Archive | June, 2009
June 29, 2009

Crikey! We’re counting down . . .

Suitcases flung on the floor.  Laundry piled and sorted, and sorted again.  Dogs boarded?  Check.  Someone to feed the cat?  Check.  Bills paid?  Check.  It’s crunch time.  We’re headin’ Down Under.  G’day mate!

Our vagabonding adventures seem to follow a common chorus.  First, they are months away, and Nellie dives in — planning, reading, discovering.  Sacagawea and Dundee weigh in with their “must do and must see” requests, and gradually, an adventure takes shape.  Now suddenly, it’s mere hours, and the “to-do” lists are endless.  It’s been my personal goal this year to take the stress out of lift-off.  Never one to have been keen on packing lists, I now find I’m singing a different tune.  The epiphany:  surely a bit of strategic planning, tactical execution and measured follow-through will make it easier…maybe even fun.  OK…maybe fun is a stretch, but even the kids report it seems easier this time, and we’re actually taking time to enjoy the lift-off. 

Old school:  Chaos and bedlam as we head out the door.  New school:  Delegation.  Packing lists.  Assignments and to-do lists.  Excitement meter is peaked; stress level is down.  Who knew?

June 21, 2009

Fathers Day Regatta

Nanakuli 6-21-2009Happy FaNanakuli on Regatta dayther’s Day!  Dundee kicked off the day’s celebration with a 4:45 wake-up call so we could trek to the other side of the island for the Father’s Day Canoe Club Regatta.  Competitive paddling is a not-to-be-missed cultural tradition; this is his first year on a team, and today, his first competitive race.  Up with the birds, we hit the beach just as the sun rose behind us, and the water glistened silently as the beach slowly awakened to paddlers, coaches and onlookers by the hundreds.   What’s not to love…the perfect beginning to a spectacular day!  Race over - 7th Place

June 18, 2009

Family Vagabonding: The Preface

top of notre dameFamily Vagabonding.  For us, it means “family bonding.”   Authentic experiences.  Field trips around the corner and around the globe.  It’s getting to know the planet on which we live and the people with whom we share it.

As with most major life changes, it just happened.  Having spent the first half of our adult lives in suburban Virginia, just outside Washington DC, the events of 9/11 caused us to take pause.  We loved DC — and still do — but decided we wanted our children to know the world beyond the beltway and suburban life, and we wanted to be close to family.  We had a choice:  family members in both Indianapolis and Kailua, Hawaii . . . midwest values, 24/7 sports & lots of cousins, or some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, a bit more far flung,  and a few less cousins.  We decided we could visit Indy from time to time.

Today, “home” is one of the most idyllic, sleepy beach towns in the country, maybe the world.  A corner market where everyone gathers for coffee in the mornings, and beach burgers on the weekends.  Our children’s lives are spent between paddling clubs and soccer, hula lessons and art class.  We gather with friends to watch the full moon slip into the night sky over the ocean each month, then enjoy a bottle of wine while our children and their friends go crabbing and build sand castles by moonlight.  We are blessed to live here, and we know it.  It’s a place where magic happens, and if you pause long enough to hear the still, quiet voice from within, you know you are home.

It’s from this special place that we launch our Family Vagabonding adventures.   First, of course, we explored our new home: the beaches of Maui and its spectacular “up country” rural countryside; the volcano and farmlands on the Big Island, and the jungles, rainforests and beaches of Kauai.  Then it was on to Alaska, down the Pacific Northwest Coast into California; later, oLunch under the Oliver Treento Indy (remember, we promised we’d visit), then the ubiquitous “are-we-there-yet” car travel odyssey across the mainland US, through Canada, the Adirondacks and finally, New York City.

Later, our vagabonding spanned the Atlantic, where we spent a month trekking across Europe.    Thirty days, 9 countries, 6 languages, 3 currencies, and countless memories.  With our homemade, personalized  travel guidebook in hand — equal parts history, geography, travel guide and a few games — we watched as our children navigated the streets, trams, trains, and subways of  cities large and small across Europe.  They adapted to local communities, tried new foods, respected new cultures and customs, and came to understand the interconnectivity of global affairs.  It was at some point in Europe — most likely under an olive tree in Rome, with a particularly lovely glass of red wine in hand — that we knew we were onto something remarkable.  What our kids learned in Europe came home with us in very personal and meaningful ways.   When Sacagawea’s 3rd grade class studied ancient civilizations, she helped lead the discussions and brought in the study guides.  When an earthquake rattled Italy a few months back, it wasn’t some far-away place; it was the neighboring village to places we’d traveled, and she and Dundee intently followed each development as though they knew everyone in the village.  The world was no longer an impersonal blue and green globe in their classroom; the world was their classroom, and its people their new neighbors and friends.

So here we are:  bags packed, compass in hand, and new adventures before us.   We want our children to know the world in which they live, and we want to be there at their side as we discover it, one place at  a time.  They are the stewards of the 21st century — a new and exciting world much different than its 20th century predecessor — and it’s our job to help them navigate it with wisdom, perspective and personal experience.

We hope you’ll come along for the ride from time to time!