COUNTRY 2 – Italy and Dreams

“Italy is dream… That keeps returning for the rest of your life.”– Anna Akhmatova

Magical. Beyond romantic. More than majestic.

Oh-my-God-jaw-dropping-landscapes! That basically sums up what we think of Italy. Nobody can have enough of Italy. A very beautiful and delicious country!

Together as family, we spent seven days exploring five of its famous cities – Rome, Florence, Pisa, Torino and Venice! One country, different cities all of which left  different tastes of varying dreams to our subconscious!

We don’t think we will have enough of Italy. The country opened up different layers of our inner passions, provoking different reactions for our senses.

All Senses Ready for Italy!

Italy is delicious. Uhhmm, pizza, pasta, gelato! No wonder Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray and Love, ate and ate in this country! The kids enjoyed gelato in basically all the streets we went to! Aldente pasta? Yes please! Two orders of pizza for one each?! Yes please! If we didn’t attempt to walk the entire city of Rome and get lost from one bus to another, we wouldn’t have gained so much weight that the plane back home would refuse to take us!

Italy is wet and warm. It was raining every single day during one month of March when Turknoy family was there. Yet the people are accommodating and welcoming.

We were in the overnight train from France to Rome , newbie traveler with three kids in tow, we shared the cabin with an Italian drunk woman! She speak no English and commending our kids for being all so well-behaved. Honestly, it was scary for all of us , her stinky shoes, drunk breath and Italian murmurs for 4-hour train ride is what we will remember about Italy as family! Yet when the drunk Italian woman bid her goodbye at the train station with so much warmth and hospitality,  it was more enough for us to fondly remember her and forget about the terror we felt inside the cabin train.

In Murano Island, Venice, where expensive Murano glass shops abound, we had to seek refuge in one of the shop, where we were politely and warmly shoo-ed away because kids might break the glasses and we obviously, can’t afford such exquisite, elegant and authentic home glass decor. How could anyone be so beautiful, posh, polite and rude at the same time? 

We believe, only Italians can!

And  of course, riding around Venice in a gondola with chatty handsome Italian gondolier cum historian cum actor (albeit, extra character as gondolier!)  Best one-hour ride for the family ever!

Italy smells anciently magnificent. Well, the landscape, the history, the architecture, the art. It is everywhere, you can really smell the magnificence in all periods of time. From The Colosseum, to Accademia Gallery  where David is to the contemporary museums of Florence everywhere top with the City of Venice!  We were always left speechless any point in time during our stay in Italy, we can only smell our environment.

Italy is music to the ears. Every restaurant we went to, there were loud Italians passing orders, streets filled with music, again mixed with all the Italian accents. Can’t say anything more. We can stay in cafe and just listen to their loud conversations we can’t comprehend.

Add in the pigeons flipping their winds in 

Piazza De Marco mixed in the waves of Adriatic Sea with the tapping of the rain while busy tourists talking and sipping their warm drinks.

Italy is bliss. Our senses said so.


Italy is bliss.


Life is Pilgrim for All, Kids Included

“To journey without being changed is to be nomad; to change without journeying is to be a chameleon; to journey and be transformed by the journey is to be pilgrim.” – Mark Nepo

The picture of traveling with kids used to give me images of whining, crying, outbursts and lots of kicks at the backseat of the plane (oh that poor passenger!) Not to mention the screams of “I am tired.”, “My feet hurt really bad, we are walking for hours!” and “We are starving.”, shouts of suffering like we subjected them to the huge amounts of torture while traveling.

And yes, that look of fellow travelers, and locals in the area… The – “What are these parents thinking?”-look. And the “Some people should not be parents!”-look, joined with “Oh these poor starving, tired kids, being dragged by their parents to foreign, scary places.” – look.

Side note: We don’t like judging the people we meet on the road when our family travel but we like to judge ourselves through the eyes of these people. That is a bad habit and we are working on that.

But, yes. Traveling with kids are these images, looks and judgments. Not going to sugar-coat that. Traveling with kids is not easy. Traveling with kids is sometimes a form of torture to all family members and people surround us (especially that fellow airplane passenger.)

