Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf

Teenage children are rebellious, tenacious and passionate. I don’t want them any other way. But as a mother of three teenage kids, I crazily bounce from loving them to pieces to wanting to send them to the moon with smart phone and video games included! 

Raising teenagers is not for the faint of heart and parents must be ready to put on their thinking caps to empower their children while establishing clear rules and boundaries. I try, as a respectful mom, to explain the reasons behind every rule and consequence. I listen to my kids’ points of view and ideas.

However, there are situations in which negotiation isn’t an option and in which I don’t yield to intelligent and persistent youngsters. It will be done as I say: period! 

There are decisions and moments in which learning and being healthy are priorities and in these cases I refuse to negotiate with my teenagers and instead I proceed as a merciless dictator telling everybody what to do and how to do it. 

Traveling is one of them. 

Traveling encourages curiosity. Bali, Indonesia

Why do I strongly encourage my kids to travel?

It may sounds like a cliché but traveling is an eye-opening experience for children and adolescents alike. Represents an opportunity to grow and learn to make decisions on their own;  constitutes a meaningful way of interacting with siblings and parents while developing team-work skills. Traveling represents the chance to learn a new language and culture. 

Although, many times my teenage kiddos don’t see it that way. They don’t want to walk all those kilometers to visit another church (Europe is full of them), or don’t want to explore the rainforest in Indonesia because is unbearably humid and hot. They complain and beg to stay home or at the hotel.

That’s when I start giving orders to every one in sight asking them to carry their own luggage, fill their water bottles, walk, and enjoy because the benefits of traveling are too many to risk missing them for some teenage tantrum. 

Don’t get me wrong! Once we are on the road, ideas about places to visit and explore accordingly to my children’s interests are quickly written at the top of our to-do list. It is not about making their lives miserable. It is about taking control of the many possibilities they have to grow emotionally and physically and that teenage kids sometimes don’t see by themselves because of their short and inexperienced years. 

Discovering Barcelona with our three nomads. Spain

When it comes to learning and raising diversity awareness I feel the need to behave as a parent who guides and encourages. As guidance, many times you will need to establish priorities for your children even though these concerns don’t align with your teenager’s desires. 

How do teenagers benefit from traveling?

To travel with adolescents is an invaluable experience that brings many benefits to our children.  Some of these advantages refer to their core values, some others will enhance their understanding of diversity and cultures. From my family to yours, these are the amazing things I have seen my teenage kids to enjoy and learn during our adventures abroad:

Lessons Learnt When Teenagers Travel

  1. Learn how to save and budget money.

Once my kids are informed about our travel plans for the next weekend or holidays, they begin this unstoppable race to make money so they can buy souvenirs, comics, books, and clothing in our destination. It is so rewarding to see them plan their budgets, brain storming about selling the toys, gadgets and clothes they don’t use anymore, and also helping with extra chores at home… wow! They become so persistent and motivated. Traveling has given them without a doubt some of the tools needed to budget money and the importance of saving. 

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/04/16/5-awesome-travel-hacks-when-traveling-with-your-teens/

Paris isn’t a cheap destination. Some serious budget planning needs to be done before traveling.

2. Empowerment of navigation skills. 

Teenagers like to be in control, they want their opinions and input to be taken into account and traveling allows that. In our family, we encourage our kiddos to suggest and create an itinerary and also to gather info about the transportation and costs of moving around our destination. Technology makes everything easier, so our children handle maps and coordinates with the apps they find more user friendly on their own cellphones. 

I must confess that at first they were so afraid to make mistakes… Afraid of getting lost! But now they feel more independent and capable of finding their way around without the help of mom and dad. And that my dear readers is priceless. I feel like I’m giving my children wings to fly away and be prepared to be successful abroad. 

travel teenagers

Finding her way around London, United Kingdom

3. Lowers the risk of youth depression. 

Millions of teenagers struggle with depression on a regular basis and it’s not uncommon for doctors to over prescribe medication without treating the reasons behind this behavior.  It is important to acknowledge that there are cases of clinical depression and other mental behaviors that need to be treated by specialists.

Let’s be clear, these facts and statistic are scary. Even more scarier is that many cases of teenage depression aren’t recognized by parents and caregivers.

Being on the road with your kiddos helps promote a deep connection between you and your offsprings and this connection is very important to lay the foundations for an emotionally healthy young adult. Additionally, traveling gives you the time to nurture your parent-child relationship, without distractions from work and school, and this allows you to recognize any signs of melancholy, chronic sadness, worries and problems that your child may suffer. 

Crazy moments but always connected as a family! Road trip to Lake Como, Italy

4. Break stereotypes and experience diversity. 

It is a fact that our children are constantly bombarded by the media with statements and generalizations about other cultures, their religion, traditions, and values. By traveling, you are exposing your young adults to diverse cultures and people so they can come with their own ideas and opinions.

For us it has been an eye-opening experience to hear our kids talk to each other about how they had certain biases against a specific ethnic identity, but after a trip they come back home with a totally different approach. When a teenage child travels overseas, he or she has the opportunity to break the often vicious cycle of prejudice and biases by experiencing diversity first hand. That’s awesome! To me it sounds like a more peaceful future for the world! 

 

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/09/04/top-10-fun-loving-places-for-kids-in-india/

5. Discovering unknown abilities and personal traits. 

Traveling doesn’t go smoothly all of the time. Many times we need to reschedule train rides, change hotels, plan a new budget or itinerary or simply deal with illness in the middle of nowhere in a language we don’t speak.

However, traveling maximizes our problem solving skills to their maximum! Cool, isn’t it? But the benefits don’t end there. No. Let me tell you that we have discovered so many things about our children while traveling! Skills that our teenagers didn’t suspect they had… passions they didn’t want to pursue at first and now they love! 

During our last trip to France, my son started to compare some words from French to the Spanish language. He was excited to see that his knowledge of Spanish had helped him understand some ads, street signs, restaurant menus and so on in French. Then he surprised us with several translations using his mobile phone, his Spanish understanding and new discovered ability.

Bingo!

Our teenage son has found a new reason to pursue his career as an author and writer, adding some translations certificates along the way while being motivated by linguistics of Romance languages. He has a new passion now. Is it going to last forever? We don’t know. But being able to find and recognize the good inside themselves is for teenagers the key to a healthy self esteem and happy future. 

In conclusion, I invite you to give your teenage child the chance to see the world! Don’t fall for tantrums and NOs! Stay firm. You are giving them the gift of a lifetime. They will come back home to share with family and friends their experiences about people and their cultures. Instill in them the same curiosity about differences and appreciation of similarities that you have. Traveling will help your children to keep an open heart and become global citizens. 

So, where are you going next?

Don’t Forget to Grab Our Book

Books for Travel - Summer Series Multicultural Kids Blogs

Elementary Aged Kids Can Travel the World with These Books

I recently read, traveling the world is a huge part of multicultural families. These books allow elementary aged kids to travel the world. We travel to meet our families and learn about the world. We hope that our children explore cities, new cultures and understand their own better.

Food, festivals, customs and little things that make us all different and yet similar at the same time. Below and a list of books, my children and I have read and enjoyed. They act as little passports to the world around us.

Since, it is impossible for everyone to see everything, it is so much more important now than ever for us learn from each other and share stories of how our worlds truly are.

(Aff Links)

Elementary Aged Kids Travel the World with Books

Maya and Neel Series

Originating from Indian authors, this series is an authentic look at Mumbai and Delhi. The authors plan to add more books to these series and talk about lot of Indian festivals. Great for younger kids, learning about India and Hindi too.

Goodnight Series

A fun read for little kids who would love to see India. An easy read.

Travel Guide Series

These are kids who love a lot of non fiction. Gives a great look at different countries around the world with facts and  celebrations.

Goodnight Series

Nick and Aya Series

A great book for parent bonding. Father and daughter take trips to different cities/countries around the world.

National Geographic Series

Who doesn’t know Nat Geo and their bid to empower the world with a real life look within countries. They have a lot of books about countries around the world.

Seymour and Hau Series

Books about Italy, Morocco and more, Seyomour and Hau is a great book for advanced elementary readers. Chapter books with images to boot! These make a wonderful gift too.

50 States Guide & Activity Book

You can learn all about America by buying this guide and their activity book combined. It is a great resource for social studies.

Flat Stanley Series

Another chapter book with images, these make a great read. Kids who like Judy Mody or Stink, would love Flat Stanley and all his adventures around the world.

Real Kids, Real Stories Series

Sometimes, learning about the world is not just about the cities, countries. It is about the people who are making courageous choices and  bringing real change around the world.

 

Hello World Series

Perfect for little kids, these books give them a view of what different cities around the world look like.

You can find more book lists here about raising children with a confident mindset or to help deal with bullying.

 

Elementary Aged Kids Can Travel the World with These Books

Learn more about how to travel the world with kids easily here.

