“It is a question of discipline. When you’ve finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth…” (5.16). The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
In addition to traveling together as family, we are avid fans of reading aloud to kids. We collect classic books and one of our favorite is The Little Prince. Hence, our fascination to Baobab trees.
Baobab trees are the Africa’s iconic ” Tree of Life.” Kinda like our Asia’s Coconut Tree – we call our high rising coconut trees as Tree of Life as well.
Fun facts about Baobabs:
Baobab trees grow in 32 African countries.
They can live for up to 5,000 years, reach up to 30 metres high and up to an enormous 50 metres in circumference.
Baobab trees can provide shelter, food and water for animals and humans. A lot of savannah communities have made their homes near Baobab trees.
Baobab bears fruit! And based on what we’ve read so far, Baobab fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. Hey, that’s what we say to our coconut!
Soon, we’ll be visiting baobabs in Africa, we know it would be a fantastic experience and family travel bucketlist to tick and enjoy. We also know that we’ll bring our worn out Little Prince book with us. Every time we read that book, there are a lot of realizations in life thay suddenly sparks our minds. Just like traveling.
For the meantime, a more interesting information about baobab tree….
Drum rolls please!!!
Did you know that there are baobab trees in Aspire Park, Doha, Qatar? To touch a real love baobab tree is like meeting Little Prince in person. There’s always a lot of reason to explore Qatar. Or any nearby neighborhood, for that matter. With curious eyes and wandering feet, we’ll never know what we can discover.
“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck
We probably found the coolest cafe ever for our family and it’s in Qatar! This is coming from a family who enjoyed a unicorn-cafe theme in Bangkok, Thailand and of course, way back when we were very naively wanting to conform as family, enjoyed Mickey Mouse Cafe and Disney Princesses Cafe!
Scratch all those cafes, The Chemist Cafe is, by far, the best for The Turknoys. It’s Breaking Bad style, kinda like the family style we advocate to live, minus the illegal laboratory, and more on breaking free with science and gung-ho positivity.
Awesome hang out place discoveries like this in the country where we are based, in between traveling in different countries, is something we celebrate like a breakthrough! There was a time in Qatar for our family that McDonalds offering breakfast menu was the headline in our blog. Seriously.
It’s really amazing how the people in the country opens up to all wonderful, state of the art, top class innovating ideas. That’s what we think of The Chemist Cafe. It’ll be a nice home education brainstorming go to place . 👍
What’s the coolest Cafe you’ve been? We want to know different concepts. Do you have similar Chemist Cafe concept in your country? Do tell.
“And the turtles, of course… All the turtles are free, as turtles, and maybe all creatures should be.” -Dr.Seuss
The turtle nesting season in Qatar starts April and since 2015, the Al Fuwairit Beach is closed during the season until the cute teeny tiny little turtles are off to their place in the ocean.
The beach normally opens again first two weeks of August. That would be a tad hot to swim, not too hot to appreciate the sunset, the fine beach and the calm sea water.
Maybe it’s our perfect timing to visit the beach, maybe it’s our instinct way from crowd, but we never really see Al Fuwairit Beach crowded. If we are to describe the beach based on our experience, it would be the adjectives “desolate” and “serene.” We usually go right after work hours of the week day to watch the sunset or Saturday afternoon when everybody might be heading back to the city for the work week.
The Al Fuwairit Beach is almost 50-km away from center of the city through Al Shamal Road. There are no facilities such as shower, toilets or supermarket but there will be at least two fuel stations with convenience stores for stop over along the way .
The kids always have a blast swimming or just running around the long stretch of white beach.
We sincerely hope that the visitors will not leave their trash behind to preserve the beauty of the Al Fuwairit Beach. Just like anywhere in the world, nature preservation is the responsibility of every one of us. If we can’t contribute, the least we can do is not cause any damage.
Enjoy Al Fuwairit Beach, but please.. please.. leave only footprints and adventure memories.
“Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.” – Psyche Roxas-Mendoza
Since we moved to a different location in the city, we now lived more than an hour way from any beach in Qatar. It’s not really far, at all, although it will take a little getting used to. We’ve lived less than 30 minute-drive away from Al Wakra Beach and at any point that our family want some unscheduled activity, we always end up going to hang out by the Al Wakra Beach.
We’ve done almost everything at Al Wakra Beach – plane watching (way back to the really old Doha Airpot) , Eid Celebrations, BBQ, Overnight Camping and endless family chatting and eating, hanging out by the kids playground . In addition, Al Wakra Beach is a haven for the dogs and our dog lover family members.
Al Wakra is another town from Doha, so we were technically going “out-of-town” everytime we visit the beach. Priceless family memories almost always involve beaches.
Yes, we conclude, have dogs and kids in Qatar? Al Wakra Beach is a perfect place to hang out at leisure.
All who are running on their father’s footsteps, are anyway running. – Qatari Proverb, which means the son will always do what the father does.
Did you know that Al Zubarah is the remaining complete plan of an Arabian pearl-merchant town. Al Zubarah is a very unique archeological evidence to the human interaction with both sea and the harsh desert environment of the region.
