It is hard to believe that we are almost a year out from when we came home from our epic family adventure. One of the best things that has happened continuously since we have come back has been the ability to relive our adventure almost daily as people who we haven’t seen for a long time ask us about our trip…where our favorite places were…where we would go back to…if we had to move somewhere in the world, where would that be…what we have learned about ourselves and each other, and life in general for that matter…
Through the miracle of social media, Facebook continuously pops up with reminders of photos or posts we put up a year ago. How time flies when you are back at home just living life, going to work, taking the kids to all of their activities, chores around the house and fitting everything that you want to do for you in between it all.
Then parentals and kidlets will come up with their respective Top 10(ish) and Bottom 10(ish) things from the trip.
The World According To Rich and Deb …
Here are the Top 10 (ish) Memorable Moments/Experiences/ Themes From Our Trip.
- Seeing the African animals through the eyes of a child. Seeing the African animals is one thing, but when the kids saw the animals for the first time, it was magical. The expression of pure joy when Lulu saw elephants for the first time, and when Wilson saw his favourite animal, cheetahs, lying in the shade within 25m from us, was incredible. Oh and Auntie Karen…her first elephants brought tears to her eyes….she’s a kid at heart. Experiencing things that you might only see in movies … an elephant and rhino charging you in an open safari truck … a lion walking right past your window when you are leaning out of it to take a picture … throwing your phone out of the open truck when you got too excited when you saw your first “cat” even though it was a bird killing Serval. Those kinds of things.
- The world is full of nice and helpful people. All around the world, we met kind people that were willing to help us out when we asked them nicely for assistance. Israeli tourists finding our computer on the road and figuring out how to contact us so we could get it back. Christmas presents from complete strangers in New Zealand.
- The world is a safe place. The news is always highlighting the troubles, dangers and disasters of the world. Whether we were lucky or simply putting out the right karma….we felt safe almost everywhere. Be aware and plan your adventures wisely….you will be fine. We walked through the crazy market in Marrakech alone. Slept amongst the wildebeest and lions. Walk in and across the crazy Vietnamese scooter filled streets.
- Each of us overcame some incredible barriers that previously stood in our way. Lulu shark swimming. Wilson snorkelling with sea lions. Scuba diving – Deb and the kids. Swimming in the waves in Wilderness- especially after the HAMMERHEAD shark sighting. Ropes course and rock climbing. Boats of all sorts for Deb. Horses Deb and after the disaster in S. Africa – Lulu too. And of course, Rich bungee jumping off of the highest bridge jump in the world.
- Between the four of us, we have all that we need for happiness and success. We complete each other. Each of us have our quirks….but somehow loving each other brings out our bests…and together…we are unstoppable.
- It is good to laugh at yourself, and to laugh at each other. Rich wearing the trick pink lipstick in Morocco. Deb contemplating cashing in on life insurance with Rich bungee jumping. All of us dressing up in Morocco clothes to head out into the desert.
- Finding play in our every day. Playgrounds, obstacle courses, hikes, caves, water fountains, beaches, Heads Up games, and so much more. There is so much fun to have in the world that is just there to be had. No admission required.
- You don’t need much to live. We literally travelled around the world with a carry on. A VISA card (with a LARGE limit) and tolerance for adventure and patience with one another….see…you don’t need much!
- The world is a school. Learning where you were, with what you had. Spelling, math, science, cooking schools, bananagrams, blogging, amoeba..in the car, on a plane, at the beach or in the desert!
- Ice cream. We ate a lot of really good ice cream. Christmas pudding ice cream and burnt toffee ice cream from Sammos in Australia. The banana ice cream in Vietnam. Amazing gelato all through Europe (Il Gelatoria in Rome), and even the ice cream sundae party on the back of the cruise ship in the Galapagos. I (Rich) would expand on this by saying that if you are adventurous enough there is a lot of amazing food in the world….Bun Cha and Egg Coffee in Vietnam, earthen oven cooked lamb and tajines in Morroco, the amazing pastries in France, the fresh pasta in Italy, the beer garden (and wasps) in Germany. Veggie crackers in Vietnam. Pick your own cherries in New Zealand.
- Running and exercising everywhere. The world Safe enough…exploring with Strava strapped to our waist meant you can turn right or left….take the unmarked trail….dare to see what was around the corner. Just watch your step…there is sheep/dog/horse shit everywhere!