Traveling is the Biggest Learning Experience You Can Give Little Kids

Traveling is the Biggest Learning Experience You Can Give Little Kids

Dealing with all of the end of the school year craziness have had me wanting to escape to a remote island, just my husband and I, far away from the chaos of last minute meetings with teachers, exams and next school year’s supply shopping. I’m exhausted. And I want a break from my children.

Well, I wanted to have a brake from them, until I realized how many summers I have left with them. Then it hit me. There is not so much time left, not so many holidays to be enjoyed all together, new places to explore and new cultures to learn. 

I felt sad. Somehow empty. 

Could it be possible to feel the emptiness of our nest with the kids still in there?

I am the mother of three intelligent and overachiever teenagers. They keep me on my toes. They keep me crazy “running around with mismatched socks” busy with all the activities, outings and adolescence related questions they ask. We have a very strong relationship and I feel very proud of it. Thinking about all this makes me crave more time with them. And I’m talking about quality AND quantity time. Those moments when we are so closed to each other that I can hug and kiss them within milliseconds with no adverse reaction coming from them. My “hen” mom instincts kicking in. 

Due to all these feelings I decided to share with you my reasons why you should travel with your children NOW! Not later, not when they are older, but now!

Odense, Denmark

Every single trip made with your offsprings is a wonderful opportunity to create memories. You will be laying your family’s emotional foundations. Every minute spent far away from home would be a reminder of how being together is the most important thing well above familiar objects, rooms, and other material gadgets. 

Is it expensive? Yes, it is. 

Is it time consuming? Yes, it is. 

Is it a roller coaster of emotions? Yes, it is. 

Is it worth the try? YES, IT IS! 

So let’s get ready for this emotional ride, because I am here to inspire you! You will feel confused, you will believe some of my reason for traveling with kiddos, you won’t accept some of them. That’s just fine. My goal is to wake your curiosity up and encourage you to give traveling with children a try. 

Why should I travel with my kids when they are still little?

Learning at its best

Children learn by observing, hearing and doing. Traveling is a great opportunity to expose your children to interesting places, cultures, and languages. Also, traveling can be an effective tool to show your kids survival and organizational skills and develop self-care awareness. The best part? You don’t need to engage in a cross Atlantic trip to teach your kids about the beauty of this world. Outings near home are an exciting way to get to know our own traditions too, thus developing a more clear identity sense of themselves and their culture. 

travel really worth

Paris, France

Safe space to acquire different values and recognize rough spots that may need to be a little bit “polished”.

When traveling many of the familiar things we have at home aren’t there. We find ourselves surrounded by unknown situations that will activate our self preservation instinct. Our usual selves with our ever present values will be changed.

In our search for familiarity we will approach the differences with personal traits we didn’t know we had. As a family we will develop skill sets triggered by our trips and that will stay with our children forever. Traveling prepares them for unknown situations, challenging scenarios and distinct people. 

Additionally, traveling with kids will show a side of us and them we didn’t think possible or existent. Our children are going to discover many things about themselves, they will experience irritability and tiredness, and they will learn to go on even when their energy level is very low. Traveling makes people resilient and children aren’t the exception. 

Morrocoy, Venezuela

Team building for the future

One thing that we have learned during our years traveling the world is that it takes a whole crew to make a trip happen. Since the planning and booking, family members are committed to collaborate with each other to create the most amazing itinerary.

Our kids sell some of their toys and clothing at the local flea market to have some extra cash to spend during the trip. They learn about budgeting and calculating costs. We purposely involve them in every step of the adventure. 

While traveling we also work as a team to stay safe and healthy. We look after each other’s belongings and are always willing to provide a comfy shoulder for sleepy heads on the train or plane. Together we take pictures, gather info and learn about the culture. Back home we put all of our photographs together (taken with our mobile phones) and create beautiful albums and videos to always remember our adventures.

This is an amazing chance to praise the strengths of your little ones as well. Highlight those personal traits that make them unique and valuable. 

Appreciating positive outcomes and learning from negative situations 

Not every hotel is clean. Not every museum is interesting and not every beach is as blue as the ones we see online. Disastrous trips are a reality. By traveling with our children, we teach them to be grateful for trips where everything works just fine, from the beauty of the surrounding nature to the smooth service of a under developed country’s transportation system.

But what happens when the ideal vacation turns into a nightmare? 

Three years ago we went to Brussels for a long weekend. We arrived to enjoy the most delicious chocolate in the world and the most crispy french fries ever! After spending the whole day exploring we decided to go to our hotel to get a good night sleep.

Our nightmare started. The charming hotel we booked based on the pictures and reviews from a well known travel website, turned out to be a whole on the wall located in a very shady neighborhood where the words prostitution and drug dealing weren’t that foreign. 

Immediately we went from “singing in the car” happy tourists to scared American family in dangerous territory. Don’t laugh! Don’t roll your eyes either. It was scary! But once the shock of the moment was gone, a very united and synchronized family started looking for solutions. After phoning and browsing online, we ended up sleeping in a beautiful hotel close to the border in the German side. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worthy.

This experience helped our children to realized that sometimes things don’t go our way. And that’s fine! We just need to clean the scratch on the knee and keep going. Better times will come for sure. 

You complaint about the challenges of being a parent. Aren’t you willing to enjoy the bright side? What makes travel really worth it all?

Parenting is similar to Jedi training and life. It presents us with both a bright side and a dark (sometimes very obscure) side. Usually we hear and read about the many difficulties to be a parent. We complaint loudly about it. I assure you that traveling, even with the challenging moments, is a great time to see and experience the sublimely thing that are our children.

Seeing them swimming, running, exploring, growing is so rewarding. All of the sudden everything makes sense, including those sleepless nights, hours of lessons and values we impart. Being away from home gives families the opportunity to better appreciate each other in a more relaxing setting.

To us, my husband and I, has been the best way to get to know our offsprings and see the results of our dedication and their personalities. We wouldn’t change traveling with our kids for anything in the world. 

In conclusion, my tears due to a feeling of soon-to-be empty nest have disappeared. It took me a while but soon enough I was already checking online the prices of plane tickets to travel with my pack. I am willing to enjoy every minute with my kids, spending time to hug them overseas and show them the world that surrounds us. 

Are you willing to give yourselves that opportunity?

You won’t regret it! 

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Grab it for a Quick Summer Read Now!

 

Traveling is the Biggest Learning Experience You Can Give Little Kids

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5 Awesome Travel Hacks When Traveling With Your Teens

 

Traveling with your teens is something extraordinary, but you cannot ignore the challenges it brings along. As your kids start getting older, from toddlers to early childhood and teenage, the travel challenges keep on changing, so you require new strategies every time you travel. This way you can have a new kind of holiday every time you plan a trip.

When children become teenagers, they get to experience a new set of challenges and most of all, new kind of vacation.

As the teens get to fine-tune their choices as well as teen personalities, their pals become more important to them than anyone else. Disney and all the fairy tale characters are replaced with outdoor activities and sports.

So here we have a few awesome travel hacks when traveling with teens. They will help you enjoy each other’s company and make everything less hectic.

  • Involve your Teen Child in the Trip Planning

Children mostly behave in the most casual ways, most of the time when you will ask them about what to do on the holidays or where to go, they will casually reply with a ‘whatever.’ But it is crucial to involve them in the trip planning and take their suggestions. Each teen out there wants to be heard, no matter what they say or how they act.

If the kids are involved in the trip planning at an earlier stage, they will enjoy it more and would not complain much. It will teach them how to compromise.

My teenage twins, son and daughter, are the two I discuss everything with, from the trip location to the cost. They are the ones who mostly decide the holiday destination. Both of them have different choice and taste; however, we always pay attention to anything particular that either of us wants. So we compromise for each other and respect each other’s choices.

  • Download Google Maps for Offline Use

When traveling with children, be it toddlers or teens, you don’t want to risk anything. In such cases, ‘Google Maps’ is a lifesaver. Make sufficient space in your tablet or mobile phone and download the ‘Google Maps’ app to browse it later in the offline mode when exploring and moving around the new places.

This app is simple to operate. You can ask your teen kid to the job for you. All the little heads these days are technology freaks; therefore, they know everything about the virtual reality.

Bonus tip: You can also download the ‘Google Translate’ app on your phone. It is another app that is quite beneficial when traveling. When you don’t know the native language of the particular country you are visiting; Google Translate is a true blessing. The best part about this app is that you don’t need an internet connection to make it work. So now you can understand any language and can reply in seconds with the help of this fabulous offline tool.

  • Pack Everything Together

Parents are mostly in panic when packing for themselves and their children. They don’t want to forget anything. When traveling, our brains are mostly consumed a lot, and we often feel overwhelmed, so we forget most of the things here and there especially children, they are more likely to forget things.

Ask your children to help you when packing. It will help them learn the value of things. Packing is an excellent time to teach your kids accountability. Ask your teen kid to prepare a packing list first, so nothing gets left behind. It is something that will make your whole experience a lot less stressful.

