“He who does not jump into water will not learn to swim.” – Estonian Proverb
Our family stayed right in the middle of Tallinn’s Old Town. Needless to say, we were deeply fascinated. We can almost hear and feel the stories of Tallinn’s Old Town, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and, it seems like another super awesome tick in our UNESCO World Heritage Sites family bucketlist.
We would, however, highlight what makes our family travel memorable. After all, this blog, at the very least, is a testament that we can travel to places we’ve never imagined if we set our goals together as family.
When we travel, we are inclined to be biased to cities or countries who have the culture of reading. Reading is a symptom of desire to learn and innovate. That’s really important to develop anyone or any place.
So, guess what we think of Tallinn, Estonia. We stayed one full day at the Estonian Children Literature Centre, with lots of reading and creative activities for our kids, for free! Yes, not every kid can travel like our kids do (that’s why our kids are very grateful day in, day out… gratitude is our top family value, right next to faith.) But, every kid should have access to this kind of learning environment. How we wish every city, province, state or territory would provide this to every kid, free read, free to play, free to imagine! The world would be a way better place.
I guess, what we are saying, check out what this Literature Centre is about.
After having stimulating medieval lessons in Tallinn, we had quite an impression of Estonia. Much more when we visited Tartu, the second largest city of the country and known as the intellectual centre of the country!
We breezed through walking around Old Town, University of Tartu, Toomemagi Park among others. It’s not another town in Europe for us. We enjoyed staring at famous people’s statues and reading the history behind them.
Again for us, our family travel adventure highlight is the modern Science Centre AHHAA, full hands-on exhibits and the 4D cinema.
Epic Estonia has been viewed by the some travel blogs to be the worst tourism slogan because of how the small the country is. But hey, we’ve been to Estonia and it’s not the country’s size which decides how epic the country could be. He possibilities, the intellectual and creative opportunities, exactly epic!
Do not hesitate or you will be left in between doing something, having something and being nothing. – Ethiopian Proverb
Woohoo! Our 3rd continent and our first African country to explore with kids.
It maybe our love for discovering human history when our family travels that had drawn us in visiting Ethiopia. Our primary goal was to see Lucy, the 3.2 million years old fossil, probably the first evidence of humanity. The continent Africa is known as The Cradle of Humanity, then Ethiopia is its evidence repository.
As a worldschooling family who sets SMART goals to travel to 100 countries in all continents by 2022. This is our attempt to live life to the fullest with kids. Ethiopia is our first country in Africa (our third continent, 30th country visited, to date.When it comes to food and accommodation, we had the most unique experience in the country. Barely 4 hours away from Qatar, we were amazed with a totally different world. We definitely had a crash course in archeology and paleontology and how it works in the real world. Our three traveler kids had been to countless of Natural Museums in Europe and Asia yet we were impressed with somewhat “shabby” museum in Addis Ababa containing real human history treasures.
Lucy aside, here are 5 interesting facts about Ethiopia that everybody, yes, including kids, can appreciate:
1. Country History: Ethiopia is the only African country, which successfully fought against the scramble for Africa. It was never colonized, though Italians attempted to occupy it twice.
2. UNESCO Heritage Sites: There are nine, day trips from Addis Ababa possible! Most famous sites are Lalibela twelve-rock-hewn churches. We visited Christian Orthodox churches which gave an interesting perspective for a family with both Islam and Catholic members.
3. Religion: Ethiopia appears in the Bible 45 times both in Old and New Testament.
4. Origin of Coffee. Coffee is Ethiopian’s gift to the world. It was found in the Kaffa Region (South-Western Ethiopia.) Even before the visit, we are non-Starbucks coffee drinkers. Enjoying the real “coffee culture” experience in Addis Ababa with really strong and delicious coffee with local ceremonies
5. Abebe Bikila, a star Ethiopian marathon runner, won Africa’s first Olympic gold medal in 1960. Add in the country’s high elevation Addis Ababa is athletes’ heart’s working out paradise. Made us want to become runners and marathoners.
And oh, more pluses — the Ethiopian women are really gorgeous and almost everybody is kind to tourists. Ethiopia is one of the safest country in Africa to visit. With low costs airlines flying to Addis Ababa almost every day from Doha, Qatar where our family’s currently based, for sure, we would be back for some backpacking with kids.
“Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.” – Dr.Jose P. Rizal, Pambansang Bayani ng Pilipinas
Translation: The youth is the hope of our nation, – Dr. Jose P.Rizal, Philippine National Hero
Well, the world changed a lot since that Dr. Jose P. Rizal made that quote infamous. There is still a ring of truth into that quote at this day and age, that we believe. Despite the fact that how many generations of youth have let down Dr. Jose P. Rizal? Well, we are not an authority on Philippine History, much more an expert on interpreting Philippine current events based on history. Although, proudly we say, our family is raising three global citizens exploring the world (Turknoy Travels 100 , now 30/100) using their Philippine passports.
So, from one Pinoy family to another, we encourage you to travel with kids and we have three persuading reasons:
Pinoys are World Class, Traveling Magnifies Opportunities For Pinoy Kids to be World Class. Bragging aside, we know how Filipinos contribute to international workforce, arts, science and new discoveries. Monkey see, monkey do. When kids see Filipinos all over the world, doing what they like best and being admired for it by almost all nationalities, that fire of passion will burn until they accomplish something similar.
A lame comparison, albeit common, would be to be so excited about having a Filipino Restaurant in a certain city in any country! We will definitely be tempted to visit and chat with the owner about how that success came to be.
