Monday, March 25, 2013

The people you meet

Traveling is about many things. Experiencing the country you are visiting, exploring the sights and culture, and sampling local cuisine. And it is also very much about the people you meet along the way. Whether locals or fellow travelers, they very much help to shape your experience. Here are some of the people we met along the way and how they are very much a part of our memories.

Steve and Lily. What can I say? We met them early on in our trip in Chiang Mai. We were fast friends with these belated honeymooers and enjoyed hanging out in the evenings after Simon was asleep. Lily was high energy and very outgoing, and Steve was all about the subtle wit. We also went to the very memorable Ying Pi lantern festival together. We only wished they could have traveled with us longer!

Don't they just look like fun?
In Chiang Mai we met up with an entire group of traveling families, many of whom have already been on the road for years! It was fascinating to see how and why other families travel the globe. We were even able to meet up with the Lybbert family again more than a month later in Vietnam. We also virtually connected with loads of traveling families through a Families on the Move Facebook page that was incredibly helpful and supportive. Inspirational!
Thanksgiving in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

An ordinary boat ride to check out the Pak Ou caves two hours upstream from Luang Prabang in Laos turned into a very memorable journey with a very friendly family from NYC. The parents were visiting their son and girlfriend who were traveling more extensively around SE Asia. Simon drew pictures and sang songs with the mom on they way there, and pretend fished with the son and girlfriend on the way home. It was just a few hours, but it was memorable. (Plus, we kind of got a break!) We talked about raising families, traveling, raising families and traveling (which they did extensively). I don't know their names and will probably never see them again, but they have a permanent place in our vault of memories.

Boat ride along the mighty Mekong.

Three days on a boat with just 17 people, you are bound to make some new friends. Simon was happy that there were two other young boys on board. A family from Seattle, Washington, they pulled their kids from school a few weeks every year to travel and see the world. Their dad, an app developer, created this very cool app for kids learning to tell time, with lots of different languages.

Cruising Halong Bay

We found Christmas spirit after spending some time with the fabulous Felix, a young German boy who spoke English and knew his Christmas carols in English! He could also carry a tune, so he really helped bring the Christmas spirit to Vietnam, where it was hard to remember that Christmas was just around the corner.

At Paradise Cave, Phong Nha National Park, Vietnam.

Mike was a really special find. A true local who showed us the ins and outs of not just Georgetown, but the entire island of Penang in Malaysia. We saw, tasted, and experienced this scrumptious island much differently thanks to his kindness.

Penang, Malaysia

When traveling with kids, it's great to meet other families traveling with kids of at least somewhat similar ages. We hit jackpot on Koh Lanta in Thailand when we landed at a budget resort with 3 other families with small kids. Two of the families were from Amsterdam, which was an added bonus as we could pepper them with questions regarding our upcoming move AND we now have someone to grab a beer with when we get there!

Little ones occupied during our seafood BBQ.
We enjoyed a night of grilling fresh seafood picked up at the local market and watching the sunset from the each in front our temporary home. When we parted ways Simon begged to go with them (I thought it sounded great - we could just meet in Amsterdam in a month), but was comforted knowing that this goodbye was not forever! In fact, we met Sabine, Sander, and Malin again just a week later on Koh Mook. I look forward to hanging out with Sabine in Amsterdam and she has promised to show me her favorite yoga studio - in English nonetheless!
(Update: As I am posting this weeks after our return to Europe, Simon and I are already regulars at Sabine's twice-weekly play group and we are planning a spring "garage sale" of sorts for kids stuff in the spring! Life has a funny way of just working out...)

And we were so fortunate to hijack the Danielsen's family vacation and spend a very memorable week with them in Khao Sok National Park and at the jungle island of Koh Ra. Simon was is absolutely enamored with Hannah and Rebecca, and we hope that our paths cross again some time soon.

These are just some of the wonderful people we met along the way who helped make our journey extra special. Hope to see you all again some time soon, somewhere in this crazy world!



  1. Hanging out with a rad family like yours was definitely a highlight for us, as well! So glad we connected!