COUNTRY 22: Ethiopia, Land of Origins

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.

Our Exploring Family with Lucy (model)
These traveling kids with Lucy!
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.
Ethiopia Tastes Awesomeeee!
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.

Look at our 5-year old, at home in a new continent ready to explore!
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.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country worthy of independence.

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.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

3. Religion: Ethiopia appears in the Bible 45 times both in Old and New Testament.

Inside An Orthodox Christian Church

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.

Street Soccer in Adus Ababa
Vast fresh air, massive wild… Ahhh life is perfect with a horse
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.

Take us back to Addis Ababa where kids run wild with the horse and dogs

Baobab Tree in Aspire Park

“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. 

Our very own Little Princes and Baobab Tree with The Torch Doha in the Background 💜💙❤️

How to Make Your Travel Dreams Come True

Make your  family travel dreams  come true!

 

It’s easy to make travel wishlists, bucket lists of places we want to go, destinations we dream of! Even those creatures under the rock would want to visit some places they have never been. But most of the time, they do stay under the rock, left in wonderment of what’s like outside their world.

May these three global kids find their hearts passion amidst life challenges and comfort zones ❤️💚💙

Why wouldn’t they, staying under the rock, is comfortable. It’s easier to just keep wishing to explore the world  than actually travel. Similarly, it’s way easier to make the Eiffel Tower photo (or other places!) the desktop screensaver than actually book a ticket and go to Paris.

But bucket lists are meant to be ticked off, and not to remain list forever.

The secret to realizing going to these destinations  are actually pretty straight forward.

1. Faith and Vision go together. A strong vision is backed up my breakdown of goals, yes, but more importantly, it’s main support and foundation is a belief system, a strong faith about something. It could be Jesus Christ for devote Christians, it could The Force for Star Wars Fanatic, it could be the unicorn for people who believe in the unknown, the extraordinary, the unseen. We believe in fate, God’s blessings and positivity. Those are the foundation of our Vision, family values, you may say. The thing is, Vision is something we strive for long term, hence, our faith, values and passion should support our own desire for the future.

2.  Visualize. Visualize. Visualize. And Visualize Some More. Have you seen the movie Jumper? If yes, you know that it’s about a young man with a teleportation abilities, his travel adventures mixed with family drama and young love action. Making our travel dreams come true is similar to how he used his teleportation abilities. Focus on that one.. Did you notice that he can only go to a place if he can imagine it?  Pictures of different places all around his room. If he doesn’t know what Rome looks like, he can never teleport there. It’s simple and actually neuro-science worthy!

3. Don’t be just SMART. Be SMART-ER. Our family is more of an advocate of setting vision and goals than travel addicts. Well, we are travel addicts, but all of our travels are part of our bigger plan…   to travel more! Seriously now, we believe that setting goals  is necessary for everybody!

Everybody Has A Someday, DO TELL US YOURS?

Everybody has  this “SOMEDAY!”   Here’s  the big open secret to getting to our “someday.” Not only we need to be SMART, but what really  works  is if  we are SMARTER! This good, (very) old acronym works!

Specific

Measurable (no-brainier KPI)

Attainable (in life, all goals are!)

Realistic (make sense to YOU!)

Time bound (w/ deadline set)

Evaluated (periodically!)

Reviewed (evolving YOU!) .

Write down goals, most preferably, uninfluenced,  own personal  goals which echoes your deep inner desires and  passions, and evaluate it periodically, make necessary adjustments (to yourself, to the lifestyle or to the goals!) Of course, you  can   change  goals  in life.  Life is….life.  Sometimes, there are changes in life which we can’t control.  When we say, our family aim to travel to  100 countries together, we are declaring and sending our thoughts on how we want to live our  lives. If, for whatever circumstances, the Universe, God or Energy have other megaplans for us and the  world, then we will  adjust  our goals. Revision of goals is not non-achievement of living life. It’s driving the car  and changing routes when a particular road is blocked.

We can see this in every work employee. They are  almost always afraid  to set high goals at work because they may not  achieve it, get punished for non-achievement and  be embarrassed about it. But such is not  the case  about  life –  setting goals and being open  about these goal,  means the  intent to maximize one’s life  potential and God given resources.

When you set goals, you set the tone of your day-to-day lifestyle, like ours – Turknoy Travels  100 is A Lifestyle and it’s  pretty  amazing, so far!


With a little bit of name dropping, here’s a proof that this traveling parents know what they are talking about when it comes to setting life’s goals – David Norton, no less. Ask us who he is 🤓


4. Positive Can-Do Attitude. The glass is not half full  nor  half empty.  Oh the places we travel  with that glass!

The reality in life – positive attracts positive.  Positive multiplies positive is enormous positive  potential. We  are the sum or total of the positive influence we surround ourselves it. That  may be  the universal requirement  for  goal achievement.

 

We are the average of the stuff toys we hang out with! Choose Turtle and Unicorns for Positivity!

5. Be Spontaneous and Just Leave.  Action cures  fear!  The beginning of a  thousand miles is a single step! Take the first bite is  how you eat the entire cow.

A  little trivia about our family?  We started traveling right after our Traveling Dad  lost  his day  job. That’s when we know for sure that life is off to good start  the moment  we say…”What the  heck!! Let’s just go.”

 

Lighted Candles In Memory of All The Could-Have-Been Realities , But It’s Never Too Late To Just Go!

So, do  you have goals in life?  

