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World Travel -- Part II

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Postcards ...from you

Take the kids along on a trip around-the-world with Daniel, Nicolas, Felicia, mom, Daniella and dad, Frank. Part II. 

    
    Around-the-World: Italy was our first stop, it was the birth country of our parents and the children’s grandparents.  We wanted the kids to experience village life, become immersed in the Italian way, and to get to know their relatives.
    En route to Malaysia, we stopped in Singapore, a vibrant, safe and uniquely oriental city. We stayed at the Singapore YMCA--visited the Singapore Zoo, Centosa Island, Jarong Bird park, and The Haw Paw Villa.  
    The island of Borneo in Malaysia would be our home for 5 weeks, We stayed in the state of Sarawak with Malaysian friends, There we lived the day to day life of Malaysians.  We also enjoyed trekking Bako National Park--searching for the elusive Probiscus monkey.  Four year old Nicolas was the first to spot these interesting creatures.  We also visited the Semmeil Orangutan Reserve, explored the world famous Fairy cave, and traveled by long boat into the rain forest.  You can imagine--by now the kids’ eyes were as big as saucers!   
    Next stop, Australia... We had a great time seeing the sites of Sydney.  Then we traveled overland to Philip Island, so we could experience one of a most amazing natural phenomena--the nightly penguin parade!  Thousands of Fairy penguins return to the beach after a full day of swimming and fishing in the ocean.  The three kids had the best time following the penguins from the shore to their burrows --hands-on natural history!
    In New Zealand, we arranged a farm stay with a delightful family for four weeks.  In exchange for a bungalow and dinner, we helped with  farm chores. What a positive experience... and we made new friends!
    Next, we traveled by hydro boat to the small remote island of Tavewa in the Yasawa Group of Fiji. For 5 weeks the three youngsters played with the Fijian children, attended the village church, and got to be part of the local culture.  Each day we visited the reef so we could teach the kids about marine life and island geography.
    On the last leg of the trip we stopped to learn about active volcanoes on the Big Island of HawaiiCalifornia ended our around-the-world adventure. Here we visited friends and experienced the desert.

Highlights of Our Around-the-World Trip:

Longest flight:  The 12-hour flight from Rome to Singapore. Airline flights became exercises in ways to entertain a 6, 4, & 3-year-old.

Best mode of travel: The three-hour jet boat ride at full clip through Bligh Waters from the mainland of Fiji to the island of Tavewa. A white knuckle ride to be sure!

Most interesting experiences:   Caught in a torrential downpour while trekking the Bako National Park in Borneo. Watching a fire walking ritual in Nadi, Fiji. Santa Claus dropping flower leis from a helicopter on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Clearing an acre of land and building a utility shed on a farm in New Zealand.

Best family experience: 5 weeks living in a Fijian bure on a coconut plantation, on Tavewa--no phones, no hydro boat, and no contact outside the island other than mail or emergency phone service.

Retrospect: A positive attitude was the key to the success of our around-the-world family journey.  We focused on each other and learned quickly that as long as we had each other we required very little in the way of material possessions.  
    The children were a delight, enjoying each other’s company,  looking forward to each new destination and eager to learn of new cultures.
    Traveling with children can open many doors that otherwise might remain closed.  Daniel, Nicolas, and Felicia were our ambassadors of good will--the Italians adored the kids, stopping us in airports, on trains, and in villages to talk with us.  Fijian society has high regard for children--we had access to almost any place that we ventured, even an afternoon tea!  The larger cities like Singapore, Rome, and Sydney treat traveling families noticeably better and with greater warmth than two adults traveling alone. 
    Without reservation, traveling with children is challenging, but we discovered that the rewards are well worth the effort. We have all made lifelong friends and have mementos and memories to last our entire lives.
                                           
--Frank Scarcelli and Daniella Casciola,  Daniel, Nicolas, and Felicia -- Ontario, Canada

 

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