I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results. – Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Nobel Peace Center is located in Aker Brygge and it’s really close to where this traveling Turknoys stayed for several days. The Nobel Peace Center is a showcase for the Nobel Peace Prize and the ideals it represents. The Center is also an arena where culture and politics merge to promote involvement, debate and reflection around topics such as war, peace and conflict resolution.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor, and philanthropist. Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him.
Quote on Obama’s Nobel speech acceptance ..on climate change..apparently, the kids favorite topic on how to win the Nobel Peace Prize for their generation.
…the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and activists who call for swift and forceful action it is military leaders in my country and others who understand that our common security hangs in the balance.
There are a lot of things to say about THE United States of America visit. At some point in both this traveling family’s parents life, The USA is The World. Well, for the dad, it was literally his world because he was in it. For the mom, that’s metaphorical. There was a time in her life that “living the American dream” is the best dream.
Delaying this country’s visit for several reasons, mainly enjoying the closest continent closest to our homebase, Qatar – Europe. Thirty-one countries after, off we went to USA!
It’s was Fall 2017 when we visited The New World and since we didn’t blog about our travel goals. We are ready to go back again and now reminiscing our first visit. Our “Some Day, we’ll visit America” is now “It’s been a long time since we’ve been there; feels like ages ago.
For what it’s worth, our family travel stats for our first time visit to our 32nd country, The USA :
Travel days: 30
Days Full of Laughter: 30/30
Days Full of Siblings Fight:
Intercity Train Rides:
Delayed Intercity Train Rides:
Local Plane Rides:
Number of Mega Enormous, Gigantic Delicious, All-American Burgers Eaten:
Hotdogs From Hotdog Stands:
Pumpkin Spice Latte:
Breakfast In A Bar:
Fall Leaves Collected:
Snowballs Thrown At Each Other at Bullseye:
Number of Days It Took To Get Over the Vacation HangOver:
Number of Days It Took Us to Blog About our USA Experience:
So, did we or did we enjoy United States of America?
We arrived in Chicago when it was rainy! We underestimated the windy and chilly weather about the city so we decided to enjoy the city from the indoors. We planned for a quick stopover at the Chicago Children’s Museum for about 1-2 hours only yet we ended up staying until closing time!
Kids rule in play and learning in Chicago Children’s Museum. We have all raves and praises about this awesome kids place.
The staff were friendly, the place is ergonomically designed for kids to play and for parents to enjoy their kids play; or better yet, to enjoy playing with their kids.
Now, let’s talk about Mission. Obviously, our family is advocate of setting family goals linked to one own’s Mission Statement. With the mission statement, “to improve children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect”
“It’s a town you come to for a short time.” – Ernest Hemingway
Exploring New York City with kids for the first time is aggravating to say the least. Hhmmm.. just saying that feels bettter. Aggravation, in a good way for all senses. Well, maybe not for the feet and leg muscles. New York, the city that never sleeps, yet our hearts and mind fall into deep slumber the moment we our bodies touch the bedsheets.
That feeling about New York is too familiar for our family, we had the same “sensations” when we explored “Paris, France with our many firsts” – there are a lot of kids activities to see and do, it’s way too overwhelming for kids and parents alike.
So, we took a shortcut this time. At least, that’s what we thought we did. We bought New York CityPass and MetroCard and we’re off!
Five days of feeding the kids curiosity, dragging them around Uptown and Downtown and off we went. We visited six landmarks using our City Pass:
American Museum of Natural History (CityPass)
Top of The Empire State Building (CityPass) Metropolitan Museum of Art (City Pass)
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (City Pass)
Guggenheim Museum (City Pass)
We also enjoyed “famous” landmarks not part of our CityPass like: Metropolitan Modern Museum
We also watched one musical based on kids choice – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A really fantastic musical, the best they’ve seen, by far. So the kids told us.
Oh boy, a lot to see and explore in the city. The trick, for us, is to enjoy every moment with kids and stop when they don’t want to explore anymore. We’re happy we get to enjoy a lot and no regrets for the places we didn’t get to see. After all, we can’t have it all. (Or can we?!)
“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.
Kdo hledá, najde. “He who looks, finds.”- Czech Proverb
First, a disclaimer – we never explored all parts of the country, like what we attempt for other countries we explored , at the very least, two cities of the country. Our thirtieth (30th, baby!) was mainly spent enjoying the Renaissance, baroque and gothic architecture of its capital city, Prague. No matter, boy, did we get ourselves full of stories, facts, science and history in, arguably, the city with the most tourists.
We explored the city of Prague, mainly by foot. Yes, our 10 itchy, wanderlust-y feet, plus the three-wheel stroller, which turned 5 years in the family.
New Town or Old Town, all bridges crossing the River Vlatava, ornate castles , holy churches, monasteries and our family’s favorites, library and brewery!