 

 

 

 

 

Why Pinoy Family Should Travel The World 

“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

Ang kabayan ang Pag Asa Ng Bayan – how do you want them to lead the future of our Country?!

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!

If you are not exploring the Philippines by boat, you are doing it wrong!

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?

There are different ways to take a shower, yet, using Tabo is the best!

Qatar 5: Al Fuwairit Beach and Turtle Hatching

“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.

Helping tiny turtle hatchlings go to their home in the Arabian Gulf is a very spectacular experience for all of us

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.

 

Our family photo in Fuwairit Beach! We have the beach to ourselves ❤️
Life is always good at the beach

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.

Dad says Jump… Son says “How high?!”

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.

It’s a blessing to live in a Peninsula Country. Beach around us! Add in sunset watching and life is always blessed and awesome!

Enjoy Al Fuwairit  Beach, but please..  please.. leave  only footprints and adventure memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qatar 4 -Al Wakra Beach and Park

“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.

Then (2007) Night Life By the Beach And Now ..three kids after daytime fun!
Family Photo in Memory of Kisha (our departed dog)

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.

 

BBQ with the first bin, was she really this small? ❤️

Three kids and two dogs will always be our memory of Al Wakra Beach

Beach is always a great idea especially for dad-daughter bonding

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.

 

Is it obvious who’s the dog lover in the family?
 
Yes, we conclude, have dogs and kids in Qatar? Al Wakra Beach is a perfect place to hang out at leisure. 

COUNTRY 13 – NORWAY: 2,407-KM-Away from the North Pole!

 It’s our 13th Country to explore as family and we are so amazed with Norway. We haven’t done much in Norway but one full day of winter at Narvik, enjoying the closest point our family was the closest (so far) from the North Pole with lots of snow. It seems that not having a complete family photo is a great reason to go back. And we really intend to go back. We have our hearts set on this quest! 

a taste of Narvik keeps us wanting more of Norway

a taste of Narvik keeps us wanting more of Norway

The fun of exploring never ends. Once we step on new territory, there will always be some new feat to conquer, new bucketlist to tick off.

We intend to explore of Norway and now aim closer to North Pole! Oh my, let the dreaming continues! Dreaming knows no bounds, only the limits that we set for ourselves.
 

the closest we have for a family picture, our youngest is indoor enjoying the warmth and view
our youngest in Narvik enjoying indoor view of Narvik and below freezing temperature

“A tied dog does not jump farther than his cord. ” – Norwegeian Proverb

“Bunden hund bykser ikkje lenger enn bandet rekk”

COUNTRY 7: Liechtenstein: The Prince and Us!

“I think it can be taught, but of course, to be successful, you have to be at least gifted to a certain extent. When I was a boy I was taught to play the piano. The teacher gave up soon because I was totally ungifted,” he says. “I think it’s the same with leadership. It’s still a little bit of a black art.”
– Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein on Leadership
 
After our family’s visit to Monaco, a very small country, our family started to become fascinated with small monarch countries. It’s amazing how a small group of (very rich and powerful) people look up to their monarch leader and enjoy all the citizen’s benefits of a what-it-seems to be a powerful state.
 
Liechtenstein is a tiny alpine state nestled on a narrow strip of land between Switzerland and Austria. The landscape of this narrow strip of land is indeed magnificent and resembles mountain paradise.

Turknoys Exploring Liechtenstein

We spent a full day of awe in Liechtenstein. We watched a marathon of healthy people, young and old, we ate at the healthy restaurant, we trekked the path leading to the Castle of Vaduz, where apparently, the Prince of Liechtenstein live. 

A majestic landscape of a small monarch country!
kids watching the marathon!

Having that bold tourist attitude, after the long beautiful trek up the Castle, we knocked at the gate of the Castle of Vaduz and asked with lots of enthusiasm the heavily armed guards where the entrance to the Castle is. To which they replied with a polite laugh, that the Castle of Vaduz is not open for public as the Castle is where the Prince of Liechtenstein lives.

Castle of Vaduz , not a museum but a monarch residence!

 

Ooopps!

We retreated to our family photo taking when the citizen running pass by and we asked him, again boldy, to take our family picture with the castle. Poor guy didn’t have any choice; we won’t let the moment pass by without that family photo.

One of our most loved family travel photo!
Turknoys Exploring Liechtenstein

 

And then the gate of the Castle of Vaduz opened! The BMW car drove out of the Castle, the Prince on the driver seat looking so ..”normal.”

We were not sure it was the Prince himself until another citizen, this time a beautiful woman passed by us and we asked her again to take a family photo of us (yeah, we know, tripod, right?!) and she asked: Did you see the Prince?

And husband replied, quite merrily: Yes!

Kids were curious and happy. The prince driving his own car, without a desperate princess running after him asking him to save her! A prince who is actually a real person living in a real life castle.

Just like that, our kids’ eyes were open to the “real world.” Which turned out to be more wonderful than what Disney fairy tales want us to believe!

It turns out the Prince Hans-Adam II really lived quite a great monarch example. One of the wealthiest monarch who saved his family’s business right after business studies like any other normal student. He then saved the country and built a name for it, hence, he is quite well-loved among all the citizens.

 Prince Hans- Adam II will always be a great example of a leader for our family. 

We feel very lucky spending one day in Liechtenstein. The Prince will never know how much his life gave so much impact to a traveling family like us. Yet, we will remember this as one of our fondest traveling moment.

We want to be part of this world!!

What a beautiful place to be!!!