COUNTRY 31: Morocco, Land of Colors and Much Mor 

“He who hunts for ostrich, will find ostrich.” – Moroccan Proverb


Oh yes, our family is hunting! Hunting hard for our life’s passions fueled by our yearning to be world educated by its unparalleled beauty, diverse culture and history! 

Hunt ostrich, find ostrich. Can’t be more appropriate for our family’s ideals on setting family goals and traveling! Set goals, its necessary! 

Our Country 31/ 100 Countries Travelled Together as Family is Morocco. Also, the second African country after our adventure in Ethiopia, Land of Origins. We’ll update this blog as we go on exploring this wonderful country. 

We visited Casablanca, Morocco’s biggest and capital city,  last March 2017 with only the parents for some travel hacking attempt. That attempt is not as successful as we have imagined. However, it turned out very romantic. It’s just us, though. We can’t state that it’s because it’s “Casablanca” but partly because traveling parents neeeds to be alone every now and then. So we said to ourselves, “we may have travelled Paris with kids, but we have Casablanca. ” Awesome, memorable couple traveling days! 

Travel date mixed with travel hacking in Casablanca! Can you tell we’re stoked and overjoyed?! (March 2017)

But what do we know?! Few months after, kids enjoyed Casablanca with us. Lots of gratitude, no complains. To explore the largest mosque in the country overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with our global children couldn’t be more perfect. 
  

Family selfie portrait I Hassan II Mosque (October 2017)
Kids jumping for joy (October 2017)

Worth noting a brief description of Hassan II Mosque from Wikipedia 

The Hassan II Mosque or Grande Mosquée Hassan II (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني‎‎; colloquially the “Casablanca Hajj”)is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres (689 ft). Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca.The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside grounds.




We just can’t wait to see more of Morocco 🇲🇦 for some serious “ostrich hunting.” 



Type of Family Travelers We Know and Want to Be! 

“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot

Since  our family started our family adventures based on our family travel goals, we meet a lot of family travelers online and offline. Perhaps family travel will be the leading form of travel in the near future. Maybe (big maybe) that’s how Millennial will raise their families. Honestly, we see a lot of wins when kids travel early on with their family. It is our contention that family travel will pave the way to world peace.
 

That Big Family Traveler

More than big in number but more on big in ideas and big in luxury! Family travelers can aim for that one-time BIG adventure and they go all out. Disneyworld, Disneyland, Legoland, Atlantis – yes please! Mainly where commercial travel marketing go crazy at. Yes, after all, It’s A Small World After All!

That Disneyland Dream for Princesses

That Hairy Family Traveler

Shun all the risks, these family traveler will visit exotic places in a heartbeat! But of course, exotic is a relative place, it could be Asia for North Americans or Africa for Asians, either ways it is a dangerous, out of comfort zone place for this type of family traveler.

Off to exotic places we go!

That Audacious Family Traveler

Daring, bold and brave, adjectives we don’t normally use at the end of a fairytale like “happily ever after…” That’s boring because  family fairy tale doesn’t have to have an ending. Long term family travelers life their life without borders, that audacious! It must be really    fantastic  to wake up to days and days of something new and different which turns to weeks and weeks which turns to years to years.. up to , who knows, decades even. 

Okay, technically not long term travel.. but hey, this place we called work home for more than a decade is a place away from other home countries… still home without borders.. ha!
 

That Goal (keeper/oriented) Family Traveler

Of course, that cautious family traveler who are vigilant to source out travel deals, who master the itinerary to ensure productive travel days with family because of limited time, limited resources or any other limitations. They are the family who does not make excuses, yet makes end meet in their own creative ways.

Our first trip as family “tourist” will always be one of the most memorable family adventures: the learning curve is the best for all of us when it comes to family traits, tourism, finances and scheduling – that first jump towards own family milestone is the best!
 
 

Our family is that family who is a little bit of everything, who lives by the acronym BHAG, that Big Hairy Audacious Goal of traveling 100 countries in every continent, who appreciate every family travelers we meet.

