We finished our wonderful 6 weeks of summer in Santiago, picked up Megan from Girl’s camp in the morning (spanish immersion – go Megan!), and in the early afternoon we were on board the Zaandam, a Holland America Cruise Liner for our trip south. It was fun to be back on a cruise ship and forget about shopping and cleaning and cooking and doing dishes, all while a ship takes care of the logistics of traveling for us, we don’t have to unpack and repack, and we still get to enjoy visiting new parts of the world together.
Highlights of the 1st week of the cruise:
1. Patagonia fjords and islands and waterways
2. Hiking in the Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia
3. Beagle Channel & Glacier Alley
4. Punta Arenas Naval Museum
5. Meeting a group from “Cruise Lady” on the Ship
6. Science talks and presentations onboard the ship
7. Incredible family dinners every evening
(To read more click below right . . . . . . . . )
After our blissful 2-week cruise through the Panama Canal to South America, we disembarked in San Antonio, Chile, drove inland to the capital city of Santiago, and happily settled in for 6 weeks of a summer "staycation" in the Southern Hemisphere. The weather was gorgeous, the city fun and easy to navigate, and our apartment was comfortable was great views all around of the Andes mountains.
1. Meeting wonderful people at church and being welcomed right in
2. Cultural Arts - accessible and affordable
3. Productive education filled days
4. Public transportation ease of maneuvering
5. Close proximity to temple
6. Spanish immersion with local church youth camps for kids
7. Moderate summer weather, great mountain views, and no bugs!
8. Planning 2019
9. Anticipating our next adventure to Antarctica!
We excitedly boarded the Norwegian Sun and checked into our 2 cabins that would be our home for 2 weeks. Fortunately, they were outside cabins with unobstructed views, but unfortunately, they were on different floors. Our first week was spent happily exploring the ship and smoothly sailing south past Cuba and the Dominican Republic, porting in Columbia, passing through the Panama Canal, and finally entering the vast Pacific Ocean. Our second week took us south of the equator to Ecuador, Peru and Chile with a final disembarkation in San Antonio, just an hour's drive from Santiago, where our next stay will be.
(Click below right to read more . . . )
After completing our Asia adventure, we returned to the United States via Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and came back to Nana’s place in Orem where we unpacked for a two-week whirlwind visit. It was anything but restful as we focused on accomplishing what was necessary before we headed abroad, again: Anna completed her 9 online school classes + final exams; Tyler took his needed finals and signed up for his next courses; Tera helped gather everything necessary to host a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and repack for our upcoming 3-month trip; Erik and Nana recruited the kids to help move furniture and clean out the house to get it ready to sell; and we all enjoyed treasured celebrations with friends and loved ones. We then headed out on our next adventure to South America, beginning with a perfectly planned stopover in Dallas to see family, followed by Miami for a temple trip and preparing to embark on the Norwegian Sun cruise ship.
(Click below right to read more . . . )
We closed out our Asia trip with a visit to the Maldives, a true island paradise. Then, after a few days on the Maldivian island of Huraa, we flew to Singapore for the weekend to visit with some good friends and closed out our Asia trip for good. The Maldives are world famous for their white sand beaches on their thousands of islands and their crystal clear aquamarine waters. In this regard, they did not disappoint. We snorkeled, and scuba dived, and fished, and boated to our own private island to play in the white sand.
After being in India, it was great to head back to a tropical island - full of plenty of nature to explore and fresh air to breathe in. So on we went to the island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon during British colonial times. We flew into Colombo and then spent 3 days in Dambulla, then drove down to Kandy to spend the rest of our time. We visited ancient Buddhist temples, saw wild elephant herds roaming, climbed a hilltop fortress, and took a local train ride up into the highlands and tea plantations.
What a place! We had wanted to go to India for years, but had always felt a little apprehensive. This year we took the plunge. We hired a full-time driver who arranged the itinerary and all the hotels, which took away much of the fear of the unknown. We did the “Golden Triangle” of northern India, which includes Delhi (capital), Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur (Amber fort). We added in Ranthambore (tiger safari) and Varanasi (Hindu equivalent of Mecca) and had ourselves a fantastic Northern India tour ready and waiting. It was a complete cornucopia of sights, smells, tastes, and sounds.
One of our favorite parts of worldschooling is the presentations the kids give on the places we visit. Instead of paying for a guide, the kids become our "tour guides" (for a much more reasonable fee!) at most of the places we visit, or give us a recap presentation later, complete with a competitive Kahoot! Sometimes, they just do a writing assignment of what stands out in their mind of a certain place. We have included some of those writings below:
(Click below right to read more . . . . . . )
My good friend, Linda Franks, invited us to join her on her yearly humanitarian trip to Phnom Penh, so I jumped at the chance to go and spend time with her and follow her amazing shadow of good will. Jen and Emily Kelly, and Anna and I flew to Phnom Penh for a 4 day/3 night visit spent learning to serve and love the Cambodians.
1. Spending time with Linda Franks, founder of AKUN charity
2. Volunteering in the Mother Teresa's "Missionaries of Charity" orphanage
3. Visiting the Genocide "Killing Fields" Museum
4. Traditional Cambodian Dance show
5. Spending time in the Lindalva Learning Center
6. A girls' trip
(Click below right to read more . . . .)
After leaving the island of Java, we happily walked down the memory lane that is the island of Borneo, where we had lived as a family for 5 1/2 years (2008-2013). We flew to the northeast corner of the island to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, a city where we had spent many fun family vacations. After a few days in Kota Kinabalu, Tera and Anna took a service trip to Cambodia with Jen and Emily Kelly and a good friend of ours from Brunei, Linda Franks, and the rest of the crew went to Brunei to spend a few days. Tera, Anna, Jen & Emily joined us again in Brunei just in time for an overnight trip to the rainforests of Temburong National park, and then we parted ways with the Kellys. They headed back to Bali and we continued on in Brunei for a weekend visit to our old house and neighborhood in Panaga. It was so fun to reawaken old memories and make some fun new memories along the way.
A boat transfer from the Gili Islands back to Bali, and then a flight to the island of Java. We came to Yogya (Jogja) to see the famous 9th century Hindu and Buddhist Temple complexes of Borobodur and Prambanan.
Plan? What plan?
Our first Gap Year was a fabulous "2017-2018 School Year" of travel: from the Netherlands to Jordan to Texas to Hawaii to Mexico to Central America to London and back to the Netherlands. Our "2018 Summer Vacation" took us all around Western Europe, back to the USA on a transatlantic cruise, a road trip through New York and into Canada, and ending up in Utah. We have now kicked off the "2018-2019 School year" with a trip to Asia. Follow along with us on our visits to new places, as well as revisiting some of our favorite places from our time living there. It's going to be great!!