We are two weeks in to this Round The World experience and already we have “learned” so much in the process. How we function as a family, how to school on the road, how to long-haul travel, the uniqueness of different cultural behaviours, different foods and 1,001 new & exciting discoveries have all been added to our repertoire.
Under the guise of life lessons mixed with travel experiences, I will list a few that we have already taken note of that will help both the global backpacker and the week long family vacation.
Write down where you are staying (on paper)
I know this sounds a little simple but we got caught with this the very FIRST day of our trip.
Spencer and I are early birds, so we left the AirBnb we had arrived at late the night before in search of coffee and breakfast first thing. I had opted to do an Easy ROAM day. This is an option TELUS (a Canadian cell service provider) offers as a solution to utilize while traveling. For $10/day you can simply use your phone similar to how you would use it at home. No panic on giant roaming charges. All in for $10. We are finding that we are opting for ROAM days on days where we are relying on Google Maps, Trip Advisor, AirBnb, Skyscanner or Booking.com. We love the ability to function like at home except here’s the kicker, sometimes phones don’t cooperate. As we were out and about, my phone started doing wonky things and suddenly just shut down. Which wouldn’t have been a problem, save for the fact that I had no memory of where we were staying. Nor did we have a way of contacting our crew. If it hadn’t been for Spencer remembering a landmark and the directional view we had been looking at it from the apartment window of the AirBnb we might still be wondering the streets of Quito.
Everyone’s got something to give
Case in point with Spencer guiding the way above, we have discovered the best way for us to work as a team on this journey is to respect that all our family can contribute. Spencer has been using mad skills searching for flights (which for a kid obsessed with airplanes is right in his wheelhouse) and has found us cost-savings of almost $3000. Lauren in the meantime is our Accoms expert. Given a budget and couple of parameters (we all agree wifi is ideal), she has been diligently searching out places to stay in a number of upcoming destinations. She saves to the wish list and as long as it nets out review and cost wise we book. Her last two choices, the Blue Door Housing in Quito and the Hostel Princesa Maria in Banos have both been awesome selections. Daily, we also appoint a decision maker. This means that ultimately if we can come to a decision or need to make a choice, the decision maker gets final say. It has worked for everything from attractions to go see or lunch spots to choose and gives the kids a sense of responsibility for the group & budget.
Trust & Flow
Things might not work out the way you expect it, but that is becoming part of the fun. It’s not worth getting all up and excited about delayed flights or missed opportunities. When we just let go and trust the flow, things always seem to work out for the better anyways. Our flight was delayed 5 hours coming home from the Galapagos but it meant the most extraordinary experience of an almost entirely empty plane for us to enjoy.
Our tour plans to Otavalo the previous Saturday didn’t work out (one of the kids were sick) but we ended up experiencing Otavalo in a far more intimate way 2 weeks later with an extremely knowledgeable tour guide. Alejandro not only showed us the market & gave us detailed facts on the indigenous population and local customs but also took us to a local Ecuadorian hole-in-the-wall that served amazing authentic food for $3/plate. Trust & Flow is a big part of who we are.
We can learn something every day.
This has become a mantra for all of us on this trip. We are learning so much about our family. We are learning so much about might be able to help change the world. We are learning so much about how we are all connected. We are exploring. We are adventuring. We are challenging ourselves daily. Whether its about where we are or who we are, this has most definitely has become our global classroom.