OCTOBER/NOVEMBER | 2019
FOR FAMILY ADVENTURE
TRAVEL FOR PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE, ABILITIES, AND FINANCIAL MEANS
TEEN TRAVEL TRAVEL IN THE MARGINS AFRICA WITH A MEDICALLY FRAGILE CHILD
Plan a monumental adventure for your whole family with interactive exhibits, exciting shows and so much more.
S P E C I A L A D V E R T I S I N G S E C T I O N | Discover Washington, DC
FREE WONDERS of Washington The REACH
out on the town
Greet the Nation’s T. rex and marvel at the Deep Time exhibit inside the National Museum of Natural History’s new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils. Children ages 0 to 6 can climb on a play ship or man a farm stand at the National Museum of American History’s Wegmans Wonderplace.
Explore The REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a cuing-edge expansion that reimagines how art and audiences intersect through architecture, live performances and indoor and outdoor spaces. Find more family-friendly entertainment at the center, including Kid Prince and Pablo (Oct. 19 – Nov. 3) and The Magic Flute (Nov. 2-23). Over at Arena Stage, Disney’s Newsies lets you hear all about it in fantastic musical style from Nov. 1 – Dec. 22.
National Museum of Natural History
Soak up autumn surrounded by colorful leaves at the U.S. National Arboretum, where you’ll see a stunning installation of columns once belonging to the U.S. Capitol. Find more jaw-dropping scenery from the tree-lined National Mall to Rock Creek Park, a 1,700acre natural oasis in the heart of the city with hiking, golfing and horseback riding.
SPECTACULAR SPORTS Capital One Arena is abuzz with sports action throughout the fall and winter. Check out Alex Ovechkin and the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in matchups against the Vegas Golden Knights (Nov. 9) and the Montreal Canadiens (Nov. 15). The Washington Wizards, led by star guard Bradley Beal, welcome James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Oct. 30 and the Kawhi Leonard-led L.A. Clippers on Dec. 8.
CO N T E N T S OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019
86 Layover Washington, D.C.
Interview Travel in a wheelchair
Outside the Classroom Road trip through the historic sites
Cultural Consideration Learn about the customs of Día de Los Muertos
Up & Coming
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Upcoming Events — What’s happening when Gear Up — Travel gear on a budget Travel Trends — Accessible tours Little Heroes — A worldtraveling entrepreneur Sketches — Artwork from the teens
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Go Wild Biking the Via Verde
Voices: Traveling in the Margins — Family travel comes in all colors
Travel with Teenagers — Encouraging young adults to travel solo Getting Out of Africa — A mom and dad take risks with their medically fragile son
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Editor’s Note Op/Ed — How increases in tourism impact destinations Social Media — Families worth following Interview — A mom and daughter travel to Paris, wheelchair and all Go Wild — Biking the Via Verde Just Go — Overcoming obstacles to travel
Essay — Traveling for a better world Cultural Consideration — Learn about the customs of Día de Los Muertos
Tips & Tricks
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Beat the Rat Race — How much does travel really cost?
Navigation — Deaf/Hard-ofHearing travel, credit card rewards, and travel insurance Layover — Washington, D.C. Skillset — Overcoming Obstacles: Family emergency plans, large family travel, and traveling with a service animal
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Insider’s Guide — Where to go in American Samoa Bon Appetit — Pumpkin alternatives and Mexican mole Outside the Classroom — Road trip through the historic sites in the American South In the Field — the American Civil Rights Act
Getting Out of Africa A mom and dad take risks Insider’s Guide Where to go in American Samoa
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Creative Design & Photography
Accounting & Finance
Web Content Editor
Meagan Haberer Katie Nelson Katie Wallace Melanie Selvey Darcy Tuscano
Social Media Astrid Vinje Kathryn Alexander
Darcy Tuscano Fiona Croucher
We asked our staff to tell us what has held them back from traveling.
A couple of times now, a travel agency has canceled my trip because the minimum number of travelers wasn’t filled. Even then, we didn’t stay at home. We always planned a backup and chose a different destination we could reach on the road by car, and we only worried then about bad weather.
A major challenge for us in our travels has been ensuring we can find proper medical care. I have Crohn’s Disease, so we always need to be near good health care and able to pay for it. We have an emergency fund saved up for medical expenses and always travel where we have access to good healthcare.
Like a lot of people with more traditional jobs, my greatest challenge with travel is allocating my limited vacation time. Although I have some flexibility with working from almost anywhere with Internet access, I don’t want to be working through my whole vacation. We have learned to sit down at the beginning of each year and plan out our travels as much as we can. When surprise events come up, we sometimes have to adjust, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Everywhere Magazine is published six times each year in both digital and print format. Single issues are priced at $9.99 per print issue; subscriptions are priced at $59.95 for one year of print issues. To subscribe, visit everywheremagazine.com. Postage paid in Boise, ID and at additional mailing offices. For questions, contact Everywhere Magazine LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org, 1.833.EVERYWHERE (1.833.383.7994), 1650 Targee St. #5322, PO Box 5322, Boise ID 83705. © Everywhere Magazine LLC. All rights are reserved. No reproduction is permitted without the prior written consent of Everywhere Magazine LLC. Everywhere Magazine LLC is not liable for any incorrect information or return of any submitted materials.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
COVER – CHINIQUE GORDON. CONTENTS – MAP: HOPE; CATRINA FIGURE: PETER (BOTH STOCK.ADOBE.COM); THIS PAGE – ASTRID VINJE
shares his hard-earned recommendations with others. Jenn knows that she is raising her children to be wellrounded adults through experiences traveling the world. Genny gives us a realistic breakdown of how much money we really need to travel for an entire year or more. Personal stories are how we share our experiences, passion, and wisdom with others. I would never pretend to know what it is like to travel as a person of color or an LGBTQ family, so I’m grateful for the writers sharing those experiences with us, unfiltered and honest. I hope you’ll join us in listening to these stories and learning how travel has both enriched the writers’ lives and can help enrich ours as well. You can interact with our writers on our website, everywheremagazine.com, and in our Facebook group, Everywhere Family Travel Community. At Everywhere Magazine, we will continue to highlight different ways to make travel more accessible for people of all walks of life, abilities, and financial means.
COURTESY OF IL VIAGGIO TRAVEL, PHOTO CREDIT DONATAPA
ntil last year, travel was relatively easy for our family. While my husband and I were sometimes surprised by the curious stares and touching directed toward our blond daughter in countries where we were the minority, we otherwise enjoyed the privilege as Americans that we did not request nor earn. When we added a child with Down syndrome to our family, things got harder. We now have to consider traveling with medical equipment and will have to look at other accommodations in the future as her needs evolve. Our story is just one example of the challenges faced by an entire world of people out there with differences who deserve kindness and respect, not in spite of their differences but because of them. Everywhere Magazine seeks to include voices from many walks of life. We want to hear first-hand stories from the people living life in many different ways. Astrid uses her personal experience as a woman of color to give voice to the marginalized. Darcy adventures the world with her wife and sons at her side. Lon boldly took his medically fragile son to Africa and
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Let a wheelchair user book your next fully accessible adventure.
Because we get it.
Cruises • All-Inclusives • Hotels • Tours email@example.com • 407.221.1818 For accessible travel inspiration, visit our blog at www.spintheglobe.net
Meet some of our talented writers
Lon is a world traveler who's lived outside of the U.S. in Montreal, Canada, and in Tanzania, East Africa, for a decade of his life. When he's not playing Dad to his four kids, he wears the hats of entrepreneur, artist, ideamonger, and crusader. He currently resides in northwest Arkansas and is artist-in-residence at the organizational management firm nRhythm.
Jenn spent more than a decade traveling the world, full time, with her four children and worldschooling them birth through university entrance. Now, Jenn speaks and writes on how to worldschool, has co-founded a non-profit that provides grants for gap year travel, and does her best work at the intersection of adventure and education. Find her at www.jennlately.com
Astrid is a lifelong traveler with a passion for experiencing new places and cultures. Her personal travels as well as 12 years of experience working in international development have taken her to the far corners of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These days, Astrid travels around the world full time with her husband and two kids, living as modern-day nomads.
Paul's conventional life spent biking to work in the Washington, D.C. suburbs veered wildly off-course in 2016 when he and his family embarked on a year-long road trip to Panama in their 1985 VW Westy. Since then, Paul has traded in his position as an attorney for a large government agency for the life of a writer in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He writes about expat life, worldschooling, overlanding, and taxes.
Melinda Clayville is an adverturer and travel enthusiast who loves to try new things wherever she goes. She moved to American Samoa with her husband and three kids in 2017 and has been loving their island life ever since. She shares all of her adventures around the Pacific at TravelingOTB.com.
Lindsey Adams Fenimore
Lindsey is a freelance writer and mom of four living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. When sheâ€™s not busy icing her ankle from twisting it on the quaint cobblestone streets of San Miguel, she enjoys yoga, running, listening to music, and laughing at her own jokes (sometimes all at once).
Kate is a classic third-culture kid and has spent her life living and traveling all over the world, first as a child and then with her five children. She has various experiences helping start new universities in the Middle East and is a professor of psychology and education (child development) with a bulk of that fully online.
Skyler Gilbert is an Australian mother of five with an incurable wanderlust. She is currently in country number 35 and still going strong! Skyler is traveling the world with her family on a crazy, wild journey that has been full of adventureâ€Ś and misadventure. She is the author of Learningbrave.com, a website sharing the reality, the fun, the joys, and the disasters of international family travel.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
ASTRID VINJE: HANER PHOTOGRAPHY
Travel with FreeWheel Epical Solutions
Freedom, Independence, Mobility. Epical Solutions is the North American distributor of the FreeWheel Wheelchair Attachment. Our goal as a company is to help individuals gain accessibility and mobility in their everyday lives. One of the reasons we love the FreeWheel so much is because it is the perfect travel companion! The FreeWheel only weighs 5 lbs and can easily attach FreeWheel also works with folding wheelchairs, thanks to the ADAPTOR.