Make sure not to over pack. When flying, your luggage bag should weigh according to the weight requirements. It is quite challenging to make last-minute adjustments; therefore, you should pack sensibly.


  • Don’t Forget About the Basics

Everyone knows about the basics, but they are of great significance so mentioning about them is crucial. You need to take care of all the essentials when packing, for example, extra outfits for you and your family, a few favorite outdoor gadgets and a first aid box including all the frequently used medicines like painkillers for headache or stomach pain, anti-allergy, cough syrups and more.

You never know what the trip brings next for you; hence, you should be prepared for everything ahead of time. Besides, packing the outdoor gadgets when traveling with teens is a wise decision, for instance, you can pack a pair of skates, a football, hoverboard or even a scooter.

You may be wonder what a hoverboard is? A hover board is all the rage these days. It is something that every teen loves. It is like a scooter having a board and two wheels, you just need to balance it well, and you are good to go!

  • Take the ‘Me’ Time

Personal space is mandatory for everyone, be it your husband, parents, or your teen kids. When you are traveling, take out some time for yourself and give some personal space to your teen kids as well for everyone needs time to rejuvenate and relax. Consider it one great way to spend amazing family holidays!

Not everyone shares similar interests; it is as simple as that. Therefore, giving each other space to experience different things is not a bad idea. A dull plan of sightseeing can be sometimes exhausting, so you need to set a good set of rules, and then you can let your children roam around freely to all the nearby sights including shopping malls, beaches, restaurants and more.

Furthermore, trips should not be forced. So let your child rest in the hotel room while you hang out with your partner if they don’t want to come along.

Make your traveling time the best time of the year! All these tips and tricks mentioned above are simple yet quite efficient in their own way. Understand how your teens think and work and try and mingle with them at every step to make it work. Have an amazing trip!


Images Source: pixabay.com

About the Author:

Lara Stewart is a fitness expert and gym owner. She is obsessed with physical health as well as healthy eating. She has in-depth knowledge about the fitness needs of the body and how one can stay healthy on a budget. She regularly posts at Scooter Scouter.

5 Awesome Travel Hacks fo Traveling with Teenagers

steamboat springs

Winter Activities in Steamboat Springs CO – A Travelogue

I love traveling to the core.  I enjoy each and everything about the travel – the planning, the scenery, the drive, the stay, the activities, of course, the photos, the peace, the relaxation, the happiness and the beautiful moments we create as a family. So, this time, let me share my favorite travelogue in Colorado.

We traveled to ‘Steamboat Springs’ in the last winter. Steamboat Springs is a town in Northern Colorado which is famous for skiing. It is also famous as a destination for winter sports and it is also a home to 86 Olympic champions. When we planned to visit this place, we wanted to try the popular winter activities like skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing,  Snow tubing, Gondola rides, Hot springs etc.,

We have 2 sons and our younger one is just 4 years old. So, we had to keep this in our mind as we cannot venture into adventurous sports. The drive from our place is around 5 hrs and we had to take multiple stops due to kids. When planning a trip with our kids, usually we don’t hurry and prepare for unexpected stops, delays, and change in plans in the last minute.  The weather was very harsh and extreme cold in Steamboat Springs, so we bought thermals, good jackets, gloves, scarfs, snow boots, hand, and toe warmers etc., before starting for the trip.

steamboat springs

steamboat springs

Skiing:

The Gondola square at Mt.Werner circle is always buzzing with tourists who come for skiing. There are skiing classes available for both adults and kids. Kids from 2 years of age can take beginner skiing classes. Steamboat ski resort offers nighttime skiing as well.  We haven’t tried skiing yet, but if you can stay for 3 days, your family can learn skiing and enjoy.


Snowmobiling:

We have reserved our spot for snowmobiling in advance from Saddleback ranch. We were ready by 11 am with layered clothing(thermals, jackets) and hand, toe warmers etc., The Saddleback ranch team have also provided outer gear and snow boots. Even with all these, it was difficult for us to bear the coldness after 1.5 hrs. We have booked for a 2hr slot. But, Snowmobiling was super fun as a family. It was as if we were swimming in a snow ocean. There was only snow within miles of distance on all sides. It looked like heaven.

Snow Tubing:

We have booked tubing as well from the same ranch. Our kids enjoyed tubing a lot. It was 100% safe and fun for all ages. Sliding through the snow was really awesome.

snow tubing

snow tubing

Gondola rides:

Whenever we visit any place in Colorado, we make it a point to ride the Gondola. The breathtaking views of mountains should be experienced and can never be explained in words. There is a sunset ride as well for couples including dinner.

Mountain coaster:

We have assigned our next day to try the mountain coaster. Did you ever think how it would be to have a brake in your hand while riding a roller coaster? That’s exactly is a mountain coaster. If you are afraid to slide quickly, you can come down slowly by breaking your coaster. While riding the coaster you can stop and enjoy the beautiful views around. We enjoyed this ride.

Hot Water Springs:

There are many mountain towns in Colorado with natural hot water springs.  Old town hot springs is an old natural hot springs pool which was existing from around 100 years. Temperatures of water range from 80 to 104 Fahrenheit. They are believed to have therapeutic properties. Strawberry hot springs are also popular in Steamboat Springs.

Hot springs

Hot springs

Overall, that was a memorable trip. We also experienced driving on icy roads while snowing. We were careful and drove slowly.  So, if you want to plan a trip in Winter to any Colorado mountain town, don’t hesitate! Just buy proper winter gear and enjoy 🙂

Winter Activities in Steamboat Springs, CO

 

Broaden Your Parenting Horizons

Worldly Experiences From the Sahara

Worldly Experiences From the Sahara

  1. Tell us more about yourself?

I have a BS in zoology and animal behavior. I then received my MHS in International Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and currently direct a study looking at HIV and people who have a history of drug addiction. I am also a Certified Life Coach as well as a trained hospice volunteer. My life’s focus has been to learn about nature as well as people and their cultures. This inspired me to travel many places: Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Morocco, Thailand, Peru, Mexico, Panama, Europe, the US to name a few. As I traveled, I also focused on learning about my own identity. This led to doing three vision quests, two of which were in the Sahara Desert. I published a novel based on my experiences in the Sahara called, The Rhythm of the Soul.

 

  1. How did you come to your passion/profession?

I have always been an observer. I was not only introverted growing up, but much younger than my three siblings. As I grew up, my observations fed my love of nature. I love to learn, so I read a lot and wanted to increase my knowledge about the world around me. Part of pursuing this passion was going to college to learn about animals (zoology and animal behavior) and graduate school to learn about people and health (international health). The other part of following my passion was when I made the decision that I had to travel to places in which I had keen interests. All of these external passions were fed by my yearning to not only understand the world around me, but to also understand myself. That is when I went back to nature through the practice of vision questing and other nature-based soul journeys.

 

  1. Tell us about your childhood and what led you to this thought process?

My love of animals began very young with our family cat who, when I was a toddler, would follow me around like a dog and always want to sit on my lap. I have always felt a connection with animals, both domestic and wild. I loved helping my father feed the squirrels and birds in our backyard. Along with my love of observing animals was my curiosity to observe people. These fed my interests to pursue my studies and travels.

  1. How many places have you lived? How has that affected your worldview?

I have only lived in two places – Baltimore, MD and when in my 20’s San Diego, California for two years. I have been back in Baltimore ever since. However, the travel bug bit me in my 20’s and it propelled me out into explorations far and wide, which I mostly did on my own. I travelled as a single woman from Europe, to Mexico, to Thailand, and more. I decided that if I waited until I found traveling companions, I would never get to see all the places that called to me. Going to different countries very different from my own gave me a deeper understanding of how we are all subject to the same human conditions, even though we have an amazing variety of ways we express ourselves culturally. I started to realize that, as rich and different as we may seem on the surface, we are more alike than not. The religious stories, myths, fairytales, etc. that we learn from the cultures we grow up in all have the same themes because really we are only human after all.

 

  1. What do you think are three biggest struggles most people experience traveling?

As exhilarating as travel can be, it can also be exhausting. I can say that is true when one travels solo. But the upside of traveling alone is how you connect with people to share experiences and stories. Another struggle may be language barriers. However I have found that even when I have no understanding of a language, there are ways to communicate and what can help is to listen deeply and be very expressive with gestures. Figuring out directions in an unfamiliar landscape is also challenging. When you first arrive in a place, there are no bearings to know where you are and how to navigate to where you need to go. But traveling alone gave me a great sense of direction for the times I got lost and all the practice I got learning how to get back on track.