Kuwait traders founded the Al Zubarah village, imagine the geography now! When Al Zubarah was nominated to be a UNESCO heritage sites, our family was cynical about the entire UNESCO qualifications as we have been in the country for quite a few number of years. Yet, we started traveling, we have come to realize that Qatar is indeed a country full of treasures. It’s the harsh weather that is fascinating about the country and how the citizens and residents, then and now, respond to it. It’s a peninsula country surrounded by the Persian Gulf with mainly desert terrain and yet, there are lots of treasures in any form with a defined Islamic and Qatari culture embedded in daily lives.
We have been to other UNESCO heritage sites with less. We are proud Qatar residents that this site is included in the ever famous UNESCO Heritage list and we take every opportunity to visit the area whenever we could!
The pristine bluish-green beach is a site worth driving 2 hours already! Add in the architecture of the port and the history hidden it the archeological site and if we are lucky, there are camels and sunset!
It’s a guaranteed full, stimulating and fun day of exploring in Al Zubarah!
“I consider space to be a material. The articulation of space has come to take precedence over other concerns. I attempt to use sculptural form to make space distinct.” – Richard Serra
Another favorite weekend place for our family is the Brouq Nature Reserve especially when the the Richard Serra art installations of four steel plates, over fourteen metres in height each with their perfect alignments has been completed in the reserve. Modern steel art in our favorite country by a well-respected artist in his field. That sounds spectacular to call Qatar home for us.
The art by Richard Serra is titled East-West/ West- East. We love the desert nature reserve and wide desert space with its unique limestone formation all over the art installations. The landscape is simply breathtaking. Especially we look far out and see the span of Persian Gulf and walk along its beach line.
Add in a good desert weather, amidst the season, hot and humid or cold and windy, it’s a full day out for the family. There’s no wrong weather, only wrong clothes, as we always say, so we always come prepared whenever we come to Brouq Nature Reserve.
This place never fails to make us appreciate the beauty of desert landscape and its wonder. There is always beauty in our surrounding, even without the green! The grass is always not better when it’s greener. At some awesome times, the grass is better when it’s wild, free and growing in the desert.
“What makes the desert so beautiful,” said the Little Prince, “is that it hides a well.”
Our family didn’t love traveling instantly. It was a slow courting process for the parents and kids to love exploring. We used to be conformist to any society’s standards. Got married, checked! Got kids, checked! Put the kids in the best school we could possible afford, checked! Went to church and mosque religiously, checked!
Life became routine and predictable. We are very grateful. That is one value our family will always have – being grateful to whatever circumstances and predictability life hands to us. Yet, we can’t help but hear the silent questions of our hearts and minds.
“AND THEN WHAT?!”
What happens when a family wants something more? What happens when every family member questions all society’s standards? We are in our journey and we don’t have the answers just yet but this we are very sure of: When you start questioning the validity and existence of one norm, such as education and traditional family lifestyle, there is no turning back. We just had to question all norms and the “why” we do the things we do day in and day out, like robots, like zombies, like programmed applications in a matrix.
That is why we like hanging out in the desert. The Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar close to Al Kharara is our favorite place in Qatar, whatever the weather! Yes, even in the middle of summer when the temperature is scorching 55++ degree- Celsius!
There is something about the beauty of the sand dunes, dependent to the blowing of the wind, yet standing firm and proud to its desert background while humming its sand dune songs!
We may be an ordinary expat family in Qatar, yet we have our ambitions and goals as family. We go where the wind blows, especially with the unpredictable world economy nowadays, yet to stand firm and proud to our family’s quests and questioning while we hum our family quests song unique from all the songs of other family!
The Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar is a must-see for all Qatar residents, visitors and tourists! During winter, this is the perfect place of hanging out with friends for a BBQ and bon fire, sand duning, sand tobogganing, climbing cardio exercises and a lot more activities! It’s a great hang out for kids.
Great playground for kids with free play-all-you can sand dunes! Our family has seen the sunrise and sunset from the Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar, both spectacular nature wonder at work.
Most of the time, what we actually question in life has no right and wrong answers. Those who claim, they have it all figured out and they know the right answers are all wrong. And we are mostly sure, they didn’t watch the sun rises or setting from the sand dunes or desert!
Maybe life should never have answers. Maybe deserts contain hidden wells, yet again maybe none.
Does it matter really? When we can survive life without water?
“Knowing your own family and having a purpose makes the unit live and love their lives on your own family’s terms. You know you have your own family lifestyle when the family members “need to do” is defined by its own members not by anyone else telling them. “ – Turknoys
In her previous life, Turknoy Mum was a quality assurance guru in her field (subtly emphasizing here that she knows the theories of sound management in business and in life!). She used to facilitate training about “Customer Satisfaction.” Her training purpose would be to define ways how to achieve customer satisfaction in business settings. For management to be able to do that, the organization needs to articulate what the customers really need. Satisfaction comes from having the customer requirements fulfilled. Hence, the obvious challenge lies on how to define what the customers really need, directly or indirectly, stated or implied.