Take the stress out of traveling knowing that the FreeWheel Wheelchair Attachment will get you to where you want to go. Sandy beaches? Rocky hikes? Cobble stone streets? Snow? NO PROBLEM! Stress less and enjoy more of your family time! Learn how to get the most out of your vacation and everyday life with FreeWheel:
www.epicalsolutions.com firstname.lastname@example.org 517-488-7315
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @epicalsolutions
October 14–18, 2019 — Project World School Family Summit: this multi-day, family-friendly event teaching families how to create enriching travel experiences will take place in Grenada, Spain. www.worldschoolfamilysummit.com
November 6–28, 2019 — Project World School Thailand Experience: Chiang Mai is the backdrop for this active retreat for teens and is all about “adventure, culture, and exploration.” projectworldschool.com/thailand-2019
October 20–24, 2019 — Family Travel Association Summit: this conference and trade event connects travel professionals at the Custer State Park Resort in South Dakota. familytravel.org/summit
November 8–10, 2019 — Women in Travel Summit Europe: with a goal to connect and empower women in the travel community, this summit is now in Europe, with its first conference to be held in Riga, Latvia. witsummit.com/europe
October 31–November 2, 2019 — Día de los Muertos: celebrate and remember the lives of those who have left this life with ofrendas (altars), calavaras (skulls), and, of course, food. November 4–6, 2019 — World Travel Market London: connecting travel providers and buyers, this large event promises billions in contracts between its attendees. london.wtm.com
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November 11, 2019 — Veteran’s Day: free entrance to all U.S. National Parks! April 1–14, 2020 — Worldschooling Central: join this organized family trip for two weeks in Indonesia. www.worldschoolingcentraltravel.com June 29–July 12, 2020 — At Home In The World Retreat: this retreat to Transylvania, Romania, is all about fostering family connection. athomeintheworldretreat.com
October 24–27, 2019 — Ghana Year of Return: Accra International Book Festival: held at the University of Ghana, this festival is the largest literary celebration in Africa. accrabookfest.com
Autism Travel is an online resource for families + individuals to find destinations + attractions that are trained + certified in welcoming visitors with autism, sensory sensitivities + other special needs.
Make Memories + Share New Experiences Aquariums + Zoos
Hotels + Resorts
Budget Ideas for Gearing Up Kids
et’s talk gear. While specialized kid gear is not essential for traveling or enjoying the outdoors, little bodies have their own sets of requirements, and having specialized gear tailored just for them can be helpful. That said, specialized kid equipment is often as costly (or even more costly) than adult gear, which is especially hard to swallow when you realize that this gear often has a relatively short life span. Thankfully, with a little creativity and resourcefulness, virtually any kid gear can be obtained on the cheap.
Borrow from Friends/Neighbors This one is a no-brainer. Why shell out money for gear when you can borrow it? This option is not only better for your wallet but better for the environment, too! Just be prepared to replace equipment if your kids damage anything. Pro Tip: Think of friends who are done having kids or who have kids of different ages than your own. These folks are most likely not using the desired piece of equipment and are thus more likely to lend or give it away.
a discount because the packaging for the item was opened or may have been damaged during transport. Amazon thoroughly checks each return to ensure it is complete and in a re-sellable state. That means, as long as you’re not picky about the condition of an item’s external packaging, you can often obtain an unused item at a discount. Pro Tip: Since items listed are dependent on returns, try to expand your search of items to different brands and models. While you may find that the exact item you are looking for is not available through Amazon’s Warehouse deals, a comparable item from a different brand may be available. Look for Amazon warehouse deals at www.amazon.com/Warehouse-Deals/ b?ie=UTF8&node=10158976011.
REI Garage Sales The retail store REI regularly hosts “Garage Sales” at which it sells previously-owned equipment at discounted prices. Although the deals on these member-returned items aren’t as good as they used to be — the Garage Sale’s popularity has increased, and REI has realized that people are willing to pay higher prices for used gear — some good deals can still be scored. (Many years ago, this writer scored an awesome pair of hiking boots for only $2!) Pro Tip: Items are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so get to this sale as early as possible. People have been known to camp out or show up at the crack of dawn to secure the best deals! Check your local store for details.
Buy Nothing Buy Nothing is an online movement that encourages the free exchange of consumer goods and services instead of buying and selling them. In other words, people freely give material goods or services to others out of the goodness of their hearts or in the hopes of building community. This writer has given, obtained, and seen some awesomely sweet outdoor gear (including tents, backpacks, camp stoves, water filters, etc.) offered up in Buy Nothing groups. To participate, simply search for your local Buy Nothing group at www.buynothingproject.org. Pro Tip: Check your local Buy Nothing page often, as items are frequently listed and gifted quickly. When requesting an item, share why you’d like it and how you intend to use it. This gives the gifter a visual picture of who will be enjoying the offered item.
Amazon Warehouse Deals Ever wondered what Amazon does with all its returns? It tries reselling them, of course! Returned items are often offered at
Facebook is not only a tool for connecting with friends and family members; it can be a platform to purchase pretty much anything, including kid gear and outdoor equipment. Anyone is welcome to list unwanted items for sale. Look for the Marketplace tab on the left-hand menu tab of your Facebook feed. Pro Tip: Sellers will often be willing to accept less than the listed prices, so consider offering less or asking a seller whether the price of an item is flexible.
Trade for Goods Bartering or trading for something you want sounds farfetched, but many people are happy to consider trading goods or services. Think of what you have to trade that may be desirable to others and offer a trade. It never hurts to ask if sellers are willing to take a trade of goods or services instead of money. You might be pleasantly surprised! Besides, the worst they can say is “no.” Pro Tip: Bartering works best when you have a service or item to barter that is highly prized; be creative and think about your talents and gifts. This writer’s husband is a professional brewer (as in the beer kind) and has traded growlers of beer for many things, including a nearly-new Kelty baby carrier. Many people would be excited to trade an item for your time spent housecleaning, errand running, grocery shopping, organizing, and more. Although you can offer a trade for any transaction, this writer has had success offering trades on Craigslist, at farmers markets, and on Facebook Marketplace. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Therapeutic sports and recreation – all ages, all disabilities
ABOUT THE NSCD The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) offers adaptive lessons for individuals and groups of people with disabilities in a variety of action sports, adventure sports and competitive programs. Athletes with any physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral diagnosis can participate in sports and recreation programs year-round in Colorado’s Front Range and mountains. To see the NSCD’s current sports and recreation programs, visit nscd.org/participate.
We enable the human spirit through therapeutic sports and recreation.
www.NSCD.org | (970) 726-1518 | email@example.com
COURTESY OF IL VIAGGIO TRAVEL, TRAVEL XPERIENCE, WHEEL THE WORLD, AND DISABLED HOLIDAYS (AS ATTRIBUTED)
Accessible Tours For Families With Special Needs P
lanning a trip can be a challenge for any family. For families traveling with individuals with disabilities and special needs, this challenge is magnified. Travelers with mobility issues need to make sure rooms, cars, and even sidewalks and trails are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs or other equipment. Parents of children with sensory sensitivities must consider whether a destination might be overwhelming. Even food allergies can make planning a trip quite complicated. A travel company can help make travel easier for families with special needs. But how do families choose the right company? Although no accreditation bodies currently exist to set standards for accessible tourism, global agencies like the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) now incorporate inclusiveness and accessibility as part of their mandates for global tourism standards. An excellent source of resources for finding accessible tours is the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), an organization of European travel companies dedicated to promoting accessible tourism. Members adhere to a code of good conduct with respect to accessibility and inclusion for travelers. One of ENATâ€™s initiatives, Pantou, is a worldwide directory of accessible travel companies and suppliers. Although still in its beta stage, families can use the directory as a starting point for finding tour operators that offer services to travelers with special needs. Here are a few specific travel companies and tour operators around the world dedicated to accessible travel.
Il Viaggio Travel (Costa Rica) This travel company in Costa Rica offers an eight-day escorted vacation as part of its Accessible Costa Rica package. The package includes a tour through the capital city of San Jose, exploration at a national park, and even a visit to a volcano. Il Viaggio Travel recently partnered with local non-profit organizations to set up Costa Ricaâ€™s first fully accessible beach in the town of Jaco, with a ramp leading directly into the water. www.ilviaggiocr.com
Travel Xperience (Andorra) Based in the country of Andorra, Travel Xperience offers travelers with special needs the opportunity to travel to destinations like Scandinavia, South Africa, Argentina, Costa Rica, the United States, Jordan, and Morocco. Its trips allow travelers to explore the culture, natural beauty, gastronomy, and even physical activities of a destination. www.travel-xperience.com
Wheel The World (Global) A truly global company (with team members scattered throughout South America, the United States, and Europe), Wheel The World is dedicated to offering the best accessible travel experiences in the world. Its current travel offerings include Peru, Easter Island, the United States, Mexico, and Tanzania, to name a few. www.gowheeltheworld.com
Disabled Holidays (United Kingdom) Based in the United Kingdom, Disabled Holidays helps travelers with special needs create the perfect vacation. Its directory has listings of accessible accommodations throughout the United Kingdom as well as Europe, the United States, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Travelers can also find listings of cruises and other types of tours offering experiences for travelers with special needs. www.disabledholidays.com Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
The Impacts of Increasing Tourism
ith its medieval walls, 13th-century cathedral, and cobbled streets, my hometown of York, England attracts a lot of tourists, estimated at around seven million each year. Traditionally, tourists have been very welcome, not least of all because they spend approximately £600m ($754m USD) annually in York alone. Presumably, this is a good thing because this money is put back into the local economy. But it doesn’t always work that way, which (among other issues) has led to a backlash directed towards tourists evident in both local and national media over the last few years. Regarding tourism in England and other developed western countries, the arguments against mass tourism are generally twofold. First, certain visitors arriving in historic cities for weekend breaks are stereotypically loud and badly behaved. They stay in cheaper hotels and spend their money in chain bars and clubs, many of which are not locally owned. In fact, this issue became so significant that a few years ago, the Irish police took matters into their own hands and began implementing a zero-tolerance attitude towards criminal or disruptive behavior of drunken groups of stag and hen (bachelor and bachelorette) parties that
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arrived in Dublin each weekend, courtesy of budget airline flights. The authorities in Amsterdam have taken a similar approach, and York is seeing the start of the same. Of course, implementing this sort of policing costs public money, and there is an argument that the main beneficiaries of this sort of tourism — the big hotel and hospitality chains — should be the ones financing the “clean up” operation required. Second, older and wealthier groups who travel en masse clog up large swathes of tourist attractions. Anyone who has recently tried to get anywhere near the Mona Lisa or the Trevi Fountain will know firsthand how this can detract from the experience of locals and other visitors. In fairness, this group does usually spend their money locally, preferring independent guest houses and food establishments. But the sheer volume of these tourists brings disadvantages too; in a small medieval city like York (or just about any other old city in Europe), they take up a lot of room, particularly on public transport and in shops and cafes. This increase in tourism has very real environmental impacts: in the past two years, flights between UK airports and China alone have increased threefold. Just think of all that air pollution!