Any type, any form, any reason, any rationale of family travel. We strongly believe, all families are unique, so their travels should be. 

Create your own family trail
 
 

COUNTRY 30: Czech Republic, Land of Stories 

Kdo hledá, najde.
“He who looks, finds.”- Czech Proverb

 

First, a disclaimer – we never explored all parts of the country, like  what we attempt  for other countries we explored , at the very least, two cities of the country. Our thirtieth (30th, baby!) was mainly spent enjoying the Renaissance, baroque and gothic architecture of its capital city, Prague.  No matter,  boy, did  we  get ourselves full  of stories, facts,  science and history in, arguably, the city with  the most tourists.
We explored the city of Prague, mainly by foot. Yes, our 10 itchy, wanderlust-y feet, plus the three-wheel stroller, which turned 5 years in the family. 
New Town or Old Town, all bridges crossing the River Vlatava, ornate castles , holy churches, monasteries and our family’s favorites, library and brewery! 

Czech Republic, Land of Stories , oh boy do we have lots of stories
Library, architecture, churches and food! All in one city – Czechia

The heart of Central Europe definitely left a mark in our hearts to come back. We want to know more about the Bohemian and other parts of the country. 

 

Hey-O! Completed 30% of our goals. You can be like our family, too! Whatever your families’ priorities are, just go for it

COUNTRY 29: Slovakia, Little Big Country

“The way you call into the mountains is the way the echo will sound. “ – Slovak Proverb



Uummm, what’s  that body of water surrounding this country? None? Really? A landlock country… is definitely something new for our family. We had lived in a peninsula country for quite quite some time now. A little drive away from home will lead us to the Arabian Gulf. Don’t get us started on our archipelago, dearly beloved Philippines. 

Back to Slovakia… little big country surrounded by countries! It’s fantastic in a different sense. Two hours away from Vienna, Austria, ta da, Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. 
It’s like exploring a different world passing through the magic closet (yeah, like Narnia.)  
 Churches, museum, shops and Dr. Seuss House (not really but our hostel accommodation), our two days in the  country is satisfying to say the least. 

These traveling kids see our City Tour in different perspective.. education should be customized, travel with kids should b specialized to the kids need as well… You can almost see the traveling dad rolls his eyes at this! 😂

Waking up in an ambiance of medieval city, we definitely had a fun time going around the city, checking out monuments and restaurants alike. 

Bratislava is kid friendly capital city. Although, we never really see that many kids. Really.

A picture says a thousand words, yes, but the conversations our family had during our family travels will be treasured by all members of the family. 

Enjoying Bratislava Castle and Danube River

As if our days in Bratislava couldn’t get any perfect… we present you, bookstores and street art!

If we see a good library or bookstore in any city, we’re stuck for sometime for sure — this bookstore in Bratislava definitely would have made it to top 1 if are more stories about the country

Bratislava can easily have been a day trip from Vienna or Budapest. But hey, not for our family. There are lots of see, lots of discussion to make. It’s that Little Big Country. 

COUNTRY 25: Latvia, Best Enjoyed Slowly…(Or Quick and Dreamy!) 

Promised berries will not fill the basket.- Latvian Proverb

 

There are no promises for  family satisfaction. Only commitment and lots of goal setting. In this case, plans how to get berries to fill our basket! It’s either we want baskets full of berries or not. No half hearted berry lover, right! 

There is however, best way to enjoy life… Slowly or quick and dirty… hoops, family blog… uhhmm quick and dreamy! 

With this in mind, Latvia! A very musical, creative, artistic, spectacularly cold country. 
First.. enjoy slowly. Get to know the country. 

Latvia is a not-so-big  country by the  the Baltic Sea . Come on, check it out. It’s really a country! Oh the occupation regimes seems endless… In early times, it was occupied by Balts, and was later ruled by Vikings, Germans, Poland, Sweden, and Russia. It only became an independent country in 1918.  (Corrected by our favorite Rebel Travel Family from Latvia, so this should be accurate. – Advanced Happy 100 Years of Independence, Latvia! Exciting year ahead.)  That’s barely like a person who discovered traveling to new places  and enjoying new found freedom after series of boarding schools after schools after school after 8-to-5 corporate slavery. 