However, the real challenge and less obvious to most organizations before achieving customer satisfaction, prior to being fluent with defining what the customers really need is identifying who their real customers are, their target niche, who they want to satisfy in the first place.
Well, it should be obvious. Organizations can’t please everybody and they don’t have do. Their purpose is really to make money, not customer satisfaction (newsflash!). Organizations are concerned about customer satisfaction because they want to have more profit. Satisfied customers tend to be repeat customers. Plain truth, commercial businesses are not focused about how customers are treated or served, they want customers to come again for more business or want their customers to tell good things about their business to attract more customers.
Organizations have mission, purpose-driven. It should be the same for individuals. It definitely should be the same for families.
Mission and purpose which drives a unique individual should be unique.
Mission and purpose which drives a unique family unit should be, duh, unique! Every family has different requirements for their satisfaction.
Yeah, let’s talk about Family Satisfaction, traditionally known as Happily Ever After. It’s so happily ever after, it’s considered an end-game for all single eligible, smart, independent people.
Our strong and high opinion about Family Satisfaction – It’s not an end-game. It’s that “Other Level – not mandatory next level, not higher level, a different level!
It’s a choice we have to make, if we want it. Everybody can be qualified to have a family but not everyone should build a family! Not everybody wants it, we need the world to acknowledge this! Sometimes a person is destined to not have family or kids, but a lot of times, a person may not want to have family or kids!
How do we know who wants to have a family? There, there you go!! KNOW THYSELF! Like, deep-from-the-gut, straight-from-the-heart know yourself hard! If family life is not something for an individual, no amount of activities, goals or mission with the future family can satisfy or be enough to obtain happiness in life.
And if we do want to have a family, how do we know how we can satisfy every member of family, how we do get family satisfaction? There, there you go!! KNOW THY FAMILY! Like, deep-from-the-gut, straight-from-the-heart know every member of the family hard!
Knowing our own self, and our own family is not an easy task. It means acknowledging our deepest desires in life, we were often instructed by almost every “superior” human beings and ancient institutions to hide and contain.
Finding ourselves is not a one-off process. As our family home educate, unschool, explore with kids and live our lives without worrying about non conformities, every day is a learning opportunity to get to know our passion and desires.
We are allowing our curiosity guide our way to find ourselves. So far, it has taken us to places we only imagined before.
Maybe it involves continued traveling, or maybe it involves something else.
“He not busy being born is busy dying.” –Sings Bob Dylan
Every time we visit a new country or a new place or do new activity together as family, we always have that feeling of vigor, of expanding our horizon, of being reborn (in a non-radical-religious-kinda-way!)
The feeling of excitement when we stepped out of the plane and enjoy the first breath of fresh air of the country! Lots of possibilities, places to see, lots of milestones to share with kids!
The feeling of accomplishment when we perform new activity together, no matter now trivial, the exhilaration of fresh ideas coming to mind, fresh feelings of tons of possibilities shared with kids!
It makes all of us come alive.
When we arrived at Gangehi, Maldives from the seaplane to the boat going to the island, we can still vividly hear the gasps of WOW from all the passengers, it’s like we were almost in the paradise island! Well, the island is a paradise. Gangehi is one small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean isolated surrounded with nothing but water and white, fine sand. The parents were so busy admiring the islands that the kids almost fell off the ocean from the plane! (True story – but kids are good swimmers, no harm done!) Out of breath with the view, panting with excitement, every now and then pinching ourselves to make sure that it’s real, all nerves yearning to catch up with the logic of what is happening. Euphoria – that’s a nice busy feeling.
Exactly the same feeling our family felt when we stepped out of the airplane from Stockholm to Kiruna, in the Artic part of the world. It was almost midnight, the snow everywhere, the freezing temperature, looking up at the bright sky hoping to see the Northern Lights. Again, the parents were so busy admiring the snow-covered airport runway that we didn’t notice the kids sinking their feet to the depth of the snow. (Again, true story! They did however, find this funny and kept running mindlessly around like their parents, despite being undressed in a very cold weather!) The faces of the kids, giddy moments together, definitely a treasure to remember for the rest of our living moments.
Again, exactly the same feeling we had when we experienced our first family cart-carabao ride around the village in Indang we call home in the Philippines. Kids and parents shouting with joy and excitement looking at familiar green environment and feeling euphoric seeing goats, chickens and banana shrubs! The adrenaline rush, the blissful moment of being occupied with activity so routine and trivial for some, yet so special and memorable for our family.
That exact same feeling, although a bit challenging to replicate in our day-to-day life as expat family in the desert, we always try our best to feel alive, to be exhausted with happiness and not boredom. We find bliss in sand dunes, so we always seek the thrill of admiring the desert with kids especially at high temperature and humidity! In the desert, we feel busy dreaming, busy feeling the euphoria of experiencing life surrounded by sand and dust yet with so much comfort magnified by love and blessings of the country we live in.
Every day we open our eyes are God’s gift. Each day we don’t do things that make us come alive is an injustice to this gift.
Every day is too precious not to be busy living. Such a waste to be busy dying!
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?