A typical hotel golf course or landscaped park in a tropical country uses as much water as 60,000 residents. Significant volumes of fertilizers and pesticides are used to keep these destinations looking “tourist friendly,” causing damage to the delicate aquatic ecosystems into which they drain. And it is estimated that approximately 50 tons of mountaineering rubbish has accumulated at Mount Everest Base Camp: used oxygen cylinders, food packaging, and camping debris, as well as feces and other biological waste. That doesn’t even take into account the erosion that thousands of hiking feet will cause or the safety concerns that can result from congestion in risky locales. In places known for their natural beauty, the constant wear and tear caused by planeloads of visitors descending each day leads to the destruction of the very thing they came to see. Outside of the UK, on a global scale, tourism remains a billion-pound industry. In fact, for many countries, tourism is now the primary source of employment and foreign exchange. While the UK is less reliant on tourism as a primary source of income, tourism has nonetheless created a large number of jobs. Unfortunately, many jobs in the hospitality industry are seasonal, insecure, and poorly paid. They are also heavily reliant
on non-nationals (who fill 40% of hospitality jobs, if the figures are correct), so the benefit to the long-term local economy is unclear. Tourism also has serious implications for property values. In the UK, this has been an issue in places like Cornwall, where locals have been virtually priced out of the area by wealthy outsiders buying up holiday homes. As a result, cities are unable to recruit essential workers such as teachers and nurses, as they are unable to afford the increased cost of living. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Tourism has allowed places like Cambodia and Vietnam to recover relatively quickly from devastating wars and reinvent themselves into tourist destinations. It has raised awareness of the need for conservation of endangered species. Arguably, it has also helped preserve cultural and linguistic traditions that may have died out without interest from tourists; a great example of this is the proliferation of street signs in Irish Gaelic throughout the Republic of Ireland, installed mainly for the benefit of tourists. The question we as travelers must now ask is how to balance the positive impact of tourism with the inevitable pull on global and local resources. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Cultivating Values and Traditions Through Travel Instilling Courage For @doting_dad, “seize the day” is a philosophy he tries to live by every day. Travel often affords families valuable opportunities for new experiences. And with kids, it’s a great way to instill a sense of courage in trying something new.
ravel can do more than provide entertainment for families. It can be a vehicle for cultivating traditions that families can treasure for years to come and values that permanently shape individuals and the family.
Appreciation for History Every destination has its own special story. After years traveling throughout the world, @traveltheworldfamily has gained an appreciation for the histories of the places they visit.
@traveltheworldfamily Going with the Flow Travel can have its ups and downs. For families, these ups and downs can be amplified! That’s why @raffinee tries to encourage her children to go with the flow and adapt to all the things travel throws their way. @raffinee
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Embracing Adventure Whether it’s camping throughout Europe or riding a doubledecker bus through the streets of London, @travelynnfamily knows that every trip has the potential for adventure, so they try to embrace it whenever it appears. @travelynnfamily
COURTESY OF @DOTING_DAD, @TRAVELTHEWORLDFAMILY, @RAFFINEE (AS ATTRIBUTED); @TRAVELYNNFAMILY: JENNY AT WWW.TRAVELYNNFAMILY.COM
THIS PAGE: SUZANNE KAMATA: PAGE 20: BIKEWORLDTRAVEL/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
Squeaky Wheels: Travels with Lilia Lilia Kamata, a budding artist, has long dreamed of visiting museums and shopping for clothes in the City of Lights. “One of my fantasies upon learning that I would be the mother of a girl was that we would take a mother/daughter trip to Paris together,” Suzanne mused. “When I learned of my daughter’s disabilities, I thought that dream was potentially thwarted.” Lilia and her twin brother, Jio, were micro-preemies, born 14 weeks before their due date. Lilia is deaf, affected by cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair to get around, and communicates through Japanese Sign Language as her primary language. When Lilia turned 13, her mom Suzanne decided it was time to make Lilia’s dream trip to Paris a reality and was determined to make it happen. But Paris is a long way from the Kamata’s home in Japan, and Suzanne knew the trip could be difficult. They did encounter several challenges, including getting stuck underground in the metro because there was no elevator or ramp to exit the tunnel. Suzanne broke into a sweat and questioned why she ever thought traveling to Paris with Lilia was a good idea. Lilia, on the other hand, was unfazed. “Her enthusiasm and joy often offsets my disappointments,” Suzanne said. “If she sees me getting stressed, she’ll rub my back and say, ‘don’t mind!’” The kindness of strangers helped Suzanne and Lilia get back to street level from the metro. Two young men hoisted Lilia in her wheelchair “like an ancient empress’s palanquin,” Suzanne wrote in her book, Squeaky Wheels, which documents her travels with Lilia.
Suzanne said writing a book motivated her to make Lilia’s travel dreams come true. It also gave Suzanne an opportunity to educate readers on accessibility issues that need to be addressed around the world. Suzanne had always loved to travel, so she figured, “if I could find a way to go on adventures with Lilia, we would both be happy. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease.’ I think there’s a lot of truth in that. Japanese people generally don’t complain about things and make an effort not to impose upon others. However, when people are silent about difficulties, others may never learn what needs to be fixed.” Suzanne said traveling with someone in a wheelchair requires doing some extra research before the trip and that it’s important to have a plan B. “Even in New York City, we have come across restaurants without ramps. In Paris, I came across a McCafe where the ‘accessible’ toilet was in the basement, and there was no elevator to get down there,” Suzanne said. “I’d say that traveling with a wheelchair user is similar to traveling with a toddler in a stroller. However, my daughter is pretty heavy now, so I can’t give up on pushing her and carry her up the stairs these days.” “But don’t stay at home,” Suzanne said. “Experiencing the world firsthand is so valuable.” On their trip to Paris, Suzanne and Lilia visited historic sites like the Louvre, the Rodin Museum, and Versailles, with Lilia pausing periodically to sketch. The more Lilia saw, the more she wanted to see. In Squeaky Wheels, Suzanne writes that their Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
French excursion “was everything that I had hoped it would be for her.” Their travels have continued beyond Paris, showing Lilia how much the world has to offer and how she can be a part of it. “I want for her to be independent. I want her to have a rich life, even without me,” Suzanne wrote. Lilia is out in the world, and Suzanne encourages families with children with disabilities to get out in the world too. There will be challenges, extra planning, and it will require flexibility and patience — but the end result will be worth it. Follow @shikokusue on Twitter and Suzanne_kamata on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about Suzanne and Lilia’s most recent adventures.
Q & A with Lilia Q: What is your favorite of the places you’ve visited so far, and why? A: Hawai`i, because it’s beautiful and I got to ride on a helicopter for the first time. Q: Where would you like to travel next? A: Italy, because I love pasta. Q: Who is your favorite artist? A: Claude Monet.
Lilia in the Metro Paris, March 2013 Suzanne Kalamata, Squeaky Wheels I maneuver my daughter’s wheelchair onto the metro car. Knees move aside, make room. Lilia puts on her brakes and the train surges toward the next station. Opposite us, an older woman sits, eyes downcast. A young mother wrangles her small child. A group of brightly dressed tourists – Americans? – cling to the poles. We are all absorbed with our own thoughts, thinking ahead, perhaps, to a day at work, a playdate, a morning of sightseeing. Just then, a shaggy-haired guy, with a guitar slung over his shoulder, steps into the car. Great. There goes my peace and quiet. And he’ll probably come around with a cup, asking for money. Lilia eyes him with curiosity. She’s never been in a subway before, and she has little experience of big city life. Although I’ve seen street performers in Tokyo, and even in front of the Tokushima train station, there are signs in the subway system prohibiting buskers. He begins to strum. Lilia starts to nod and clap along with him. Realizing that he has an audience, he sings directly to her, a serenade to my thirteen-year-old daughter. I fight the urge to still her hands and divert her attention. The older woman across from us smiles at her, and so does the harried young mother. I give in to the moment, until a grin spreads across my face as well. At the next stop, the man crosses the car and says something to Lilia before getting off. He doesn’t know that she can’t hear him. We don’t give him any money; he doesn’t ask for any. “Au revoir,” my daughter says, waving and waving until he is out of sight.
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Beat the Rat Race
Travel Cents: Breaking Down the Cost of Extended Travel H
ow much will it cost? This is the million-dollar question, so to speak, that anyone dreaming about short- or longterm travel asks. The bad news: the answer is not clear cut. Cost depends on variables like the destination country or countries, style of travel, and modes of transportation. The good news is that travel adventures don’t have to cost as much as one anticipates and should never be a barrier to embarking. The first thing travelers need to consider is their expectations. Some folks are perfectly fine throwing everything they own into a backpack, taking the long road by bus, and sleeping in very simple rooms with little more than a bed and a shared toilet down the hall. This strategy of vagabonding works well to stretch the budget, extend the length of travel, and save money for experiences, and it often has the added benefit of putting the traveler in closer contact with local people and their culture. Purchasing meals at the local market or from a street vendor rather than a restaurant is another way to accomplish this. (One word of caution: make sure that all fruits and veggies are washed in potable water and that all meat is thoroughly cooked.) Diversifying transportation is another good way to cut costs. A plane or train may be necessary to get from point A to B quickly, but traveling by horseback, chicken bus, or tuk-tuk can be considerably cheaper.
Traveling Frugally For frugal travel in developing countries (like many of the countries in Central America, Southeast Asia, and parts of South America), budget $25–40 per person per day for meals, lodging, transportation, and inexpensive activities such as visiting museums, exploring ruins, or participating in a small tour. $50–75 per person per day is more reasonable in developed countries (like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and most of Europe). Enjoying the Finer Things Not everyone is willing to live like a vagabond — and that’s ok. Some travelers prefer the finer things in life. Obviously, luxury comes with a higher price tag. Budget $50–100 per person per day in developing countries for nice lodging, meals at restaurants, transportation by taxi, and standard tours, and plan for $200+ per person per day in developed countries.
