These videos and articles focus on things that fuel my energy- global experiences, loved ones, and life learnings.
We did it! We went on our first international trip during COVID to Costa Rica. To summarize it in one word-- "exhilarating."
While countries have various restrictions (many are closed to travelers from the US)- I have to say that I felt extremely safe and a lot of precautions were taken, even more than I experience in my home city.
My perspective- As I have shared before, I think that everyone has to do what they feel is right for them based on personal values and lifestyle choices. Even though we went on this trip with concerns (which can be uncomfortable), it did not stop us from living our best lives and reconnecting us with something we love.
Lakshmi's Learnings: Here was our experience in Costa Rica-
Questions- I grew up in the 1980s... How many of you had a map/atlas/or globe in your house? Do you have a globe today?
Lakshmi’s Learning- We do! I wanted to share a simple way to use a "globe" on a frequent basis with your young children. While I am sure that some world geography is taught in elementary school… Why wait? It's never too early and never too late. The globe presents a FUN and educational opportunity for us as parents with our children.
So, in this video… Shriya is spinning the globe. While she is familiar with all the continents and where they are located on a map/globe, she cannot read like her older sister. She is able to locate countries because she studies the globe and has memorized where some countries are located.
We do this a few days a week in the evening. The kids land on a particular country and we talk about that country the next few days. Things such as famous cool...
We are all finding different ways to live in this “new normal". I am reminiscing of our beautiful family trip to Bali, Indonesia. As you may have guessed, we have the travel bug! Perhaps one of the few “bugs” that we love!
Question- We have always enjoyed experiencing the world, but of course in the current global climate, it seems impossible, right?
Lakshmi's Learning- I think wrong. First and foremost, I will say that everyone has to do what they feel is right based on their personal values and lifestyle choices. As parents, we have this special quality to turn the impossible to possible. I am a member of a few “mommy” groups and have recently had discussions on “when should we travel again”. Lots of families did summer road trips in their respective countries or spent extended time visiting their families- how wonderful! Remember- any and all trips (e.g. to a zoo, to the lake, to another...
Apparently, it is World Breastfeeding Week.... and wow, this is a topic near and dear to my heart.
My daughters are 17 months apart (accident!). I was blessed to breastfeed both my children for over a year (even while pregnant with Shriya, I breastfed Shyla). My two learning experiences of being a breastfeeding mompreneur with a traveling career:
For Shyla (baby #1)- When I was working from home- nursing was easy breezy! When I was traveling- I took Shyla on many of my business trips (my mom was my nanny- what a gift). I would still pump in the office OR rush back to the hotel to feed her. The sad thing was people (including women) questioned why I left my office frequently and missed meetings- I had to pump (it’s a process!) or nurse.
Lesson Learned with Shyla- My child's food comes first- I will have to speak up when people question why I am missing meetings. And should not feel embarrassed or guilty. Self Assessment- I did not do this well and sometimes felt I was...
Question: What are some activities to do while traveling that young kids can enjoy?
Lakshmi’s Learning: Focus on doing something that your toddlers/kids love (interests can vary by age). Generally, kids like animals!! Especially at the ages my kids were in this picture- 3 and 1.5 years old (before fears really hit).
We planned our entire trip to Thailand with the intention of bathing the elephant at this amazing sanctuary. It was a very humbling and sacred family experience. We talked about it for weeks and girls were so excited! They enjoyed the first hour riding and feeding the elephants. But as you can see by bathing time, they were tired and the novelty wore off! They later played with the other kids that live in the sanctuary... which was great too! The adults still enjoyed this once in a lifetime experience!
So the question I always get asked is, should you wait until kids are older for these experiences?—— I generally say this- no, do...
So, how many parents can relate to the “moments of madness”? What do you do?
Question- What do I do when my child has a tantrums in public on our vacation?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Many people asked me if my kids cry and scream? Of course there have been many tantrums over the years while we travel (and more at home too)! I don’t always have time to capture on video as I am trying to calm the children... but this time I did!
So the answer is not a one size fits all approach, but here is one approach I started more recently and it has worked.—— In this situation, I forgot my daughter’s stroller in our Air BnB home. Oops! Nothing I can do! The irony is that she has not used it for one year at home. But it was her “comfort” while traveling - even though she doesn’t sit in it most of the time....she still just wants it.
What did I do? —- One piece of advice- Remain calm!!! Even when she was screaming and on the floor-...
Question- What are your experiences with guided tours?
Lakshmi’s Learning- We generally like guided tours— especially when you have a large group!!! In the recent years, we have booked our tours through Viator... and have had great experiences. Of course, some are better than others, but all have been memorable in some way!
This specific picture captures a funny moment.... So, after we requested our guide a few times to take a picture of our family alone... he gave our camera to someone else to take the picture and he stayed!!! We just laughed it off and thought “well, I guess we are important!” And we were- being a tour guide was his post retirement second career and we were one his first customers! Glad we helped boost his business- always a good feeling!
What are some of your memorable tour guide experiences???
My kids are not foodies and love their comfort food
Question- What do you do for food in all the countries you have traveled to? What if you have “picky” eaters?
Lakshmi’s Learning- I think that everyone falls in this spectrum…
1) Always eat the same thing wherever you are / can be picky
2) Sometimes willing to try new things
3) Advance experimental palate.
My kids fall mainly in 1, occasionally 2 (at home). When traveling- there are already a lot of “changes” in the environment for the kids (new time zone, new bed, new vacation schedule, etc). If they do not want to explore new cuisines, I say do not force it. Kids sometimes appreciate their “comfort food”. Of course, you should try new things while on vacation… But don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. I get frustrated but realized that I have to be flexible too.
Hence- If your child is on the 1-2 spectrum, trying new food is more promising...
Question- I was asked by some of my followers to sum up Bali in one word. Is it worth visiting?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Answer is yes! But just one word is not possible- I say “Beautiful temples and people!” As for places of Worship- Bali has 20,000 puras (Hindu temples on every street)! It was amazing to see how Hinduism is practiced there. People from around the world come for this cultural experience. This is Gunung Kawi in Ubud- as you can see, three generations of Natarajan women climbed 350 steps each way to the temple in the river valley.
As for people- everyone we met was just so happy and helpful! Of course, nice people are everywhere... but when they are genuine, it holds a special place in your experience.
Thank you to IBali Tours for the amazing “Bali in a Day” private tour!
Question- Do kids remember all their travel as “kids”? They might as well wait until they are “older” to travel so they don’t forget.
Lakshmi’s Learning- Of course, some of our earlier life memories can fade over time, but we still hold on to many experiences too. World travel shapes children to become global citizens as they grow up- the questions they ask and how they see people. It’s not about what they will remember or forget- it’s about exposing children early to have an appreciation for the world. The kids in this video are mine and my good friend Davie’s- they have traveled to all 7 continents (yes, there are 7- not 6)!!!!
Why is important? Many of you may say, well we can’t afford to take our kids around the world. But it costs almost nothing to expose your kids to different kinds of people all around you, expose them other languages besides English (many people are taking their kids to private language...