  1. What were your unique impressions of the Tuareg nomads in the Sahara Desert?

I traveled with a Swiss organization that had already forged a deep connection with the Tuareg. Our group had the advantage of being with men who were used to guiding Westerners into their land. This allowed for all of us to share our stories and learn from each other over the weeks we were on our quest. I realized the deep wisdom the nomads have about a land that seems to offer so little sustenance. They are very intuitive and in tune with what is going on around them and with their camels. The connection they have with the earth and nature is still very strong. Their traditions have been passed down for generations, but modern times have placed many restrictions on nomadic living. They are feeling the harsh consequences and much unrest has been happening in the countries where they live – Algeria, Niger, Mali, Chad, and Libya. They are different in the ways that their environment, culture, history, and society shaped them, but when we shared stories about those differences, it gave us a chance to find laughter and empathy for how we all must deal with the conditions of life.

 

  1. What is a vision quest? How does it help people?

Vision questing is choosing to take time away from your familiar, every day life to completely unplug from all the tasks and technology that weigh you down and go into a nature setting in order to seek greater depth and clarity about your life purpose. It is based on indigenous rites of passage that mark significant life transitions. There are a variety of organizations that lead vision questing, so it is important to find seasoned guides to ensure you have a meaningful and safe experience. Your work with the guides and the gathering of other seekers who go into the wilderness or place of nature involves a lot of introspection and sharing through journalism, dream work, medicine walks, drumming, etc., all preparing you to sit solo – alone for up to four days and nights while fasting. Sitting solo in nature is the hallmark of a vision quest.

  1. What are three pieces of advice you would like to share with parents?

While I have never been a parent, I have been close with my sister and other single parents who were raising children. I can only provide advice from a vicarious perspective. First, as much as you don’t want to, inherent in raising children is wounding, which is necessary to help them grow and learn. Wounding may be as simple as taking your child to his first day of school and seeing him cry because it brings up fears of being abandoned. It is important to consistently reassure a child that you will always be there to provide love and guidance through the scary aspects of growing up. Second, there is no such thing as a “perfect” anything – parent, child, family, etc. There may be times when you feel proud and grateful and there will still be those times when parenting is hard and messy. Third, listen deeply to children because they have amazing wisdom. It may be hard to let go of being the knowledgeable voice of reason, but it’s important to allow children’s insights to be seen and heard.

 

  1. How, in your opinion should one be open with other cultures when conversing?

One way that can bring openness is to be curious about another person’s culture. Show interest by asking questions to find out more, rather than make assumptions. People love to talk about themselves, so give someone a chance to tell their stories. Another way to let a person know I am open is to share my travel experiences of being in their culture.

 

  1. Do you have anything to share with our readers?

My book, The Rhythm of the Soul, is a wonderful tale of a very brave young woman. One of my reviewers is a father of a daughter who writes, “There are so many gems of wisdom and moving quotes that cut to the core of what life is about… Being a father of an only daughter, I found it personally meaningful to have a story of a brave female protagonist finding herself in a world that too often teaches women to play small and deny their own hearts and truth. I highly recommend this book as a journey of self-discovery and a regaining of the dark, feminine wisdom that lies within our own hearts and helps us discover our full belonging in the great mystery of just being!” – Michael Brant DeMaria , PhD psychologist and author.

Grab Lisa’s amazing book here.

You can meet other world changers doing their part to bring a positive change into the world here.

Reykjavik

A Glimpse of Reykjavik, Iceland

Back in February 2016 I followed my heart and relocated to Reykjavik to join my Viking. A new city, a new adventure, so I decided to keep a video diary, recording and uploading a new vlog to my Youtube channel each week. In the last year I have made Reykjavik my home and consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by such dramatic and picturesque landscapes. So today I share a little of this city with you in my highlights and recommendations.

Reykjavik

Walking Tour

There are a few free walking tours in Reykjavik you can do, or you can just go off and do your own. Start at The Sun Voyager and walk along the coast to Harpa, then head towards the Parliament and its public square. If you’re hungry, why not try the local hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur for a yummy hot dog, maybe a bowl of lobster soup at Sægreifinn or one of the trendy spots such as The Laundromat Cafe. Continue walking towards the pond lined with cute Icelandic houses, the very Scandinavian church Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík and the modern City Hall.

From here, cross Fríkirkjuvegur and walk up the side street (taking in the street art) until you arrive at the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church, inspired by flowing lava. You can buy a ticket to gain access to the top of the spire for a view across the city or drive up to the city’s water towers at Perlan for a free view. Walking around, you might spot some small statues and toy soldiers on top of street signs, so keep an eye out for them. Finally walk down the main street of Skólavörðustígur which joins the main shopping street of Laugavegur before you get back to Harpa.

Botanical Gardens

The botanical gardens are a wonderful space near where we live. If the weather allows, you can spend a morning wandering the paths and heading towards the allotment where you’ll find a fantastic cafe where you can sip a coffee and nibble on a homemade treat in the beautiful greenhouse. You can also head to the nearby swimming pool at Laugardalslaug and experience the different hot pools here, including a salt water pool which has heated sea water.

Grótta lighthouse and hot pool

Ever fancied a stroll along a black sand beach? Ice cream in hand and feet in a natural hot tub – or all bundled up with the reward of a hot chocolate after?! Head to Grótta, an easy 10 minute drive along the coast from Reykjaviks Harbour and take in the view across to Esjan. If it’s sunny, why not grab an ice cream from Valdis in Grandi on your way there.

Viðey Island

A short ferry ride from Reykjavik harbour is the island of Viðey (summer ferries leave daily from Skarfabakki, Harpa, and Aegisgardur pier and in winter ferry from Skarfabakki weekends only). The island was where the ‘father of Reykjavík’ Skuli Magnusson constructed his home and a church in the 12th Century and has archaeological remains from the early 10th Century. On this island is the ‘Imagine Peace’ tower, a beam of light which shines high into the nights sky from a wishing well bearing the words “imagine peace” in 24 languages. Designed by Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, it is lit annually between his birthday and his death: 9th Oct – 8th Dec.

Iceland has a little piece of my heart and in return she has given me dark, magical and snowy winters filled with breathtaking Northern Lights, and long, light summers with plenty of hours to explore. And we can’t forget about my Viking and our own Saga as we prepare to marry this summer.


Sonia Nicolson is a British chartered Architect and Senior Academic who runs the website layoutlines.com supporting, educating and inspiring students, young designs and creative entrepreneurs. Relocating to Reykjavik in Iceland last February, Sonia joined her Icelandic fiancé and shares weekly ‘Living in Iceland’ vlogs on her YouTube channel. You can follow her on Twitter @layoutlines
Garden of the Gods park

5 Best Places to Visit in Colorado Springs with Kids

Colorado Springs is a beautiful mountain town in Colorado state in the USA. It has many places to attract tourists and it is a nature lover’s paradise.

When I first visited this place a year ago, I fell in love with the mountains around the town. Nature seems beautiful even in winter with snow. There are a lot of places which kids will love. Here is a list of the best 5 places we enjoyed visiting with our kids.

  1. Pikes Peak Cog railway

Most of the kids enjoy the train rides. When the train goes to a mountain peak called “Pikes Peak” which is at 14,500 ft above sea level, it’s an incredible experience. This 3 hrs 15 mins round trip is never to be missed if you are visiting Colorado Springs. The trip to the peak offers fantastic views of valleys, lakes, forests and, waterfalls. If you are lucky, you might get a sight of animals like bighorn sheep, elks and squirrels. The summit has a gift shop and café to refresh. The donuts sold at the peak are crispy and delicious.

  1. Royal Gorge Bridge

Does your kid love a Gondola ride? Then, this bridge and park in Canon city which is around 1 hr drive from Colorado Springs is not to be missed. Royal Gorge is one of the world’s tallest suspension bridges. The Gondola ride gives breathtaking views of the valley and Arkansas river in the canyon. A walk on the bridge is also nice with kids. The entry is $23 per adults and $18 per child above 2 years old.

  1. Garden of the Gods

This is a natural park with free admission. Your child might love to watch the red rock formations and predict the shapes of rocks. There is an option to try rock climbing for kids. Balanced rock is the main attraction of the place where one rock is balanced on the top of the other. The visitor center has a lot of educational information for children to learn about how the rocks are formed. There are many walking trails and hiking activities and this place is beautiful to visit in all the seasons.

4. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

At an elevation of 6800 ft above sea level, this is one of the highest zoos in America. This zoo is home to over 750 animals and 170 species of animals. There are many engaging exhibits for the kids and rides like carousel and skyline ride. Children can spot over 150 species of reptiles along with animals like snow leopard, tigers, giraffes, grizzly bears etc., Children will love feeding Giraffes. Admission is around $19.75 for adults and $14.75 for kids.

  1. Cave of the winds

These caves are millions of years old but discovered only in 1869. They have many limestone formations which are formed naturally over the years. The caves have regular tours to educate children and adults alike. The knowledgeable guides explain about cave geology and the differences between many limestone formations. There are adventurous rides as well like Bat-A-pult, wind walker challenge and Terror -Dactyle.