Most travelers don’t adhere strictly to one style of travel or the other. Allowing splurge days when running on a strict budget is helpful to not feel constrained by it, while taking excursions off the beaten path as a luxury traveler can add additional depth to an otherwise low-cost trip. There are also ways to travel in style and still adhere to a budget. For example, many hotels around the world include helpful amenities with an overnight stay, such as free breakfast, airport transportation, and concierge services. When planning accommodations with higher price tags, look into the types of amenities provided, as these may reduce the total cost in the end. Also, consider the location of accommodations to desirable attractions in the area. If it costs $50 more a night to stay downtown, but all the sights are within walking distance, the higher cost of lodging could pay for itself through savings in transportation costs. This Author’s Experience This author’s 13-month-long trip around the world from 2009–2011 took her to 24 countries including Mexico, Central America, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Egypt, Nepal, Northern India, Southeast Asia, England, Belgium, Scotland, and France, with the primary objective of participating in unique experiences in every country visited. Lodging, food, and transportation were typically vagabond-style, with splurges on activities. Average costs included: • Activities: scuba diving, zip-lining, hiking, sailing, visiting museums, touring ruins, rock climbing, liveaboard boating, spelunking (exploring caves), taking cooking classes, paragliding, and many more: $20–100 per activity, depending on country and activity • Typical accommodation: private room with shared bathroom: $7–15/night • Typical meal: local cuisine at a restaurant or street food vendor recommended by a guidebook or guesthouse front-desk person: $2–5 per person in developing countries and $10–15 in developed countries • Transportation: ground transportation (buses, walking, mass transit, taxis as a last resort) when possible, boats when available, and planes as necessary Overall, money spent was $25–40 per day for two people on average, with $30,000 spent over the entire 13 months of travel. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Cycling Spain’s Most Beautiful Bike Path
he beam of light ahead of me brightens as my bicycle tires crunch along the dirt path of the darkened tunnel. Emerging into the spectacular Spanish sunlight, the sounds of baby goats greet me. As my eyes adjust to the brilliant rays, they capture the magnificent sight of dozens of toros (Spanish bulls) grazing in the distance. Smiling broadly, I call out to the gaggle of kids behind me, “you guys, I see Ferdinand the Bull!” The kids race ahead of me to catch a glimpse of the cartoon character come to life, and we stop at a fence post where, just beyond, the huge toros are lazily staring at us, their magnificent pointed horns a warning to keep our distance. We are making our way through the Via Verde de la Sierra, a 36.5 km (23 mi) path in Andalucia that winds through the spectacular and peaceful countryside. These via verdes (greenways) were created by transforming old railway lines all over Spain into traffic-free thoroughfares for cyclists, hikers, walkers, and horse riders. As nearly all the vias are paved and properly signposted, they are considered wheelchair friendly and suitable for all ages.
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Our group of cyclists, ranging in age from 5 to 50 and consisting of seven adults and eight ragtag, adventure-ready children, is enjoying the freedom of a safe bike ride through some of the region’s most rugged and beautiful scenery. Spain has 117 trails covering 2,700 km (about 1,678 mi) but only the Via Verde de la Sierra — regularly touted as the finest in the country — has been awarded two European prizes for excellence and recognized as a Route of Tourist Interest in Andalucia. Early in the 20th century, Spain hatched ambitious plans to connect remote villages through 6,000 km (about 3,728 mi) of railways. However, the economic crisis caused by the First World War and further chaos during the Spanish Civil War meant that although massive amounts of railroad construction had been completed, most of the rails were never laid and not a single train ever ran on the abandoned railway lines. During the Spanish Civil War, which paralyzed the country, the remaining tracks were ripped up and the steel used to make weapons. For over 40 years, the lines lay in disrepair, most of them being slowly consumed by the surrounding countryside until
Know Before You Go Bike rental averages €12 (about $13 USD) for adults and €10 (about $11 USD) for children per day. Reserve all kinds of bikes (children’s, child seats, trailers, tandems, and even tricycles) and train car apartments in advance by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Arrange your taxi in the morning and manage your time in order to have lunch at Puerto Serrano but still be ready for your driver to transport you and your bikes back to Olvera. Average taxi price for four people and bikes is €45 ($49 USD). The Coripe station (closed on Wednesdays) is the only stop between Olvera and Puerto Serrano. Bring a backpack for sunscreen, water, snacks, a phone, and a flashlight for the tunnels, as bikes are not fitted with baskets.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
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late 1993 when the Via Verde initiative (modeled after the UK and U.S.’s Greenways programs) was launched to introduce environmentally-friendly tourism into rural areas. We started our day in the small village of Olvera, where the abandoned train station has now been transformed into a small hotel and restaurant, complete with a swimming pool, playground, and bike rentals. Adjacent to the train station are four refurbished train cars now converted into two-bedroom apartments, each sleeping six people. If you’ve ever dreamed of sleeping on a train, this is the way to go! Although the trail can be ridden in either direction, heading out from Olvera toward Puerto Serrano is the easiest way to bike as there is a small downhill gradient the entire way, and even the youngest riders shouldn’t find it too strenuous. While the 5-year-old cruised in a child seat, the 7-, 8- and 9-year olds all held their own on this trail. There’s plenty to hold practically everyone’s interests along the way, as riders cycle over four spectacular viaducts, along river banks, and through lush valleys, hugging meadows and fields. Biking through 30 tunnels (most of them lit but a few that aren’t) is a thrilling challenge. One of the largest nesting colonies of griffon vultures in Europe can be found at the Peñón de Zaframagón natural reserve. Situated at about 16 km (10 mi), this old train station repurposed into a visitor’s center and bird-watching post is well worth a visit. Two high-powered digital cameras are hidden deep in the mountains, allowing visitors to view the griffins’ nesting sites and see them up close in real time. As one by
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one the children dutifully handed the attendant a €1 coin, he gave them plenty of time at the viewfinder of the camera to gaze at the vultures gliding overhead. With over 200 nesting pairs of vultures nearby, visitors are practically guaranteed a sighting. With a bit of prodding and the promise of a treat, the kids hopped back on the bikes for a quick 6 km (almost 4 mi) ride to the Coripe station at 22km (14 miles) where the adults enjoyed ice-cold beers from the restaurant while the kids cooled off with ice cream. Refueled with sugar but with energy starting to wane in our youngest riders, we set off once more for the final stretch to Puerto Serrano, our end station for the day. The longest — 900 meters (2700 ft) — and darkest of the 30 tunnels was ahead, and it was the one the kids had been waiting for all day. Screeching with laughter in the pitch-black darkness, we finally succumbed to the lights of our phones as we carefully made our way through the tunnel. Meandering our way along the river as we watched a shepherd with his flock of sheep, we headed to meet our prearranged bike-taxi to transport us back to our starting point in Olvera. We kept an eye on the time but found we didn’t have to worry: the 9-year-olds raced ahead of us and easily beat us to the restaurant by 30 minutes while the rest of us enjoyed the last of the views. In a little less than four hours from start to finish, we managed to coordinate 15 people along what we all agreed was the most beautiful bike ride we’d ever taken — and we’re already talking about doing it again!
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Whitney Preece Crofut
Overcome Family Travel Obstacles
friend once said, “when you have kids, you bring them into your world, share what you love, and see it differently through them.” Many couples love to travel and the idea of traveling with kids but get paralyzed agonizing over the itinerary, transportation, lodging, and activity options. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that trips are stunted before they even start. Read on for hints to help create family travel experiences you’ll cherish.
with grandparents or the differently-abled, cobblestones may be tough, and public transportation can be challenging in some locations. Also, consider any medical concerns. Are your kids fully vaccinated, and are you willing to get additional shots for more adventurous trips (or take the risk, if not)? Does anyone in your family have medical needs that require proximity to first-world medical services? Acknowledging these needs helps refine destination options.
Assess Travel Readiness Consider your family’s unique style and experience: have your kids traveled before, or will this be your first long-haul flight? What is your temperament and that of your kids? Are you a worrier, or do you roll with things as they come along? Do you have a picky eater or a toddler that throws tantrums (normal, by the way)? Do you seek relaxation, adventure, or a little of both? Will this be a once in a lifetime trip or just the beginning? Be realistic about what you want and need. Just because your friends trekked the Andes with their baby in a backpack doesn’t mean that’s right for you. If you prefer structure and routine or your kiddo is at a phase that requires the familiar and predictable, select fewer stops, a destination with kid-friendly food available, or a resort with a kids club.
Plan Something For Everyone With the extra time required for snacks, naps, and moods, family travel means seeing less than you would as solo adults. Set expectations in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises. A packed agenda invites frustration and disappointment. Create a flexible plan with one or two activities per day, knowing you can always add to it. Start with an open bus or boat tour the first day to help everyone get oriented and overcome jet lag. Build in free days to schedule as you go, depending on everyone’s moods, energy levels, and interests. Pick at least one activity during your trip that will appeal to each member of the family. If they’re old enough, enlist the kids’ help in planning. Hire private guides and tours so you can focus on what interests your family, and cut things short if necessary. When working with guides (try toursbylocals.com or viator.com), ask about their experiences bringing sites alive for kids. For added flexibility, book refundable or transferable tickets, or if something is unlikely to sell out, buy tickets on the road.
Acknowledge Access and Medical Concerns Consider any mobility issues: how far your kids can walk, whether they can nap in a stroller or carrier so you can keep moving when they’re exhausted, whether they need car seats, and whether you’re comfortable using mass transit. If traveling
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Offer Incentives When out of their routines, kids are prone to meltdowns. A blood sugar infusion can help. Stop for ice cream or local treats between activities. While this isn’t a great everyday strategy, kids understand when you clarify that vacation rules and home rules are different. Trips to a theme park, zoo, or pool can also work wonders as incentives for kids. Consider their style in deciding whether to tell them when and what you have planned, or let them know you have a surprise for them as thanks for their cooperation through less interesting activities. Stretch Your Budget Tighter budgets require advance trip planning and flexibility. Try a less popular destination, or travel during off or shoulder seasons. If you have points, book when reservations open, typically a year ahead. Check out flight deals from your hometown; you can even find trips based on your budget (try nextvacay.com). Try using an incognito tab when searching for flights online if you see a price increase with repeated searches. Rental properties are often more affordable for families. Families of three or four are usually allowed in a hotel room, but larger families typically require a second room. Rentals also allow you to save by providing you the space and appliances to prepare your meals. If you’re booking a hotel, purchase non-perishable snacks and drinks to keep in your room and look into prepaid breakfast or meal packages.
