Celebrating our Blogoversary and a Year of Travels

Written by Jenn

It’s our Blogoversary this month!!

November 1st marked the day we went public with our family blog. I thought we’d reminisce over the this past year’s adventures with a fun video and express our gratitude to the people in our lives who have inspired and supported us with our crazy travel dreams. It’s unanimous in our family that this year has so far been the BEST year of our lives!

On October 24th, 2010 we headed off to Spain from Edmonton to begin our travels as a family. Since then we’ve:

  • visited 8 countries: Spain, Morocco, Italy, Vatican City, Turkey, France, Monaco, and Germany
  • set foot 4 on different continents: North America, Europe, Africa (Morocco), and Asia (97% of Turkey is in Asia Minor)
  • travelled by plane, bus, dolmuş, train, taxi, rental car, moving van, gondola, ferry, bike, 4 X 4, hot air balloon, paraglider, horse, horse-drawn carriages, camel, and donkey.
  • visited numerous World UNESCO sites, ancient ruins, famous cathedrals and mosques; explored world-renowned museums, and taken in awe-inspiring historical architecture.
  • watched our children play in the beaches and waters of the Turquoise coast; Mediterranean, Aegean, Ligurian, and Adriatic seas.
  • met some pretty amazing people during our travels, some have become our lifelong friends.

Family Favourites

I’ve asked each member of our family about their favourite travel memory. Below are their answers:

Edmund: Paragliding and the Eiffel Tower.

Lucy: Eiffel Tower, Venice and the gondola ride, Cappadocia and underground caves, and the Louvre and Mona Lisa.

Peter: I loved the desert.

Susan: Everything TURKEY!! It was my favourite country!

Jenn: Our two nights in the Sahara desert and all of our time in Turkey.

Brian: There were so many favourite memories for me, but I’d have to say seeing the bonding in our family.

There have been many times throughout our travels when Brian and I would share awed glances with each other. We call it the I-can’t-believe-we’re-doing-this look. Together, we’ve experienced breathtaking moments, squeals of delight, and joyful tears. As a family, we marinated in spiritual moments, prayerful solitude, and exhilarating exploration.  We’ve experienced dizzying culture shock in  Morocco’s crowded medinas and climbed on centuries-old ruins, even swam with them!

When we arrived in Edmonton for the summer holidays, our family and friends noticed a change in our children immediately. They sensed a certain depth of perception, patience, and maturity in them. All four children (especially the girls) went through a significant growth spurt of several inches. We wondered if it was peace from the lack of stress and busyness of school life and extracurricular activities, combined with the vigorous activity of travelling (we sure walked a lot of miles!), and continually being outdoors to explore.

For several months, we lived with very little, carrying everything we owned in our packs. Our children had hours of playtime and reading time without the distraction of television. We luxuriated in family time. Our journey prompted fantastic questions from the kids. We’ve learned so much and lived our education.

On Blogging

At Home in the World is first and foremost a Family Blog. Every member of our family is encouraged to contribute as much as they desire. Our main goal with this blog was to preserve our travel memories, and have a place to reference when we want to reminisce about our time together.

Keeping a blog was a wise decision because it kept us accountable to recording our memories. It’s also a delight to us as parents to read over our children’s perspectives during their phase and age in life. One of our very favourite posts is Edmund’s Sahara Desert narration. His (then) five-year-old voice tickles our family to laughter when he describes the Sahara Desert sand getting in “our underwears. It felt nice.”  

For those of you who like numbers (we have a few in our family here too), since November 1st, 2010:

  • We’ve created 94 posts.
  • Have 441 comments on our site.
  • Have a total of  26,693 views,
  • with the highest views in one day being 1, 403 views in July, 2011
  • Shared our story with a few guest posts.
  • Have 58 subscribers.
  • Took a total of a couple months off on our blog.

These are very modest numbers compared to some incredible blogger/writers out there who have been posting for as long as we have. Right now, we’re completely happy with where we are at the moment. We’re taking the intuitive approach and trying our best to enjoy the ride, keeping it simple one post at a time. With this perspective, we have so much to look forward to, and are totally in love with the possibilities open to us.

It has been such a joy to share our stories with others. The response from friends and loved ones, and supportive people we’ve met on-line energize us to continue travelling as a family.

Gratitude

We’d like to take a moment to express our sincere thanks to some pretty incredible people.

Thank You to our family and friends who have supported us and welcomed our travelling pants back with open arms. Especially to my sister Renee and brother-in-law Alan who let us rent out their basement when we were homeless in Canada during the summer. You all mean so much to us, and your love and support is in essence our Home, no matter where we are in the world.

I’m grateful and feel deeply indebted to my dear friend Sherene from The Brûlée Blog. We share a past of dreamy English Honours classes together from our old highschool days. She took the time one harried October evening, before we left Edmonton, to help me set up this blog. We sipped large coffees at a Starbucks and giggled in concentration as she led me through the doors of the blogging world. I hesitated for a month in privacy, emailing her several times before I grew the courage to go live on November 1st. Thank You Sher for your friendship and blogging expertise!