A slow taste of Latvia and you’ll definitely crave for more (oh please stop me with the innuendos!)

We stayed in Riga, the capital city, for ten days. Our eldest traveller stayed with a host family for a Youth Choir trip while we stayed in the heart of the Old Town of Riga. She had a lot of fun with her host family she didn’t want to leave. They are all so musically inclined, something missing from her real family. We were sure that if they offered her to stay for a longer time even after the scheduled choir concerts, she would have said stayed. Sending all gratitude and love to  this fantastic Latvian family 

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We didn’t see nor appreciate how green the city was. We visited March, beginning of spring. Hence, our desire to go back during summer season. Another wish list in our growing travel to do list with family. 
We did however stayed indoors a lot a experienced a taste of Riga, literally and figuratively. 
 

The Riga Music School…where we left our eldest musically inclined traveler with fellow musicians and off she goes on her own for a week or so…
These kids are just happy being in churches. This one though, St. Peter’s Cathedral, we attended the service :: her choir sang during the service!
Overlooking the magnificent view of Riga Old Town are 4.1 million books in 50 languages, that’s the National Library of Latvia! Hey, a culture nurturing books and reading books, we’re hooked!
We always make it a point to visit the local market when we visit a new country or a new places. Like tourist attractions, there are lots to learn about markets and local products. Plus, cheaper and fresher home cooked meals! #RigaCentralMarket is located at the center of Riga and is the largest and, duh, #centralmarket 😀which is also one of the largest in Europe and probably the most advanced market in the world. Imagine, it’s built with the German army aircraft hangars. This food specialist dad and the quality assurance mom agrees! The experience is really one of the kind, the wet market is not very dry… in a great way! ❤️
The Railway Bridge, the bridge across #riverdaugava, inaugurated 1914 and illuminated since 2007 with two modes, normal and holidays. Daily illumination at night time is blue lights, during holiday is blue and white lights! But hey, we wouldn’t know! We only see bridges daytime, before kids bedtime. 🤣 . .
We need houses as we need clothes, architecture stimulates fashion. It’s like hunger and thirst — you need them both. – Karl Lagerfeld Art and architecture immersion in Art Nouveau District, #riga the second time around is more love! ❤️

The more we stay in Latvia, the more we were hooked. Off we got on the trains and enjoyed this super affordable public transportation. 

Oh the places we’ve been around Latvia

Out of Riga, maybe our quick and dreamy version of Latvia. We head on to Jumarla for three days to freeze our beautiful .. faces.. by the Baltic Sea. Such a shame we didn’t get to swim and see the beach crowded with hot bodies. There still saw  lot of tourists walking by the beach.

 

It won’t be our #turknoy #familyadventure if we don’t include a visit to the beach soaked in rain in freezing temperature. 😘🤣 Hello Baltic Sea!
There was really no one in the streets of #Kemeri when we visited. And we took a picture of their attraction – The water tank! It was a fun walk with the family in the cold in a very quiet village. Priceless! ❤️
 
We took more trains and visited more quiet towns, we have enjoyed the serenity and silence of empty streets.  The kids definitely has their share of echoing screams. We felt like we were in the opening credits of a country movie, eerie silence, solitude. We’ll, it was fun, cold experience. 

Oh the food, wine, cheese and coffee! Let’s not elaborate on that in this blog or we might go booking a ticket to Latvia for a hot wine and salmon. We ate a lot of meat, too. It might be not politically correct to post photos of them, you know…. pork. 

Culinary Journey for all types of senses – burp!

No matter how you travel Latvia or any country in particular , slow or quick, night or day, fast food or fine dining, herbivore or carnivore, medium rare or well done, train or bus, music or story, travel it your own unique busy way! Just be  alive. Let’s be busy being alive



Have you been to Latvia with kids? 