Stalactites inside the caves

I love this variety of tourist attractions here. A cave, A Mountain summit, A bridge, Natural rock formations and a zoo. Don’t you agree?

5 Best Places to Visit With Kids in Colorado Springs | Travel | kids | Family | Colorado

 

Mahathi Ramya Raising World Children - Where Cultures Meet Parenting Mahathi Ramya is a mom of 2 boys, a blogger, software testing professional and a classical dance teacher. She writes on books, travel, and parenting. She loves writing, traveling and painting a lot.

 

How To Rock A Trip To London With 2 Little Kids

How To Rock A Trip To London With 2 Little Kids

Normally we visit our parents in India or they visit us in USA. The trip to India usually turns stressful considering the length of the trip, the agendas of meeting a whole lot of relatives in a short period of time, no rest and just the need for more vacation after these trips.  

So instead of meeting for long period time where everyone at the end of it is stressed and wants an out, we decided to do something different.

We asked both of our parents to go on a trip with us and the kids to London. They had never seen the city before and we had not either. It was also a perfect central spot for all of us to meet (midway between India and US – West Coast).

Our kids were younger then, one was 2 and half and one was almost 5. The 5 year old is a great traveler but 2 and half was frankly not an age to travel with anyone long distance. But we bravely did anyway!

Besides the first couple of hours, where all the toddler wanted to do was walk in the flight, it went pretty smooth. We reached London in 8 hours.

We got through the immigration and customs and out on prepaid taxi to our AirBNB close to the Shoreditch area. It was a fun little house, tiny in size compared to what we are used to in America but it worked. It had 3 bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room.

It was well maintained. The owner had left a few basic things in the kitchen. Grocery stores were walking distance and so were a lot of restaurants.

To our amazement, we had amazing curry (which apparently Britishers call British food) all along in the trip and did not miss being in India for this vacation.

The plus points throughout this London trip were:

  1. We never felt out of place because of the kids. We always felt welcome everywhere we walked.
  2. It was easy to push strollers all around through subways and on the sidewalks.
  3. We were even helped with the strollers  by complete strangers.
  4. We could Uber if we wanted to and our T-mobile service with free international roaming was useful all the time (I am not getting paid to say this from either companies I promise)

Some negative points:

  1. It was raining most of the time (which is expected) but the cold in the summer was a little hard to take some days.
  2. We had to pay for bathrooms or ask for keys to the bathroom after having bought something. We are clearly not used to that in America. (We are not used to having too many public restrooms in India…that is a different story for a different day)
  3. I don’t live there… and  Now I wish I could move.

How to Rock A Trip to London With Two Little Kids | Travelling to London With 2 little kids under 4 with grandparents | Family goals | Parenting Tips | Travel

Day 1

On our first day, as it was raining we first decided to get in a covered boat and just ride on the Thames river cruise for an hour and admire all the tourist spots from the boat itself. Some that I remember are the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey. This was also perfect for the grandkids to get time to mingle with the grandparents. It was less stressful about seeing and admiring things and more about just enjoying the time together.

 Photo credit: Sneha  Jhanb

After the cruise, it was not raining anymore. We decided it was time to visit the Tower of London. The kids loved this place. There was a lot of space for them to run around outside and inside the exhibition they were amazed to look at the armours, and coins and crowned jewels.

The Crown Jewels At Tower Of London (Photo Credit: Sneha Jhanb)

We had more curry and fish and chips at the cafe at the Tower of London. After our quick lunch, we also saw some monkeys on the tree. Ironically, the Tower of London at some point used to be a zoo and held a lot of animals gifted to the kings and queens. You can read all about the history everywhere online but for me what was amazing was again the fact that it was so family friendly and yet so rich and historical of a place.

 We ended the itinerary for the day by climbing up the Tower Bridge and taking in the beautiful view of the city from the top. We were all tired after this and headed back to our beautiful house for the night to take rest. Kids watched some TV, slept and read some books. The house was well stocked with kids books to our relief.

Day 2

I would probably change Day 2 if I ever go back again. We went with a popular guided bus tour to Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge.

We got up early in the morning and took prepaid taxi to a hotel that gave us a shuttle to go to the bus depot from where we met with our tour people. We saw the queen’s residence at Windsor Castle. Our kids did not want to be indoors that day so we actually decided to not to do too much of exhibition but walked through the queen’s garden. We walked through flowers and green lush.

Windsor Castle (Photo credit: Sneha Jhanb)

Roman Bath (Photo Credit: Sneha Jhanb)

Our next stop was Bath. We saw a beautiful Roman bath and the timeless architecture in the city.

I wish we spent a whole day here. The time was too short. We had to eat something along with sightseeing. The pizza took an hour, we almost missed the bus. It would have been a disaster if we did because it was also super cold. I would really go visit Bath by itself next time to really immerse in the city.

Final stop was Stonehenge. Frankly, I wanted this to be the best part of the tour. I was looking forward to it. But by the time we went there, we were all tired, and it was super cold. And there is no sense of calm and beauty as it has become a very touristy spot.

Stonehenge (Photo Credit: Sneha Jhanb)

So I did not really enjoy it. Also you cannot go near the stones. You have to see them from a distance. It does not bring any joy whatsoever to see this place with the whole family. I would skip this completely next time. The beauty though was in the surrounding miles and miles of countryside and greenery. I live close to countryside in America but England’s countryside I feel (with my limited travel so far) feels very unique to that area. I had never seen miles and miles of greenery until the sky meets the green ever before.

Day 3

We used our strollers all around London on Day 3. We walked a lot and used some subway and went to see the Buckingham palace from outside. Walked in the beautiful garden across from the palace. Shopped a little. Ate at Chinatown. We saw the royal courts of justice, embassy area, etc.

 Photo credit: Sneha Jhanb

Remaining part of the day, we took advantage that day of the grandparents and for the evening took ourselves on a date and left behind the kids to bond with our parents.

We went up the Shard for tea time and had the most beautiful view, tea time sandwiches and scones and pastries. It was so worth it!

Date Night at The Shard – English Tea Time (Photo Credit: Sneha Jhanb)

Day 4

Day 4 was a little bit repeat of Day 3 except we went to Westminster Abbey and saw the tombs of royalty and well known poets, writers, scientists. For the kids this was not that much of an attraction because they wanted to make noise in the church (It was huge and it echoed!) but they were not really allowed to do that. But it was really a very beautiful church. We could have taken turn as adults possibly if we ever do this again to keep kids out of the misery of being silent and not kid like.

We met with my husband’s friend in the evening and had dinner at one of the most popular Indian restaurants called Dishoom. I have never seen such a long line outside of an Indian restaurant ever before in my life! And it was huge from inside and really had good ambiance and food.

Day 5

Sheffield Countryside (Photo credit: Sneha Jhanb)

It was time to say bye to London. We took a train to see my cousin in Sheffield this day. Kids loved the train ride through the countryside. We spent a night with them. Even had Alphonso mangoes (popular mangoes in India and the most expensive ones and very very tasty).

Our kids got along well and played. We caught up on a lot of our memories and made some new. Most of all loved to hear the yorkshire accent of my nephew.

Day 6

It was time for our final destination for this trip. Edinburgh, Scotland. We were back on the train and in 3 hours we were there. The AirBNB here was good but the entrance to the building was horrible and quite shabby. The street did not look as safe though it probably was. For some reason the fire engines went off every 15 minutes throughout our 2 days here.

Photo credit: Sneha Jhanb

The distinguishing part of being in Scotland was that the night never felt like night. It always felt like evening. It never got really pitch dark. My then 4 year old and now 6 year old still remembers these two things from this part. The fire engines and the night not being like night.

We took the time off to unwind frankly because we were tired of our busy trip. We ate food at a local restaurant and then rested.

Day 7

We walked around the city. The slopes of the city made it a little difficult to keep walking for the grandparents and for kids. We decided to then use the open bus tours. We went through the Edinburgh Park, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and more local spots.

By the time we reached the queen’s castle it was too late. I was a little disappointed to not be able to tour it. We had ice cream outside this castle as a consolation and headed back.

Photocredit: Sneha Jhanb

If I think about it now, I would have not done the Scotland part of our trip in this short period of time. I would have extended our stay in Sheffield by a day and returned to London and spent more time there.

Day 8

It was our time to say goodbye to UK and grandparents and return to our house in the US and get back to normal life. The kids were tired and slept most of the flight.

Our 2 and half year old was a little cranky on one flight but for most of the part it was all very much alright.

Our Family At The Tower of London. Photo Credit: Sneha Jhanb

What made the trip truly enjoyable with 2 kids under 5 was really the grandparents, who make anything much better really. The extra set of eyes, hands and legs we had to keep everyone from getting worked up. If I get a chance, I would do more international trips like that with our parents, hands down.

So, I for one strongly suggest taking grandparents on ALL international travel trips! 