- It is pretty easy to replace what you lose, run out of, wear down, etc. Hospice shops add “giving back” to local shopping, brand name running shoes in NZ for $25 etc.
Now for the other end of the spectrum…
Top 10(ish) Things That We Would Do Differently or Have Changed
- We would have camped more, and spent less time in hotels or rental apartments. .There is something to be said about being contained in a travelling house. There was a lot of time that was spent unpacking and repacking otherwise.
- Teaching your own kids is tough. Neither of us are teachers….so a big SHOUT OUT to our kids teachers previous and future! We don’t know how you do it.
- Some of the terrifying drives that were in the hands of someone else. Morocco and Vietnam…always blind turns on mountain passes with NO safety rails. Praying hard…I guess someone was listening!
- The dynamics of 4. We knew there would be moments when 4 just wasn’t enough to dilute the tension….but we didn’t really expect it to be the kids picking a favorite parent…and pitting one parent against the other. That was tough, and a source of tension.
- Banking woes. Sometimes it took many attempts with multiple credit cards or bank cards at ABMs (esp in Morocco). We worried about our cards getting scammed (France and the gas station – Richard!).
- Slow down the pace of travel. Without a doubt, the world is big. Like massive big. Each place that we visited had a plethora of choices of things to do, places to see of historical significance, restaurants to eat at, hikes to do, and so on. So, there is always more to go back to see! It is amazing how small of a strip around the world that we actually saw.
- At certain times, there was a lack of some fundamentally crucial good foods in the world. Even though we were blessed with amazing ice cream, incredible wine and great culinary experiences along the way, it was also hard to find some of the basic comforts that we have at home during the summer. Good and reasonable iced coffee….Deb had a definite craving for Tim Horton’s iced coffee as we went around and every place tried to make iced coffee more than it actually needed to be. Ice. Coffee. Milk. That’s it. (and it shouldn’t cost $7). Rich had a hard time finding egg nog around Christmas. Good mac n cheese from a box didn’t really exist either. And milk and eggs were not kept in the fridge at the store like we were used to.
- Rich’s oblivion. Photo posing, losing Rich at Easter Island in middle of the night….he really is lucky to be alive! It was after midnight when I found him and I was scared/mad/tired/mad and mad….not a great combination to the “happy wife…happy life” motto!
- Motion sickness. There was significantly less than expected…but still…I could live without the brutal ferry ride between the south and north island in NZ….EVER AGAIN!
The World According to the Wilson and Lauchlyn
Here are the Top 10(ish) Memorable Moments/Experiences/ Themes From Our Trip.
- THE FOOD (Obviously this is from Wilson!) He would try (almost) anything and liked (almost) everything. Lulu – see below!
- HIKING (ok…again…Wilson!) Wilson found his groove and enjoyed the hikes….but he did particularly like the snacking that accompanies hiking!
- LAUGHING AT DAD Whether he was trying to be funny…or just caught up in oblivion…he kept us peeing our pants. Falling off of a fence to get a picture, pink lipstick, speaking other “languages” to taxi drivers….and BEST EVER…..the Hamster Wheel!
- SWIMMING Lauchlyn would prefer a swimming pool…and Wilson likely too…but both learned to enjoy belly boarding and jumping the waves in the ocean too.
- MOTORCYCLES AND SCOOTERS Anything to not have to WALK for a tour! The kids loved the Hanoi girls who took them on scooters for the sites and the foods. Lulu put up with being sandwiched between mom and Dan in Vietnam …while Wilson had he own ride ….balancing along the precarious rice paddies.
- OUTDOORS Wilson learned to love the tranquility – it helped to “clear his mind”….and Lulu liked the short walks in the sun. See below for the “other” side of weather!
- ANIMALS Lulu LOVED the animals on safari. The elephants were the highlight – especially the large male at the watering hole looking for a “lady elephant” with his retractable penis! The two kids spent hours chasing chickens on Ratho Farms in Tasmania and laughed so hard at their inability to catch/coral them! Ostriches were a wee bit scary….but Wilson rode one anyway!
- PLAY Sometimes we played at playgrounds…but oh so often we found other ways to incorporate PLAY. Made up obstacle courses on land or in water….were a highlight….esp. when the kids raced the parents in timed obstacles.
