“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!
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.
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.”
“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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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 more we stay in Latvia, the more we were hooked. Off we got on the trains and enjoyed this super affordable public transportation.
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.
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.
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.
“Being Malaysian is about embracing cultural diversity and harmony between different people and religions. Malaysia will always be my home.” – Jimmy Choo, Shoe Designer
Looks like Philippines, feels like Turkey, Malaysia feels like home to the Turknoys!
Turknoy Dad has been to Malaysia more than 1o years ago and he fell in love with the country right there and then. The people, the beaches, the coconut trees, the localities, the green environment and yes, even the humidity! It was understandable that he was very excited to show us around the country for the first time.
During our travel to Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur, he was the happiest one! Our itinerary was very simple as our time was very limited much to the Dad’s disappointment yet we tried to have a taste of everything the two cities has to offer, but not the beach! The beaches of Malaysia for sure will require another adventure for the family.
We went to Legoland coming from Singapore which took less than an hour! That was a really pleasant surprise. The family stayed at Legoland Hotel for two nights as a treat to the kids and so the parents can rest! We ended up enjoying more than we expected. Legoland offers Malaysian hospitality at its finest!
Even the 5-hour-bus ride from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur is a delight! Seeing all the greens and the organized highways. Every now and then, we discuss how countries with similar resources be so different in economy and international passport recognition.
Our two night-stay in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur was spent exploring the Petronas Twin Tower, KLCC, observing people, walking around the city and eating Nasi Lemak! Oh yes, we just can’t get enough of Malaysian food! The coconut and pandan flavoured rice, the sambat (red chili paste) , fresh cooked chicken and fresh vegetables. We gained more than 10 kilos together as family after this trip!
Personally, we didn’t know this can be done, yet Malaysia made us see that this is possible – using the country’s resources, promoting the unique Malaysian culture to the world and becoming so successful at it and yet, encouraging diversity and at the same time harmony and respect among all people with different backgrounds, ethnicity and religions. We have been to some metropolitan cities, yet Malaysia gave us that authentic feeling of accepting diversity with respect to all people. You can’t get that genuine feeling with any effective tourism marketing. It is deeply embedded in the Malaysian culture!
To use own unique talents and traits, to accept one’s identity, to be accepted for one’s real identity while accepting other ideas of life, culture and religion and having no judgment at all, if we can all be this, maybe world peace is possible.
Indeed, a country Truly Asia! We’ll be back for more of Malaysia!
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!
Why do you wag your tail? What do you think, am I not afraid of wolves?”
– Gregorian Proverb
It’s Country 16 and are we are just warming up to family travel and the kids! On this trip, we have combined low cost airlines, with connecting flights both way and absolutely wonderful, albeit a little dangerous road trip using the country’s public transportation! Indeed, one of the highlights of our visit to the country is the Metro fun! Almost 45-degree inclined escalator for two minutes made our hearts excited for several times! Who knew metro escalator could also be a fun ride for kids and adults?!
During this trip , we also tried everything local. Well, this is not really saying much because Georgia’s border to the south is Turkey (which is one of our home country!)
Checking our quest status (100 countries in 10 years!) by far, we have achieved 16/100 in three years, it’s really a good feeling to settle in our family’s priorities in life. It’s exhilarating, most of the time, scary sometimes, yet that family satisfaction is reaching to new heights every time we explore another country. We bark loud, we wag our tails and enjoy life in dogs’ years.
We said it again and again, that there are great benefits when traveling with kids, especially when traveling becomes a lifestyle for the family. The routine of preparing for the journey, the joy of seeing new things, the body clock adjustments, that jet lag feeling. All familiar things leading to something new.
We have explored the city Tbilisi in less than two days and have explored the nearby mountainous city Kazbegi in just one day! Our interaction with the local is limited to public transportation and the local shops we have enjoyed, yet there is something about the Gregorian hospitality we are so familiar with that we love. The country feels like Turkey way back in the 1980s. Most of the locals do not speak English yet, although the country had opened up tourism to nearby countries, with the visa-free privileges!