   Sneha is a mom of two boys, mom blogger focused on mindfulness, minimalism and conscious relationships, mindset and confidence coach (NLP) , tarot enthusiast and Master Reiki practioner. I was also an Industrial Engineee for 10 plus years. I am excited to be here and learn from everyone here.
Teaching Diversity To Our Kids

Teaching Diversity To Our Kids

The Pew research center published an article last year about diversity pointing out 10 important demographic trends last year. One of the statistics stood out for me. It said” By 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority.”

We are raising our children in increasingly diverse society with representations from so many different cultures. The electorate, the work force, our education system are all going to be impacted. We will see people around with different ways of speaking, dressing, eating, praying and living. It is a massive opportunity to learn about each other and grow. We will essentially witness a rainbow of cultures, but we have to be ready to open our windows and step outside. What are some things we can do to make diversity an important part of our households?

Celebrate together

Festivals are important. Other than celebrating with our family and friends, we should raise awareness in our schools about each other’s festivals. For example, I realized fall is chock full of festivals from different cultures. It would be great to do a showcase of different cultures in school. Maybe a culture day to celebrate different festivals Rosh Hasanah, Diwali, Onam, Eid, Ashura, Thanksgiving to name a few. Check the calendar and stop by the school and see if you can talk to the classroom about your festival. Encourage other families from different ethnic groups to do the same.

Read together

Children are constantly looking at the books they read to form world opinions. Let’s give our children diverse material. There is no need to be pedantic about cultural topics. Sometimes simple books are the best conversation starters. If you have read ‘Last stop on Market Street’ by Matt De La Pena, you will know what I mean. The book teaches empathy and love in a way that is so easy and even fun for the children to understand. Ask your library to stock up with diverse books be it from your culture or other cultures you have been curious about.

Bond together

Make an effort to build connections with families from different cultures. We are always comfortable with the familiar, but we learn and grow by exposing ourselves to the new. Call your neighbors over be it for Chai and samosas or Coffee and Cake. Arrange for playdates with children from different communities. Just stop by and say hello to that person who just moved here from a different country. Let your friendships expand.

Travel wide

What better way to learn about different ways of living than actually seeing and experiencing it. Travel far and travel wide. Make it a cultural learning experience. Observe the trees, the houses, the churches, the temples and talk about similarities and differences. Try different foods, speak to the local people. Let your child always be curious.

Learn more languages

Keep your mother tongue alive. If you are a multilingual household, speak to your child in different languages. Don’t worry, children’s minds are like little sponges. They will have no problems communicating using multiple languages. Teach numbers in different languages, use basic words for food, colors and slowly build up. I need serious effort on this one myself!

What other ideas do you have to teach diversity to your kids?

How To Teach Kids About Diversity | Raising World Children | Learning | Children | Peace

 

Sandhya Acharya grew up in Mumbai, India and now lives in the Bay Area. Her articles and short stories have featured in NPR (KQED), India Currents, Peacock Journal, and Aaduna. She won the third prize in Katha 2017, a short story contest by India Currents and Wellstone Center. Her first children’s book Children’s book: Big Red Firetruck!: Children’s ebook, Beginner reader, bedtime story about 2 brothers and Fire Trucks. Children’s book ages 2-5. was well received with a rating of 4/5 and 29 reviews on Amazon. Her new children’s book is titled “10 Gulab Jamuns – Counting with an Indian sweet treat” and promises to warm your heart and tantalize your taste buds. The book also includes basic lessons in counting, models positive parenting and highlights sibling love.

BOOKS BY SANDHYA ACHARYA 

 

 

Raising World Children Marriage With A Foreigner

Don’t Marry a Foreigner Till You Know This

 

I never thought I would marry a foreigner but there I was. I sat on the pull-out bed in the dark. Alone. In a foreign country. Where did my boyfriend go?

I thought when someone said they loved you it should be the happiest moment. Thankfully he came back, the light shining bright to my unaccustomed eyes. A small red box was in his hands.

And got down on one knee. My heart jumped to my throat. “Will you marry me?” he asked, accent thick.

In shock and smiling, I said, “Yes.” But before you can marry your international delight, there’s something you should know.

What It Means To Marry A Foreigner

A dream Life. But…

We all want live happily ever after, right? Sure, our dreams are different. I want to be a writer. You may want to be an engineer, or travel the world. Or some just want to find their tall, dark and handsome prince.

Without expecting to I found my mine, and it has been the greatest ten years of my life. But it wasn’t always easy.

Advantages to Marrying A Foreigner

Today’s world seems to be against the foreign man. Some are afraid to let him in.  And marriage is already difficult without adding a different culture.

But, there are advantages.

  • Explore new food.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Meet fascinating people.
  • More opportunities for travel
  • See amazing cities and nature.
  • Learn about the country your loved one is from.
  • Meeting your future spouse’s family introduces you to a new way of life.
  • And the best part is your future kids would benefit from learning from combined cultures. 

It’s a win-win situation, in theory ! However, you should know something.

You will be wrong. Often !

The Reality When You Marry a Foreigner

Marriage is difficult, that’s no surprise. Part of the difficulty is learning to accept differences, and marrying someone from another country comes packaged with changes.

They have a unique belief system and may not be afraid to point how they believe your culture is wrong. And it’s not just your spouse.

Your in-laws may be worried if you don’t take your kid outside with a red bracelet or necklace to protect your baby from a stranger giving an ‘evil eye’. Or you all may not agree on what is best to feed your child.

And while fighting for your beliefs is fantastic and needed, sometimes the best action is acceptance. Being wrong. It’s part of maturity. And an important lesson for children. How do you find that balance of the advantages and disadvantages ?

Raising World Children Marry a Foreigner

Photo by Anne Edgar on Unsplash

Ways to Deal With Cultural Differences

Compromise

Every relationship needs compromise. A little give and take. It may take time to discover which compromise works and is an evolving process, but it is a great feeling once you do.

You may have to not give your child peanut butter that your child loves if you spouse is against it for personal health beliefs. It may be difficult, but they will do the same for you next time you are against something.

Be Willing To Learn

Study language, and cultures, especially your future spouse’s.

There is an app called Duolingo where you can learn over five languages at an easy but fast pace. If you can’t travel you can video chat and give his loved ones a tour of your home and life.

Travel Together

If possible, after you marry a foreigner, visit other countries. Studying is well but there is something special about seeing and smelling new sights for the first time yourself. Plus, there is no better way to get to know your spouse than through his family. Who doesn’t love embarrassing baby pictures of their spouse?

It may take a while, but saving up for this important trip is worth it. Be sure to take a couple weeks off to see the sights and get used to the time change.

Take Time to Breathe

Learning about cultures can be stressful. Meeting family members can be terrifying. And being wrong or being accused of being incorrect is difficult. Sometimes you need to take deep breaths to calm your body and mind.

Go somewhere alone and take deep breaths. Or even out of the house, and listen to the silence. Or do a hobby you love. Just take a moment to get away and be you.

Acceptance is KEY

We can believe we are right so strongly that we will fight to the ends of the earth. Then find out we were wrong. This is the time to step back and admit our mistake. It may seem obvious but once you’re in that situation, it is very hard.

But in marriage it is vital.

Sometimes you may have to lose an argument. Yet, accepting that your partner or their family is right, or thinks they’re right, will save you many headaches and heartaches.

Every country is unique, incredible and right. Including you and yours. Marrying a foreigner can be the best choice you ever make.

Follow Your Heart. Accepting how people from other cultures, including your partner, have different views than you is a great start to a happy marriage. So, if your heart is filled with love, take that chance. Let them get down on one knee and as the question you’ve been waiting for.

Say yes!

Marry your foreigner. Just understand they will be wrong. And so will you. But it’s worth every moment!

Things To Know Before Your Marry a Foreigner | Marriage | Inter racial | Multiracial | Life | Marry

Jewel Elise Raising World ChildrenJewel is a fiction writer, wife to a serious comedian and a mother to two lovely munchkins. You can find her at http://writeawaymommy.com Every mother can write!
Hospitality in Morocco - Unexpected Surprise in Local Cuisine

Hospitality in Morocco – Unexpected Surprise in Local Cuisine

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I traveled for the first time to Essaouira, Morocco. After a few days spent there enjoying the beach and visiting the city, we decided to rent a motorbike to go around. The sun was shining, the road was deserted.

We drove through the argan trees plantation, we stopped on the way to look at the landscape, the camels, and the goats. A perfect holiday day! A couple of hours later, we saw on the side of the road a wooden road sign saying “beach, 12 km”, and indicating a dirt road.

Excited by the adventure, we turned and followed the road.

Heading For A New Adventure!

The road was bumpy, dusty and full of stones. Driving the motorbike was getting demanding but the landscapes were amazing. Small villages, rivers and we had the opportunity to discover a part of Morocco unknown to most tourists.

After an hour, I didn’t manage to avoid to ride on a stone. I avoided the fall, but my foot was injured.