COUNTRY 22: Ethiopia, Land of Origins

Do not hesitate or you will be left in between doing something, having something and being nothing. – Ethiopian Proverb

Woohoo! Our 3rd continent and our first  African country  to explore with kids. 

It maybe our love for discovering human history when our family travels that had drawn us in visiting Ethiopia. Our primary goal was to see Lucy, the 3.2 million years old fossil, probably the first evidence of humanity. The continent Africa is known as The Cradle of Humanity, then Ethiopia is its evidence repository.

Our Exploring Family with Lucy (model)
These traveling kids with Lucy!
As a worldschooling family who sets SMART goals to travel to 100 countries in all continents by 2022. This is our attempt to live life to the fullest with kids. Ethiopia is our first country in Africa (our third continent, 30th country visited, to date.
Ethiopia Tastes Awesomeeee!
When it comes to food and accommodation, we had the most unique experience in the country. Barely 4 hours away from Qatar, we were amazed with a totally different world. We definitely had a crash course in archeology and paleontology and how it works in the real world. Our three traveler kids had been to countless of Natural Museums in Europe and Asia yet we were impressed with somewhat “shabby” museum in Addis Ababa containing real human history treasures.

Look at our 5-year old, at home in a new continent ready to explore!
Lucy aside, here are 5 interesting facts about Ethiopia that everybody, yes, including kids, can appreciate:

1. Country History: Ethiopia is the only African country, which successfully fought against the scramble for Africa. It was never colonized, though Italians attempted to occupy it twice.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country worthy of independence.

2. UNESCO Heritage Sites: There are nine, day trips from Addis Ababa possible! Most famous sites are Lalibela twelve-rock-hewn churches. We visited Christian Orthodox churches which gave an interesting perspective for a family with both Islam and Catholic members.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

3. Religion: Ethiopia appears in the Bible 45 times both in Old and New Testament.

Inside An Orthodox Christian Church

4. Origin of Coffee. Coffee is Ethiopian’s gift to the world. It was found in the Kaffa Region (South-Western Ethiopia.) Even before the visit, we are non-Starbucks coffee drinkers. Enjoying the real “coffee culture” experience in Addis Ababa with really strong and delicious coffee with local ceremonies

5. Abebe Bikila, a star Ethiopian marathon runner, won Africa’s first Olympic gold medal in 1960. Add in the country’s high elevation Addis Ababa is athletes’ heart’s working out paradise. Made us want to become runners and marathoners.

Street Soccer in Adus Ababa
Vast fresh air, massive wild… Ahhh life is perfect with a horse
And oh, more pluses — the Ethiopian women are really gorgeous and almost everybody is kind to tourists. Ethiopia is one of the safest country in Africa to visit. With low costs airlines flying to Addis Ababa almost every day from Doha, Qatar where our family’s currently based, for sure, we would be back for some backpacking with kids.

Take us back to Addis Ababa where kids run wild with the horse and dogs

COUNTRY 20: Kingdom of Cambodia and Angkor Wat (and So Much More!) With Kids 

“Don’t  take the straight path or the winding path. Take the path your ancestors have taken.” – Khmer Proverb 

The proverb made us think  and ponder about the ambiance all throughout the country when  we visited. What we felt as family is that the country has been  living out the glory of their ancestors,  mainly from Angkor Wat legacy.  From flag symbol to beer labels, Angkor Wat is very prominent in all the places we’ve visited in the country.

 

Is that a good or bad thing? Well, we think it depends. Do they improve of what was  and capitalize on growing at  the  rate what it  was like during “ancestors” period, then yes. However, if there’s no significant growth and  milestones since the  past,  and  the present got stuck with the thinking of the  ‘great old days” then, it’s definitely a NO for us. This is  coming from our family, who are strong advocates of goal setting based on own family ideals – it takes courage. 

CROSSING THAILAND CAMBODIA-BORDER

Straight from our family adventures in Amazing Thailand, we walked to the Kingdom of Cambodia by foot. Ain’t that cool? Crossing the borders by walking, yes definitely.
Good

Crossing Thailand- Cambodia Border with these kids happy exploring feet
Walking from one country to another – yes, this deserves a family groupie photo ❤️

SIEM REAP

Exploring this vibrant city Siem Reap means visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat and  discussing at length the  wonders of one of the largest  temple of the world.