The heart of Central Europe definitely left a mark in our hearts to come back. We want to know more about the Bohemian and other parts of the country.
Hey-O! Completed 30% of our goals. You can be like our family, too! Whatever your families’ priorities are, just go for it!
“A frog living at the bottom of the well thinks that the sky is as small as a cooking pot lid.” – Vietnamese Proverb
Ho Chi Min City
After exploring The Kingdom of Cambodia, off our family rode a bus crossing border to the Vietnam’s capital Ho Chi Min City, popularly known as Saigon.
The gazillion motorcycle aside, there’s something about Vietnam that we can’t quite pinpoint. It’s in the air, the food and the accommodating smiles and nods of the locals. Our travellers’ hearts and feet felt at home in a strange yet very familiar land.
As part of our worldschooling and our love for city tours, we happily stayed in the crowded city for few days exploring the country’s war museum. Most of the tourists are Americans. We maybe politically wrong here, but we felt that they are not so proud of what happened during the Vietnam War. In the eyes of our traveling kids, war will always be wrong and exerting violence on anyone or any country is an unfair, if not futile, use of resources.
We have lots of thoughts on our museum visits, some of them include words like “barbaric,” “horrid,” “bullies,” and we’d rather not articulate our sentiments in this Vietnam blog. (We will, of course… in a separate blog.)
After we had enough of wars and museums, of course, Vietnam culinary journey galore. Oh we did eat a lot of Pho! Yuummm! Street food, restaurant, hotel, airport… burp!
Ha Long Bay
UNESCO World Heritage Natural Wonder, Ha Long Bay is a spectacular, almost surreal experience for our family. We stayed in a cruise for two days and one night in Ha Long Bay surrounded by natural wonder of almost 1,600 limestone islands and islets covering an area of over 1,500 square kilometers. Extraordinary experience waking up to beauty, watching both sunrise and sunset. Majestic scenery we only used to see in movies (Bond… James Bond! among others, of course.)
With heavy heart and heavy feet, we left Ha Long Bay to Hanoi, The Paris of SouthEast. It’s true! The city is very posh, classy, cosmopolitan like Paris. Yeah, yeah, we feel that we know Paris… We are not dreaming of Paris anymore. Only the places we’ve never been to, and the places we’ve been to. Basically, dreaming of the world, exploring in our dreams.
Now, back to Hanoi. We experienced living like local. Waking up 5AM, we felt we were really early but we were so wrong. Seemed that everybody was already up and exercising, mostly tai chi and ballroom dancing in the park! What an experience! Imagine, if this is the lifestyle that everybody gets embedded in the deepest of mind’s molds. Happy, healthy and disciplined people and an awesome world to thrive in.
Vietnam is in our hearts! Definitely a precious pearl of the orient with its unique charm and glory. We’ll be back, we know, we barely explored this country and we are craving for more!
“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!)”
That’s every single time. Insert music, tale as old as time…
Family travel offers a tremendous potential to learn – learn from local people and fellow travellers, learn from history.
For us, learning from history is one of the best way to learn. History is never boring when we visit actual places where certain events actually happened. We get to see or even touch artifacts and memorabilia. We get to breathe the same air (almost!) of people involved in the events of the past. We get to feel the eeriness , of solemness , of the haunted or happy past.
Ain’t that the truth, even on personal level, learning from people’s history gives us enormous potential to self check if we are walking on the same path, doing the same mistakes and gives us the chance to correct our wrongdoing. That is a mark of a matured individual, however. And yeah, there are lots of mature people out there.
In a way, we get to see the full picture of the past and how it’s domino effect is reflecting in the present.
Exploring Europe with kids gives opportunities to see the beauty of the industrialized circulations, almost ancient countries enjoying the technologies and way of life for hundreds of years, magnificent buildings, spectacular way of living (even third world countries in Asia and Africa are yet catch up.)
On the other side, exploring Europe with kids? for us, also pave the way of magnified “narcissism” or worse “psychopath” tendencies of world leaders.
It’s not easy to explain to kids how the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle is where the “unfit to rule” King Ludwig II was arrested and how the history has declared him “certified insane” despite of all his inclination to beauty, good architecture and love for landscapes.
Walking in his castles, it’s difficult to imagine, how can someone be lonely with all the extravagance and beauty of God’s creations.
Exploring the Danube River on the Pest side of the beautiful city Budapest, the kids learned about horrific Shoes on the Danube Bank. We stand on the very side where at least 500 people where asked to take off their shoes and got shot at the edge of the river.
The beauty of Europe is, yes, beyond stunning. On the other side, the humanity which created the civilization is almost always beyond words.
How do we explain to kids the horror of wars and wrongdoings of world leaders of the past?
For now, we focus on lessons. On people and government (kinds, queens, world leaders) to not repeating the same horrors of history.