Finally, after another 30 minutes riding, thirsty, dirty and with a foot bleeding, we arrive at the end of the road. We were now facing the Atlantic Ocean. The sun was high in the sky, downhill the beach was deserted and the big waves of the ocean were breaking noisily. Kind of picture perfect.

A very steep road going downhill to the beach, where a few houses were near some fishermen boats. Impossible to go down with the two of us on the motorbike.

We had to make a choice. Should we go back to the main road and find a place to eat before going back to Essaouira? Or should we continue downhill and hope that one of the houses on the beach was a café?

We decided to push our luck and went downhill. Being that I was the only one that could drive, I drove the bike downhill, trying not to fall, and my girlfriend walked down.

After some cold sweats, we managed to reach the beach and the houses.

By chance one of them had the word café written on it. We came in. The house was quite basic, two tables, four seats facing the beach, and a barbecue in a corner. In another corner, a cat with her kittens seemed to be the only occupants. We were disappointed, we would now have to ride back and wouldn’t be able to eat or drink anything for a few more hours.

Tired by the drive, we decided to stay a bit to relax before going back. After a little while we were playing with the kittens when a man appeared.

The Encounter that Changed the Day

His name was Husain and we started to talk. When we asked him if it was possible to eat something, he told us the café was closed today. It was a bank holiday; the fishermen didn’t go fishing and there’s nothing to cook.

We then asked Hussain if by any chance a hidden restaurant was nearby, or an easier way to reach the main road.

He explained that his café was the only here and that there was no other option to reach the next big village than to go back to the main road, and then very spontaneously he said: “ but if you want, you could come to my house for lunch”.

Surprised by this gesture, we accepted and Hussain called his wife to let her know about our arrival. He offered us mint tea before we went back to his house. Altogether, we took the direction of Hussain’s house, located in a village a 20 min by walk from the beach.

A dozen houses very close together made the village. Our arrival was not discreet: dogs barking and kids screaming drew the attention of the rest of the village and we saw more and more people taking a look outside of their houses.

We arrived at Hussain’s house and he introduced his wife and his 3 kids.

The house was quite simple and welcoming. Hussain offered us to sit in the living room, on of the 3 benches disposed in U. On the wall, some paintings done by the kids. The same kind of drawing that all the kids around the world do. A house, the sun, some flowers and some smiling people 🙂

morocco

Hospitality in Morocco with A Surprise

Before eating, our host brought a bowl and poured some water to allow us to wash our hands. The lunch started with some bread and olives, in the kitchen his wife was finishing to prepare the main course.

She then came into the living room, bringing in her hands an old tajine pot. We were bit a stressed. Worried about being nice with our host, but afraid about the spicy or unusual food.

The moment of truth arrived: Hussain took off the hat of the tajine pot. Inside, there was some tagine mutton and… french fries! We were bowled over!

By having a lunch with a Moroccan family in the small village, far from any touristic area, I really didn’t expect to have french fries for lunch. We asked Hussain if his wife cooked that for us. A bit surprised by our question, he explained that the kids and him love that, so his wife cooked some from time to time. Sitting together, we ate our french fries. Laughing with my girlfriend about the clichéd ideas that we had.

[bctt tweet=”In the middle of nowhere during our adventure in Morocco, we were surprised by what the local hospitality had to offer. ” username=”contactrwc”]

For the dessert we shared some juicy pomegranate. We talked a bit, played with kids, then it was time for us to leave this small village and go back to Essaouira.

I heard a lot of stories about my traveling friends sharing lunch with local people, praising the taste of some exotic meals. I didn’t eat anything unusual, but I learned that some things are universal, as kids drawing or the french fries!

Cuisine While Traveling in Morocco www.raisingworldchildren.com #morocco #travel #food #cuisine

 

MaximeMaxime Quantin a 30 years old Frenchman living currently in Ireland. Traveling is a real passion, and he has the opportunity to live in Indonesia, Sweden, Germany and of course France. It’s in Asia that he prefers to travel. He is  always amazed by the different cultures, and loves to talk about tradition with local people. The question of the impact of tourism is also something fascinates him. A year ago, he launched My Travel Moment, a collaborative blog where he gathers inspiring travel stories from people from around the World. You can find him

The Inside Guide to Tourist Spots in Dubai

The Inside Guide to Tourist Spots in Dubai

Dubai is one place that is on every bucket list of people who love to travel. It is part of The United Arab Emirates (UAE). One of the fastest changing places on earth, this is one of the most popular holiday destinations.

Even being in the middle of the desert with really hot summers, it is still a major tourist attraction the whole year round. With Dubai International being the third largest airport in the world, people are bound to pass through Dubai at one time or the other.

I landed in Dubai quite a few years back, with all the inhibitions about moving to a new country with small children. Overtime we have fallen in love with the city and its energy.

The world perceives it as a place of snazzy cars and unbelievable luxury, but this is also a place where people from more than a hundred different countries live together. A place so many call home. Dubai is a city which despite all the modern luxury still has it’s beautiful culture intact at it’s very heart.

 As a person who has lived here, I will talk to you about a few (very popular) and other (not so popular) favorites.

The Burj Khalifa 

Burj Khalifa

This name is a familiar one to people around the world. It is the tallest building in the world and attracts a score of tourists every day. I feel one cannot appreciate the beauty of this majestic building without a personal visit.

The sun gleaming off the glass and steel structure during the day and the beautiful lighting after sunset are  sights to behold!

One can also book tickets  to the viewing deck, on the 124th floor of The Burj Khalifa. The view from ” Burj Khalifa At The Top” is one of its kind in the world, with a view of the whole city.

The Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall Aquarium

The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world and is part of the Burj Khalifa complex. It is  a shopper’s paradise housing all the major luxury brands under one roof. This mall also offers a variety of entertainment options along with a number of dining and cafe options.

You can visit the aquarium  and underwater zoo which has a rich collection of marine life and also houses a huge crocodile “The King Croc”. You can visit the ice skating rink and the Dubai waterfall, shop in the fashion avenue or watch movies in the Cineplex.

Kids also enjoy the place with a whole floor dedicated to kids stuff and a huge Kidzania. Kidzania is a very unique concept pretend play area where kids can earn tokens for doing real jobs like Fireman, Postman, Pilot etc. 

One of the mall gates will lead you the beautiful “Souq-Al-Bahar” and the Dubai fountain. One can enjoy the dancing fountain with an amazing light and sound show, standing at the foot of the Burj Khalifa.

Mall of Emirates

This mall is home to the very popular “Ski Dubai“. It is a ski resort and snow park, all inside the mall. It is one of it’s kind in the UAE with temperature of  -10 degrees to enjoy all sorts of winter sports, in the company of penguins.

The mall has a  huge community theater and arts center. Needless to say, all luxury brands are housed here also.

The Beaches

In Dubai the sea is never very far. The clean and beautiful beaches alone can make your trip worth it’s while.The Jumeriah beach with it’s huge expanse and the Kite beach with the famous “Burj Al Arab” hotel in it’s backdrop are just a couple of the popular beaches.

Desert Safari

This is a must do on the list of all those who love nature.This safari takes you into the heart of the desert where you can enjoy sand dune bashing with some expert drivers. There are camel rides and henna art along with some breathtaking views.

In the various desert camps people from all over the world experience Arabic hospitality with regional cuisine, ending the evening with music and dance, topped off with the famed belly dancing.

Insides Guide To Top Tourist Spots in Dubai www.raisingworldchildren.com Dubai | Travel | UAE Destinations | Family Fun

This and much more

I have listed the top 5 things if you are on a short visit to Dubai, because Dubai can keep you occupied for days at a time. If you plan for a longer stay then  some  other very popular points are

The Dubai Marina
Madinat Jumeriah
The Dubai Museum 
The Burj Al Arab Hotel, which is often seen as the symbol of Dubai
Atlantis-The Palm: located on a man made island , The Palm Jumeriah.

Also worth mentioning are the Dubai parks and Dolphinarium. There are many adventure and theme parks also, with unlimited entertainment on offer. For some old world experience and shopping visit the various souq markets or stroll along the super busy streets of Bur-Dubai and Al-Karama. You can visit the many beautiful waterfronts . Hop on a boat ride at the famous Dubai creek and the newly opened Dubai canal, or just enjoy the scenery.

Dubai has something for everyone, from calm of the sea to the glitzy lifestyle. It is worth visiting for the food and shopping alone. This is a place that will make you feel at ease and make memories for a lifetime.

A vacation to Dubai will leave you with smiles and a love for the place. A city so full of lights that it never seems to sleep.

Night view from the Burj Khalifa viewing deck

 Shalini Tyagi is an Indian,born and brought up in India,currently living in Dubai. She is mother of two school going children and is a stay at home mom. An avid reader, she has recently forayed into blogging to bring to light her writing skills. She hosts her own website tyagishalinid.com.