#turknoys #turknoytravels100 #country4 another rainy day at the Vatican City! “To journey without being changed, is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and to be transformed by the journeying is to be a pilgrim.”–Mark Nepo Cheers to all of us finding our pilgrim! 🦄🦄#unicornvibes #travel #travelblog #familygoals #travelgoals #travelwithkids #familytravel #unschooling

Yet, we are advocates of family travel. We are passionate about packing our bags times five not because it’s fun at all times (it is fun most of the time.) nor we like to torture ourselves (notice, how many times the word torture appears on this blog post!)

We like traveling with kids because of the golden moments.

Kids are pretty good at being in the moment, enjoying the moments.

Experience people, places and events in their wholeness. To be mindful of the moment. To be a child again with no worries. This is our golden take away from life’s experiences, what we always observe when we travel with our turknoy kids.

We constantly move places to evolve, to travel. Yet when we are in certain place, we let the place evolve us. Enjoying the place, the people in their wholeness, that is what makes traveling a pilgrim.

#turknoys #turknoytravels100 #nepal #country9 Getting cozy with the holy people! “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller #unicornvibes #travel #travelblog #travelwithkids #travelgoals #familytravel

It’s so easy with kids to identify what they appreciate and what they don’t. When we take them to museums, their body languages tell us what they love to see. It doesn’t matter if it’s a famous painting or sculpture. They are not influenced by the preconceived notion or majority’s view of what is great and what is awesome. Their eyes know and seeing that spark every time they see something new for the first time, and they love it, that’s appreciating something in their wholeness.

What is not easy however, is for us, “molded” adults to let them choose and enjoy their own moments.

When all the kids didn’t like to be among the crowd who wanted to see Mona Lisa in the Louvre, Mom and Dad were like.. “Uhm, what the?! We took you to Paris and Louvre so you can see the magnificence of this painting, world-class, timeless masterpiece and.. you don’t want to wait your turn to take a picture with Mona Lisa?! Are you all kidding? (or in our mind – are you f*&%ing kidding us?!) A million kids would want to have your place and see this once in a lifetime opportunity and you want to pick your sister’s nose?! (True story!) – to which they replied: But, Mom, she has something in her nose!.. and it seems illogical at that time. And truly a waste of time and lots of euros!

These kids chose picking Kayra’s nose over oogling and admiring Mona Lisa. And when we forced them, they turned cranky and grumpy followed by a lot of whining!

Our younges Turknoy and Mona Lisa 😜😜

That doesn’t sound like a “pilgrim” to anyone. Well, it certainly didn’t sound like a pilgrim for us then and now. Just a making a point here. No judgment, remember?

The hardest part of traveling with kids, and parenting kids, in general is when we take them to certain places where we want them to look at what we think are awesome, magnificent masterpieces and they choose to look elsewhere, to what they think are awesome, magnificent, masterpieces.

Traveling with kids doesn’t not mean they are going with the flow and itinerary of the parents. Traveling with kids, as difficult and inflexible it may sound, means five different minds and hearts each finding their moments and wanting to be transformed by the journey.

After exploring several countries, we are slowly learning to let go and have the kids enjoy their own journey leading to their own pilgrims. It didn’t even bother us when they chose hanging out with the pilots instead of looking at how great and magnificent Mount Everest peak is. We had to emphasized to ourselves that the peak of the highest mountain in the world is magnificent for us, what is awesome for the kids are the pilot and co-pilot navigating the plane. There is nothing wrong there.

Our Turknoy enjoying hanging out with the plane co-pilot instead of enjoying the peak of Mt. Everest!

Kids are pretty good at being in the moment, enjoying the moments. Moments important for them, not by dictated by anyone or anything.

That’s how kids evolve. That’s how people evolve and learn from places and experiences.

Now, our picture of traveling with kids give us images of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, images of three cheeky monkeys transforming into three awesome, strong willed adults equipped with passion and memories to change the world.

That’s an image worth the torture, uhhm….Yeah, I mean challenges when trading  with kids.

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!)