- ADVENTURE From tree top trekking, climbing massive trees with spikes out of them (in flip flops) to scuba diving and flying planes….the adventures were ENDLESS
- CAMEL RIDING Our butts took days to get over it…but riding camels was fun. Getting up and getting down with the camels always led to many laughs. The kids loved walking the camels and taking care of them too.
The Top 10(ish) That We Would Do Differently or Have Changed
- SCHOOL Both kids did NOT like having parents as teachers. We did everything “not the way they teach us in school”!
- GETTING IN TROUBLE (this one applies to Wilson sig. more often than Lulu)…but he remembers Sydney and Luxembourg play ground as a few of the low lights…as far as getting some serious “time out”.
- GASTRO Never a highlight of a trip. Getting gastro in Morocco from “diarrhea dude” will never be forgotten. The good news is Wilson can puke ANYWHERE…he is good at it (ie. ferry line up between NZ islands). The really bad news is Lulu hates throwing up as much as her mom…..(cut off my right leg first!)….so the ferry ride between the NZ islands was a LONG ONE.
- DAD’S PHOTOGRAPHY Waiting for dad to take pictures = spending a LOT of time standing around….a LOT of time! That and posing and re-posing and posing again…..ARGH. We know he takes good pics…but we also did start a coffee table book of “pictures dad will NEVER look at again….and yet we are spending time waiting for him to get the perfect light!!!”
- LOSING MY HAT Darn it…I liked that hat (from Lulu)
- GETTING LOST Gut wrenching for us and terrifying for Lauchlyn….seriously terrifying….we WON’T repeat that EVER AGAIN!
- HOMEWORK DAD STYLE Dad took pictures of every single plaque that we passed on every single walk/hike or in every single museum…he would read them, take pictures of them…and then lecture us what we “could” do for a “cool” project with the information. Lulu just erased all of the pics from her ipad…just now in Dec 2019.
- ALWAYS BEING ON THE MOVE As kids…much much more CHILL TIME would have been enjoyed. Especially because we travel fast…but with a dad with ADD… when you travel fast you don’t get to stop moving.
- MALARONE (this one is Lulu’s) Lauchlyn’s inability to swallow pills means she had to disguise the taste of malarone (apparently dog piss) in Nutella….only now that she had to choke down two weeks of that…it ruined Nutella forever! Shame….shame.
- RAIN OR SHINE Sometimes it is just raining too hard, too hot or too many flies/bugs/bees to be bothered to get out of the house/car. (said by Wilson, Lulu and sometimes mom!)…but NEVER NEVER DAD!
A final Travelling Trenholms quote from each of us. We asked ourselves… what would we say to someone else taking a trip like this ….or…what did we learn about life, our world, our family, and each other.
“It is funny to look back and hear all of these stories that happened over a year ago….and remember how many funny things that happened. And when I think of the funny things I think I had experiences that I hated on this trip but all the funny and good memories over rule those terrible times. I am very grateful that I have parents that can afford a trip like that.” Lulu, December 30, 2019
“This trip has showed me that there is no need to be nervous in big cities as long as you are near to your parents…you won’t get lost. In your life, you have to take risk like trying new foods and risking getting food poisoning. I think this trip has shaped me in many different ways like I am very open to trying new foods and overcame my fear of heights. If you have a chance to go on a trip like this…take it!” Wilson, December 30, 2019
“Six months is a long time and passes with the blink of an eye. The laughter and memories shared with just the four of us… will stay with us forever. The moments when the world of four seemed all too restricting vanished with one good run or some mindful moments reflecting. Live in the moment, seize the day, be grateful for ALL that you are able to do and see….words of wisdom, lessons lived and learned along the path.” Deb, December 30, 2019
“Taking a family trip like this was simply incredible. You learn a lot about yourself, and about each other. And at the end of the trip, as a whole we are all stronger together. Even though it was six months awa, the time flew by, and we could liiterally see our kids grow up physically and emotionally in front of our eyes. The world is huge, and in each place that you visit there is so much to do, to see, to experience, and of course eat. You can’t possibly do it all. So do enough to experience where you are, and leave enough undone so you can do it all again in the future. I am so blessed to have had this time with my family. It is an unbreakable bonding experience that will stay with us forever and hopefully hold us through the rest of our lives. We also hope that it inspires our kids to keep travelling, and maybe even do the same thing with their kids someday…” Rich, December 31st, 2019.