Well, we are not even 10% of the way though our world-school adventure and already we all feel filled with new ideas, memories, friendships, information, and laughter (see some of the videos below). We’ve battled through some very strange foods (and all realize the importance of texture in what you eat), wild smells, bouts of stomach troubles (don’t ask), sleep changes, date lines, exhaustion and have still come back each and every day excited about what’s next. We’ve also shared an amazing experience together and, if possible, grown even stronger family bonds. I am continually astounded at my wonderful wife’s threshold for adventure and Brooke and Brayden’s fearless optimism to everything we’ve thrown at them in rapid fire. Travel is hard; it is also an amazing window to the world and to ourselves.
I sure hope that these memories come alive for our friends and loved ones, and that we remember this unique experience all of our lives… and I hope blogging, sharing and storing these memories will help these little balls of wonder remember their own experiences all of there own lives.
A few highlights of what I hope both Brayden and Brooke will always hold dear, and then I’ll post a few videos filled with lots of laughs.
- New friends – Nigel, Pedro, Wendy, John, Steven, Alice, Paul, Raymond, Kerry, Dan, Agatha, Simon, Cliff, Alan, Susan… thanks for filling our brains with information about so many places and for filling up our hearts with so much happiness.
- The beauty of Sydney.
- Bowling and dancing in a neon lit bowling night club that wasn’t sure what to do with the two kids, other than just let them dance around the alleys.
- Manly and Bondi beaches – drinking ginger tea and watching dolphins play and surfers catching huge waves.
- Eating miracle fruit seeds and then biting into a sour lemon that ‘miraculously’ tasted like pure sugar.
- Catching our own little waves in Byron Bay, and hopping along the jungle pathways like the Wallabies we were chasing on the sandy trail to the beach.
- Nightly family dinner topics (nightly rotating who leads the chat); the best day in our lives, the worst experience we’ve had, what super power we want, and what we can each do to protect this planet we are exploring.
- A gate pulling shut behind us, with three machine gun armed guards manning the entry to our hotel in Port Moresby.
- The awe we all had, mixed with fear, to get off the airstrip in Tari and watch that little plane leave us in Papua New Guinea – realizing we were really out there in a terrifyingly foreign place.
- Huli Wigmen warriors and their wigs, bows, daggers, face paint and smiles.
- Cars, jets, airplanes, surfboards, bikes, ferries, boats, jeeps.
- Bush-pilot Matt.
- Waterfalls around every turn as we stepped lightly across vine bridges that covered 100 meter high gorges in the western highlands of Papua New Guinea.
- The beauty (and swampy heat!) of the Sepik delta and the villages teeming with naked little village children that ran the river banks of the Karawari river that we called home for three amazing days.
- Flying bush planes in and out of mountain villages; and watching Brayden pilot us (laughing in joy, and then in fear as I realized this cannot be right).
- Mt. Hagen and the mudmen that slowly danced and stalked us in a very creepy maneuver (‘take the women and children!’)
- Feeding crocodiles at the croc sanctuary, and laughing uncontrollably as Brandy thought she was going to die.
- Koala sanctuary lessons, and then getting to hold Squibbly – where Brooke, our resident animal lover, proclaimed: “I am so happy, it’s like I am a unicorn riding along a rainbow!”
- Classrooms with Ryan in planes, cars, on beaches and in the jungle.
- Alan and Susan’s sustainable farm, and learning about ethno-botany and their lifelong dream (a dream realized) to preserve so many tropical plants and fruits from all over the world in their organic botanical sanctuary.
- Snorkeling the outer banks of the Great Barrier Reef… and diving in off of the second deck of the boat together.
- Canopy surfing on zip lines in the Daintree, the planets oldest living rainforest… the only place on the planet where two world heritage sites meet (Daintree and Great Barrier Reef). It’s like Hawaii and Big Sur combined, and seems relatively undiscovered by masses of tourists.
- Miles and miles of wide open beaches, from Daintree to Mossman to Byron Bay.
- Carrying lacrosse sticks on our packs, and pulling them out all over the place for catches in unbelievable places. Watching a Huli warrior struggle to catch a toss, and then light up with a huge smile when he finally caught it was priceless.
It’ll be with excitement for Bali and Cambodia that we leave Australia, but with a little bit of sadness for one of the friendliest, most beautiful and welcoming countries we’ve ever visited. Thanks Australia for the amazing start to our journey (and thanks to PNG for the wake-up call for all that we have to learn and protect about this planet).
Ok, here go some videos from our trip.
Laughing with a crazy horned-bill named Cocomo –
Crocodile Dundee is not Brandy –
Huli leader and his two boys showing us how they hunt for tree kangaroos, cassowaries, and maybe enemy tribes?
Diving into the crystal blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef –
Yeeeee! Zip-lining from thousand year old tree to tree in the 125 million year old Daintree rainforest.