BIG Thank You goes out to my friend Lisa from Through the Lens, who has continually supported us with her optimism and support. She has been a living example of courage to me by leaving everything familiar behind to travel and live in Germany for a year. Since highschool, we’ve made some unforgettable memories together, and added a handful more with our galavants through Paris, Karlsruhe, and Agde.

Virtual Friends: On-Line Bloggers

I haven’t met these people in real life yet, but hope to one day.

Three years ago when I was dreaming of travelling the world with our family, I came across Jeanne Dee’s Soultravelers3 blog. Soultravelers3 was the very first longterm, open-ended, slow-travel family I discovered on-line. I was captivated by the video she posted about her daughter playing her violin around the world. Reading her blog gave me hope, and a clearer, realistic vision in travelling with our 4 children. Through Facebook, I’ve kept up with her adventures, and she’s never failed to inspire me.

I remember the last winter we spent in Canada. I was feeling discouraged about the drudgery of driving my kids to school everyday on snow-covered roads in -27 °C weather. I came home to find her Facebook photo of their little white village in Spain. Seeing that pic gave me a renewed determination to rid ourselves with everything that was tying us down in order to fly free and travel.

Jeanne has never failed to answer my numerous questions about family travel. I love her optimism and delight in the little things in the world. I’m sure she has inspired many families to travel fulltime! Thank You Jeanne!!

A BIG Thanks goes to Rachel from Minimalist Mom. Rachel is a fellow Canadian and kindred spirit. I love reading every one of her posts. She found our blog while we were backpacking through Italy and asked me to write a couple guest posts. I love Rachel’s honest and humble voice and admire what she has accomplished in such a short amount of time as a writer and blogger. This September concluded a year-and-a-half’s worth of hard work in living as a Minimalist to pay off approximately $82,000 worth of debt. That’s amazing!

I am grateful for Rachel’s support and belief in me as a writer. Her HUGE number of followers are continually coming to visit our blog, so I have her to thank for all the new readers she has sent our way.

Her blog is the one I read when I need to keep the resolve from being seduced by material things. Whenever I go out food or window shopping, I think about whether or not the Minimalist Mom would approve. 😉 Thank you so much Rachel!

And finally, Thank You to all our readers who take the time to share in our stories. We’re touched by your comments and are deeply grateful for all of you!!

Thank You Very Much! Merci Beaucoup! Muchos Gracias!

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19 Responses to Celebrating our Blogoversary and a Year of Travels

  1. Savannah says:

    This is an amazing blog! I’m glad I came across it – you’ve accomplished so much in the past year, it’s completely awesome. Keep up the blogging and adventuring.

  2. KC says:

    WOW a year goes by fast!! I love reading about your travels Manang! It really makes me feel like i’m traveling with you.. like that rat of yours! =)

    • Thanks KC! Well, maybe you can identify with a Ratfink? 😛 By the way, I came across a rat on the bike trail today as I was biking home from dropping the kids at school. It was not black, so it didn’t scare me…but I still don’t like those creatures.
      Love J

  3. Congratulations, Jenn. You’re a wonderful family, and my family has loved following along on your adventures. We’re looking forward to meeting you when we get to France in the spring.

    All the best from the ramblecrunch team!
    Renee

  4. Rebeca says:

    As a family planning and preparing to set out soon, this is encouraging, especially about the growth in your children. :> Blessings…

  5. Nancy from Massachusetts says:

    I am thrilled to have found your blog a few months ago (through the minimilist moms’ blog, I may add!) and your blog is one of just a few that i check everyday. I am traveling through your eyes and love the fact that your children also post their thoughts. I am also grateful that you are blogging through your journey, so that others (such as myself) who would love to do the same, but would find it difficult, for many reasons, to do so.

    My son and I would love to live in France for a year! Hubby would choose England or Ireland.

    • Thank you for the wonderful comment Nancy! We’re so thrilled to be able to share our blog with you and are happy you enjoy our stories. Ireland is another country we considered living in. Brian and I travelled through there in 2009 and loved the landscape and its people. Hope you make it to France or England, or Ireland some day, even if it’s just for a visit!
      Wishing you the best,
      Jenn

      • Nancy from Massachusetts says:

        okay, i don’t know if I’m starting menopause, but your comment brought tears to my eyes!
        🙂
        That’s another thing I love about your blog…you take the time out of your incredibly busy day to respond to your readers. I’m sure you won’t always have the time to do that, but it is wonderful that you do!

      • You’re so sweet Nancy! It’s my pleasure. Wishing you all the best!
        Jenn 🙂

  6. Renee says:

    Wow, can’t believe how much has happened in a year! It’s almost surreal watching your photostory! too bad no rat pics though…

  7. Congrats!! I am so proud of all of you and happy that you did what it took to live your dream! Thanks so much for the shout out and your kind words about us. I am grateful that sharing our story on our blog and Youtube etc inspired you and other families..just as yours inspires others. Sometimes it helps so much just to know someone else has done it. Happy to know you enjoyed many of the same places and know we will some day cross paths in person and that will be a delight! Keep following your heart and keeping it simple!

  8. Louise says:

    I feel like I should say, no, thank you!

    I love reading your blog and I have enjoyed it for the last few months (only finding it just before the Summer).

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