10 Random Observations After Two Months of Family Travel

Our spot for the 2 month anniversary
Wow, we are at the 2 month mark on our travel tour already.  Hard to believe really because it has gone by so fast.  I debated about what type of post I would write to mark the occasion and during a very quiet and peaceful bus trip in Laos it became clear looking out the window at the beauty around me.  With time to simply contemplate the past 2 months, I realized I wanted to communicate some of the life changing things that we have already learned during this short amount of time. Ten come to mind pretty quickly. I am sure there are more but these are the things that stand out most to me at this moment in time.

Children will surprise you again and again
These boys amaze me and absolutely bring the best out in me.  They have helped me get past fears, made me laugh, made me cry, and at the end of it all, just bring me so much joy!  I have learned these past couple months that there really isn't anything they cannot handle.  We had a particularly hard bus trip from Thailand to Laos and they handled it completely, even better than me.  I get so worried when it is time to do any long trip but they do great every time.  I am impressed, and amazed at them every day, well almost every day!

Just one of the fears my boys got me past!

Squat toilets are actually better than the standard western ones (I swear I am not kidding)
This one I realized while at a pit stop during said bus trip.  Now don't get me wrong, if I am sick in any way, I probably want the standard toilet for obvious, and way too much information, reasons.  But that issue aside, it is a better set up.  No wasting water, correct body positioning, and as long as you are agile enough the squat toilet is far more comfortable than you would think!

Looks scary but I swear these are great!

People are the same all over the world, trying to make a better life for their families
There is a common saying in Thailand "same, same....but different!"  We all laugh about it but at the same time we get it completely.  Things on the surface are quite a bit different but inside at the deepest level of ourselves we are all the same...human.  No matter what country you visit you will see some differences, but  focusing on how much alike we all are is so much more interesting.  People just want to be loved and love back, and they want a peaceful existence where they can take care of their family.  Children want to play games, laugh, and be loved, no matter where you are.  When you focus on the similarities it is easy to realize that there is nothing to fear when traveling the world.  This is probably the thing that gives me the most travel inspiration.  It drives me to see more and more how alike we all are globally!

At work and at play...same, same!

The world does not revolve around the US but English really is important everywhere
In America, I was egocentric.  I can admit it and I can also admit that I didn't think I was!  I believe that most Americans are.  When you get outside of the US you quickly realize that the world does NOT revolve around America.  In fact it plays no part in daily life at all.  But one thing I do notice is that if you do not speak English or the language native to a particular country, then you are going to have some serious communication issues.  No one on the streets of Laos speaks Polish for example, so if you don't speak Laos or English, get ready for some difficult traveling.  Signs are usually to some degree written in native language and in English but I have yet to see anything written in another language.

Finances and budgeting is NOT our strong suit
Budgeting is the toughest thing while traveling.  To be honest we have never really been great at saving money or even budgeting our money.  We are learning quickly though what things to avoid and how to save money here and there.  But when you get an opportunity to play with baby tigers...I mean really does anyone care about budgets??  Oh you do!  Well, see, I do need to get better at finances I guess.

Seriously though, it is very important to, at a minimum, set up some type of budget and try to stick as close to it as possible.  It is a hard balance trying to be comfortable, move around as inexpensively as possible, feed 3 4 growing boys, and still do some of the touristy things that are part of the reason we are traveling in the first place.  It's a work in progress!

Never sweat the small stuff, actually don’t sweat any of it
OK so this is something I’ve always known and I am sure you hear all the time.  When we decided to embark on this trip, I knew this would be one of the hardest things to improve in myself, along with patience.  But it was also a big reason I wanted to go on this trip.  I knew this was something that desperately needed to change for myself, my husband, and my kids.  I still worry and nag. I mean, that is part of my job description, but everyday I see that these things just don't matter very much.  No matter how you react to things the outcome is the same, you just made a fool of yourself and shaved time off your life if you react poorly.  Not to mention making others feel bad at the same time.  Certainly not worth it to over react!  I don't know, maybe by years end I will have struck a balance with it all.  Stay tuned....

I AM DAMN LUCKY and I need to always feel gratitude
This one is a given but something that bears repeating!  We are extremely lucky and not just because of this lifestyle but for the numerous hardships that we have not had to endure.  No matter what is going on in our lives there is always something to feel grateful for.  Gratitude is a gift that we can and should be teaching our children.  The best way to do that is by showing them how.

I cannot deny that this is part of my damn lucky!

Being born in the US is an automatic free pass for avoiding some of the world's deepest horrors
There are many people inside the US that are suffering and by this statement I do not mean to take anything away from the pain that so many endure.  With that said though, people in many other parts of the world still have a certain admiration for America.  When you witness some of the extreme poverty around the world, one realizes that even the poorest Americans know little of genuine hardship of dirt floors, no electricity, no access to any money whatsoever, and some without food.  Despite the grotesque income disparity evident in the U.S., Americans don't know or understand dirt-floor poverty, and they should be very grateful for that.

Hard work is the norm in many areas of the world

Then there are the actual dangers of regime changes, bombings, left over landmines, etc.  Fear is a very real thing for many people in the world.  In the US we just do not have that level of fear and we should be deeply grateful for that as well.

The beauty of the world can and will bring tears to your eyes
Not really much I can say here to elaborate on that.  It is mind numbing just how incredible this planet is and for each and every little teeny nook we visit, it becomes abundantly more clear to us.  Beauty is everywhere, if you open your eyes to it.

Along a Costa Rican beach

Asians do not drink milk and do not waste any part of any animal
Now these are just silly differences but they strike us as curious.  There is hardly any dairy at all in Thailand and even less in Laos.  In Vang Vieng is is literally non existent.  Not much cheese, or anything else made from milk yet...there are cows EVERYWHERE!!  Not sure where their Calcium is coming from but maybe we just don't need so much dairy or calcium?

My son and I went to dinner alone the other night and noticed yet again some strange (and I mean that in the nicest way) foods.  Barbecue bats, yes real bats, like the stuck in your hair kind!  Complete with their creepy faces and hair, donning a huge green leaf bathing suit.  There was also a shish kabob of sorts with a few veggies and teeny tiny baby chicks.  Not just the meat but the entire things, head, beak, feet, and all!  Then there are the worms and scorpions and full size, deep fried, chicken heads!  At least you can say they are not wasteful!

Yeah those are bats, to the left baby chicks...all of them!

We can't wait to see what happens next month, headed back to Thailand for a bit and then who knows.  Keep following us...


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  1. What great observations! As for the milk thing I think that we eat WAY too much dairy. Asians hardly drink any but they don't have an osteoporosis problem! Something to think about!

  2. These pictures are really awesome. Encouragement for people those are planning for a beautiful holiday. Great.
    @ http://www.herbaldiet.com

  3. I really like the pics.It tells the whole story about this post.

  4. We traveled 5 months with our 3 children and they too made me laugh, saw my fear, joy, tears, etc. I think travel keeps us vulnerable in some ways and we really get to know each other in a good way :)

  5. Absolutely Trisha, my kids see it all and because of that have a deeper understanding of the realities of life! We think that is very important for them and for our family as a whole:)