“It’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive” – English Proverb
I am immensely proud of my little traveller. She did part of the Hangman Path in Combe Martin, North Devon and she loved every single second of it!
I cannot seem to say the words “in summer” without singing them while imagining Olaf the snowman from the disney movie Frozen lying on a beach with sunglasses and a cocktail! Have my kids irreversibly damaged my image of summer!!!! Nah, it puts a smile on my face every time!
We have had a really – and by really I mean REEEEEEAAALLLLLY good summer so far. We went to Hawaii, pinch, yep it did actually happen, it has already been over 2 weeks since we got back! Yes I am a bit go of a blogger boob, but hey the best summer is one spent offline, isn’t it?
So Hawaii, do you really want to know what it was like? Do you? Does it live up to the paradise cliche? Is it as fantastic as those holiday brochures make it out to be! I hate to break it to you, it is! Well, let’s put it this way, it is as close to the cliched image of paradise in my head as I have ever seen! It was also my first ever holiday on American soil and I have to say, I want to come to the USA! The people are amazing, and people do make a place so they say, whoever they are.
We only went to one of the islands, the island of Oahu, which is the most densely populated of the Hawaiian islands, and is where the capital Honolulu is, as well as the famous Waikiki beach. We didn’t stay at Waikiki though cause it not my kind of thing, I am not a beachy person (I know what you are thinking Hawaii = beach crazy lady) but there is so much more to Hawaii than just lying on a beach. Of course if that type of thing floats your boat you have a slice of beach paradise for sure! We visited Waikiki and it was PACKED! We actually chose Oahu because it was a direct flight from Tokyo, which with two kids under 6 is a little bit of a blessing. I needn’t have worried though cause the kids were great on the flight, I find the more we travel with them the easier it gets. I have a habit of talking about the flight as part of the journey, I am no stranger to complaining to my better half and saying if someone put me on a plane by myself and I got to sit there and watch movies, read books and get fed I would probably not want to get off! I don’t really like flying though, I don’t think many people do to be fair, but if you are nervous your kids will be nervous so a little bit of lying to yourself here goes a long way! However, next time I go to Hawaii (yes I am already planning/daydreaming in my head) I will definitely explore another few islands cause these kiddos will be fine!
The only downside, the jet lag! I hate jet lag, but jet lag with kids can be torture! Since getting to Tokyo and having jet lag wherever I seem to go though I am getting used to it! The first two days suck and it helps to be in a hotel that has 24hr room service cause the kids without a doubt will wake up two nights in a row at around 2 am and be starving! It took us about 5 days this time to get ourselves sorted but if you keep calm and manage your own expectations it isn’t that bad, the poor little night owls cannot help it!
We rented a car while on the island, my first time ever driving a Dodge and I have to admit I felt rather cool. I don’t think we would have enjoyed the holiday as much without a car, we got to travel around the entire island and stop to take photos, have lunch, walk, swim in the sea. I always like to travel by car with the kids, I find it easier on them as you can do things at your own pace and on your own terms and nowadays its easy to rent car seats with the car. Then all you need is a limitless supply of snacks, drinks, books, stickers, patience and iPad battery power.
After our 10 days in Hawaii, we then had to fly back to Tokyo for 24hrs, yep you saw that right 24hrs! I did the washing and the re-packing, the hubbie got to fit in a 14hr work day, Lisa got to destroy Lego, Deon got to destroy plants and zombies on the xbox for way too many hours and then we were on another big airplane flying 12 and a half hours in the other direction with 8 hours time difference. I know, it was painful just to type that. This time I was nervous cause with all the jet lag and tiredness we didn’t really have an idea of what day it was or if it was night or day, but this flight went even better and when leaving the aircraft the air hostess asked me to please write a book on flying with kids cause she would buy it! So I left that flight with a big mommy head and big smile on my face, which lasted until 2am when I had to get up and cook “lunch”. In hindsight though I think it went well cause we were all just too tired to cause any trouble.
Once on english soil of course it was granny to the rescue and the immediate feeling of relaxation sunk in. One week in London and then we were off to North Devon. I am still editing the Devon photos and then I will tell ya all about that trip! It was an eye opener for me and now I want to explore more of the UK!
