Over the past year, I have become such a huge fan of the Around The World Stories. I feel a strong connection with Tania and Matthew, the mom and dad behind this wonderful project who embraced their dream of traveling around the world with their children. This family inspires me. I admire their leap of faith and their trust in their intuition that the path they have chosen for their family is the right one to pursue. They remind me that we are more free than we think we are. Sometimes our dreams are beckoning to us and we CAN follow.
Tania and Matthew have produced delightful audio stories from the places they have visited around the world, stories that ignite curiosity and wanderlust in children and instill a sense of value in the diversity of other cultures. These are beautiful lessons for our children to learn. I highly recommend checking our their excellent audio stories. Tania and Matt are offering you a free story today to listen to and enjoy with your family. The story is called Oma’s Birthday Watch. It’s about Germany, nature, family and kindness. Just click here to listen!
Here is Tania to give us a glimpse into the experiences of her traveling family…
Unexpected life lessons while on the road
Sometimes turning life upside down teaches us some very important things. Last summer we sold almost everything we owned, my husband quit his secure job and we left the country to begin our dream of starting our company, Around the World Stories, and traveling around Europe with our three girls. It was scary and wonderful and we are learning so much each and every day. Here are three things that we’ve learned that have changed my outlook on everything.
When we started this trip I felt like we needed to see it all. If we visited a city and didn’t see the ‘Top 10’ most important sites, I felt like we were missing the point of traveling. What I’ve learned is that the opposite is actually true. When we would try and do everything, our kids, either by their words or actions, would tell us to slow down! So we started choosing just a couple of special sites, spending time there, learning about them and being present in that moment. When we put our energy into one thing rather than spread it out over many, we are much happier and get so much more out of the experience. Sometimes we’ll stay at one monument for the afternoon having a picnic and talking, sometimes we’ll sit and listen to a street musician or we’ll linger in just one room of an art museum for hours. I’ve learned that slowing down brings us true joy and lets us get the most out of the experience.
I believe that slowing down applies to many things, not just travel. Shorten the to-do lists and focus on what’s right in front of us. Changing my outlook and slowing down has allowed me to find so much more joy in the present moment.
Small acts of kindness make all the difference
Sometimes it’s easy to forget this one. When we are settled somewhere we often get used to doing things on our own, being self-sufficient. But as we travel, we often need help from others. We have felt alone and unsure, and in those moments I’ve realized over and over how others’ acts of kindness can truly make a difference in our lives.
Once a complete stranger took the time to write us a two-page email describing all the best places to visit in Copenhagen after a short meeting on the street. We had a shop owner go upstairs to his home and give us his own firewood so that we could make a fire on a chilly night. Throughout these past months, we’ve had countless people go out of their way to help us get where we needed to go. Once a woman even took me in her car, drove me to the grocery store, walked through the store with me to translate everything and then drove me home! Even something as small as a kind note from one of our subscribers has often made our day. Experiencing the goodness of others has truly been one of the greatest blessings of this trip.
The little stuff is the big stuff
After nine months I can very clearly see some of the absolute best moments of our trip so far. We have of course loved walking through the streets of the big cities, visiting the famous monuments and important museums. But when I really think about the best moments, it’s the small ones that stick out in my mind — the times we spent telling stories over a fun breakfast, building stone piles in the creek, playing cards on the train or football on the beach. We smile about the time our girls created a beautiful story about a stone or when we rescued the lizard from the pool. We talk about when the girls ordered ice cream in German for the first time and how much they loved eating spaghetti ice cream. I’m looking for (and finding) more joy and beauty in all the small things than I ever have before. I enjoy the quiet of the night sky. I linger over my cup of tea. I appreciate our walks on the beach. I take the time to pause and take notice of the small things. And those small things truly fill my cup in a way I hadn’t felt before.
We spend our days writing stories. We love what we’re doing, and being able to share our stories has become one of our greatest joys. We write about other countries, cultures, foods and festivals, but we also write about kindness, generosity, honesty and bravery. We hope our stories inspire children to learn more about other cultures and to embrace the differences between people to ultimately help them become compassionate world citizens.
We’d love to give you a free story today to listen to and enjoy with your family. The story is called Oma’s Birthday Watch. It’s about Germany, nature, family and kindness. Just click here to listen!
If you don’t yet subscribe to our stories, we’d love for you to visit us at www.aroundtheworldstories.com and to have you along on our adventure!