We’re Kate and Stephen, and our three kids, Fiona (11), James (9) and Caroline (7)–an American family of five, living abroad.
A bit more about us…
Caroline – Age 7
I love to colour, cook with my mom, read chapter books, to dance when I hear music no matter where I am, and I love to talk to people whether I know them or not.
If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be to New Zealand. I don’t know why…I just want to go there.
My favourite holiday with my family so far has been Morocco. I loved our villa in Essaouira, it was so cool. At the house the owner had a dog named Pluto, who I loved. He was so cute and we loved to play fetch with him with rocks and sticks. He also liked to go swimming in the pool which was fun but he would get into trouble for that. Yasine, our butler, taught me how to swim, he was really nice. The house was open to the pool area and there were no walls so it felt like we were living outside in the fresh air. The sky was a light coloured blue with no clouds and the sun was always shining. My brother, sister, our friends and I liked to climb to the top floor and go out onto the roof which my mom says was a patio. We could play in a Berber tent that was on the rooftop which had cushions and a rug to sit on. I loved swimming with my family and friends in our pool. We played lots of pool games but most of all I liked jumping in and having my dad catch me. We did this over and over again. When I became tired of swimming I would lay down on a soft cushioned lounge chair in the warm sunshine. I would wrap myself in a towel and just relax.
James – Age 9
I am a very inquisitive person and I love maths and science. I enjoy football, breakdancing and rock climbing. I love playing video games and am learning how to make computer games myself. I love lots of different foods even spicy (as my mom would say, flavourful) foods. The food in India was spicy but also so delicious!
For many years all I would tell my family was that I wanted to go to Scotland. Since my sister and parents had already been it wasn’t at the top of our list. But in 2015, we spent my birthday weekend in Glasgow. Was it everything that I imagined? I don’t know but it was fun. My favourite part was a 6 seater bicycle with canopy. We all had fun pedalling our ride around paved trails exploring together. If I could pick anywhere in the world to visit now it would be Kazakhstan. I think it’s an unusual place to travel to and something about it is really interesting to me.
My favourite vacation with my family was when we travelled to Morocco. It was so nice, all of it. I loved our pool and Pluto. I didn’t like it when I fell off of a patio chair and hit my head on a concrete wall. I remember my head was bleeding a lot and I vomited.
Morocco is also where I got my gemstone. While walking through the markets of Essaouira, we found a gem and crystal shop and I picked out a large beautiful amethyst crystal to bring home as my souvenir. I love stones! (Note: said crystal washed away it’s beautiful purple colour after being given a bath by James leading us all to believe we were duped. Oh well! He still loves it and it was inexpensive anyway.)
Fiona – Age 11
I am a competitive rock climber and I train three days per week. I am an avid reader and enjoy fantasy novels, I enjoy playing guitar and keyboard, and I can speak French after having spent 5 years in a French/English school system.
My favourite family trip so far was when we went to Norway. I felt like it was a once in the lifetime experience since most people never get a chance to go there. I haven’t had a lot of cold weather and snow experience before and it felt like a winter wonderland dream come true.
I have three favourite memories from the trip. First was seeing the northern lights. When I saw them at first they were a bit dark but the long exposure photos we took really brought the green colour to life. As the night went on the colour brightened in the sky. I don’t know if I will ever see that again.
Second, I loved dog sledding. I liked it because we were going fast and we got to travel through beautiful valleys surrounded by mountains absolutely covered in snow. It was a little scary when we would go over small jumps and my fingers and toes felt as if they were frozen but overall it was thrilling.
My third favourite part was a tie between sledding down the hill at the farm where we stayed and building a snow fort with my family.
Other memories that I have of arctic Norway are: dried fish hung over the front porch of local homes, large icicles, most homes were painted red or yellow in colour, and it felt like we were completely alone in the wilderness.
I’d like to visit Japan when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and enjoy a picnic in the park while admiring them. I also really want to see Mount Fuji.
I love running, cooking and enjoying healthy whole foods, yoga, and meditation. Travel of any sort, exploring new destinations is always on my agenda. I enjoy reading, mostly sci-fi and fantasy but I do dabble in other genres. Having new and varied life experience is important to me. It’s my purpose in life to offer my kids as many experiences as possible to make them independent thinkers and world citizens who are healthy, open minded, questioning, courageous and kind. I’m learning to rock climb at the moment as all the other inhabitants in my house enjoy it so much. It’s a great example of trying new things at any age, challenging oneself physically and mentally and reaping the benefits from it.
Of course, my list of dream destinations is long and spread across all continents but if I had to pick our travel destinations for the upcoming year, ideally, and without financial consideration, they would include: the Maldives, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Colombia and Greenland. In that order each destination we would be treated to sun and deep relaxation, adventure and culture, visiting friends, amazing food and sunshine, culture and coffee, and winter fun…well-rounded, indeed.
My favourite family holiday by far has been our trip to India. I absolutely loved everything about it aside from the short duration of it. We were there for two weeks and easily could have spent two months. The food was amazing everywhere we ate, whether a small family owned restaurant or large scale hotels and dining halls. It encouraged me to return to London and take up Indian cooking lessons. The people we encountered were incredibly sweet, kind and easy to talk with. There’s this impression that in India the streets are chaotic but I found it beautifully free flowing. There is a definite ebb and flow mistaken for madness to the unfocused eye. I could go on and on about the architecture, spirituality, free roaming animals, or the varying and beautiful landscape. It was a very foreign experience for us as a family that enriched, challenged and bonded us together.
I have lived in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and now London. Living in new cities has allowed for a greater understanding of each place. I am hopeful that we will add some different locations to our list since I feel that living as an ex-pat was the best choice we ever made. Full of new friends, experiences, new values and priorities, gained cultural understanding and the ever important notion that all we need is each other and not material things. Every day I am grateful that we made that leap into the unknown breaking the ensnarement of the traditional “American dream” –tied to a mortgage and not seeing much of the rest of the world. While good for some, not for this girl. I have a deeply engrained need to explore and feel like a gypsy at heart.
I’m a privacy and technology lawyer. I love coffee, gadgets, photography and travel. I still follow U.S. politics, despite having lived outside of the U.S. for the last six years. I enjoy listening to the podcast of Real Time with Bill Maher every week to keep me up-to-speed.
My dream travel destination would probably be some sort of long motorcycle ride through new countries. Perhaps in Africa or Australia. I enjoy motorcycling, but gave it up a number of years ago when we started living in cold, wet climates. Now that we’re in Sydney, I think it’s time to ride again.
My favourite holiday was our trip to India. It was a wildly foreign, beautiful and welcoming place, and we only saw a sliver of it.