Playing Catch Up

Sunrise in the Sahara desert. Erg Chebbi, Morocco

Dear Friends,

It has been quite a long time since our last blog.  We apologize for our silence.  Unreliable internet coupled with non-stop travelling, and let’s be honest, plain laziness, has kept us from posting updates. 

We left Spain mid-November and travelled through Morocco for two weeks.  During our first few days in Morocco, we relished the novelty of  the very first African country we’ve ever visited.  The next few days following that culture shock set in, which really made us dislike some of our experiences with the people in Marrakesh (particularly the aggressive tourist touts).  Our second week however, more than made up for our negative experiences, and I am happy to report that we have fallen in love with the country and have even made friends with a nice Moroccan family.  We hope to return in the next five years to do some trekking in the Mid and High Atlas Mountains.  Looking back, Morocco gave us  the richest experiences in such a short amount of time.  We travelled through such diverse landscapes.  From lush green agricultural land, through mountains and gorges, across deserts and large cities.  Our modes of transportation also varied.  We travelled via ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar, in Grand and Petit Taxis, by train between Moroccan cities, by bus across the High Atlas Mountains, horse carriage rides in Marrakesh and Fez,  4×4 across gorges and the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, camels through the desert, horse rides, and donkey rides.  We plan to blog more of this in the next few weeks, sharing our different experiences as a family.

On the first week of December we flew out of Morocco to Barcelona for a week of much-needed rest.  Our last week backpacking through Morocco was a non-stop thrilling adventure of early mornings, dropping into our beds exhausted from a full day of travelling and touring.  In Barcelona we caught our breaths, slept in, and took nice long walks in the afternoons and evenings to enjoy the colours of the city’s festive Christmas lights. 

From Barcelona we flew to Rome, Italy for our Christmas Holidays.  For 19 days we soaked up the Christmas Spirit, toured several historical places, and learned an incredible amount about the Ancient Roman Empire. 

We arrived in Fethiye, Turkey a few days ago.  We hope to settle down for a couple of months to rest from our continual travelling, and also catch up on our homeschooling and blogging.  We want to take this time to digest all that we have seen and experienced and document our time together to look back on for when our memories start to fade.  

Throughout our journey, I can’t help but marvel at how extraordinary family travel truly is.  Travelling with young ones opens so many doors to connections with people.  We have noticed that especially in Morocco and Turkey, people tend to be quite protective and affectionate towards our children.  Children have a tendency to be disarming and endearing to strangers.  Everywhere we go, seeing a biracial family with 4 young children in their matching red jackets turns heads, and questions quickly follow about who we are and where we come from.  Inevitably, we are constantly asked if all four children are ours.  What a gift our children have been!  They cause us to take the time to enjoy the simple things and see the beauty of the world from their eyes.

For those of you who worried about our  health and safety travelling as a family with little ones, we want to put your hearts at rest.   These past couple of months have strengthened our travel legs by walking long, and (most of the time) relaxing distances.  Our physical stamina has increased as we’ve enjoyed the new sights and surroundings around us.  Being outdoors, walking, and eating fresh local foods have made us healthier.  Besides allergies to cats and cigarette smoke, we have not had a day of suffering the flu, which unfortunately was too often the case when we lived in Edmonton.  We have not experienced any theft or encounters with pickpockets, which was my biggest concern for Barcelona and Rome.  I would even venture far enough to say that travelling with little ones keeps us safer, as people tend to want to help us when they see our children.  In our experience as a travelling family, we have crossed borders painlessly because of the universally shared values of family.   

So far, Turkey has been a sweet balm of rest and relaxation.  The people here are friendly, kind, thoughtful and chivalrous.  The food is fresh, and the view of the Aegean Sea is breathtaking.  This nomadic life is better than what we imagined!  2010 has been an incredible year of travel and adventure for us.  We have a feeling though that 2011 will be better.  Home keeps changing, but as long as we’re together, we’re at home in the world. 

Wishing you all a wonderful new year ahead!

Love, 

Jenn

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9 Responses to Playing Catch Up

  1. Yay! Good for you! Having gone over all of that ground as a family, I do so understand! It is so much easier doing it than one expects, isn’t it?

    But now you know my problem, how does one ever find enough time to share all the wonderful experiences? And how challenging internet can be on the move …although it is good to be unplugged a lot too. 😉 In our 5 years of non-stop family world travel, we have posted thousands of photos, posts & so many videos…yet haven’t even made the tiniest drop in the bucket. We’ve put up about maybe 1% of our experiences.

    You will find that you have more experiences than you can ever share. A life on the road is like a 100 years in each year. So glad to hear you are all having a wonderful time…& I knew you would! 😉

    Don’t sweat the blog vacation time…it comes with the territory. 😉 ( And I only have 1 kiddo to homeschool).

  2. Lisa says:

    I am so happy to see you guys enjoying all the wonderful experiences of your trip. Thanks always for sharing your thoughts, experiences and photos. I enjoy every single one 🙂 Miss and love you guys!

  3. Jessica Tweed says:

    It’s so wonderful reading your adventures so far. It must be heart-warming to see the outpouring of love for your family, a love that transcends race, culture, religion, and language. Sounds like you guys are living life to the fullest, with no signs of “slowing down”! May this new year bring you more adventures to fill your memories!

  4. bruleeblog says:

    Outstanding! I’m so glad you are all having a good time. Miss you lots!

  5. Grandma says:

    Dear Jenn & Family, Thank you for this wonderful update. Great photos! and good news! Now I can imagine, yes, people will perceive your lovely family with four little people differently than a couple alone. How wonderful for you! and thanks be to God! Love & prayer, Mom & Dad

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