“In summer the empire of insects spreads.” ― Adam Zagajewski
This third time around in Oslo, we stayed in Aker Brygge and it’s fantastic. We get exposed to all things great and beautiful.
One fine day we were exploring the city, there’s a rainbow and there’s the “Our Small Friends” photo gallery that made us stopped for almost anhour.
In the exhibition, “Our Small Friends” , we meet the insect face to face. Jannicke Wiik-Nielsen, a scientist at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, has taken these portraits using electron microscope, which magnifies the object under examination many thousand of times. Since the electron microscope is restricted to black and white photographs, the scientist/ artist has colorized the images to provide greater contrast and detail.
Don’t you just love Oslo. Walking around the city always make you feel better and smarter.
Have you ever stared directly at an insect and felt small?
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?
“Washington DC is a city filled with people who believe they are important.” – David Brinkley
Our traveling family enjoyed a long stroll of memorial, in the country’s Capital District, of very important people who are foundation of The New World’s freedom.
We started with paying a visit to the White House. The kids had a blast playing with squirrels at the La Fayette Garden.
The next day, we started our stroll at the Lincoln Memorial.
We continued our walk down the other memorial and talked a lot about the Korean War Memorial and why freedom is never free.
Add in the weather and it was a fantastic walk to Martin Luther King Memorial.
It’s amazing to see a lot of familiar quotes in Franklin Roosevelt Memorial and of course Eleanor Roosevelt and his dog are there.
And, opposite Lincoln Memorial is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
We ended our stroll for the day with kids playing their hearts out by the Washington Monument where we have a good view of both sides of the Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial.
The highlight of walk would be the feee museums right after the Washington Monument. We chose to visit the National Museum of Air and Space. The kids had a blast with a lot of jaw-dropping moments looking up st airplanes and rockets.
The day after, we started from Union State to the Capitol Hill and spending the rest of the day in the American Indian National Museum.
There are other museums to enjoy in the area. We chose to learn a little bit of Native American history and the kids enjoyed with the handson activities and videos in the museum.
As a home educating family, living in the city would be fabulous with all the available museums. At the moment, we can only dream.
Do you live in Washington DC? Is it as fabulous as we think it is? Talk about family satisfaction. 🤗
“The world is a bridge. Cross it, but build no house upon it. ” – Akbar
Finally made it to India as family! We’ve been to parts of India for last two years back, but we were not together and based on our own goal setting criteria which we have articulated our own family’s travel goal in Turknoy Travels 100 is a Lifestyle encouraging families to do the same.
Visiting countries separately doesn’t count. India is our Country 27 when we visited Goa, India , all five of us last July 2017. We definitely had the best time relaxing by the beaches of Arabian Gulf.
Of course, the seventh biggest country in the world deserves way more than one time visit, especially for India where the one city is a world different from the other when it comes to religion, traditions and even geography. Visiting one city barely scratch the surface to understand India’s culture, religion, people and economy.
New Delhi, India
Them, our family traveling mom (ehhem, me! So far, the main author of this blog) visited New Delhi twice. One time way back 2015 with kids and their grandma and favourite Aunt. The second time was last year (2016) for mom-dad travel date. Fingers crossed, we get to explore India every year, one city at a time while we are based in the Middle East as expat family.
New Delhi is a very progressive city with its train and metro system ready to cater to more than20 million people living in the city. The city is crowded and buzzing with adventure ready to be discovered by local and tourists alike.
Exploring New Delhi is like a crash course or gateway for India’s diversity. A very interesting city indeed.
From New Delhi, we took a very comfortable train transport to Agra to see a Wonder of the World , Taj Mahal. What amazing structure it really is. Spending the day in Taj Mahal as a couple was very peaceful and yes, cheesy and romantic.
Our conversation during our day out in Taj Mahal:
Turknoys Mum: Would you build me a Taj Mahal when I die?
Turknoys Dad: No. I would love you more than Emperor loved her wife when she died while you are alive.
With all honesty, Goa reminds us of Turknoy’s Mom’s hometown Indang, Cavite. The tropical culture and the Catholic-village practice has resemblances. Understandably, since that’s how geography and religion works. The food, however, couldn’t be more different. Of course, we love both.
Needless to say, India is incredible! It’s obvious as we keep on coming back!
With God’s will, we’ll update this blog with places we will visit in India. What is your favourite city in India? Please give suggestions.
“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!
“Don’t take the straight path or the winding path. Take the path your ancestors have taken.” – Khmer Proverb
The proverb made us think and ponder about the ambiance all throughout the country when we visited. What we felt as family is that the country has been living out the glory of their ancestors, mainly from Angkor Wat legacy. From flag symbol to beer labels, Angkor Wat is very prominent in all the places we’ve visited in the country.
Is that a good or bad thing? Well, we think it depends. Do they improve of what was and capitalize on growing at the rate what it was like during “ancestors” period, then yes. However, if there’s no significant growth and milestones since the past, and the present got stuck with the thinking of the ‘great old days” then, it’s definitely a NO for us. This is coming from our family, who are strong advocates of goal setting based on own family ideals – it takes courage.
Exploring this vibrant city Siem Reap means visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat and discussing at length the wonders of one of the largest temple of the world.
Our October visit to Angkor Wat may be the best weather to go. It was hot and definitely humid. With kids, hyper and cranky at the same time, serious discussion about different belief system in ancient culture mixed with the region’s histories of empire was very challenging! There were a lot of whining and a lot of playing,too! Add in a lot of tourists.
The mere wide area of the temple already fascinated us and our youngest reactions to temple, terrorised us. Her view of temple at five years old is not favorable, although quite amusing for the rest of the family members.
