A Family Travel Blog
We're one of the first families on the face of the planet committed to crisscross every country - yes, all 196 of them - and unearth their marvels again and again!"
WHO ARE THE GEOBEETLES?
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where —” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“ ...So long as I get somewhere.” Said Alice.
“Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough,” the Cat said.
– from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Sitting at the corner of Harvard Square near Boston on a cold night in late October, Shameema and I had been scribbling dutifully on an untidily torn piece of paper, when at some point we realized that our list had gone far enough. Hastily jotted down on that piece of paper were a collection of unique travel destinations, an odd bucket list if it can be called that, distributed across 112 countries and seven continents. They were the travel attractions we promised ourselves to visit sometime in what was now our mutually entwined future; for just a few hours ago, the two of us had exchanged our wedding vows.
Made from our intersecting sliver of thoughts, hopes, and aspirations, our list has inexplicably survived the test of time to give birth to this thrilling family travel blog. Against all odds, and amongst the inevitable ups and downs of family life, an inextricable theme still binds us together: our respect for the unknown, our love of exploration, and our odyssey to discover culture and nature, and to do so as a close-knit family. That we’d ultimately be able to pursue a life of travel was beyond even the wildest imagination of the two dreaming souls embarking on this wild journey.
"They were the travel attractions we promised ourselves to visit sometime in what was now our mutually entwined future; for just a few hours ago, the two of us had exchanged our wedding vows."
"Immigrants in an alien land where we had no family, with 8,000 miles of separation from the only homes that we knew, swimming against the fast-flowing current of tradition and society meant that we could barely keep our heads above water."
The Mountain Ahead
Nonetheless, those were exceedingly harsh times. Both immigrants in an alien land where we had no family, with 8,000 miles of separation from the only homes that we knew, swimming against the fast-flowing current of tradition and society meant that we could barely keep our heads above water. At the time, we were in school for the foreseeable future, and in heavy debt. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, we managed to keep alive in us three parallel feelings: dare, dream, and determination. The more the ink on our bucket list of places to travel had started to fade, the more we dug in, vowing to build ourselves a family of wandering souls from the ground up.
But money and family obligations weren’t the only impediments to our globetrotting scheme. We both had successful careers that we weren’t ready to quit just yet, and near-constant travel, especially as a family, would be premature at this stage. A visit to a randomly picked foreign country was unlikely to be a whimsical decision but instead had to be planned well. While I continued with my faculty position at the university, Shameema, as a senior scientist, collaborated with government institutions such as NASA as well as a handful of other biomedical companies.
Then, before we knew it, our family had started to grow, until we were supporting three children of our own, and even traveling a little with them. We also found time to adopt an extended family that featured a diverse array of extra-human species: two cats, two tortoises, a gecko, a snake, a hedgehog, and a uromastyx (a spiny-tailed lizard), although we knew that traveling with them was never going to be an option. But at every opportunity we got, rather than be constrained by chasing the coveted American dream, our family dream was to discover the dreams of all the other inhabitants of this world who’re removed from us in time, place, and even genes.
Money was obviously an issue when it came to any kind of serious travel, but with time, the family learned to navigate this restriction by cutting down on the unnecessary pieces deemed indispensable by most within our social hierarchy. Trying to find enough break time to travel places, however, was a constant impediment, mainly because each member of the family ran in a slightly different schedule. Still, even while our three daughters got increasingly tangled in school activities, for the most part, we successfully managed to untangle them enough on their breaks, as well as over Summer and Christmas, so we could travel with some degree of consistency.
Now and Tomorrow
Our grand odyssey started as a curiosity a decade ago, and since then, travel has been the lifeblood of our family. On the way, our travel notes transformed into travel journals, and eventually metamorphosized into travel blogs. In those intervening years, we’ve crisscrossed the globe ninety-two times, traveling to fifty-five countries across six continents, viewing the planet from the perspectives of artists, photographers, scientists – and what’s been the most important for the entire family – a conservationist. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation (and our airline mileage history) shows us that during this period, a few among us traveled over half a million miles, more than the distance to the Moon. This also averages to sixty-six thousand miles every year, for every person in the family. This is enough to circumnavigate the earth eight times annually. Sounds impossible? Think you don’t quite have the time or money to make this work? Through our family travel blog, we’re here to tell you that if we can do this as full-time working professionals as a family with three children, so can you! Our blogs go into all the nitty-gritty details of planning to help you realize all your travel ambitions. And as you’ll soon find out, not only do our blogs show you how you can do this, we’ll even vouch that you’ll be able to do it!
"That realization should catapult readers of this blog to find new inspirations to travel, and to celebrate life everywhere: from the ‘mighty’ blue whale to the ‘lowly’ dung beetle, and every species in between."
These days, we’re constantly moving, another reason why we rely on our blogs to share our family experiences with others, to make it easier for everyone to gain confidence in their travel, to learn from these blog pages the many pitfalls our own family has made. Hopefully, we’re able to dispel the myth once and for all that traveling as a family is difficult; in these blogs, we will show you how this is not the case even when your family is traveling within a third world country. Our blogs attempt to make the love of travel contagious.
But there is also a distinctly conservationist tone we strike through our blogs. We show in these blogs how progress is crushing out unique life forms – animals, plants, and yes, human races too. We remind you how the ones that disappear forever remain unknowable to us. That realization should catapult readers of this blog to find new inspirations to travel, and to celebrate life everywhere: from the ‘mighty’ blue whale to the ‘lowly’ dung beetle, and every species in between.
Let our family help yours to see the planet through the fun and excitement of our family travel blog.