Wednesday Write-Up: Always Ready to Move

Last week in my Wednesday Write-up I wrote about the similarities between long-term travel and “real” life. A good blogger friend of mine, Jhanis at The Vanilla Housewife, posed a great question to me that spurred this post into fruition. (Make sure to check out her blog!)

She wrote. “I have a question. I am a very sentimental person and moving to the city took a lot of guts and I cried a lot. It was miserable the first few months and even until now. I still miss it back home. If the time comes for you guys to move on to the next destination, do you think it will be hard? Or would you be more excited to travel again.”

I want to start off by saying that my personality type is one that I enjoy moving often. In fact I was raised in a family where moving every 2-3 years was common place, and no we were not a military family. We may have been in the same city for some of the moves, but our neighborhoods changed often. Until I was 16 years old, and now my parents have been living in the same house since then.  I always enjoyed the chance to start anew, make new friends, and experience new places. I am a rambler and always get a bit unsettled if in a place over 2 years. So I guess you could say that I am not very sentimental about the places that I have lived.

I am sentimental about the people I have left behind though. I often think of my family and friends in all the places I have lived and visited with fondness, and yes, sometimes with sadness and longing to be nearer to them.  I will say that technology has helped with that extremely. I am able to keep in touch much easier with Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, and other social networks. I feel a part of their lives still and I hope they feel a part of mine (because they are!).

To answer the question about it being hard to move to the next destination, yes it will be. In some ways, there are always difficulties in any type of move, whether we have been in a place a month or a year.  I do get excited about traveling, but I will miss the friends that we have made. I get excited about trying new foods, but will miss some of the dishes I have loved here. I never feel miserable though, the next place is always enthralling to me. I feel more unsettled being settled than on the move.

I think that when we leave Thailand, it will be a bit harder because now Z is old enough to have some solid friendships as well. She has gotten used to new places and  different faces during her short 3 years on this small world,  but I know she will be sad to leave this time around and even more as she gets older.  That will be really hard for me as well, I want her to always be happy. But realistically, that isn’t possible and I do feel that this lifestyle we are leading will help her in later years.

We will not travel forever, eventually we will have to take root somewhere, at least for a little longer time period.  I feel nowhere near ready for that though. There is so much more of this amazing planet that we want to see.

I hope that answers the excellent question that Jhanis asked me. (Thanks Jhanis!)  If you have any other questions about this, feel free to leave a comment. It may give me an idea for another post! Hmmmm…. Maybe I should have an “Ask Jenny at And Three To Go” post every so often. What do you think?

Monday Montage: Atlanta, Georgia

Today is a special day here at And Three To Go! Valerie from Atlanta Mom of Three has kindly shared about her area of the world on todays Monday Montage! Make sure to check out her blog (and her other blog Becoming The Sexy Wife). She writes wonderful articles about parenting, birth, and homeschooling that I love to read. Thank you Valerie!

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Atlanta, Georgia is architecturally beautiful, and while I don’t actually live in the city itself, I have spent a great deal of time here in the seventeen years I’ve been in the south because it only takes about fifteen minutes to get there from our home. Atlanta is very family-friendly, offering such things as museums, a zoo and aquarium, stadiums, and more. I am happy to share some of the sights with you today!

If you come here to visit, one of the first things you will be sure to notice is just how populated it is! But that’s what happens when you are home to the busiest airport in world!! Hartsfield-Jackson International airport is the busiest, both in terms of passenger traffic and number of flights. In 2012 alone, there were 95 million passengers and over 950,000 flights!

Delta

Courtesy of Wikipedia

As a teenager (living in Michigan), I started planning my life as a flight attendant. I totally wanted to work for Delta! I had relatives living near Atlanta so I planned to come stay here with them, attend Delta’s training school, and become a traveling woman!
Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, I fell in love, got married and started having babies….so that airplane dream ended – but that’s okay! God had other plans for me!
The airport’s travelers (as well as many other businesses) results in an enormous amount of traffic in and around the city. Many places on our north/south interstate (I-75) have 8-10 lanes ON EACH SIDE (!!), with the average through the city being 5-6 lanes (for a total of 10-12). These lanes are full almost all the time, and there are frequent(daily?) traffic jams. BUT, this isn’t a reason to avoid Georgia’s capital!! haha Just look for the HOV lane, designed for vehicles with more than one passenger (or busses and motorcycles), and you’re going to have a much less hectic ride.
The traffic is worth it for the fantastic attractions! Here are just a few of the many ATTRACTIONS that our family has enjoyed in Atlanta:
Our most visited place for family fun in the city is definitely Zoo Atlanta. We have gone countless times over the years, and have enjoyed seeing all three of our children get excited about the wonderful animals that live there.
Zoo Atlanta
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta (which used to be called “Imagine It”), has been a favorite of ours, though we’ve yet to take our youngest to it. They have fun exhibits; they’re all interactive and they encourage play!

