Cheap Family Globetrotting is Possible, If It’s A Priority

“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.” – Paolo Coelho

Travel is cheap depends on the comfort you want! 😍
If you think travel is expensive, then most probably, you never really had an adventure just yet. Our family can say that with conviction because we have been there.

The family who follows routine and “saves for the kid’s future.” The family who doesn’t define what is important for the family members, but tries very hard to “fit in,” such as attending birthday parties and then throwing birthday parties or play groups with lots of freebies!

In no way, we are claiming that these parties are bad or waste of time. It’s just that, at birthday parties, you always see that one awkward group of people who look like they are trying to have fun, but can’t because it’s not in their DNA to be around people. When we attend parties, that’s how our introvert family looks like.

Parties make some extrovert people happy and contented. Throwing lots of parties is awesome if it is your priority in life and if that makes your family happy.

That’s our main point really. Do what makes you feel alive. Know your priorities. Make sure it’s what matters to you and your family. Not the routine priorities of our lives.

The moment our family said our priorities out loud (or through this blog!), we started to experience realization of our travel goals in no way we thought possible, most of them for free. It’s because our eyes are laser-focused on what’s out there to make our priorities our realities.

To name a few examples:

· Our Qatar Airways family ticket to Munich is free-of-charge using Qmiles.
· We got Qatar Airways return trip for free, again using Qmiles for our trip to The Netherlands.
· We got free upgrade from economy to business class from Istanbul to Doha.
· We always stay in the business lounge at any airport, even we always travel economy. For free.
· We always have room upgrade at any hotel/ hostel we stay in because we always book for two adults only (and yes, we are actually five!) Again, free of charge, because we have a “business class” status in the online travel booking community.

Yes, we do spend money for traveling. The value for the money we spent is sky-rocking-high and that’s what makes it cheap.

Way back 2009, we spent the same amount of money for our first daughter’s 4th birthday party at Chili’s and our second Europe trip. Add in the birthday gifts we gave to the birthday parties we attended for that same year and that would be the same as our trip to Nepal.

When we didn’t travel last year over Eid holidays, we ended up spending more than when we travelled to Denmark and Sweden for the second time over the 11-day holiday. Living costs is relative. We just need to decide which (and where) perspective to look at!

It takes courage to define our priorities in life. It also takes courage to say “No” to things that doesn’t make us as happy. It does cost us financially and before we knew it, it will give us lots of should-have beens.

Travel is not expensive. Not having goals is.

“We are all part of the free world! Free to dream, free to travel, free to live!” – Turknoys ‘ Mum

Family Satisfaction

“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.

Finding yoursef is not similar to finding a lifetime partner!

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. 

Our family. Our terms. 

We CANNNNNN GET …. OUR satisfaction. Oh, oh oh!

A family that sets goals together, stays satisfied together!

Let’s Be Busy Being Alive 

“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.

Setting foot on Gangehi Islands in Indian Ocean for the first time with kids!
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.

The morning after arrival at Kiruna – awesome moments with family!

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.

Carabao Ride in Indang! Home Sweet Home Adventures!

 

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.

 

Brown is our Green when in Qatar! Exploring is always blissful
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! 

Let’s Be Busy Growing Everday. It takes full commitment to growth!

Life’s An Opinion 

“My life is your opinion, Mommy!” – said with conviction by our eldest Turknoy

 
One of the side benefits of traveling with kids is when there are idle time in between transportation schedules like waiting for the next plane schedule to the next city. During these times, open discussions with kids, whether parents are comfortable or not, is unavoidable. 

We were talking about diverse topics such as religion, home education and how people influence one another knowingly or subconsciously. Out of nowhere, she said it.
 
“My life is your opinion, Mommy!”

her opinions are deeprooted to every atoms in her body! 😜 Gheez, Thanks Mommy!

And wow! Never did a statement hit the mark so accurately.
It’s true. In a good, bad, intense and very scary way.
Our kids are living the life based on our opinions. We do not go to church or mosque, we don’t send the kids to school, we make exploring a habit and a lifestyle.

These are our opinions and we live by these. Not a popular choice by majority, non-conventional. Scary choices yet we stand by these opinions.

Just to be so clear – we are not claiming we are right. Nor we want anybody’s approval either. 

The Turknoy parents young age was so patterned with anyone else’s and we formed high opinions about it. We used to religiously go to church or mosque. We went to traditional schools and universities. We used to dream about high paying job with normal working hours and “settling down” to a nice cozy home with a garden.