Reconfigure Great family travel doesn’t have to mean 24-hour togetherness. Hire a sitter or use a kids club to enjoy a date so you can linger at a restaurant, enjoy local performing arts, or visit a site that would bore your kids. Take advantage of kids’ naps and early bedtimes with a bottle of wine or playing cards on your veranda. Tag team with your partner so you can each get some alone time (especially important for introverts). Maybe it’s time in a park with a book or an exhibit you really want to see. If you have multiple kiddos, choose a special activity for each child. If one is thrilled by the idea of London’s Harry Potter experience and the other wants to dress up for high tea, divide and conquer. If you’re still overwhelmed, hire help from a travel coach and just go! Whitney Preece Crofut is a mental health therapist in Portland who applies her professional knowledge to coaching families who want to see the world. For over a decade, Whitney and her husband have been traveling internationally with their now 11- and 13-year-old children. As a family, they’ve ticked off 20 countries and four continents.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Travel for a Better World A
sk 10 different people why they travel, and chances are you’ll get 10 different answers. For me, travel offers relaxation, adventure, education, and fun. It’s escape and challenge and for changing our habits if we get too set in our ways. It is to open our minds and our hearts and to remind us that there are a hundred different ways to live in the world and that despite all the differences, we are also very much the same. This wonderful world of ours can be tumultuous with extreme political division, rising hate crimes towards minorities, and the news of climate change threatening our very existence. No wonder cases of depression are on the rise and feelings of hopelessness abound. There’s no better time to teach our children the benefits and joys of travel. I don’t mean to suggest travel as a mere means of escape, to take yourself and your family to a beach resort and drink piña coladas until the realities of the world grow dull (though even these retreats can be a balm for the soul and refresher for facing another day). In fact, I mean the opposite: I’d argue that travel is the perfect antidote to a world of increasing ignorance and indifference about the earth itself and all of its inhabitants. It was Mark Twain, traveling around the Mediterranean in the 1860s, who wrote in Innocents Abroad that travel is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Travel takes us outside ourselves and allows us to embrace other realities, learn about other cultures, and see the natural world and the creatures that live therein. It teaches us compassion and patience. It takes the notion of the other — all those who are different from us, be they citizens or immigrants; straight or gay; white or persons of color; Christian, Muslim, or a number of other faiths — and reminds us that we all live together on this beautiful earth. We share resources and food systems. We swim in the same oceans and gaze at the same starry skies. We all want to fall in love and grow old in good health. Wherever we go in the world, travel reminds us that the planet is quite
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small and we are all interconnected. It also shows us that we fear most what we don’t understand and that our “enemies” are often just friends we have yet to meet. Recall Abraham Lincoln, who at the height of the Civil War referred to Southerners as human beings who were merely in error. When a woman chastised him for not calling the Confederates enemies to be conquered, he responded, “do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?” Travel also makes us more creative. One Atlantic article credits international travel as increasing the brain’s creativity, opening our minds to new ways of thinking. “We found that when people had experiences traveling to other countries it increased what’s called generalized trust, or their general faith in humanity,” cognitive researcher Adam Galinsky is quoted as saying. “When we engage in other cultures, we start to have experience with different people and recognize that most people treat you in similar ways. That produces an increase in trust.” It also can produce a level of empathy and compassion. I recently learned of a U.S. senator who used his personal resources to take fellow Republicans to see the Arctic in person to experience firsthand the ravages of climate change. Why? Because to know a place is the first step toward caring for it. While travel (and air travel in particular) also has an environmental impact, the benefits can, if pursued with consideration and thoughtfulness, outweigh the cost. Of course, travel isn’t so easy or accessible for everyone. It is a privilege, without a doubt, but it also is a mindset to get out of our comfort zones and try the unfamiliar, whether flying to Zimbabwe or taking the subway for the first time in a new city. In these uneasy times, travel is an antidote that can provide compassion, hope, and inspiration for a better future. Our children will lead the way, opening their hearts and minds with every step, walking into — and hopefully embracing — the unknown.
Kristina M. Blaiser
Sound Travel: Making Exploration Accessible to Children with Hearing Loss
hile many of us travel without a second thought to the sounds around us, travelers with hearing loss have additional considerations. If you travel with someone Deaf or Hard of Hearing, traveling can be a great way to learn through new experiences. Here are a few tips to help prepare for and make the most of any adventures.
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• Make sure to bring information about your child’s device to answer any questions raised by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) when you are going through security. TSA provides notification cards you can print ahead of time, available online at www.tsa.gov/sites/ default/files/disability_notification_card_508.pdf. • Bring a dry aid kit in case you run into moisture on your journey. If you are in a pinch, simply place basmati rice in a jar, put the hearing aid on top of the rice, close with a lid, and leave overnight. • Consider your child’s battery needs ahead of your trip so you won’t be shorthanded while traveling. If you need to plug in a battery charger, make sure that you have the appropriate outlet adapters. Checking In
• Ask the hotel for an ADA Compliance Kit to make the room accessible. These kits include items such as a multifunction alerting system, Assistive Listening Devices, and a smoke detector. On the way into your room, show your child where the fire alarms are and talk about different ways (lights and sounds) that alerts may go off. Even if you don’t need any of these items during your trip, it is good for your child to know how to ask for and use these when they are older. Out and About
• Prior to going to a museum or event, print out information to share with your child about what you will see, why it is important, and what is interesting. This gives you a chance to highlight words and concepts that are new to your child. This “pre-teaching” will make it easier for your child to enjoy and understand the experience. • Look for the symbol for a “hearing loop” (sometimes called an audio induction loop). When the child’s technology is set on “T” or telecoil, the sound will
transfer directly to the child’s hearing technology, making it easier for him or her to hear. Many museums also have FM systems for this same reason. • In restaurants, sit so that you are facing a window so it is easier for your child to pick up on lip reading cues. Ask if you can sit away from doors and ice machines to decrease noise. • Meal times are a great time to review what you have seen or experienced during the day. Look at the pictures taken during the day, ask open-ended questions (where, why, how) about your child’s experience, and highlight any new words that your child might have learned. Discussing your experience in the sequence in which things happened (first we took the bus, then we saw the dinosaurs, and last we went to the gift shop) can help aid learning. • Remember that travel can be exhausting for all children, but the extra noise and input can be especially tiring for a child who is Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. Provide some quiet time in the afternoons when you can just read books or rest. This doesn’t mean that your child needs to take off any hearing technology; just reduce the background noise as much as possible. If you and your traveling companions are hearing, give additional consideration to travelers who are Deaf or Hard-ofHearing. Being aware of these strategies may give you the tools to help fellow travelers. Kristina M. Blaiser, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Idaho State University. Kristina has been working with children who are Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and their families for over twenty years. She has directed programs for children with hearing loss and is the Associate Coordinator for the Special Interest Group related to pediatric hearing loss for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Travel For Less Using Credit Card Rewards U
sing credit card rewards to lessen your travel costs is a popular way to afford more travel. And it takes very little effort; many people already use credit cards, and miles and points can add up quickly. You can earn credit card miles or points with rewards credit cards and later redeem them to pay for your travel expenses, either by directly purchasing travel or being reimbursed for those expenses. Most rewards cards have an annual fee (although some companies waive it for the first year), and a minimum purchase amount within the first three months is often required to earn bonus points
or miles. Consider charging large purchases and day-to-day expenses you’d make regardless (yearly insurance premiums, gym memberships, utilities, and tuition) to meet the minimum spending requirement. There are three main types of travel rewards credit cards: cash back cards, co-branded airline and hotel rewards cards, and transferable points cards. These can be used in combination to create a virtually free vacation, covering your costs for airfare, hotel, car rental, and tours.
CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS
The Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card automatically matches all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, dollar-for-dollar, with no limit. • No annual fee • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time, for any amount • Earn 5% cash back through different options each quarter at places like gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and Amazon.com • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases • No foreign transaction fee
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express can be used for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise. • No annual fee • Earn $150 statement credit back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months • Earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets • Earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations • Earn 1% cash back on other purchases
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a simple, straightforward card with no categories for earnings and no limits. • No annual fee • Earn $150 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months • Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases • Cash back can be redeemed at any time, in any amount No foreign transaction fee
Cash back credit cards are the easiest to use and offer the most flexibility. With these cards, you earn back a percentage of each transaction, which you can apply towards your account balance or, in some cases, exchange for cash. Pay for travel expenses with the card, then redeem the earned cash back as a statement credit to “erase” part of the balance. If you don’t have the time or inclination to search for the best airline and hotel awards and want a versatile card that earns solid rewards on your spending, take a serious look at this type of card.
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CO-BRANDED AIRLINE AND HOTEL REWARDS CARDS
• Check your first bag free on domestic flights for you and up to 4 people traveling on the same itinerary • No foreign transaction fees • 45,000 American Airlines miles could earn you one roundtrip flight from the U.S. to Europe during their off-peak travel period, worth well over $1,000
The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is one of the easiest cards to use for travel to Europe or Asia because their partner availability through the Star Alliance is significant, their website is very user-friendly, and they do not ever pass on fuel surcharges. Partners include Lufthansa, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines. • The annual fee is $95 fee, waived the first year • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months • Check your first bag free when you use your card to buy your ticket • Receive up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement fee credit every 4 years if you charge the application fee to your card • No foreign transaction fees or blackout dates • 2 United Club one-time passes after account opening and on each anniversary - over $100 value per year
The Marriott Bonvoy® Bold Credit Card is part of an extensive network of hotels — over 7,000 hotels including RitzCarlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, and Westin in over 131 countries — that offer highly-available awards that can be redeemed for relatively low point values. • No annual fee • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months • Earn 3X points on Marriott Bonvoy hotels • Earn 2X points on other travel purchases like taxis or airlines • No foreign transaction fees • Lost luggage and trip delay reimbursement • Use points for air travel, cruises, gift cards, or donate them to charity The Hilton Honors® American Express Card lets you earn bonus points on everyday purchases. • No annual fee • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months • Earn 7X bonus points at Hilton properties • Earn 5X bonus points for each dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets • Earn 3X bonus points for all other eligible purchases • No foreign transaction fees
Co-branded airline and hotel rewards cards offer miles or points on one specific airline or hotel program. The upside is that rewards can accrue quickly through the program; the downside is that rewards are limited to only one airline or hotel and their partners, so you could miss out on other deals.
The Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select MasterCard® offers miles to use through the One World Alliance, which includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air Berlin, and Iberia, making this a great choice for both international and domestic travelers. • The annual fee is $99, waived the first year • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months • Earn double miles at gas stations and restaurants and on tickets booked through American
TRANSFERABLE POINTS CARDS
Transferable points credit cards are considered the most valuable of all the travel rewards credit cards as they have multiple redemption options and miles can be transferred to various airline and hotel partners or can be redeemed for cash back.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has no blackout dates or restrictions. This means you can fly any airline, stay at any hotel, use any rental car agency, or book any tour. • The annual fee is $95, waived the first year • Earn 50,000 miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months • Transfer your miles to 15 airline transfer partners, including Cathay Pacific, Air France, and Etihad Airways • Earn two miles for every $1 spent on every purchase (essentially a 2% rebate on all spending) • Earn ten miles for every $1 spent at Hotels.com/Venture • Receive up to $100 to cover the costs of a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application • Miles, valued at one cent each, can be redeemed for gift cards or to book travel through Capital One
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a highly-desired card that offers 25% more bonus points when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. • The annual fee is $95 • Earn 60,000 bonus points (up to $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months • Earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide • Transfer points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners for even more value and savings • No foreign transaction fees • A credit score of 700 or above is suggested Only a few of the many options available are discussed here, and offers change periodically, so always check the website of the desired card for the current benefits, pricing, and terms. You can also check out Nerdwallet.com or Bankrate.com to compare cards and see up-to-date reviews, recommendations, and current card offers.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Navigation Travel Insurance: You Can’t Afford to Travel Without It
ravel can be a wonderful adventure, but it’s always difficult if something goes wrong when you’re far from home. Whether it’s a minor issue like a flight delay that makes you miss that overseas connection or a far more serious event in the form of an accident needing immediate medical attention, travel insurance offers you financial protection so you’ll be covered for a variety of unexpected circumstances. Insurance is an additional cost and might seem unnecessary alongside the already hefty expenses of a trip — but if you think you can’t afford to buy travel insurance, you definitely can’t afford the costs of not having it should anything go wrong.
Zélie Pollon 24/7 Worldwide Assistance You never know when you’ll need help, but odds are it won’t be between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Look for travel insurance that offers round-the-clock customer service. Medical Evacuation Make sure that if anything happens to you or a loved one, you will be flown home for medical care and under the worstcase scenario, you’re covered for repatriation of remains. What’s Not Covered? Note that many insurers won’t cover pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy). Some companies exclude conditions as far back as two years, although new symptoms that aren’t yet diagnosed may not count. Also, travel insurance is not the same thing as global health insurance. If you’re planning on moving abroad or traveling with an unknown return date, make sure you search for insurance that covers ongoing treatment of any chronic conditions. Be sure to read the fine print of any insurance plan. For example, booking errors are often excluded from coverage.
What Features Are Available? Before purchasing any travel insurance, make sure you know what features are included in the policy. Common features cover trip cancellation, medical care, baggage issues, afterhours customer service, and evacuation and other emergency transportation home. Trip Cancellation or Interruption The unexpected happens. Storms, illness, or some other unforseen event can keep you from reaching the airport or being able to travel as planned. If you have to cancel a trip due to unexpected health issues, you’ll be grateful not to have to eat your flight costs. Emergency Medical Care Most U.S. insurance plans won’t cover your expenses for medical care overseas, so travel insurance will generally be your main health coverage while traveling. Shop for plans with at least $50,000 worth of medical coverage, as expenses can add up quickly. Baggage Loss or Delay With increased baggage restrictions, it’s more difficult to carry luggage on board. Checking luggage always carries the risk of lost bags. Make sure that if you arrive somewhere and your luggage doesn’t, you’ll at least get reimbursed for any purchases you make to replace what is lost or delayed.
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What Companies Should I Consider? There are a large number of travel insurance companies out there, each offering policies with different features and at different price points. Here are just a few of the travel insurance outfits that are popular with travelers and traveling families. Allianz Travel is popular with travelers for its simple plans, easy to use website, and responsive customer service center. (Allianz has been this author’s go-to travel insurance for years and twice in the recent past has provided full refunds for unexpected trip cancellations.) World Nomads’ travel insurance is popular with digital nomads, who generally spend extended periods of time living and working abroad. It covers many adventure sports and activities — about 300 in all, including kayaking and bull riding — that many other companies don’t. One downside is that it does not cover ages 70 and above. Seven Corners has many different plans for any length of travel, including special 12-month missionary plans. Be sure to get extra medical coverage if it is not included in the policy you select. Travelex gets great reviews for families, mainly because with the Travel Select Policy, children under 18 are insured at no additional cost! (Under the basic plan, coverage for children is an additional expense.) If more extreme thrill-seeking adventures in remote areas or where you see a real threat of injury (think cave diving and mountain climbing) are your thing, IMG might have the policy for you. This plan has a high medical coverage limit and a $1 million allowance for emergency evacuation. Available add-ons include search and rescue services for backpackers.
How Much Does it Cost? In general, travel insurance costs anywhere from 4–10 percent of your total trip cost, depending on the company, plan coverage amounts, length of travel, and destination. Insurance for international travel is generally more expensive, and keep in mind that most providers won’t cover visits to any country with a state department advisory or ban.
World Nomads Travel Insurance
We love nothing more than seeing our future Nomads exposed to the wonders of the world at an early age. World Nomads Family Travel Insurance can support your family when things go wrong and keep your dream vacation on track. COVERAGE INCLUDES
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Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
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Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
ashington, D.C. is known for its rich cultural and political history. But did you know it’s also one of the United States’ most accessible cities? With expansive sidewalks and wheelchair-accessible public transit systems, travelers with special needs can get around Washington, D.C. with relative ease. Three airports service the D.C. Metropolitan area. Reagan National Airport, located in Arlington, Virginia, is the closest to the downtown area and is easily reached by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail system, commonly called Metro. Dulles International Airport and BWI Airport, both located outside of the city in Virginia and Maryland, respectively, are also accessible by public transportation. Give yourself at least an hour to get into the city center from Dulles or BWI. Washington, D.C.’s extensive Metro and bus system makes getting around the city fairly simple. Metro stations have elevators for wheelchair access, and the buses are all equipped to accommodate wheelchairs. Uber and Lyft are also available throughout the city, as are taxis, and each service has wheelchair accessible vehicles available. If you’re planning to rent a car, be aware that free or metered street parking can be quite difficult to find and parking garage rates range from $9–10 an hour. IF YOU HAVE ONE DAY
If you only have one day to explore Washington, D.C., the best way to get a feel for the city is by exploring the National Mall. Located in the original center of the city, between Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue, the National Mall is 146 acres (over half a square kilometer) of green space, peppered with iconic monuments and museums. Begin your exploration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the northwestern corner of the National Mall, and then make your way to the Washington Monument via the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Be sure to spend some time admiring the Reflecting Pool and the World War II Memorial as well. From the Washington Monument, make your way north toward the White House. After visiting the White House or at least catching a glimpse, you can head back south to the National Mall and continue walking east to the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress — or, if you want to skip walking the rest of the National Mall, you can catch the Metro from McPherson Square to Capitol South. From there, you can explore the United States Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. With plenty of breaks for resting in the shade, playing on the grass, or eating at restaurants around the National Mall, the
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whole excursion can take as short as an afternoon or as long as a full day. All the streets within and around the National Mall have sidewalks, so families with strollers or wheelchairs can easily navigate through the monuments and museums. For meals throughout the day, check out Founding Farmers D.C. in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, located northwest of the National Mall. Other restaurants worth considering are Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza, located just southeast of the Capitol Building. Both restaurants are fun, family-friendly options for lunch or dinner and are owned by Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef fame. IF YOU HAVE TWO TO THREE DAYS
For longer stays of two to three days, plan to spend another day exploring the National Mall. The Smithsonian Institution has eleven museums located at the National Mall, and all of them are free to enter. Families are sure to enjoy visiting the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, or the National Museum of the American Indian. Not to be missed is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which walks visitors through the history and contributions of African Americans within the United States. Some parts of the museum may be somewhat graphic for young kids. However, the majority of the museum is kid-friendly and covers an important part of American history and culture. If you have a third day, visit the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, located in the Woodley Park neighborhood. Like the Smithsonian museums at the National Mall, admission to the zoo is free. There are thousands of animals on exhibit; the zooâ€™s giant pandas are among the most popular. The zoo is located in between two Metro stations: the Cleveland Park station and the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station. For a uniquely D.C. meal experience, head to Busboys and Poets. This restaurant and bookshop pay homage to American poet Langston Hughes and frequently hosts community gatherings and events. There are seven locations in the D.C. Metro area, five of which are within the city limits. IF YOU HAVE FOUR TO SEVEN DAYS
With more than three days to explore Washington, D.C., you can spend more time digging deep into the many other museums throughout the city. Three additional museums worth visiting that are not part of the Smithsonian Institution are the Newseum, the International Spy Museum, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. All three museums charge a fee to enter but are filled with engaging exhibits for curious young minds. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Looking to take a break from museums? One interesting outdoor spot to explore is the District Wharf. Here, you can watch fishmongers on floating stalls sell locally-caught seafood. Maryland blue crabs are popular among locals and can be steamed and seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning right on the spot. For a glimpse into life during the early days of America, head south to Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria is accessible by Metro on the Blue or Yellow lines. Old Town Alexandria has many colonial-style streets and shops to explore dating back to the 1600s and 1700s. Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is also located in Alexandria and is open to the public for touring. If you’re looking for dining options in Alexandria, be sure to visit Gadsby’s Tavern, one of the oldest taverns in the United States. For a slightly more affordable dining experience, stroll through Alexandria’s Del Rey neighborhood to check out its
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family-friendly restaurants. You can also head to Crystal City where you’ll find Jaleo, a restaurant from world-renowned chef, José Andrés. While Washington, D.C. has plenty of attractions to keep visitors busy, it’s worth exploring some of the surrounding areas as well. While not all of D.C.’s surrounding areas are wheelchair accessible or have facilities for mobility-impaired travelers, many do. The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, is full of fish and marine life, and for nature-lovers, Shenandoah National Park has several accessible trails. No matter how long you plan to stay in Washington, D.C., there are more than enough activities and attractions to keep you and your family occupied during your visit. From exploring the city’s famous monuments to tasting local delicacies, a visit to America’s capital city is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Emergency Planning for Family Travel
Travel with a Large Family
Travel with a Service Animal Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
eing involved in a disaster or emergency while on an adventure is something every traveler would rather avoid. But the unexpected happens, so having a plan in place can alleviate some worry and help you feel more confident and prepared should the unlikely happen. Emergencies can include flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, fires, rioting, wild weather, disease outbreaks, acts of terror, war, and so many more. Particularly when traveling with children, it’s always good to talk about and plan for the unexpected. Preparation Many government agencies provide a free service where travelers can register their overseas travel plans. For instance, the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) provides updates regarding travel advisories and safety and security issues in your destination country. Should an emergency occur in that country during your travel, the embassy or consulate from your home country will know that you might be impacted and will know how to contact you to offer help. In addition, you can download the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app to receive alerts from the National Weather Service for specific regions in the United States, learn emergency safety and preparation information, and locate disaster recovery shelters and other emergency resources. Research your destination and the potential dangers that may be common in the country or region, and review the online travel warnings. Maybe it’s hurricane season, or perhaps there is an election coming up which could cause demonstrations and rioting. Some neighborhoods are best avoided as places to stay,
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so read the online reviews to anticipate any problems. When risks are high, consider staying away from the area altogether. If that’s not feasible, put together a more specific plan detailing potential problems and how your family plans to respond. Good travel insurance is essential. Do your homework to find recommendations (see ours on page 34), and be sure to read reviews and the fine print Make sure your will, power of attorney, life insurance policy, and any additional legal documents (such as adoption papers) are up to date and have been downloaded to a mobile device or cloud service accessible in the event of an emergency. Have multiple ways to access your money, including splitting up your cash, credit, and debit cards between different people. Make copies of your credit card numbers and their respective call center numbers for ease of reporting lost cards. Photocopy your passports, visa information, and insurance details and keep them separate. Know the emergency phone numbers where you are going and how to contact your embassy from your destination country. Rehearse with children what to do and say if they are separated from the family. Make sure they know who to contact back home in the event of an emergency. Or consider a necklace, bracelet, or laminated card with emergency information on it that you could even have it translated into the local language. GPS tracking watches are also available. Bring necessary medications, including prescriptions, pain relief, antiseptic, and anything else relevant to your destination and family’s needs. If a family member has special needs or medications, bring extra medication in case of any delay returning home.