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Atlanta has the huge Georgia Aquarium, which is home to over 100,000 animals. If you can plan your trip right, and avoid going at times when it’s SUPER busy (holidays, weekends, late in the day, etc), you will be in for a treat. It is amazing and beautiful!

GA Aquarium

Courtesy of Wikipedia

This summer and last, my kids (10 and 14) have gotten to go see the Braves play at Turner Field. While it’s terribly overpriced, the experience has been great for them. They’ve gone with my sister and brother-in-law as well as my husband. I am NOT a sports fan, so I’ve stayed home, but they’ve loved it!

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

There are many more places to visit if you’re ever in our beautiful capital, so check out the official Atlanta Tourism Guide for all the possibilities! And also feel free to check out an Atlanta Mom of Three‘s perspective on marriage, pregnancy, birth, and parenting by clicking HERE. :)
Thanks for letting me share about my home, Jenny!

I’m Guest Posting at Atlanta Mom of Three Today!

Valerie at Atlanta Mom of Three asked me to write a guest post for her excellent blog. Today I am guest posting on her site about how we were able to start traveling long term. Click here to read my post and support her site as well!

atlanta-blog-button2Make sure to subscribe to And Three To Go (on the right hand side of if you are using a computer) as well because Valerie is guest posting about her area of the world in next weeks Monday Montage! She is the first guest poster (is that a real term? Hmmm) since my mom wrote about her experiences when she visited us in Hua Hin, Thailand.
Thanks again to Valerie for the opportunity to share posts! And thank you all for reading and supporting us!

Wednesday Write-Up: Can Travel Help End Hatred?

There are many awful things going on in the world right now. Actually let me rephrase that, there are always vile and foul and hateful things happening in our world.  There have been short times of world peace in human history, but certainly not during my lifetime, and I am pretty sure that there won’t be either. No, I am not being a negative Nancy, I am just being real. What’s going on in Ferguson,  Iraq, Israel, and in the Ukraine makes my stomach turn. I do not usually write about such charged topics, but this has been weighing on my mind and I had a thought that I wanted to share.

We humans love to hate other humans. We cannot seem to stop ourselves. We judge people, we try to control others,  all the while we tell ourselves that we are “good people.” It’s a real conundrum to me, because I am pretty sure if we are all “good people” then kindness and love would be shown a whole lot more in this world.  But I digress…

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”― Mark Twain

This quote by Mark Twain is what made me want to write this post. It brought to print what I had been thinking since we began traveling a year and a half ago.  I think that traveling can help to end much of the hatred that we humans show to each other. That along with having true faith in Jesus Christ, but that is another post for another day.

When we left our hometown of Santa Rosa, California and started to experience new cultures along the way, my eyes were opened. I began to realize  how staying in one place or community your whole life can cause fear and hatred for those that are different.  Visiting other cultures made me realize that we humans are all just humans. We all deserve to live, we all deserve to be treated with love and respect, we all deserve to live without fear. I strive to not see a persons color, religion, or financial status anymore… I choose to see a person that should be loved. My faith taught me that’s how I should be to others, but traveling is what made me believe it.

Travel does not have to be to international destinations for this to work. It can be as close as exploring a neighboring town or county, heck it could be a street away from you. Get outside your comfort zone and meet others that live differently from you. It could be that they are a different race, or a different religion, or are wealthy or poor. Once you get to know others that are different from yourself, you will start to see that we are all people just trying to make it through this life in our own way.  Seeing first hand how others live is much more real than the garbage that the media feeds us about “those people” and I am hoping that it will open your eyes like it did mine.

It is difficult to fear something that we understand. So, it makes sense to me that the more that we all delve into other cultures, the more we will understand where they are coming from.  Can travel cure our hate filled hearts? No, only God can do that. But I do think travel is a way to spread understanding and love.

What do you think about this? What other ways do you think we can stop being so hateful and start loving others? I know that some will disagree with me about my opinions in this post.  Disagree away, but please keep your comments nice and constructive.

Monday Montage: No Words Necessary

Today I am letting the photos do all the talking in my Monday Montage. Happy Labor Day to everyone back in the States!

I thought the way this Banyan tree was wrapping around the other tree was beautiful.

I thought the way this Banyan tree was wrapping around the other tree was beautiful.

A gloomy day and low tide in Cape Panwah.

A gloomy day and low tide in Cape Panwah.

Z walking on the bench along the beach in Cape Panwah.

Z walking on the bench along the beach in Cape Panwa.

Z and her new friend Fatima. I love that traveling has given Z the opportunity to get to know kids from every walk of life.

Z and her new friend, Fatima. I love that traveling has given Z the opportunity to get to know kids from different cultures and religions.

More of Z walking in Cape Panwah. I love her carefree attitude and bravery.