Yes, we have strong opinions about how we used to live our lives. Our Turknoy kids lives are now based on these opinions.
An immense responsibility we are taking on to ourselves and not on to anybody else.
When Turknoy Mum was young, growing up in the village (it takes a village to raise a child, right?!), the teachers and neighbors would praise how smart she is, and how successful she would be being an accountant (uh, yeah, that specific because during those times, being Certified Public Accountant is synonymous to being successful.) Study hard, graduate from university and get a high paying job.  

There are beautiful girls in the same village who were expected to be marry a rich man because they are “very beautiful.” Some of these beautiful girls turned into beautiful women waiting in vain for that rich men to come to their lives.

Well, Turknoy Mum is lucky she is smart and not that beautiful. She did finish her university and got a good job.

Opinions affect our lives. More than we allow it to. We are what we imagined but most of the times, we listen so much to what other people think should happen in our lives that it becomes our own imagination.

It is really important to hang out with the right people who will give us a good image of what we are capable of doing, of what future we deserve. Well-meaning people are usually parents, right? See, we are qualified to raise our kids based on our opinions! One of the reason we advocate strongly home education.

The other side of our family is not any different. When Turknoy Dad was growing up in his own village, he was raised to the very same ideals. Study hard, graduate from a university, get a job that would pay for his retirement, get married to a loving wife who will take care of him and kids in a very comfortable and clean (oh boy, do they clean their houses!) home.

Luckily, his inclinations to see the world prevailed and he didn’t marry a wife who will take care of his house. He did however, married a wife who can make him rich (not financially) beyond his dreams.

Yes, luckily, we were able to form opinions of our own so we can live out of our parents, our neighbors and society’s opinions.

We can still hear our eldest saying with conviction, “My life is your opinion, Mommy!

This we reply:

“Well, thank you, kids for living your life based on our opinions. For now. We sincerely hope that we are enabling you to make your own opinions and have the courage to live by these.”

Life is too short to live by somebody else’s opinions.

We are all winging how to live our lives. Nobody knows for sure, what is right. And what was right then, could be so wrong now. 

 Our lives, our opinions.

 Your life, your opinion. 

High respect and high five for that!

and she says: My life is my Mother’s opinion! Well, hope Mommy’s opinion is not as ancient as Parthenon!

Set Goals. It’s Necessary! 

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things … – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Set goals! There are no petty things when you know how to make your family happy! 🤗
Do you set goals for your family? As in serious goals written somewhere and not just a hashtag #familygoals or #travelgoals ? Can you state your goals in a sentence or two?

In any business organization, profit or non-profit, the importance of setting the vision and goals are very important. Companies spend thousands of dollars making sure that their vision, mission, goals and objectives are updated and relevant. Turknoy Mum knows this, she spent more than a decade of her career in ensuring an effective system is in place to set the direction of the organization.

A person without goal is a like a kite without string, going to wherever the winds blows, until the kite gets destroyed in God-knows how, where and when.

As much as our family believes in destiny and meant-to-be-happy-ever-after, we believe in setting goals. It keeps the hearts and minds waking up with tons of excitement, not to mention, keeps the hearts and minds focused on what we really want to get out of this life.

The day-to-day living together becomes an agony if we keep doing the same thing over and over  only guided with society’ directions one of which is that is that ” Someday, kids will  finish school and “become successful.”

Successful means achieving goals, can’t really be a success without goals to rate it against, right?

Growing up, both Turknoy parents wanted to be rich. We earned our first thousand dollars successfully before we turned 30, got married, had kids, and kept our management jobs…. And then……… day in, day out.. wait for kids to grow up, keep the day jobs, wait for kids to grow up… And then…. Boredom. In other lives, it could mean drama here and there. How people without goals would welcome drama in their lives  if there is nothing to look forward to! Oh, that happens! 

Human psychology supports this. When the mind is not looking forward to something, it deviates from what is right or appropriate. Fights, affairs, murder, suicide. Okay, a bit exaggerated to get our point across, but that’s how it happens in real life.
 

