Monthly Archives

October 2016

family travel kids travel phones round the world travel travel travel blog

Who Ya Gonna Call? I know, I know but, really, How do we do it?

I am humbled and excited by the feedback I got on my post about our travel plans. Now, I am ready to get my hands dirty! We have been trying to talk about the necessities to make this all come together. In my research I have been checking out other travelers blog and websites. All is exhillerating and a bit overwhelming. I found a site called Bootsnall which has a 3o day online planning course that provides a lot of interesting informtion and suggestions.

In our work I am going to cast my web wide to ask for feedback and suggestions to help us make informed decisions.

This week my husband and I are looking at the things that we need to make this work. First off is our cell phones and coverage.images-22 I do plan on doing some counseling work on the road and will need a method of communication that doesn’t cost as much as a mortgage payment. Also, we have grandparents and other family and friends that we want to be in touch with on the road.

In my research, I have heard a lot of good things about T-mobile being a good choice for international travel as it is accessable in many countries. However, I have also heard about ways to ‘unlock’ your phone overseas and use SIM cards in different countries. Does anyone know anything about this? images-21Please let me know if you have any thoughts or feedback on this.

Soon, I am going to sketch out the opportunities that were offered in my last post. Many a good people have reached out to offer good wishes, connections, offers of hospitality and wellness. I am thrilled to clarify those options. Look out for me being in touch and PLEASE, please let me know if you want to be in touch while we are leaving our footprints on the world and in what manner.

 

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The Cat is Out of the Bag!

Last week we revealed our plans to my mother in law and our kids. Different reveals with different reactions. Just to get you up to speed, we are planning a round the world trip with our boys starting in the summer of 2017. My husband will lose his job of the last 12 years and we are taking advantage of the timing and age of our boys to plan a trip away. A long time away and many long distances away.

Travel has been a part of my life since I was a teenager and my husband found his own travels through work in his 20s and together we have found some new paths and memories. Since our kids were born we have not traveled interationally together. This trip holds a lot of excitement as well as trepidation. I feel very soothed when planning trips even if for an overnight getaway.

Travel is a big part of my life and a ‘must’ that I need to feel sated. There are a lot of travel stories in my head that I want to share with our boys but, even more so, I want to create travel experiences with them so they too will be shaped by exposure and immersion in new cultures.

So, our plan. In August 2017 we will take off heading to Southeast Asia and soon thereafter Australia. We have dreams of going to destinations in Eastern Africa as well as South Africa, Israel, Croatia, several Western European countries where I have previously left footprints and have friends. Many of these freinds have kids in a similar age range of our boys. images-20The idea of connecting cross cultures for all of us in these ways feels exciting and a little bit nerve-racking. A bit like the night before Christmas or our wedding day.

In the spirit of this blog, we are trying to figure out how to set our expectations in reasonable and achievable ways. As I have written about before, I see that we all struggle with setting some expectations too high and feeling a crash of disappointment and resentment many times in our lives.

I am trying to consider how to define expectations in three areas. Minimum, Reasonable and Achievable and Dream Scenario (also known as the lottery, bonus, gravy, pie in the sky expectations). Many of us set Dream Scenarios and are let down and stunned when they don’t turn out that way. We forget what we can and cannot control in the grand scheme of things and are deeply disappointed when we pin our happiness on the actions of others.

We all do it. I am not one that knows how to not to do it, however, I am trying to re-adjust those expectations so, that I can safeguard my wellbeing at least a bit. These travel plans will be a lesson and challenge in planning, awareness and life experience.

We have to plan timing, budgeting, where to go, how to school our boys as we go along, flights, places to stay, how long to spend places, how to keep in touch and document, how to adjust ourselves to another’s ‘regular’, how to pack, how to leave our comfortable and predictable life at home and return to it after our time abroad. These are not small tasks and not a comprehensive list of those tasks. unknown-3My husband and I have set up bi-weekly meetings with each other to tackle some of these areas and to process ideas.