 

 

7 Tips To Make a Road Trip Tantrum Free with Kids

7 Tips To Make a Road Trip Tantrum Free with Kids

” You are so brave! “

” Will the kids sit for so long? “

” It is going to be so hard with little kids. “

These are just some of the comments of disbelief we heard when we announced our cross country trip by car with our 6 and 3 year old kids. But we were adamant. With flight + baggage prices super inflated and every destination needing at least one stop over, it just made practical sense. Also, we had always wanted to see USA by road. Real people along real roads.

The experience was an outstanding one. We saw almost half of America’s beautiful vistas. Traveling from Virginia to Colorado to Chicago and Back. A little sight seeing, mountains and lots of indoor kids activities like Lego land, Ball Factory etc. We tried many different foods. We met a lot of old friends too.

The impromptu trip taught us to connect as a family and just Be!  On a personal level I learned how hard I was driving myself to achieve too much without focus. A new experience enriches our soul like no other.

As far as the kids were concerned, the 2 week trip, 12-15 hour long drives were tantrum free and thankfully, uneventful. They enjoyed every moment and I can see their growth. The first step of course is being completely prepared. Download our checklist of everything you will need for your road trip.

Road Trip With Kids Ultimate Pack Along List

No Preparation for Distractions 

The magic of something new fades pretty quickly these days. This trip was the first time I did not buy any little toys before leaving to shine in front of the eyes.

Instead, every second or third stop we got the kids candy/toys which served as both souvenirs and distractions. The car ride was spent exploring new vistas with their new play things. We even bought the kids tiny bags that they cherished carrying around with them.

Make The Itinerary An Activity 

We kept the kids pretty much in suspense the whole trip. So when leaving we told them of all the sights we would see in  St. Louis. At St. Louis, we told them all the fun things planned for them in Colorado.  In essence, the discussion of the destination becomes an activity in itself. This had a two pronged effect.

  1. They got super excited and asked questions along the way.
  2. They got involved in the planning on the way.

Food/Potty Breaks at Scenic Routes

You may be surprised how happy kids get seeing beautiful spots and exploring a lovely place even in the middle of no where. And they if they are kids like mine who love posing, they get a kick out of memorable clicks !

Breaks Every 2-4 Hours

Even if the kids are sitting and not asking to go to potty, take a break. It gives them a chance to stretch their legs, have some fun running around while breaks the monotony of the ride. It is a preemptive strike against boredom!

Stay Screen Free For Longer Periods

The temptation to keep the kids pacified aside, ensure to stay screen free for long periods of time. Gadgets can be used when you need to catch a nap or the kids truly get antsy.

  • Classic games are I Spy, License Plate, I’m Going on a Picnic, What Am I Thinking of.
  • Try to work learning into road-trip games. I love making games up on the fly!
  • Another favorite is making robots, letters from things at the table at the restaurants.

Download New Shows/Apps On  The Go 

Every spot that had free Wifi got utilized to give the kids hope for exciting new fun to come! Make sure to keep their Most Loved app/show a secret  for when you hit a traffic jam !

CDs Of The Kids’ Favorite Shows/Movies

This tip is for those who have a movie player installed in the car. Target has a great selection of $5 movies. Also, since we were only going to be gone 2 weeks, we borrowed a lot of CDs of the kids’ favorite shows/movies from the local library. With the two week return policy it was a God sent. Also, Redbox is a great option with it’s many locations.

Rare Snacks 

This trip, I made sure to keep snacks they love but haven’t had in a long time and have been banned at home. They relished the fact that they could enjoy rare treats on the mini vacation. A Happy Meal which is a rare treat in our home was a great way to appease them.

Include Strangers Into the Trip 

My kids and I love people watching and talking to strangers. Strangers are after all friends we haven’t met yet! Simple conversations lead to enriched experiences. Also, the kids I believe learn to accept different people and their view points. Remember to stay safe though.

  1. Ensure the little ones know not to talk about your home, routine life or destination.
  2. Write the kids’ name, address and phone number and keep them in their pockets.

Bonus Mindset Trip –

As I worried about how they would do on the trip after our first 4 hours of drive, my husband responded. ” Kids are resilient. Remember that all year round, your life revolves around them. If they do get antsy or cranky, it’s okay. It’s a phase and it shall pass. They will learn a lot from the experience. ” And they did !!!

Have you taken a road trip? What would you add to our complete list of items to take on your trip ?  What are your tips for keep the trip comfortable and tantrum free?

Tips to have a memorable trip with kids tantrumfree www.raisingworldchildren.com | Travel | Travel with Kids | Road Trip | Memorable Travel | Tantrumfree

Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. Impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmondmomsblog, Desh Videsh Magazine and is author in an upcoming Anthology 100+MomsOneJourney as well.

 

8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba

8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba

Havana has been on the hot list ever since tourism opened for Americans. As someone who blogs about travel to Cuba and has gone five times in the past year, I get the question all the time: is it safe for kids?

Short answer: YES! Long answer: Some cities are just better than others.

The Most Kid-Friendly City In Cuba

The city of Havana is just like every other major city. The underbellies of society put out on front street: trash, crumbling buildings, and massive amounts of pollution. Don’t get me wrong, there are great things about Havana. But when I think of children, my number one suggestion would be the city of Viñales.

Why Is Viñales Safe?

Viñales is a town 2 hours west of Havana and can be accessed by taxi for $60 from the airport. While Cubans in general are very family and community-oriented people who incorporate children in every aspect of life, the city of Viñales itself is especially community-oriented.

With only one main road, and houses of every color lining the street, you immediately feel safe and secure. It’s a town where children can walk the streets alone, run in and out of each others houses, and play together in the town square. You better believe you can’t get lost or in trouble without a neighbor or two knowing about it.

[bctt tweet=”8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba with Kids” username=”contactrwc”]

Salsa Lessons for Kids

Speaking of the town square, there is always live music. Whether it be at a restaurant or the Casa del Cultura, music is sure to follow. Children and adults alike can take salsa lessons for $10/hour at the casa del cultura or booked through their casa particular. And at night at the Casa de la Musica, there is a nightly cultural dance show that starts at 9PM.

Stay With A Cuban Family

Accommodations in Cuba are fairly inexpensive at around $25-$30/night. But it is best to stay in a casa particular. These are either separate apartments or guest bedrooms where a Cuban family will rent out their extra space. To be in community with the locals is the best way to travel and the best way to have your children’s accommodations met. But please also be respectful! This is someone’s home, not a concierge service.

My personal favorite is Casa El Cactus. They will arrange everything from your salsa lesson, to your taxi transfer, to your tobacco tour, and will even cook you breakfast, lunch, or dinner in house.

Go On A Horse Ride Through The Tobacco Farms

Travel in Cuba

There are two options for touring through the tobacco farm: the walking option or the horse option. The guides have trained their horses to handle people of all ages from birth to the elderly. There’s no greater feeling than going on a slow walk through the tobacco farms by horse with your little one sitting in front of you. These tours only cost $25/person for touring with a personal guide through caves, lakes, coffee plantations, and tobacco farms.

The tobacco farmers walk you through the entire process of growing, preserving, and rolling the cigars, and even give adults a complimentary cigar to enjoy. These are the authentic Cuban cigars that John F. Kennedy loved so much. Viñales Valley is the only place where you can purchase cigars and the profits will go directly to the farmer as opposed to the Cuban government.

Snorkel and Swim at Cayo Jutias

A trip to the Caribbean just isn’t complete without a beach day. Daily trips to the nearest beach of Cayo Jutias are made from 9AM and return at 5PM. Upon arriving on the beach, you’re greeted with the most crystal clear blues and greens that you’ve ever seen.

It’s hard to grasp how perfect the water glitters and how calm the sea is. Palm trees offer shade on the white sand, coconuts filled with rum are served at the bar, and fresh lobster is sold on the sea. In addition, if you walk far enough, you can find starfish hidden in the shallow waters. You just can’t get a better beach day than this.

Bike Rides To The Mogotes

If your kids are old enough, I highly recommend doing a bike ride through the Mogotes to see the huge limestone cliffs that are signature of the Viñales Valley. If that is not an option, you can take a taxi to Hotel Jazmines and see the incredible view poolside. The landscape is so beautiful it doesn’t even look real.

travel in cuba

Other Tips for Kid-Friendly Travel in Cuba:

  • The water is not safe to drink.
  • Bottled water is available at every store for mixing formula.
  • Pack lots of sunscreen.
  • Bring a mosquito net.
  • Be flexible because Cuba is about laughs and going with the flow and not for the uptight.

8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba www.raisingworldchildren.com #travel #cuba #kids #traveltips

Kiona, Ph.D., is an advocate for women, minority populations, and being self-aware and accepting when cultures mix. She believes that if more people traveled, the more humans would have mutual respect for each other and a greater appreciation for the things they have at home; making the world more about love and less about hate. Her blog partners travelers with the best recommendations on how to conquer a country with minimal hassle and on a budget. You can find her website here.