Settling down with family is not an end point. It is a status. Same as being in a relationship. Or staying “forever” with your one true love.
The sad and pathetic thing is when we consider “settling down with our family” and living our forever with the one we love” our one exclusive goal in life. There is really more to life.
Romantic as it sounds, it really is boring. Setting goals is an ongoing process. There is an end point to goals to determine whether we achieved it or not, but the process needs to be habitual aka “forever.” 
Our family’s goal is to travel. It is our family’s passion. It gives us adrenaline to deal with our day-to-day expat realities of petty and trivial things. It refreshes our mind seeing new things, giving happy sensations whenever we experience new places and meet new people.
Traveling is not the only goal for a family. However, the importance of setting goals should not be underestimated.
Family and setting goals is like life and oxygen.
So, do you have goals for your family? Let us know, in one sentence or two?

Life is a breeze when you have your goals set!

Kids Can Fly Better 

       
Understanding the principles of aerodynamics has nothing to do with the experience of flying. – Northrop Frye

Our Turknoy youngest was almost one-year old when we started flying together as family. We can all vividly and fondly remember the trouble of flying with stroller, baby bags with milk and bottles, changing nappies in the crampy airplane toilet and most loved of all, the crying and loud baby in the mid-flight when all passengers sleeping! Oh gracious! 

We can hear what some of our fellow travelers and even family members think when we started traveling three years ago. It goes like – “These parents are insane, why do they subject these kids and their fellow travelers the agonies of carrying the kids to places to explore (traveling!). The kids won’t even remember these places they painstakingly took them to. Such trouble.” 

Traveling with our little ones is one milestone we will definitely not regret or forget!

Oh, when we look at our now four-year old now! How at home she is at airplane and how she is very insistent to watch the safety flight video and stay at the window seat to look down below when the plane lands or takes off. The extreme joy of watching the clouds when we are 36,000-ft. like all the life’s secret will be revealed to her alone is just too priceless to watch. During long flights, she sleeps like a grownup scrunched in the seat with a smile on her face. Most of time.

Our six-year old son never fails to shriek with so much delight during landing and takeoff. Such loud moments when we take off… “And off we go….. “ he always shout and claps loud whenever we land.

On the other hand, the parents are scared-shit of all the things that could go wrong when we land or take off. Adults know that the most dangerous part of flying are the landing and takeoff. There we are sitting so uptight while our kids are having the momentous joys of their life!

Kids enjoy flights better than adults. They say ignorance is bliss, but we don’t think it’s the ignorance. It’s the enthusiasm to experience and explore something for all the senses, not mainly for the brain and intellect.

That carefree feeling, the abandonment of what should be but what is. Not the moments what kids can remember.

Exploring new places, experiencing new adventures – those are not for the intellect. It is definitely way much more than that. It’s the foundation of our being, the things we will build our future memories on.

Foundations are built to last, built to be strong.

Foundations can also be built while having fun and being happy.

Kids should learn to explore freely. Kids can fly and travel better.

look at our little traveller being silly during a six-hour waiting time at the airport, time flies!

Set goals. Live the Life You Imagined

I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. – Robert H. Schuller

 
Our family can travel and not set goals. That’s actually how it’s usually done. We have 37 working days off for our annual leave not to mention the Region’s holidays. We can plan going on holidays for annually. We don’t have to set goals to traveling to 100 countries and 100 more landmarks for every country we call home – Qatar, Philippines and Turkey.

Dr. Seuss recommends setting goals! ❤️❤️

Yet, we believe that it is very important to define our quest, set our travel goals. If there is something we love more than traveling, it is setting goals.

Setting goals make us allocate our resources to our priorities. To be able to say No to all the good things that come along our way, and say Yes to what we really want in life.

Setting goals make us pick our own quest in life, not the ones dictated to us.

Setting goals is not going with the flow, it is realizing things no matter the flow, or the weather.

It makes our family look forward to a lot of things ahead. Waking up every day and monitoring our goal progress is a form of family bonding for us. The joy in planning, of what is possible, shared with family members, is happiness. It doesn’t have to cost anything at all.

It makes our family imagine all the possibilities. There are a lot!

It makes our family stretch our minds to what we think we are capable of doing. It makes us think highly of our future realities.

It also makes our family think of what we are NOT capable of doing and re- consider our goals every now and then.

Yet we stand firm to what we think we can accomplish. We can fail, yes, that could happen. However, we can also succeed and achieve our goals.

That would be something to be excited for every day.

Set goals. Live the life you imagined. It doesn’t have to be about travel. As long as it’s attempting to do something more than everyday life.

Set goals. Live the life you imagined.

Travel and setting goals. Easy. Important. Lifestyle. 

Live the Life You Always Imagined! Set Goals!