More of Z walking in Cape Panwa. I love her carefree attitude and bravery.

The clock tower in Phuket Town is stuck on 9:25.

The clock tower in Phuket Town is stuck on 9:25.

Thank you for reading and following us on our adventures traveling the world! Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to see more what we are doing on a daily basis.

The Piggyback Rider – Review

The Piggyback Rider
by Chad R. Mitchell

Baby on baby, on babe.

Baby on baby, on babe.

One of the more challenging parts of traveling with a toddler is the ability to control their movements. They are constantly in motion, and usually looking to move in a direction that is opposite to that of their parents. I cannot count the number of times I have gripped Z’s hand in a struggle to either pull her along, slow her down, or yank her out of danger’s way. I love that she is motivated, and independent enough to want to explore on her own, but I also don’t want her slipping down the side of a cliff, or dashing headfirst into oncoming traffic.

Let me, let me!

Let me, let me!

If she doesn’t ride in our beat to crap well-worn stroller, then she wants to walk, or to be held… and frankly she is getting far too big to be carried for extended periods of time. I may think I have the endurance of an ox, but in truth my arms feel like they are screaming after lugging her along over the battered streets and many stairs of SE Asia and beyond. Frankly, I miss the days when she fit in a backpack, contained and content, a shared experience we both loved since she could barely hold her head up by herself. Unfortunately most backpacks are simply too bulky of an item to add to our baggage count, and we were also worried that they would make us and Z too hot in the higher temperatures of the places we travel.

So, it was a great surprise to hear of a novel new product that would allow us to keep her on our backs, but would also allow her to be an active participant in the journey. It also claimed to be extremely light weight (under 3 pounds!) and small enough to fit in our carry on baggage. I found the product online via their website, and contacted them to see if they would ship one to Thailand. Fortunately they did, and we have been using it for the last 9 months.

Sure you can climb. Jen said no...

Sure you can climb. Jen said no…

The Piggyback Rider is a backpack, but not like one that I have seen before. The significant difference is that the child is standing while riding, and hangs on to a set of rungs to keep themselves tight. It is intended to simulate a normal piggyback ride, but with added assistance and security. The toddler is securely clipped in via a lightweight backpack that they wear themselves and the bar that they stand on is a metal bar that rides right above the lower back of the parent. It is a very unique system, and for the most part it has been amazing.

Exploring caves together!

Exploring caves together!

The Positives:
Over the last few months we have been using it in night markets, crowded cities, and treks around semi-flooded islands. It is very portable and is easily slipped inside our small baggage. The Piggyback Rider has performed as expected, and it is amazing the amounts of heads that turn when we go by with Z on our back. People with toddlers chat excitedly and I am always glad to tell them what it is and where to find it. It comes in a variety of models, and the one we have has a water bladder that our daughter loves to drink from. It is made of high quality material, and is easily washed and stored in-between uses. Finally, it is mostly comfortable to use for extended periods of time, and I really was surprised at how easy it is have her get in and off when needed. A simple step down on my part, she clips in, stands on the bar, and off we go. If the bar is off kilter I can easily adjust it with one hand via the adjustment strap.

Wading through flooded islands. She didn't want to ride... again.

Wading through flooded islands. She didn’t want to ride… again.

The Negatives:
When we first got it, Z was not even three years old. They recommended age is from 2 1/2 years, and I personally think it might be better at 3. It requires a bit of dexterity on the child’s part to stand on the bar and our daughter was a little frightened at first that she would fall off. Of course, after a while she was comfortable and would start to lessen her death grip loving embrace on my neck, rather than the handles that are on the straps. Also, the toddler portion of the backpack doesn’t latch, which means that there is a slight possibility they could slide out of their own backpack, though it would be very difficult to do so.
Secondly the bar itself can ride awkwardly on the back of the parent. I found that if the bar rode too high, or too low, it would chafe and be uncomfortable for long periods of time. This was solved by adjusting the height, but it can be tedious at times. By the time I usually find a spot where both Z and I are comfortable she is done riding, and her legs are tired of standing and occasionally slipping on the bar.

Overall:

I really wanted to love The Piggyback Rider, I really did. I was so excited to try it and to use it every chance I got, and unfortunately we haven’t used it as much as I had hoped. For the most part it is a great design, and as Z gets older I hope to use it more. At the moment she gets tired of riding it quickly, and then it becomes one more thing (though it is light!) for us to carry. I think that if there was a way for toddlers to sit when they needed, and if the harness system was a bit more secure, I would think it might be close to a perfect alternative to the more traditional backpack. As it stands I am glad to have it, but look forward to how it might be improved in the future.

 Disclaimer: We did receive a discount on this product to review it, but we searched for it and found it on our own. All the opinions are our own. For more information about our legal stuff check out our Disclosure page.