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?
Atlas wasn’t forced to hold up the world. He was convinced that if he didn’t, the world would fall.
Atlas is the Titan God of Astronomy and Endurance. Endurance? Who endures astronomy? Astronomy is an exploration, a fascination for all of us, the endless journey into the unknown and timeless magnificence.
Astronomy should be an endless and timeless exploration. Not an endless and timeless endurance.
Yet, somehow, Greek mythology managed to tame the wild and free souls of ancient people. As early as those ages, we are scared to have unlimited boundaries to explore, so we bury ourselves with the preconceived irony of life.
God of Astronomy and Endurance. Yes, you have the capacity to explore yet you should choose to stay put and hold up the world otherwise, if the world would fall then you are a failure at being god. You, Atlas, should endure the responsibility of the world!
But, hey, it’s your choice! You are God of Astronomy, you can explore the universe. But remember. You are also God of Endurance! Don’t enjoy exploring too much that you forgot to endure and suffer with your responsibilities to the world.
See the ironic sense there? We do. It’s very obvious. We see it in all patterns in life.
Each of us have become our own version of “Atlas”. We hold the world in a certain standard because we were told to, expected to. Otherwise, the world would fall flat to our faces with shame and embarrassment. We all have responsibilities, we all need to hold up the world. Otherwise, the world would fall. The people around us would crumble.
We are all raised to conformance. Raised to follow a certain pattern in life set by our parents, by our religion, by school and by society. We get so molded by norms, rules, commandments, expectations that being a good person means full compliance.
Being human, we all scream to be free, to be wild, yet we are tamed to conformance. We are tamed to follow order.
Yet, we are always reminded by the same institutions who mold us that we are free. That everything we are now is because of our choices!
And yes! Like Atlas, we all believe that we are free to choose the life we want. This seems like an immense illusion?
Yes but there is a bigger illusion. The real illusion is not the free choices we make in life, the bigger illusion is the world falling, people around us crumbling! The odds of those happening depends how we look at the illusion of our roles in carrying the world.
If Atlas only learn to let go of the world, the world would carry him and continue its rotation and revolution, playing its part in the Universe.
Nobody should carry the world on its shoulder. Nobody can.
Our existence in this world is important. It is. Because it is unique! Nobody is responsible for our existence but ourselves.
We are responsible for our own choices, for our own way of living life. If we screw it up, then we only have ourselves to blame.
That is way more scary right? To be responsible for our own decisions? Then we have no one to blame? Can’t blame our parents, our religion, our school, our society? If we stood our ground and live the life we always wanted, and we fail, that is a huge slap to our faces.
Why risk those odds? Let’s just conform and be the majority. Let’s continue holding the world, because the world will not fall and we will be safe and conforming.
For our family and with our travel goals, Turknoy Travel 100, we choose to let go of the world and enjoy the view of the world’s rotation and revolution, as it should be.
We aim to travel. A lot.
We don’t send the kids to school because we believe in learning, not indoctrination.
We do not belong to any religion, we believe in God strongly.
Our ways and means of parenting are frown upon by elders and society, we listen, to them but we make our own decisions based on the uniqueness of our children.
Our children are unique individuals. Parents are happily together with similar goals in life yet we cherish the differences in our personalities. Who we evolved to be will be based on how each one of us wanted to evolve.
Everybody is unique. We can’t carry someone else’s responsibilities for themselves. Not family. Not school. Not religion. Nobody.
With eyes wide open, we love every moment of our lives. That very scary part, we are willing to face. If the world drops, which we believe it won’t, the blame is on us. That’s cool. Tell us, “We told you so.. “ and we will just say back, “It was worth our while!”
The world is there to be explored, not to stay on our shoulder and treat as a burden.
That is one mythology we are willing to tell to our kids.