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Emergency Planning for Family Travel
Travel with a Lifestraw or other water filtration system if there is a chance an emergency could mean losing access to clean water.
reports, especially if you are in a country where you donâ€™t speak the language. If it is safe to do so, take photos for any possible insurance claims.
During Travel When you check in to your accommodation, spend 10 minutes with your family reviewing the building and exits and agree on an external meeting point. Get in the habit of deciding on a designated meeting place somewhere in the city or town if you get separated and canâ€™t return to the accommodation. Assume there will be no Wi-Fi access or cell phone signal. Take a group photo every morning so you can quickly recall what clothing everyone is wearing in case of separation. While on location, keep an eye on the local weather or follow local Facebook or Twitter pages specific to the place you are visiting.
During an Event If you encounter a disaster, your focus should be on staying calm and seeking a safe place for all your family members. Do not be concerned about money or possessions; these can usually be replaced. Turn on a radio or TV, or go online to follow instructions from local authorities. Do not call emergency numbers unless you or someone you are with needs emergency help. Attempt to contact your family at home to make them aware of the situation and that you are safe. Sometimes they can tell you more about what is going on from their news
After the Danger has Passed Help others if it is appropriate and safe to do so. Donate blood if the local hospitals are requesting it, or assist with first aid or medical help if you are trained. People might also need emergency shelter. If you cannot help in a particular situation, it is best to leave the area; the local authorities will need to assist residents and visitors who may be hurt or displaced.
RESOURCES FOR CITIZENS PREPARING TO TRAVEL ABROAD U.S. Residents: visit travel.state.gov to access country-specific information and the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to register your travel details. UK Residents: visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice Canadian Residents: visit https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/ registration Australian Residents: smarttraveller.gov.au has frequently updated travel advice, and Australians can register where and when they will be overseas.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Travel with a Large Family T
here is a very fine line between foolhardy and brave, and traveling with a large family can seem like either — or both. I traveled with my husband before we had kids — adventurous, exciting travel, where we explored new places, threw caution to the wind, and dove right in. We lived and traveled all around the Middle East, hitchhiked in Syria and Turkey, and backpacked with only an old copy of Lonely Planet to guide our way. We lived in Japan for a year while we practiced our language skills and worked hard in a bizarre English teaching job that involved acting, dancing, and repetitious chants, where we suspiciously resembled “The Wiggles” from Australia. But once I became pregnant, we put a stop to all that. We settled down and did our best at becoming “normal.” We got a mortgage, adopted pets, and had a whole gaggle of children. We thought our travel days were in the past. Our longing for adventure was still there, but it was buried under a pile of laundry the size of Mt. Vesuvius and a list of chores the length of the Nile. Life with little kids is busy, and travel with a big family seemed impossible. I was heavily pregnant with baby number five when we underwent some massive life changes. My husband’s
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employment was all-consuming and stressful and was taking over our lives, so he quit. For the first time since we had started our family, we were free from the constraints of his job. We were free to make up a whole new life — but what would it look like? We certainly missed the adventure of our old travel days, and the whole endless laundry and nappy-changing thing was getting old. Couldn’t we do all the daily chores while seeing the world? I took to the internet and found all sorts of inspiring blogs and stories: families who traveled full time, expats living in fascinating international destinations, families who took a gap year together, and vacations that were adventurous and cultural — even with little kids. But with five little kids?! I couldn’t find much on traveling with such a large family, and an, um, imperfect one at that (like, imperfect in the sense that your family can barely drive the two hours to the zoo and survive the ride, or you find packing light overwhelming because you are not a natural-born minimalist, or the kids seem to fight and whine no matter what you try). We went for it anyway. It has now been three years since we launched ourselves on an international journey that has taken us on unexpected life paths through a total of 23 countries. Did the
kids still whine and fight? You bet. Was packing everything I had feared? Definitely. Were logistics supremely difficult? Yes and no, depending on the country. But do we regret traveling as a large, loud, imperfect family? Definitely not. Along the way, we have picked up a few tips that have worked for us. It often feels like we are the banner family for what not to do for successful travel, but perhaps other people can learn from our mistakes. Getting Around How on earth can we transport all of those little people safely around the planet and still retain some measure of sanity? Fly as cheaply as possible. Look for deals on Skyscanner, Google Flights, Momondo, and other flight comparison websites, and try to fly in the off-peak seasons. Sometimes we regretted this (China Eastern Airline, I’m looking at you), but even small price differences can make a big impact when you’re booking for seven people. Travel on land by car. For longer trips, consider purchasing a car; we bought a car in Europe and another to travel the United States. When that wasn’t an option, we hired one for a month in Malaysia and borrowed one in the UAE. If you travel light, look into traveling on a rail pass. It might be cheaper, but we like to load up the car with our bags, food, baby gear, and other paraphernalia and take ourselves off the beaten path. Where to Stay? Finding accommodations for a large family is hard to do on a budget, but it’s possible if you avoid full-price hotels and look for other options. It is not always luxurious — in fact, it’s never luxurious! — but sometimes it is perfect. Search for accommodations on Airbnb. It has been our lifesaver; truly, I don’t know what we’d do without it. Book for at least a week when possible to take advantage of discounts. And longer stays have deeper discounts — monthly stays may have discounts of up to 60% off! When Airbnb isn’t an option, look for options on booking. com, hotels.com, or local websites. VRBO and Homeaway can be an option as well, although there are often extra fees per person and that can really make a difference in the price. Travel with inflatable mattresses and blankets if space allows so kids can sleep on the floor when needed. Consider camping if you have the gear and don’t mind roughing it. Despite the lower costs, our family doesn’t camp; we have a runaway toddler who likes to fling himself into any water source or off any height. But other families do it and, with the right set up, find it affordable and a great way to be in nature. Housesitting. There are some fantastic websites that make this possible. One of the best is trustedhousesitters.com. It’s a win-win: you get free accommodation, and the owner gets their pets and home cared for. I have friends who travel the world this way. For a big family, finding the right place for a housesit
is harder but still possible, depending on how much energy and stress it might involve to make sure someone else’s house is kept clean and in good order. I have high hopes to do this again once my young, high-energy boys are a bit older. Feeding the Masses My children are endlessly “starving.” Food is one of our top concerns. We are very happy and appreciative when we are in a country where food is cheap and plentiful — and likewise, we all get pretty cantankerous when we have to divide an overpriced schnitzel among three kids who will be hungry again an hour later. Cook most meals in, and eat out only when it’s cheap or on special occasions. You can find chicken, vegetables, and noodles or rice in every country, so we have prepared and eaten chicken noodle soup in 23 countries! Come up with some easy meals you like to make on the road, and make the rest up as you go. Eat whatever the locals are eating! It will be less expensive and more delicious. In Italy, I was faced with a selection of about 7,000 different types of pastrami and just picked a local one at random to add to a sandwich or pasta, figuring I couldn’t go wrong; at the least, I’d get a taste of the local flavor. Not Killing Each Other This is hard. Yes, the experience is all about adventure and bonding, but sometimes the frustrations that come with travel — coupled with jet-lag, being out of your comfort zone, and in constant close quarters — can all get a bit much. To avoid taking your frustrations out on your family, try these tips. Take turns for alone adult time. My husband and I love to explore foreign cities, see the opera, and visit art galleries. Sometimes we take the whole crew, sometimes we take just one child for a special date, and sometimes we take turns to have a day out for ourselves and leave everyone else at home. Get everyone an iPod or similar device to listen to audiobooks and music. This is a must! I have heard of other families who like to chat and bond on long drives — this is not us. On our most successful trips, everyone is separately plugged into his or her own book and can relax and not interact (or fight, or whine). It’s bliss! Alternate busy days with down time. Going at a frantic pace only increases frustration. Most of all, determine what brings your family joy and peace, whether at home or on the road. Is it the outdoors, good food, or movies and games? You can incorporate those things into your travel adventure and still create wonderful memories all over the world. Traveling with a big family can be truly rewarding despite the challenges. With the right planning, the excitement and fun of showing all your kids this amazing planet and the wonderful differences around us increase with the size of your family. You can follow the Gilbert family adventures on their blog at www.learningbrave.com or on Instagram at @learningbrave.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Travel with a Service Animal I
f you’re someone who dreams of travel but whose faithful companion is a service animal, the logistics are more complicated. You can’t necessarily leap on a plane and jet off to the far-flung destinations constantly filling social media feeds and email inboxes. But it is entirely possible to travel to most of the world with your service dog. There are two general categories of canine assistants. In the United States, service animals are classified as animals that are individually trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. This would include dogs for assisting the blind, those for turning on lights or retrieving fallen objects, providing seizure alerts, or reminding someone to take medication. This trained work must be directly related to the owner’s disability. Emotional support animals are different, as these provide comfort to a person for psychological stress and thus do not fall under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For domestic travel within the U.S., airlines must allow you to take your service dog into the cabin and allow it to stay next to you for the flight’s duration. Your dog should wear a harness and tags that alert people that this is a working service dog. You can only be asked by personnel if the dog is required because of a disability and what type of work the dog has been trained to perform; no letter or form from a medical provider is required. However, for an emotional support dog, you will need a letter from a licensed mental health professional dated within one year prior to your trip stating that the dog’s assistance is needed. Some airlines will require you to submit this documentation online at least 48 hours in advance of your travel, and you should always carry multiple copies of this documentation with you. Check with each airline, train, or bus service, as each has slightly different requirements. This can be frustrating, but the basic rules are the same, so knowing your rights is a good start. If your goal is to hit azure beaches or snow-capped mountains in exotic locations outside the U.S., your research is going to be a bit more complex. Every country has its own regulations about what constitutes a service animal or emotional support animal. Outside of the U.S., the trend is not to recognize emotional support animals or allow them to travel in the cabin. Most countries do support service dogs, although the rules are more strict. Traveling to the UK, for instance, requires registration for all service dogs with Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation. These are the only two accepted organizations, and you must enter through specific airports and via approved airlines.
