Why Should You Travel? Why Do You Travel?

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Xania Waterfront on Crete

My husband showed me this article on bbc.com a while ago. Several people share their perspectives on why they travel. Some people don’t travel. They think it is a waste of time and money. I think that the life experiences you gain while traveling are some of the richest and most memorable. Traveling with those you love is an incredible bonding experience. I have found that sharing travel is a glue that helps build and maintain relationships through more difficult times.

It is also such an enriching world experience. I remember visiting Athens and suddenly having a much clearer understanding of why the city states in ancient Greece were built the way they were. Or gaining an appreciation for trapezoidal shapes after visiting ancient Incan sites. Why do we use rectangular doorways? Trapezoids are much more interesting. And our children gain a much broader view of what is possible, that there are many different ways that people live their lives. They also learn to be grateful for what they have.

So, read this article that touts traveling more as sound life advice, and let me know what you think.

Why do you travel? What do you get out of it?

The Best Jungle Cruise

Disneyland Hong Kong Castle

Disneyland Hong Kong Castle

After our recent trip to Disneyworld, I’ve been thinking about all our trips to Disney Parks. I fondly remember our trip to Disneyland in Hong Kong. It is a smaller park than the other Disney parks we’ve been to, although it has undergone an expansion since we were there in 2011. It is much less crowded than the other Disney parks. And, there is the added fun travel factor of hearing and seeing Chinese everywhere in the park.

There is one thing that Disneyland Hong Kong does better than all the other Disney parks we’ve been to. The Jungle Cruise. Disneyland California has the classic version. Disneyworld in Florida has an upgraded version with an ancient temple you travel through in addition to the classic elements. Disneyworld Hong Kong has an awesome surprise ending. Do you want to know what it is? Watch a video of it here.

Isn’t it an amazing end to the ride? We were not expecting it when we first rode the Jungle Cruise. You can feel the heat of the flames shooting out of the rock formations, and it is hot! The Jungle Cruise was our favorite thing in Hong Kong Disneyland.

There were a couple of other great surprises in store for us, too. During the parades, they will actually invite some of the children to dance in the parade with some of the characters. Our oldest daughter was able to dance in the luau section of the parade.

752She was a little nervous at the time, but so happy she did it afterwards! Where else do you get a chance to dance in a Disney parade? I think we might have to go back and do it again when she is older so she will actually remember the experience, instead of just seeing it in pictures. Since Hong Kong itself is a great destination, I don’t think I’ll have a hard time convincing the rest of the family that we need to go back.

In all the parts of Hong Kong we visited, people loved to take pictures with our kids, of our kids, sometimes they would just pick them up and hold them. This was especially true at Disneyland. Our youngest at the time had very blond hair. I remember waiting in the line for Winnie the Pooh, and people kept passing her down the line so they could all have turns to take pictures with her. A little unnerving, but thankfully everyone was really sweet to our children the entire time we were there.

726So, for an amazing Jungle Cruise experience, and a whole lot of other fun, take a day or two to visit Hong Kong Disneyland if you’re in the area.

Long Live the Doman Sun!

I always find it amazing how family jokes and memories grow until they sometimes have their own identity. A catchword or catchphrase will be created and become a key to unlock a treasure chest full of memories and experiences that each member of the family cherishes.

The first time our family went to Disneyworld our oldest daughter was two, and her younger sister was only six weeks old. My husband had a job interview in Orlando, so we decided to go to Disneyworld for just one day. It was a very cold, blustery January day, and the park was very empty. It’s a Small World never had a long line. We could almost just walk onto the ride. Because our two year old loved it, and because it was much warmer inside riding the ride, we rode it something like eight times that day.

Our two year old was a very advanced speaker for her age. After our trip to Disneyworld, we would hear her singing “It’s a Small World” to herself. We noticed something a little peculiar. Every time she got to the part about the golden sun, she would sing doman (sounds like doe-man, with a stress on the first syllable). She was very consistent.

The Golden Sun from It's a Small World Ride, Disneyworld, courtesy of themeparks.about.com

The Golden Sun from It’s a Small World Ride, Disneyworld, courtesy of
themeparks.about.com

After a while, we asked her why she was singing doman, instead of golden. She very seriously informed us that the sun was “doman colored”, not golden. We told her we had never heard of doman colored. What does it look like? She said it has a little bit of golden in it. It took us months to convince her that the song actually said golden sun. It was a little sad to see her finally accept that the line is “golden sun”.

Fast forward about five years, and our family recently returned to Disneyworld. Our children love to hear stories about themselves, and we love to tell them. So, while we were at Disneyworld we told the story of the doman colored sun. Now seven years old, she thought it was hilarious. And her five year old sister was tickled by the whole thing.

We returned home from Disneyworld, and one day I found our five-year old looking at the book “The Day the Crayons Quit”. In the book, yellow crayon and orange crayon are mad and not speaking to each other. They each think they are the color of the sun, and cite evidence of when they were used to color the sun as rational for their behavior. I came into the room, and she turned and looked at me. Then she said, “Mom, the yellow crayon and orange crayon are so silly.” At this point, I was expecting her to say something about how their fighting was silly, since we had been talking a lot lately about how people fight about lots of silly things. But no, she continues on very seriously with an exasperated air, “Don’t they know the sun is doman colored?”

And the doman sun lives on.

Show Your World – Nazca, Peru

This post is participating in the Show Your World event sponsored by Tiny Expats
HPIM0429My husband and I traveled to Peru as a graduation present to ourselves. I had wanted to see the Nazca lines since I first learned about them in high school. The Atacama desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world. As soon as we got off the bus here we could feel the heat in the dusty, hot desert wind. Nazca is a place that is removed from the rest of Peru, both by its remote location and the mystery surrounding the Nazca lines. Some people believe the Nazca lines were created by extra-terrestrial beings. It feels like a place from another time and another world. It is a place forgotten even by its own government. The lizard figure of the Nazca lines is actually cut in half by the Pan-American Highway. The Nazca lines are now protected by the U.N. as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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As well as flying over the Nazca lines, we took a tour of tombs out in the desert. These tombs are thousands of years old, and have been robbed of the precious materials that were originally enclosed within them. I remember getting out of the car, and seeing the ground literally covered in bones from grave robbers that took the gold and other items from the tomb, yet carelessly tossed the mummies out into the dry, desert sand.

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The mummies’ hair has been bleached to a much lighter color through exposure to the unrelenting desert sun. The people of Nazca are very poor. Yet they recognize the economic possibilities tourism provides. They independently have constructed canopies to cover and protect these tombs out in the middle of the desert. There is no official tourism office. The people of Nazca independently work as tour guides to provide a better living for their family.

HPIM0455Even their agriculture is reminiscent of the past. These aqueducts are still used by the local farmers. They were built over 2000 years ago. The stones were set together without mortar, so when earthquakes come to Nazca, the stones rattle and shift against each other, but the aqueducts remain intact. Going to Nazca felt like traveling 2000 years back in time, while simultaneously being in the company of believers in UFO’s and other paranormal activity.