I will note here how things are going, however, I really want to hear from others. I am putting the call out to folks to give us feedback on places you think we ought to consider, gems hidden or otherwise to unwrap and explore. Helpful suggestions and thoughts of our plan are welcome. Be in touch and please leave comments here to spark more conversation.

More soon. Be well now.

Audrianna Joy

 

 

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The Travel Plan Reveal – Trying to Make Something Enormous Simpler. What are the Expectations?

So, one of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was to document our family’s plan for world travel. Travel is such an important part of my life (my middle third especially) and I want to share it with our kids and create new memories in new places today. My fear has been that writing about something that has not yet happened is a bit out-of-order, cart before the horse, so to speak. images-11My fear would wash up inside and worry about being named as a non-doer, someone with all talk and no action and a tiny fear of superstition. If I write about it will it not happen.

Where do all these worries come from? My inner critics pushing their particular voice forward, reminiscing about previous times in my life when I struggled and when I failed and taking those moments and shoving them forward in my mind as if to show me.

“See, you can’t do this. You’re a fool to say these things out loud. Someone will reveal that you have failed in the past. Don’t involve others in your dreams until they are real and countable.”

So, my own expectations are tangled with worry, fear, excitement, hope, joy, trepidation and uneasiness. My point of this blog is to explore the challenge of having really high expectations dashed by reality unfolding. However, this is not a blog about images-13holding back our dreams, choosing the slow and safe lane, redirecting our wants toward the loudest naysayers opinion.

I have already made a lot of choices in my life that were non-conventional at the time. Traveling, studying and living overseas for a collective five years of my life didn’t match the norm of my contemporaries. At no point in those travels did I regret being where I was.
Yes, I struggled at times, feeling extraordinarily lonely and
left with only myself for company.

Which sometimes my own company was not great awash with some self-defeating judgements or thoughts. However, I didn’t try to come back ‘home’. I tried to figure out what was happening and how to make it a little bit better. Often hoping to make it much, much better.

Ironically, those moments are the ones I learned the most from. I think particularly about my time living and working in Hong Kong in 1993-1994. images-17Yes, what seems like a lifetime ago. I arrived in this big, neon city with my Dad as he had me connected to a business partner of his to do some work. We flew business class. I think it might have been the first time I had spent 11 hours sitting next to my Dad.

While flying into Hong Kong, I remember the how close the plane was to the buildings in the city as we circled to land at the airport. To me, the buildings looked like hundreds of matchboxes tipped up on their ends balancing precariously next to each other, almost feeling like I was looking at Dominos on a table top. My worry was that one might fall over.  Looking back, I may have been reflecting what I felt inside myself.

I had willingly left my safe haven back in the States to move to a new place. This wasn’t a new move for me. images-16At this point in my life, I had left my home country for foreign places several times but, landing in Western Europe each time. There, I could find a way for my caucasian self to blend in with my English and weak Dutch. I could be on a train and most would be none the wiser until I ordered a coffee, even then I could tilt and soften my accent to draw away from my American self identifiers.

In Hong Kong, I wasn’t going to blend in. I was, what my co-workers later told me was ,a ‘gweilo’. A ghost face. I could try to mix in but, my skin, eye color, the general way I held my body and my illiteracy in the various Chinese languages showed me for who I was, a stranger in a strange place.
Yet, I so wanted to blend in. When I travel, I am one to carefully hold the map inward, cautious to avoid too much attention. I want to be in step with and nearly anonymous in the community I am exploring. One to one, I don’t mind meeting new people and, actually, quite love images-15it but, I don’t want to be painted with the brush or spotlight of FOREIGNER where ever I go.

I was acutely aware of the ‘ugly American’ that would travel about the world, bumbling into people, cultures, languages, cuisine without an awareness of or care about the ripple effect of their wake. I may have kept to the shadows to my own detriment at times. As in Hong Kong, I found it not only very hard to blend in but, also to make friends. I didn’t connect to the ex-pat community. Back then there was no internet, Facebook, email list to join so I could safely explore my options in the comfort of my own computer before walking in a room and hoping to make a friend. I also didn’t want to make friends only with foreigners in this strange place with me. It would have probably helped a lot but, I was stubborn. I wanted to find my own way. And it turned out to be a very lonely path.

