I grew up in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia in the 90s. It’s a tiny town, a compound, built for employees of the Saudi Arabian oil company. My friends were from Pakistan, Jordan, India, America, Scotland, and Canada. We drove golf carts around town and hung out on the sand by the Persian Gulf.Continue Reading
I love to travel for the same reason I love books: new ideas, people, and places, all of which make my life richer and wider.
I also love to take my kids. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t like to spend money to take their kids places, they won’t remember or appreciate it. But…. I don’t do it for my kids as much as I do it for me.
Not everywhere is a great kid trip, but Peru is! All outside adventuring.
Peru was Josh’s dream. It also has a mile long wave. Justin will make anyone’s dream happen if there is surfing involved.
We explained that we wanted to take anyone who wanted to go. But you had to want to. So each of the kids had to save a certain amount of money to contribute to the trip. $100 for the older two and $50 for Max. It was touch and go with Max, he almost stayed home with AJ and Grams, but I’m so glad he decided to come:)
He left four days before us and stayed at the Chicama Beach Hotel with his brother. A boat pulled them out to the waves and then they surfed in. There was tons of amazing food and daily massages. When they checked out, Justin was floored at how low the bill was. He’s already dreaming about his next trip.
He picked us up at the airport in Lima and we made our way to our airbnb in Mira flores. Our top priority on this trip was the Sacred Valley. I had read that it was best to take morning flights within Peru because they tend to get canceled later in the day. With three kids, we decided to spend a day in Lima instead of flying out super early the next morning.
Lima is tricky to get around. There’s no easy public transportation – And taxis for a family of five can get expensive (taxi green was the best). So we knew we needed to use our time wisely. The kids were most excited to do a day trip to the Isla Palomino and see penguins and sea lions. At the beginning, we were all smiling.
Justin and Josh saw the penguins and swam with the sea lions in too small, holey wetsuits. But we all survived.
Max was a trooper. Whenever he got tired he’d just lay down and close his eyes, and then smile at us groggily when we woke him up.
We made it to Cusco the next day. Our guide, Oscar (he was fantastic and I don’t particularly enjoy having guides as a rule) picked us up at the airport and drove us directly down to Ollyantaytambo. I was nervous about the altitude so we stayed in the sacred valley for five days before seeing Cusco.
On the way, we stopped at the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary and saw llamas, alpacas, vicunas…
The last stop was Pisac, before we made it to our B & B in Ollyantaytambo.
We saw our first farming terraces,
And saw the Pisac Market.
I have wanted to go to Great Basin National Park and Ely Nevada for a long time, but beach trips keep getting in the way of my best laid plans. I know it’s not a terrible problem to have, I just like some variety in my life. But I decided Fall Break it was going to happen, whether or not anyone else wanted to come with me. Originally it was just going to be me and the kids. Justin was supposed to be on a boys trip in Memphis. But a back injury kept him home with us, and he decided that the short drive might be bearable if we stopped every hour or so. We’re so glad he came.We got up early and headed straight for Leihman Caves in Great Basin National Park. They were pretty magnificent.A highlight: standing in complete blackness. When the lights came back on max had his arms wrapped around Anna in a death grip.
After seeing all the stalactites, stalagmites, cave bacon, pounding on the cave door to simulate an earthquake, and looking for bats, we headed outside for a picnic.
I loved all the Fall colors. It’s still fairly summery where I’m at. AJ wasn’t too keen on letting Justin rest.Anna taught us how to play “Will you Marry Me?” Then we drove up 7500 more feet. Justin and AJ napped in the car, while the kids and I hiked up to the Bristlecone pine trees. We weren’t very prepared for the icy trail, and got a few sideways looks from hikers, but we made it. Unfortunately my phone died in route so I have no pictures, but the trees were worth every step. Most of them were thousands of years old. It always awes me a little to be near something that ancient, to wonder what it’s born witness to in its life. Josh and went a little farther to see the glacier, and then we all headed down to our hotel.Hidden Canyon Retreat. Was between two tiny towns 7 miles off a dirt road, and it was the best part of our trip. These guys were hanging out while we drove to our room. We were some of the only guests and had the outdoor hot tub all to ourselves that night. We soaked and looked at thousands of stars.Anna got some whittling done.And my family is now all convinced that we need a ping pong table. The property was beautiful.“On the way home” which turned out to not be quite as on the way as I’d planned. We hit up the Northern Nevada Railway for a ride on a steam engine. FYI when engines run on coal it rains down from the sky on you while you ride.AJ thought it was too cool to take a nap.
Your train ticket includes a walking tour of the yard, which we only made it through half of, because of a baby that hadn’t napped. But the kids loved it. It’s a working yard, meaning that there were guys in there working on engines, they got to see all the tools and I may or may not have been worried that someone was going to fall into one of the pits and die. An authentic experience:) I love random trips.
Yesterday, the kids had a half day – which meant we had a sliver of time before soccer and football practice to go on an “adventure”. Josh rolls his eyes when I ask if they want to go on
Josh now rolls his eyes when I ask if they want to go on an adventure – but the word still makes me excited, and I can be cheesy if I want to.
When I suggested trekking out to Grafton to explore the ghost town, Josh was thrilled – he’s my fellow history lover. Anna was skeptical and Max just kept saying, “but I’m tired, can’t we watch a show?”.
I loaded the BFG to listen to and brought Anna’s kindle to play games as a special treat and we were on our way.
Josh and Anna were disappointed that the school and one of the houses were locked and tried their best to break in – no dice. We explored, swung on the swing and tried to imagine what it would have been like to live here. Anna thought it would have been great to go to school with only six other kids – Josh and Max not so much. Max was quite proud that he caught a lizard, but he hung onto it just a little too tightly. When I made him let it go, it didn’t move.
Buddy, I think he’s dead. We need to be so careful when we catch animals. We don’t want to hurt them.
I know Mom, but it wasn’t me, I think he must have gotten stung by a spider.
We’re working on accountability and being gentle. I was a little traumatized.
The best part was the graveyard. So many lives, so many stories that we’ll never know. Sacred ground. Josh discovered a boy with his same name that died at his same age. There were a lot of children there which led to a discussion on how lucky we are to live when and where we do. I would love to know the story of these three Piute Indians buried in the back. They died over one hundred years ago, and there were still flowers on their graves.
You don’t have to travel far to allow your kids to see a life different from their own, to shift perspective and to go home with gratitude – only ten minutes late for soccer practice and car sick from playing the kindle on the way back.