Happy travels everyone! May the kids sleep in, may they find new ways to keep themselves entertained, may they eat foreign foods without looking or sounding like they are being tortured, may they not complain every five minutes of every city or countryside walk, may their sense of wonder keep them smiling and full of curiosity!
I’m pissed off with books. No wait, maybe that isn’t quite right, it’s more like I am having a serious love / hate relationship with books at the moment. I cannot seem to get enough of them, I devour them and use them, and then I get angry with them for making me think, feel and question things. It reminds me of a damn good romance although that may also just be me because I long for the movie styled happy ending. In fact there seems to be no end in sight for me and books at the moment, and I have no idea if this will have a happy ending either!
I gravitate towards many types of books, my favourite would always be a good travel story, full of discoveries, adventure and the thrill of the new and the beauty of nature. These kinds of books are my ultimate procrastination books, books such as “into the wild”, “wanderlust”, “a mad world my masters” etc I disappear into the book for days and can do nothing else, aka procrastinate.
After that I get the need for inspiration and motivation and read books like the Malcom Gladwell books (I love everyone of them) or “Freakonomics” by Stephen Dubner, the behance series of books such as “Maximise your potential” and “Manage your day-to-day”. I also love “the creative compass” by Sierra Prasada and Dan Millman, and “Write Every Day” by Cathy Yardley, as well as any of Brene Brown’s books. These kinds of books get me all inspired and motivated to do stuff and I feel like I am ready to take on the world. No exaggeration at all.
But here is where the problem comes in, I cannot figure out what to do or how to do what. Enter the self-help section. I love self-help books, I am sucked in by the promising titles, the desire to get better, grow, live to my full potential. I am like a moth to a flame and I fly straight into the heat with no fear of betting burnt. I am not unaware that this is just yet another form of procrastination, “I will just read this one book, when I am finished I will take action and really do something”, is something I commonly hear in my head. Well one book follows another and another and another. It is not because I don’t want to do anything, it is because I don’t know exactly what it is that I want to do and I work in absolutes, it’s just how I am hard wired. I need to know where I’m going and why, and at the moment I lack vision, I lack direction. I have read some great books, books I would highly recommend like “the four hour work week”, “the alchemist”, “a beautiful anarchy”, SUMO, etc. All great books which leave you feeling as though you can really do it, you can make the life you want to live into a reality.
But do you want to know what happens if you are a little bit lost like I am and overdose on these books, you start waking up at 4am because your brain won’t turn off, you want to dive straight in, but you don’t know where it is that you need to dive, you want to follow your passion and make a living from it, but you don’t know where to start. All the books say start small and build up, but you are left thinking, ok that sounds great, now where do I start and you know what that does to me, it makes me pick up yet another book again looking for inspiration, motivation and searching for direction. I am no closer to figuring anything out, I am no closer to following my dreams, I am however full of the belief that anything is possible and one day I will make “it?” happen. I know the answer is not in the books, it is in the action and I have to do something to get somewhere, wherever that somewhere might be. No one can tell what or where I need to go, no one can give me my vision or tell me which direction to take, I need to do that.
And here is where we circle back around, welcome back procrastination my favourite friend (and yes I have read “the War of Art” and tell myself RESISTANCE on a daily basis), bring on the travel books, books on nutrition, photography books, anything where I can escape my head and give myself that illusion that there is in fact more time. If you are anything like me and have this crazy head spinning “what” going around in your brain please let me know! And if you were like me and found your way out of this cycle, please please please feel free to give me some butt kicking advice and rid me of this itch!
I have been a foreigner for longer than I can remember. Moving and living somewhere new does help to constantly remind me to see with fresh eye and look at the world around me and to see the everyday beauty. As easy as that sounds though it often takes no more than 6 months before routines and daily life start to replace that fascination with the new and the simple beauties. Before long everything starts to look the same and the days start to bleed into one another again. This happens faster than you may think. If you live abroad it doesn’t necessarily mean that life is anymore exciting, or that your daily routines are magically more interesting or disappear. In fact in matter what life you lead, whether it be a foreigner or a homebody we can all do with a reminder every now and again to slow down and look, slow down and observe, slow down and take in the simple, little, everyday wonders in our lives. We need to remember to keep our eyes open. I wanted to remind myself of this and by writing it here hopefully remind someone else as well. There is beauty everywhere, but you won’t see it if you don’t look.