That Hong Kong travel experience was one of my darkest but, it taught me a lot. I can get through things. Most everything is in motion and we don’t get to stand in one place for very long. I look at my own kids and see that. Are they really seven and nine? What happened? The hard times move on and the good times move on. What we have control over is maneuvering ourselves towards better, healthier, happier times. This doesn’t always work as we don’t control anything but, ourselves. images-18However, perhaps we can point ourselves in the direction we want to go. Like a boat on a stream…there are plenty of obstacles but, we can navigate.

My husband and I are preparing to navigate ourselves into the greater world outside of our comfort zone in Portland, Oregon with our kids in tow. We want more experiences, unpredictable and hopefully, joyful. Yes, we will experience heartache, frustration, headaches and differing opinions but, we will be living and learning. We plan on leaving on a year-long journey in August 2017. What comes here is further exploring, planning and navigation of our life and dreams. Please stay tuned.

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Parenting, Marriage and Hopes and Dreams

As my husband and I approach our 14th wedding anniversary, I pause and look around me at the changes that have transpired and where we are today. I am struck at the difference of our family of four from the two of us, with our hopeful and shiny faces of yore. I was 33 when I got married and thus, look at my life in thirds.

The first third, infancy, childhood and young adult time. The next was the era of the single girl to woman phase with earning degrees, traveling and a host of poor decision making and the lessons that followed. Then to the last third, learning to create a life with another person with intentions of making the ‘right choices’ together, growing in our careers, succeeding in making a family and moving forward with parenting highs and lows.

I am struck, with a bit of fear, when I look forward to the next 15 year block. What choices will we or I make that have a ripple effect on the future. I am 47 now and in 15 years, I ‘ll be 62. The age my mom was when she died. A tiny piece of me worries that this may be my last series of chapters so, I better make them good ones. Every day I struggle with choices  that effect me; what I eat, what I drink and what I say. Questions of, Did I exercise? How much sleep did I get? How am I handling stressful situations so, they don’t bite me in the backside later?

With clients we talk about the HALTS; Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and Stressed/Sad. These are things that we can control, in some measure, in our life. We often feel overwhelmed by events happening around us and we try, frequently, with all our might to control things we can’t: other people’s thoughts, feelings, actions, desires, words. In HALTS we can look at a situation and see what areas that we may be able to make some changes or at least, gain some leverage.

When I look at the next 15 years, I feel I do have a better understanding of what I can and cannot control. I also need to remember that when I am in a mood, I don’t always remember this helpful information but, perhaps I am more likely to access it having had some years practice. Read: we are all imperfect! So, coming back to that block of time. How do I want it turn out? Am I okay with the choices I making, big and small? I make mistakes but, do I feel okay about that as well?

I was struck by a review of a new book by Maria Semple called Today Will Be Different. This character, a mom, wife and professional tries to find ‘A Basic Amount of Dignity’. I love that sentiment. 9780316403436_custom-6f05dbe55c3c89ca57eaf0d25423b88bc014eade-s300-c85That the small choices we make everyday can have small but, longer effects. We often look around us in exasperation and think, “How did we get here?” and think of the roads or choices not taken. We think big change only comes from big changes.

Well, I’d like to think that small changes can have a ripple effect as well. If I have a green drink this morning, my body will feel a little bit better and I will feel that I’ve gotten a start on one of the many ‘shoulds’ that come up for me (eating enough fruits and vegetables every day). But, more I feel, at that moment, that I have made a small difference. I can be a tiny bit happy and satisfied that I made a healthy choice. Also, challenging the first of the HALTS – Hunger.

So, here is to change, the anniversary and next 15 year block (one of many, I hope). Also, here’s to green smoothies.

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