“Time flies.” I heard this phrase so many times in my life. Not fair. Not fair at all. It flies when we’re having a great time; but when it’s tough, it freezes as you inch your way out of hell.
Beginning the Adventure
I sit here, month 19, calm as a meditating lotus. I’m in room 52 of the Garden Village Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Doing a ‘looking back’ and the memories flood and swoosh from the time we left home 19 months ago, with 3 kids, 8 backpacks, and 10 passports. It started out very painfully. We were confused, exhausted, sick, angry, and… I should probably stop the list right here. Like Dorothy’s house swept up into a foreign land; strangely, I feel like I’m going back there, and then.
Beginnings are always a little tough. We should expect that. We did expect it, but had no idea it would smack us off our feet like it did. The last three weeks before leaving all that we loved in Israel and taking a flight to USA, Gabi and I had a hysterical mountain of work.
Arrival in New York
Arriving to your around-the-world family adventure exhausted is highly unrecommended. We arrived in New York, totally dead and jet-lagged. The kids felt lost and confused and whined that they just wanted to go home. They cried at night, and we were so clueless about what to do. Remember, we were struggling to keep our eyes open.
While boarding the flight, the all-awesome Continental pilots let Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai take a sneak peek in the cockpit. The pilots pushed all sorts of cool buttons that made noise and impressed the kids. Having my mother working for Continental (today United Airline) and having her graciously give us all of her flight benefits that first year has been a huge blessing in allowing us to travel much longer than we’d have to otherwise. This benefit was, and still is, a great financial saver for us! Go Continental/United Airlines !!! You rock!
Challenges and Disappointments
Big disappointments started right from the beginning of our adventure. Our children’s school put on a holiday play and celebration the day after we left Israel. Our kids actively prepared the event and were upset about missing that highlight in their social life. They cried (literally) that they were missing the Purim Ball, the event of the year!
Our dear friend Kim who lives in New York City bought us tickets to a Purim Ball in the JCC in her area. The kids got ready for hours. They were excited and looking forward to it, but there were only a handful of kids when we arrived. They took one peek into the ballroom, ducked their tails between their legs, took off their costumes at the door, and wanted to go back home.
On the other hand, Orazi took it very hard. He had a really wonderful social life in school, and missing the big event he helped plan was tough. Being at this event with “babies” instead of celebrating at school with his gang was too much for him.
Adjustments and Adapting
After leaving New York City, we embarked on our trip to Southeast Asia. We started in Bangkok, Thailand, a city that welcomed us with its humid air and colorful chaos. We felt disoriented, but it was fascinating to see how people lived, how they interacted, and what they ate.
Our first few days in Bangkok were all about finding our footing. We needed to get a phone, find an apartment, and adjust to the new culture. We were amazed by how friendly and helpful the people were. They were always willing to lend a hand and never seemed to mind our broken Thai.
As we traveled through Southeast Asia, we learned that adapting was the key to making the most of our trip. We had to be open to new experiences, and we had to be willing to let go of our old habits. We had to learn how to eat with chopsticks, bargain at the markets, and navigate the chaotic streets.
We were constantly reminded of how much we had to learn throughout our journey. We learned about the history and culture of each country we visited and the people and their way of life. We learned about the challenges people face in different parts of the world and the resilience and strength of the human spirit.
Looking Back and Moving Forward
As we approach the end of our journey, we can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. We’ve had so many incredible experiences and we’vemet so many wonderful people along the way. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and we’vegrown in ways we never thought possible.
We know that the end of our journey will be bittersweet. We’ll miss the adventure and the excitement of traveling, but we’re also looking forward to going back home. We’re excited to see our family and friends, and we’re excited to start a new chapter in our lives.
As we sit here in Siem Reap, looking back on the last 19 months, we can’t help but feel grateful. We’re grateful for the opportunity to travel the world with our children, and we’re grateful for the lessons we’ve learned along the way. We’re grateful for the people we’ve met and the memories we’ve made.
Traveling the world with your family is only for some. It takes a lot of planning, preparation, and sacrifice. It can be challenging and exhausting, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
If you’re thinking about taking your family on a around-the-world adventure, we encourage you to go for it. It may not always be easy, but it will be an experience that you and your family will never forget.