Don’t even get us started about Filipinos winning in international competition, mainly in singing or in fashion. Don’t we all feel that same old “Proud to be Pinoy” sentiments? Speaking of which… “Uyy, there’s a Pinoy winner in Project Runway.” or that Isn’t Bruno Mars Filipino by blood line?!
There’s fire burning in every adult Filipino to succeed in international scene. When that fire started kindling at an early age, there’s no amount of life’s fire extinguisher can void that.
The World is Beautiful. There’s More to Life Than SM.
Disclaimer alert, these statements are written from a village Filipino perspective, as our family came from a far away village with happily-ever-after endings. Yes, a remote, small village where everybody knows everybody’s names and sadly and happily, depends on how you look at it, everybody’s business.
Way way back, do you know where our family go to entertain guests? Where we think, we would go for an adventure? SM! Yes, those big, gigantic, enormous buildings, apparently the biggest malls in Asia or in the world. molding the minds of millions of Filipinos to buy their hard earned dollars, euros, pesos or any denomination because they are SM! Imagine how small scale entrepreneurs and small scale real estate agents would prosper without these gigantic commercial monopoly.
Okay, got a little carried away there. The point is, the Philippines has lots of magnificent islands, mountains, seas, waterfalls to explore. Thanks to a gazillion of tourists who got viral attention in the internet because they showcase the beauty of our motherland, The Philippines.And yes, we know that Pinoy millennial have been traveling the world and the country quite extensively, like no other generation has ever done. Why not Pinoy kids, follow millennial lead?
Going farther, when we travel with kids, we get to see that other countries have a lifestyle, not necessary like our country that works. In Europe, there are no big malls, yet the tourists and locals visit Old Towns patronising small shops earning their living for centuries! Okay, maybe for decades. But that’s the point. Business can run for decades because they have the sense of heritage.
It’s a beautiful world, not in a supermall, megamall kind of way! The earlier the kids learn this, the better for the country!
That Colonial Mentality (Hey Joe!)
Most – Hey Joe! You American?
Some: Not all white people are Americans! Some of them are Brits!
Obviously pun intended. But hey, not Filipinos fault! Our gorgeous archipelago has been colonized for centuries and the school textbooks are yet to be revised to include stories about other countries (you know, like what are Bohemians?! – seriously, hope we are wrong for thinking this, do educate us!)
Every country is different. Each one has different history and culture. White, black, brown, yellow, pink. If we are not open to this understanding and keen on generalizing skin colors, we might as well be uneducated. Europe has 50 countries, each one of the countries have diverse backgrounds and most of them, black, white, yellow, pink and every color in between. Africa is not country, the continent has 54 countries and no, not all of their inhabitants are black! Add in the other 4 continents, and we have almost 200 nationalities. We know how it feels to be stereotype as ” You Asian looks the same with your small eyes and like rice so much!” Ggrr
I guess, our point is, travel with kids for them to introduce diversity!
These are our three personal reasons why we travel with our Pinoy kids. There are more, like appreciation of world religion, which we elaborated on our Singapore blog post and our worldschooling ideas. We intend to share more as we go on more adventure with our family goals.
Do you have a burning reason why Pinoy kids should travel the world?
“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.
“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!
Translation: Why endure the sea and its dangers while God’s blessings are on the shore.
The visit to Bahrain is long overdue for our family. After spending ten years living in the Middle East, it is just appropriate to see and visit the neighbor country and city and see their environment and day-to-day lives amidst the “similarities.”
It is our family’s strong belief that no two countries’ cultures are exactly the same and visiting countries, no matter, how close they are geographically proves to us then and again our belief about the every country’s uniqueness.
Our family appreciates Bahrain’s friendly and polite culture. Everyone seems to have high respect towards one another. The places we’ve visited in the country are well-established with high quality services like City Centre Manama, Bahrain World Trade Center and Manama Souq. All these places seemed to be the happy to-be places in the country. All, even our walk along the King Faisal Highway in the middle of the afternoon, something we rarely do on the streets of Doha.
Bahrain is the first country in the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf to discover oil way back in 1932. It feels that the country has developed its culture fully with the equal laws for all residents in the country, the tax (yes, that coming from an almost tax-free country is a surprise for us!) and the room for state-of-the-art technology innovations like indoor water park inside the City Centre Mall and The Bahrain World Trade Centre, a skyscraper with wind turbines in which a percentage of energy of the structure is powered by wind energy harnessed by the turbines.
It is also a huge adjustment to use decimals in currency. 1 Bahraini Dinar is equivalent almost to 10.1 Qatari Riyal. The mind conditioning to spend less because it’s expensive is a little hard to get used to. Doing math later on, the prices are almost the same. The mind just played a trick on the currency conversions when multiplied by 10!
Life is all about innovation, which is why we endure the sea and its dangers (referring to that Bahraini proverb) yet we should never fail to enjoy God’s blessings on the shores! Enjoying Bahrain for almost two full days, we saw how the locals and residents have capitalized on the country’s gifts being a desert and an island. We have felt the country’s sense of pride from within.
Do we recommend a weekend in Bahrain? Yes, we do. Not only it’s a great family getaway from Doha (or any other country in the GCC) but also to appreciate that there is another world out there in a desert island like Bahrain!
And hey, if not for the country, it’s really way too cool experiencing the shortest plane ride ever. 15 minutes! Barely after the pilot has spoken to the passengers about taking off, he’s there at it again, briefing the passengers about the landing and the destination country conditions! The huge disadvantage though, we waited the same time at the airport as we would on any normal flight to another country.
But hey again, there is nothing we love more than kicking off the weekend, right after office hours staying at the airport lounge with the family members complete! Because our favorite thing to do is go together where we’ve never been before!