OVERNIGHT BUS WITH KIDS FROM SIEM REAP TO SIHANOUKVILLE
Although, we love tropical weather over desert weather, we really rather be at the beach or any body of water when in a tropical country like our dear country home.
From Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, we took an overnight bus thinking we’ll save a night in a hotel plus save time to be able to explore more of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Did we? Oh yes, we did! We do NOT recommend it to family with kids, though. It’s not safe,not to mention, not convenient nor hygienic. The bus has not toilet. There are pit stops every few hours of bus speeding recklessly in the night, passengers coming and going at every busy stop. It was pretty stressful for us parents, while the kids sleep beside each other with dirty blankets. We needed to use the blankets as the bus air conditioning was on full blast.
Yeah, the things we subject ourselves into when we travel with kids. This is definitely under the list of “why did we do that?” category of our travel “Remember when?!” conversations.
Cambodia Backpacker Style – Waiting for the Overnight Bus
The beach stay in Sihanoukville is almost worth the bus ride. The beach is fantastic, although the water is more on the lukewarm side than refreshing.
KOH RUNG ISLAND
Somehow, we don’t often hear Cambodia and beach in the same sentence together. Yet Koh Rung Island, the second biggest island in Cambodia is said to be one of the best in SouthEast Asia. So, off we went.
What do we think of the Koh Rung? It’s a good beach island, yes. The best? We’ve seen better in Philippines, of course. We were also expecting the same convenience we had during our Maldives trip so a little bit disappointed when we learned that there’s no electricity in the island during certain period of the day. We also got a tree house with no air conditioning with little to non facilities. Koh Rung is a little still developing island, based on our opinion.
Overall, the beach is fantastic and one of a kind. Beachlovers would definitely be awed if they do visit.
We explored this quite crowded city in two days. As a worldschooling family, we spent a great deal in the Angkor Wat museum and Royal Palace. As usual, the kids enjoyed running around and parents wishing that they are learning something.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a fascinating country with resources that are diverse, culture that is rich in history and legacy. The people definitely are one of the nicest in the world. We wouldn’t mind going back to Cambodia with kids if they do request!
Have your family been to Cambodia? Explored temples or beaches? Do tell.
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.
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 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!
Measurable (no-brainier KPI)
Attainable (in life, all goals are!)
Realistic (make sense to YOU!)
Time bound (w/ deadline set)
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.
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.
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.”
“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?
“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.
Have your ever walked in a fancy shop, get frowned upon by the staff and ended up buying something just to show that discriminatory staff that his or her opinion of you is biased and wrong?
Sadly, most of us have been there, at least the first part, that “being judged” part because of the race we belong, the way we dress or just how our body language rubs off to people.
How we react to snobbish biases is something commercial corporations have studied to the letter. Some branded, signature, fancy shops, even hire customer agents who can intimidate customers, so they will buy their products. It’s that same reaction mechanism, that their marketing strategy capitalizes on.
We know someone who walked in Louis Vuitton shop, received a You-can’t-afford- look from sales agent and needed up buying his first branded bag which he didn’t even like.
We also know a family who walked in a fancy restaurant, and asked how much the lobster special was and received a reply “Very expensive.” from the snobby waiter. The family ended up buying special lobster for every family member and one of them needed up with allergic reaction to lobsters.
Gladly, these things happen to our family when we travel, and we have developed the maturity to nod off the discriminatory looks of customer service agents. We know that any person’s biases is a reflection of who they are and does not, in any way, define who we are.
The Filipino side of The Turknoys , most of the time, have biases attached. Domestic helper, village people attached to it – to name the worst. Full of talent, great customer service, awesome hospitality traits – to name the best. We have a global reputation, good and bad. Such reputation gets magnified when we travel. And traveling with kids, nonetheless. If we have a dollar, for every discriminatory comment, said to us, in front of the kids, we’ll be traveling the world for free!
However, the rude customer service and blatant offensive discrimation combined, as a reaction to a traveling incident involving kids is something very difficult to master. At least for the Filipina Mom.
Picture this incident – a biracial family, with a Filipina mom (add in jetlagged with no shower and messy hair!) dining in a restaurant when one child got sick and vomitted all over the fancy restaurant?
How would a customer service person react?
Background – This happens to our family a lot. Our handsome traveling boy’s stomach react to processed meat and/ or cold chocolate drink. He likes eating and drinking them and can’t hold himself. He gets stomach flu and sometimes accidents happen.
In the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia (add in our one off experience in Africa,) our experiences were all pleasant. The restaurant staff’s first reaction is to ask whether the kid is okay. Automatically after that, sends in the cleaning crew to sanitize the place . We had to reassure the managers and crew that the restaurant didn’t serve anything bad, yet, we get that VIP treatment.
In Europe, however, we get the cold shoulder, cleans up the place and move on. On rare occasions, we get the “Is he okay? “question.
On to our 28th country, in Eastern Europe .. we received the worst reaction to a kid vomiting in a restaurant.
So, how did the fancy restaurant staff react to a sick boy and worried mom?
Out of the violent reaction, the paying haggard Mom was asked to clean up the mess by an irate waitress. With lots of OMG shouting at her and the kid.
Seriously this happened. Shout out to that not so cheap breakfast buffet cafe in Budapest (Antre!)
Of course, after few minutes of realization, she back away and called the janitor to clean up and sanitize the mess.
Our life goes on, we learn, we adapt, we mature to people’s reactions, biases and perspective.
However, this Filipina mom is so jet lagged and so irate, not to NOT write about this incident.