A family of five coming from Qatar, we would spend more going to UAE with the visa alone, compared to going to exploring Georgia and staying in a not-so-fancy B&B! It’s a nice long weekend getaway alternative for the GCC countries residence. Of course, we still recommended going to Turkey as nothing beats the history, the landscape and architecture of the cities of our beloved Turkiye. Yet, Georgia, is a close second choice for us, if we are to include travel costs as a defining factor.
Georgia – warm hospitality, awesome mountain landscapes and wine culture! The country is surely a bliss break from desert work. God-willing, we get to enjoy the country in winter season, how we would love that for sure!
“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.
“Every person’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers. “– Hans Christian Andersen
Is it a coincidence that our two favorite children’s authors, Hans Christian Andersen and Astrid Lindgren both stayed in Copenhagen, Denmark? Maybe or maybe not!
To be able to see where these authors worked during the prime of their lives before they have written their printed masterpieces, is like a dream come true. Kinda like seeing the Nyhavn street with is colored houses by the harbor in Copenhagen. A real fairy tale place.
Denmark will always be that fairy tale land for our family. We had enjoyed five wonderful days of exploring and enjoying castles, fairy tale rides at Tivoli Garden (what a great full day it was!) and scenic landscapes and statues like Little Mermaid and Carlsberg aka for our family, beer paradise.
We also enjoyed tremendously the walk in Denmark suburbans with all the elegant cabin houses. We always say to each other: “These people actually live in this place?! Seriously?!” The grass is always greener from the other side of the fence, yes. But Denmark houses are beyond green, it’s green, flower-filled, technology-savvy paradise!
We were also amazed with how the Tesla electric cars is already so normal. It is a different world where we are used to land cruisers powered by cheap fuel oil. Well, its kind of given in our family. Summer in Denmark and yet we were wearing our winter jackets, we desert-dweller, we!
While we were enjoying the Rosenborg Castle, our little boy gained a tourist friend when we were exploring the throne room of the castle. The kids our boy were playing with came from North America, USA , together with their grandparents.
The grandfather was so fascinated that our family came from Qatar, he ran to us and asked – Do you ride in camels in Qatar?! (True story!) Most of the tourists looked at us with different expressions on their faces. Mostly, fascinated faces.
The sarcastic version of ourselves wanted to blurt out, “Oh my God, aren’t you so uniformed citizen of an industrialized first world nation. You actually believe that only your country can be so civilized. Hoops, wait a minute, did we feed our camels before we head out here in Denmark, kids?!
Well, it’s a great story for our family’s fairy tale story. Once upon a time, there was a family who only know camels and decided to explore the world….. Turknoy Travels 100 happily ever after.
Of course, we were not sarcastic to our fellow tourists. We tried to be articulate about our life in Qatar. After all, we are ambassadors of three countries when we travel, Qatar, Philippines and Turkey. We wanted to look like “educated travelers.”
Oh well, side story in Denmark over. That’s not about the country, it’s about how people treat us when we travel. Nonetheless, a story linked to Denmark memory.
We moved on to exploring the place and was able to visit the ever famous Little Mermaid. It’s really not that impressive, a popular tourist trap. When we visited Carlsberg, there is another Little Mermaid almost similar to the original ones. Exploring Carlsberg gave us a lot of opportunities to talk about global entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
You see, Mr. Carlsberg is the one who donated the Little Mermaid statue for the love of art. The take away we got from all the discussions is, we can be passionate about something and yet earn a lot of money from businesses we are not really passionate about. Somehow, passions will link the two together.
It was a great experience, exploring Denmark with all the getting lost around the neighborhood, the people we met, the awesome views we’ve seen, lessons learned.
We read this quote about Copenhagen and we agree to this interpretation of the city and even the country. Country No. 15 and our conclusion that country affects the attitude and way of life of people, residents or citizens alike holds true. Swoon!
“If Copenhagen were a person, that person would be generous, beautiful, elderly, but with a flair. A human being that has certain propensities for quarrelling, filled with imagination and with appetite for the new and with respect for the old – somebody who takes good care of things and of people.” Connie Nielsen
Yes, being in the country for few days, we know why Danes are the happiest people in the world.