“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.
“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck
We probably found the coolest cafe ever for our family and it’s in Qatar! This is coming from a family who enjoyed a unicorn-cafe theme in Bangkok, Thailand and of course, way back when we were very naively wanting to conform as family, enjoyed Mickey Mouse Cafe and Disney Princesses Cafe!
Scratch all those cafes, The Chemist Cafe is, by far, the best for The Turknoys. It’s Breaking Bad style, kinda like the family style we advocate to live, minus the illegal laboratory, and more on breaking free with science and gung-ho positivity.
Awesome hang out place discoveries like this in the country where we are based, in between traveling in different countries, is something we celebrate like a breakthrough! There was a time in Qatar for our family that McDonalds offering breakfast menu was the headline in our blog. Seriously.
It’s really amazing how the people in the country opens up to all wonderful, state of the art, top class innovating ideas. That’s what we think of The Chemist Cafe. It’ll be a nice home education brainstorming go to place . 👍
What’s the coolest Cafe you’ve been? We want to know different concepts. Do you have similar Chemist Cafe concept in your country? Do tell.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
Yes, we conclude, have dogs and kids in Qatar? Al Wakra Beach is a perfect place to hang out at leisure.
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!
“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.
“What makes the desert so beautiful,” said the Little Prince, “is that it hides a well.”
Our family didn’t love traveling instantly. It was a slow courting process for the parents and kids to love exploring. We used to be conformist to any society’s standards. Got married, checked! Got kids, checked! Put the kids in the best school we could possible afford, checked! Went to church and mosque religiously, checked!
Life became routine and predictable. We are very grateful. That is one value our family will always have – being grateful to whatever circumstances and predictability life hands to us. Yet, we can’t help but hear the silent questions of our hearts and minds.
“AND THEN WHAT?!”
What happens when a family wants something more? What happens when every family member questions all society’s standards? We are in our journey and we don’t have the answers just yet but this we are very sure of: When you start questioning the validity and existence of one norm, such as education and traditional family lifestyle, there is no turning back. We just had to question all norms and the “why” we do the things we do day in and day out, like robots, like zombies, like programmed applications in a matrix.
That is why we like hanging out in the desert. The Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar close to Al Kharara is our favorite place in Qatar, whatever the weather! Yes, even in the middle of summer when the temperature is scorching 55++ degree- Celsius!
There is something about the beauty of the sand dunes, dependent to the blowing of the wind, yet standing firm and proud to its desert background while humming its sand dune songs!
We may be an ordinary expat family in Qatar, yet we have our ambitions and goals as family. We go where the wind blows, especially with the unpredictable world economy nowadays, yet to stand firm and proud to our family’s quests and questioning while we hum our family quests song unique from all the songs of other family!
The Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar is a must-see for all Qatar residents, visitors and tourists! During winter, this is the perfect place of hanging out with friends for a BBQ and bon fire, sand duning, sand tobogganing, climbing cardio exercises and a lot more activities! It’s a great hang out for kids.
Great playground for kids with free play-all-you can sand dunes! Our family has seen the sunrise and sunset from the Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar, both spectacular nature wonder at work.
Most of the time, what we actually question in life has no right and wrong answers. Those who claim, they have it all figured out and they know the right answers are all wrong. And we are mostly sure, they didn’t watch the sun rises or setting from the sand dunes or desert!
Maybe life should never have answers. Maybe deserts contain hidden wells, yet again maybe none.
Does it matter really? When we can survive life without water?
Jumping out of the bed with excitement every day? That is a great way to wake up every morning. Important question then is.. What could make us jump out of bed with excitement?
The answers won’t be that simple. That really varies for every individual.
For our family, mostly, it’s knowing that we had activities together all planned out for the day. It is not particularly important, where and what those activities are. As long as we are all together as a unit, as family. That is one great blessing we will always be grateful for.
The kids are growing way too fast for comfort and the parents are not growing any younger. To perform several activities require a lot of planning. Otherwise, everything will become monotonous and spending time together will eventually become Boring (with the capital B). The spark of our family wanting to be with each other all the time is too precious to not enjoy that as long as we can.
Hence, the travel goals.
We strongly believe that setting goals make things happen. Of course, goals need to me SMART. Both in business setting and in real life, no matter how personal it gets.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
The huge difference of setting goals in business setting versus personal life is the end game – what do we want to get out of these goals, the ultimate end. Business goals end game is usually compensation, personal goals end game is more often than not, quality of living and personal happiness.
Turknoy Travels 100 is not only focused on travelling together to 100 countries by 2023, before the kids turn 18.
Well, it is really that and more.Travel and education are the two main focus of our family lifestyle.
As we already defined our travel strategy and it is an unpopular one, we intend to mix-and-match this normal-life-with-real-job-travel-when-we-can-with-kids with every day-is-a-travel-adventure lifestyle.
Really awesome and cool family world-school, they travel around the world continually for very long periods of time, supporting themselves and educating their children at the same time. Turknoys may not (honestly, just really can’t) afford that worldschooling lifestyle for now. It gets too tiring for us to travel and explore after more than three weeks.
That’s when we realize, we are more like short time adventurers, sometimes fancy, most of the time cheapo family travelers.
We look forward to living our residence country for month-long holiday and we also look forward to coming back to homebase.
We look forward to visiting our home countries, Turkey and Philippines, but we also look forward to coming back to expat life.
Best of all worlds, we want to believe that.
The heat of 55degC may bother a lot of people during Doha summer time, but we sometimes look forward to less traffic and quiet times in the region. The below zero temperature and enormous snow in the Arctic region may well be a great home but we are very satisfied experiencing the Northern Lights for three consecutive nights, no shoveling required, snow mobile fun for limited period and leave these all for the months of starless nights in the desert.
We appreciate the different culture, but for now, we are particularly fond of our own comfort zone. Someday, sooner or later, things will change; perspectives may blur and other ideals will become clear, but for now the following specific travel goals have been set, consistent with #turknoytravels100
1. To travel 100 countries by 2023 with the following criteria:
All members of the family visited and explored the country at the same time. Home education trips without the five family members won’t be counted, although these adventures will be included in our blog.
Visited two cities of the country. We don’t just visit a country for touristic purposes. We aim to be travelers, not tourists.
Spent more than two days in the country. Although it’s not the number days but the quality of time spent traveling, it does help to stay more than two days in a certain country.To travel 100 countries by 2023 with the following criteria:
100 countries distributed across seven continents, including Antartica. Chronologically, we wish to visit Asia (home sweet home), Europe (partly done), Africa (next!), South America, Antartica, Australia, North America
Home based adventures include Philippines, Turkey and Qatar. Not included in 100 countries.
2. To explore 100 islands in the Philippines.
3. To visit 100 attractions in Turkey.
4. To enjoy every moment in Qatar by finding 100 favourite spots as part of home education
Like any other SMART goal, these goals need to get SMARTER..
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Evaluated. Revised.
Life happens. Life will happen. God-willing, we will be able to realise these goals. For whatever circumstances and these will not be realised, we will re-set and revise goals as the need arises.
No worries. Only excitement to wake up and jump out of the bed every beautiful morning!