of standard curriculum and have-to learning milestones. We wanted to be good parents.

We accepted explanations and letter of apologies from kid bullies who punched our natural-born leader kiddos so they can conform to the kids’ standards of friendship and compliance. We wanted to be good parents.

Settling into the routine of wanting to good parents, we booked a holiday, because that’s what some good parents do. They take their kids to holiday adventures. On a school term break, of course! 
We travel with three kids in tow to France and Italy. Our first two countries to explore together. Awesome magic happened. Imagine how they describe that first kiss, that first love? Multiply that by five thousand! That’s how the parents felt when they see the kids mingling with fellow tourists, talking to locals, enjoying the magnificent sceneries and landscapes, enjoying the art, the culture, the architecture of these fabulous countries.

Rain or shine, our family explore! #turknoys #turknoytravels100 “A rainy day is the perfect time to walk in the woods.” – Rachel Carson #unicornvibes #travel #travelgoals #travelwithkids #travelblog #france #nicefrance #country1
Family of five , 2 boys and 3 girls… crossing the travel bridge while ranting and raving to each other! #unicornvibes #travelgoals #turknoys #travelwithkids #turknoytravels100 #travelgoals #country2 #italy #florence

Things did not go to plan. We experienced being left behind by trains, we cancelled hotel bookings, we made impossible hotel re-bookings, we got lost, a lot of times, took the wrong train a lot of times, almost starved to death (using the kids’ words), a lot of times.. and we observed how the kids were more than just going along with the flow. They were discussing and making decisions with us. Yes, there are a lot of whining and complaining, but sorting things out with all family members, despite the helplessness of the situations, those moments are the eureka moments for us! We wanted to travel more together.

We wanted to travel more together so the parents can witness the shine and joy in the kids eyes every time they see something new for the first time. Every time they contribute to the travel decisions and get to say “See, Mom and Dad that was a nice call. Aren’t you glad we got down on this metro stop? ”

We wanted to travel more together so the kids can witness the shine and joy in their parents eyes every time they see their dreams realized. “Wow, Mommy, you are teary-eyed. How long have you wanted to see the Eiffel Tower? And then attempted to answer without sobbing too much… “All my life, babies. All my life.” We didn’t need to tell them that dreams do come true. We showed them what reactions we had when dreams do come true. 

We wanted to travel more together so we can share more awkward moments, like that time when we almost got thrown out of the hotel because of the noise the kids made and their parents handled that really diplomatically with the hotel receptionist. (At least, when in front of the kids!)

We wanted to travel more together so we can share more scary moments like that time when our baby almost got left behind in the airport (true story!) and survive to tell it!

All those moments, moody, grumpy, scary, fun!

Mum, remember that time when we were in Paris on top of the Eiffel Tower?… “ Of course, darling, I do remember, vividly. 

And the great part is, we will hear that kind of phrase for a long time since the kids started traveling now that they are still young.

We wanted to be good parents. We wanted to travel more together. You know that decision tree, when you are face with gain-gain choices, we choose the gain that feels right.

Traveling together feels right for our family. We took the kids out of school, stopped paying tuition fees, stopped waking up wee hours every school day, stopped stressing out the kids to finish their homework, said good byes to bullies and started enrollment to airline mileage points.
Baby steps. To a path with not so much trail.

Three days exploring the Louvre with kids and several years to get over the memories (maybe never! Hopefully never!)