For many years, we have wanted to do a family Travel blog but have just never seemed to be able to get our act together. So, with this post, you are hopefully witnessing the start of a long-time desire, coming to fruition!
Travel has been a joint passion for us since we started dating about 25 years ago. In fact, it’s probably what solidified our relationship, as we spent a little over 3 months traveling together through Europe a year after we started dating. They say that traveling can either make or break a relationship, and that certainly proved true for us.
Since we got married relatively young, we were in no hurry to have children, and continued to make travel a priority in our lives…taking at least one (and sometimes two) trips per year. As we began to get closer to the prospect of having children, people kept saying to us “It’s a good thing that you’ve traveled so much, because once kids come along you won’t be doing that anymore”. This not only struck us as odd, but also really annoying…so we became determined to prove everybody wrong!
Now, 14 years in (since having our first child), we’ve traveled to over 30 countries as parents with children, beginning with a trip to Italy when our son was 3 months old. Evan is now 14 and Nepal and India will be his 32nd and 33rd countries, and for Ella at the young age of 10, it will be 19th and 20th.
There are many reasons that traveling together is so important for us, and why we’ve made it a priority over the years. Outside of our just plain LOVE of travel, the biggest benefit for us traveling together as a family is because as the kids get older, we find it increasingly difficult to have quality time as a family at home (with school, extra curricular activities and work) and the days and weeks seems to be going by quicker and quicker every month. But when we go away, it affords us an opportunity to have 24/7 quality time as a family.
The other equally important reason is that we truly believe that travel and personal exposure to foreign cultures and lifestyles is key to having a well-rounded global perspective, a better understanding of their place in the world, and an appreciation for all they have in their own lives. We tend to think that our kids have grown into pretty open minded and adaptable people because of a life of navigating foreign cultures and countless experiences outside of their “comfort zones”.
And just for the record…despite having so many “glamorous” sounding travels, we’re NOT extravagant travelers. We’ve used miles for many of our flights, we plan trips a year in advance and monitor airfares to get the best price. We use relatively budget accommodations, rent apartments and do home exchanges (cooking a lot of own meals). And we pretty much always eat inexpensively. In fact, we’re often surprised to learn that our 2 and a half week trip in Europe, may have cost us about the same as friend’s one week trip to Hawaii!
OUR UPCOMING ADVENTURE
And so, that brings us to December 2017, when we’re just weeks away from embarking on one of our greatest adventures yet….helping to build a school in a rural village in Nepal.
How did this come about you may ask. About 2 years ago, our good friends shared their amazing adventure building a school in a rural village in Malawi in partnership with BuildOn.org. We felt completely inspired by their stories, photos and overall experience, and decided to sign up with BuildOn as well. What sealed the deal was hearing their children (at the time the same age as Evan and Ella are now!) speak about their experiences and share their photos. It was clearly a life changing experience.
We as a family believe in the importance of education, not only for our children, but for those who depend on it to get out of the cycle of poverty. We know there are communities around the world in need of help, but the only way we can make a difference to commit to helping one community at a time. The opportunity to combine our passion for travel and our desire to give back, perfectly came together with this commitment.
So after about a year and a half of fundraising and planning, we (and 6 others) have raised over $50,000 to fund a new school and are about to embark on our Journey to Nepal where we will all be meeting in Kathmandu on December 29th, before traveling to the village of Nimuwaboji.
We are so grateful for the support of our many friends and family members who have helped us reach our fundraising goal to build this school, and look forward to being able to share updates, stories and photos with everyone via this blog during our travels.
AND we’ll hope to continue to chronicle our family travels going forward as well now that we finally got this up and running!