We left on our Big Trip right after Christmas of 2016, planning to be on the road for up to 18 months. Now that we have been on the road four and a half months, we thought it would be a good time for the kids to reflect on what we have done and how they are feeling. Below is the latest installment of John and Kate’s NT&S journal.
Friends: John says: “It has been medium-hard to stay in touch with friends because of the time difference. I miss hanging out with friends and talking about what we are going to do when we get older. I do like to FaceTime, Facebook or email with friends to get caught up on what is going on at home.”
Kate says: “Staying in touch with friends has been easy, I found that only my best friends text me, and take the time. But that’s a lot better then I excepted. That’s what I was worried about the most. Talking through the internet is not the same as being in person, but I get to video chat with an app called Hangouts. I figured out I can annoy my friend, by moving my phone on a blanket, so that was fun. I’m super excited that some of them are meeting me on the trip.”
Adventures: John says: “My three favorite Adventures were Zorbing and Zip Lining in New Zealand, and Parasailing in Phuket. My favorite thing about Zorbing was that you went down this huge hill and you were in this clear ball all wet. If you tried to stand up, you just fell down. I would love to do it again. What I liked about Zip Lining was that we had a great view over this big hill and it felt like you were flying. It was cool that they let me do it even though I didn’t weigh enough. When I got stuck toward the end of the run I would just sit there and wait while they would reach out and grab me. Parasailing was really scary when I did it for the first time in Phuket. Kate and I were both really scared. Once we started running it threw us up into the air and I couldn’t touch the ground and I was just running in the air. I got to see that it was really fun and even though you want to hold on really hard because it feels like you will fall eventually you just let go and relax.”
Kate says: “My favorite thing was snorkeling in Fiji, it was my first time snorkeling and it was the best. We went out on a little boat to a small island. On the boat ride we saw flying fish and two dolphins rode along with us for a second, which was really cool. We got to the side of the island and we had to leave because there was a tsunami warning so we had to go to the other side. I was nervous to go because I don’t really like a nose mask. It was so amazing. There were so many fish and such bright colors, and the big coral, all different shapes, it was like being in Nemo. The water was just the right temperature and crystal clear. The BBQ lunch was really good too. There was a lady that cooked it for us that lived on the island. We snorkeled in Thailand, Australia, and Vietnam, and nothing was close to Fiji.
Places we have stayed: John says: “My favorite place in Australia was Cairns. We went to a basketball game. Before the game, Kate an I got our hair sprayed orange. I liked Singapore even though there was not a lot to do, I got to swim every day because there were lots of swimming pools where we stayed. Hoi An, Vietnam was great because we biked everywhere, the beach was close and the food was great (particularly eating at the beach).”
Kate says: ”My favorite places we’ve stayed is Napier, New Zealand, Bhutan, and Hoi An, Vietnam. I liked the A B&B that we stayed in in Napier because the hosts were nice and they had a ram called Ram Lamb. Their guest house was nice and it was kind of in the country side, away from everything. Even though we didn’t really do much in Bhutan, the hotels were always so cozy and would be really cold so we would have to sleep under a lot of blankets. Hoi An, we stayed in an B&B, I liked the outdoor bathroom, except, there were times there were HUGE spiders. The breakfasts were really good, John always got instant noodles, so our host called him Instant Noodle.
What I looking forward to about coming home: John says: “I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends when we get home. I plan on telling them all about the Big Trip. I will be doing a lot of activities with my friends like going to the water slides, going to movies and improving my tree fort. I bought a cool miniature car (GTR) in Japan and might start collecting those and build a display case for them. I’m really excited to unpack all my stuff at home and re-make my room.”
Kate says: ” What I’m looking forward to when I get home is seeing my friends and enjoying Ashland. I’m curious to see what has changed in the time I’ve been gone. From being in SE Asia, it has taught us that we can live with a whole lot less stuff. I think it will be very interesting to see what we keep and what we pitch. I’m also excited to unpack and get all of the souvenirs from the places I’ve traveled. I wonder who I will be friends with, some of them I’ve lost touch, so I wonder if we’ll still be friends.”
John says, “I really like the Big Trip. It has already been a good experience. I’ve learned you don’t have to be scared of anything – I have been on lots of planes and even rode on an elephant and it has all been fine. I’m surprised that it was hard at first but it has gotten easier on how we go through airports.”
Kate says: ” At first I was scared to go on air planes, I was scared about crashing, but after about 5 I got use to it. Now after 13 flights, I learned Emirates Airlines was the best. The food was really good, seats wonderful and great movies. I wanted the flight to last longer.”
So, it feels like we have been gone forever already. Some days (a lot of days) we can hardly remember the things that have happened to us already. We are all convinced that we can get along with a lot less and be a lot more flexible with – space, time, schedule, food, everything – than we would have imagined. We are all realizing that our happiness is not drawn from the stuff around us but by the people around us.