Our October visit to Angkor Wat  may be the  best weather to go. It was hot and definitely humid. With   kids, hyper and cranky at  the same time, serious discussion about different belief system in ancient culture mixed with the region’s histories of empire was very challenging! There were a  lot of whining and a  lot of playing,too! Add in a lot of tourists.

The mere wide area of the temple already fascinated us  and our  youngest reactions to temple, terrorised us. Her view of temple at five years old is not favorable,  although quite amusing for the rest of the  family members.

Angkor Wat With Kids in October
The best view of Angkor Wat With Kids Playing and Running Around
Don’t forget to be blessed by Buddhist Monk inside the Angkor Wat
Standing On The Very Center of Temple
Angkor Wat With Kids is Quite Educational and Great Fun… Really!
From A Hindu Temple to A Buddhist Temple – Can you Explain that to this Muslim/ Christian Family Please?! Oh, we get it!

 

OVERNIGHT BUS WITH KIDS FROM SIEM REAP TO SIHANOUKVILLE

Although, we love tropical weather over desert weather, we really  rather be at the beach or any body  of water when in  a tropical country like our dear country home.

From Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, we took an overnight bus thinking we’ll save a night   in a hotel plus save time to be able to explore more of the  Kingdom of Cambodia. Did we?  Oh yes, we did! We do NOT recommend it to family with kids, though. It’s not safe,not to mention, not convenient nor hygienic. The bus has not  toilet. There are pit stops every few hours of bus speeding recklessly in the night, passengers coming  and going at every busy stop. It was pretty stressful for us parents, while the kids sleep beside  each other with dirty blankets. We needed to use the blankets as  the bus air conditioning was on full blast.

Yeah, the things we subject ourselves into when we travel with kids. This is definitely under the list of “why did we do that?” category of our travel “Remember when?!” conversations.

Cambodia Backpacker Style – Waiting for the Overnight Bus

Our Overnight Bus – Oh Dear Lord, Not Again For Kids!
Siem Reap to Sihanoukville Overnight Bus

 

SIHANOUKVILLE

The beach stay in Sihanoukville is almost worth  the bus ride. The beach is fantastic, although the water is more on the  lukewarm side than refreshing.

The Gulf of Thailand Beach Sunset
Nothing Like The Sea to Take a Break from Temples

 

KOH RUNG ISLAND 

Somehow, we don’t often hear Cambodia and beach in the same sentence together. Yet Koh  Rung Island, the second biggest island in Cambodia is said to be one of the best in SouthEast Asia. So, off we went.

What do we think of the Koh Rung? It’s a good beach island, yes. The  best? We’ve seen better in Philippines, of course. We were  also expecting the same convenience we had during our  Maldives trip so a little bit disappointed when we learned that there’s no electricity in the island during certain period of the day. We also got a tree house  with no air conditioning with little to non facilities. Koh Rung is a little still developing island, based on our opinion.

Overall, the beach is fantastic and one of a  kind. Beachlovers would definitely be awed if they do visit.

 

This island is fantastic! Fine white sand and fine gold sand in the same shore! Plus treehouse stay is fabulous
Fine Gold Sand Beach adjacent to Fine White Sand Beach – Kao Rung!

 

Life is awesome by the beach
Life is the beach ❤️

PHNOM PENH

We explored this quite crowded city in two days. As a worldschooling family, we spent a great deal  in the Angkor Wat  museum and Royal Palace. As usual, the kids enjoyed running around  and parents wishing that they are learning something.

😃

Royal Palace

 

The Kingdom of Cambodia  is a fascinating country with resources that are diverse, culture that is rich in history and legacy. The people definitely are one of the nicest in the world. We wouldn’t mind going  back to Cambodia with kids if they do request!

 

Have your family  been to Cambodia? Explored temples or beaches? Do tell.