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Kate Green Other countries also have stricter rules for required health certificates and vaccines. Make sure your dog’s health records and shots are up to date, check your destination country’s requirements, and arrive at the airport with all your forms filled out, including a health certificate dated within 10 days prior to your flight. Some countries require a USDAcertified veterinarian to sign the certificate, others require microchipping, and yet others require certain check-in requirements to be satisfied on arrival. It is beyond the scope of this article to list all the different country requirements, so please do your research on this, paying attention to which forms they require (and language), the time requirements on vaccines, microchipping, and what to do when you first arrive at the new country’s airport. In Mexico, you have to stop and provide copies of your documents to the Agricultural Sanitation Inspection office, which is before immigration control (an easy process but painful if you don’t realize and have to double back). Do your research on the different country requirements, paying close attention to what forms are required. Do make sure to carry with you in the cabin the basics your dog may need for travel. Bring a couple of days’ worth of food, a water dish, puppy pads, and any medications with you in case your checked luggage goes missing. Research your departure and layover airports to see if they have a dog relief center so you don’t have to exit security for a toilet break. U.S. federal regulations require airports to provide an area for dog relief, but compliance with this requirement is variable (here’s looking at you, Tampa and Orlando!). You might put off going through security until the last minute so your dog can fully relieve herself before traveling. Going through security means a slightly more enhanced process, but everyone is usually very nice. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or other security agents may want to remove your dog’s collar or harness or at least be able to slide their hands underneath all of the straps. This can be done in line, or TSA may ask you to go with an agent to a quieter area. Prep everyone in your party ahead of time as much as possible: juggling unzipping computer bags, taking shoes off, managing children and their bags, and processing a service dog can be a little unraveling without prior organization! Do some deep yoga breathing (or look forward to a glass of wine on the flight!). The process of traveling with your service animal is not simple, but it is doable. Once you make a couple of trips and start to understand the applicable requirements, it gets easier. Being able to travel with your pooch to a Parisian café while receiving necessary services for your disability or riding the vaporetti in Venice with your best friend tagging along to provide emotional support will make it possible for your family to create memories you’ll smile about for years.
Celebrating Life Beyond Death:
right orange marigolds adorn the door frame as we step out into the bustling street. We browse the candy skulls, pan de muerto (sweet bread), and flowers that burst from the many stocked stands in town. Strolling through alleyways, we see rows of colorful and detailed papel picado (decorative craft paper) dangling overhead. Ornate altars are set up in plazas, businesses, and private homes, and candlelight dances off framed pictures. We paint our faces white, our eyes encircled with bright, glittery beads. We gather with the old and young in the plazas, enjoying music, street food, and the contagious energy of celebration. It’s Día de los Muertos — the Day of the Dead — in Mexico. Living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, my family is in the privileged position of experiencing the holiday first-hand. There is a certain irreverent resignation regarding death that is evident during Día de los Muertos. Instead of grief, loss, and pain, Día de los Muertos celebrates the memories of deceased loved ones and ancestors, embracing and valuing the inevitable cycle of life and death. This is captured in the Mexican saying, “la muerte está tan segura de alcanzarnos que nos da toda una vida de ventaja” or, “death is so sure to catch up with us that it gives us a lifetime head start.” By understanding, honoring, and respecting the traditions, participating in Día de los Muertos in Mexico can be a once-in-alifetime adventure and a powerful cultural experience.
History While Día de los Muertos occurs between October 31st and November 2nd, it is not a Halloween-style fright-fest. Celebrated widely in Mexico, Día de los Muertos is a joyful holiday, as people welcome the spirits of their passed loved ones back to the physical world for a short period of time.
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Día de los Muertos dates back to the mighty Aztecs who flourished in central Mexico between the 14th and 16th centuries. Aztecs believed in a life and death cycle which, upon dying, included an arduous nine-stage journey to reach a final resting place. This journey took place in Chicunamictlán, or the “Land of the Dead.” Families of the deceased would participate in rituals, often held in August, to help their loved ones progress through the stages, providing food, water, and other supplies. Mictēcacihuātl, the “Lady of the Dead,” was revered, as she was tasked with watching over the bones of the dead. When the Spanish conquered Mesoamerica in the early 16th century, they brought with them All Souls’ Day, a Roman Catholic holiday honoring the souls of those in purgatory, as well as the corresponding All Saints’ Day. The belief behind All Souls’ Day is that prayers from faithful Catholics cleanse the souls of those stuck in purgatory, expediting their passage to heaven. Taking place on November 2nd, masses are held and, in some places, graves are decorated. The Spanish were familiar with pagan rituals celebrating the dead in Europe; All Souls’ Day had absorbed many of those traditions before the conquests in Mesoamerica. When the Spanish arrived and were unable to squash the Aztec rituals, they were adapted over time (moved to November, for example), and Día de los Muertos was born. How to Celebrate There are no strict rules governing how to celebrate Día de los Muertos besides being respectful of cemeteries, graves, and altars. Families decorate their loved ones’ graves, create elaborate ofrendas (altars), and gather to tell stories, eat, and listen to music. Mexicans, in general, are approachable and open; while visitors are welcome to wander the cemeteries and plazas and look at the displays, it is best not to take photos without permission — and of course, do not touch ofrendas or disturb celebrations. Play dress up La Calavera Catrina is possibly the most famous image related to Día de los Muertos. Sketched in the early 20th century by illustrator and printmaker José Guadalupe Posada, the image was a satirical depiction of wealthy Mexican women who adopted a European style in the pre-Revolution era. It was also a political and cultural critique of the economic disparity and excesses of the upper classes prevalent during the reign of Dictator Porfirio Díaz. In the 1940s, acclaimed painter Diego Rivera re-worked Catrina, adding a body and her name for a famous mural in Mexico City, forever popularizing her image. Catrina morphed into the poster child for Día de los Muertos and the associated
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values — money and power make no difference, as we are all bones in the end; we might as well laugh with death and embrace the inevitable. In this vein, many people paint their faces in the calavera (skull) style during Día de los Muertos. Travelers can buy face paint and do it themselves or hire a local to do an artistic job. Stores in most cities have dresses and tuxedos for sale or rent in the Catrina/Catrin style. (Catrin is Catrina’s male counterpart, dressed in a tuxedo and top hat.) A flower crown completes the costume. Children and adults alike get decked out and stroll through plazas during Día de los Muertos, viewing the public altars and enjoying street performances. Create an altar The altar is a central component of Día de los Muertos. Most are built on a shelf or table, with a colorful tablecloth as the base. The altars are decorated with symbolic items — pictures of passed loved ones, flowers, candy and candy skulls, drinks (for adults, often tequila or pulque, a fermented agave beverage), laborintensive celebration dishes (such as mole in Oaxaca), pan de muerto, papel picado, religious elements (crucifixes and images of patron saints), candles (to light the way to the physical world), and other personal touches. An arch is usually incorporated to symbolize the passage from one world to another. Creating an altar is a great way to get the whole family involved and gain a deeper understanding of the holiday. The markets in October are bursting with altar supplies, so all celebrants need to bring are photos of passed loved ones. Where to Celebrate Although initially celebrated exclusively in Southern Mexico because Northern Mexican indigenous populations had separate traditions and rituals, Día de los Muertos is now celebrated throughout Mexico. Celebrations are everywhere, but there are a few standouts that provide a spectacular Día de los Muertos experience. Oaxaca City, Oaxaca Oaxaca City is considered a culinary and cultural center of Mexico, due to the deep, sustained indigenous roots of the Oaxacan people. Many residents have Miztec or Zapotec heritage; these indigenous groups fought with the Aztecs for control of the region until the Spanish arrived in 1521. Día de los Muertos in Oaxaca is a lively, colorful, and traditional celebration that includes midnight cemetery vigils, street parades, and gastronomical delights. Due to its geographic and cultural diversity, Oaxacan cuisine is the most varied in Mexico. From seafood from the coast to vegetables of the Central Valley to tropical fruits near Veracruz, Día de los Muertos in Oaxaca is a feast for all the senses. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Getting there: Oaxaca City has an airport (OAX) with limited international flights. Alternatively, fly into Mexico City (MEX) and take a bus. The ride is around 5.5 hours, and the buses are air-conditioned and comfortable (many have movies and WiFi). San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, San Miguel de Allende’s colonial charm, diverse arts scene, and lively Día de los Muertos celebration draws tourists from all over the world. A unique 4-day “La Calaca” festival brings interactive art installations, musical performances, workshops, and cultural tours. Walk the cobblestone streets, sample the street food, watch the indigenous dance performances in the Jardín (the central plaza), and enjoy all San Miguel de Allende has to offer at this magical time of year. Getting there: There are two international airports within 1.5 hours of San Miguel de Allende, Leon (BJX) and Queretaro (QRO), which have flights from many major U.S. cities. There are shuttle services from both airports that can be reserved online. Alternatively, fly into Mexico City (MEX), and take a bus (approximately 4 hours). Island of Janitzio, Michoacán Janitzio is a small island in Pátzcuaro Lake. Inhabited mainly by the Purépecha indigenous ethnic group, the 1,600 residents celebrate Día de los Muertos in a unique traditional way that has become world famous. Beginning on October 31st, the festivities kick off with a duck hunt on the lake using wooden canoes. Ducks are hunted with spears, their meat is then prepared in a traditional recipe using pato enchilado (chiles), and the meat is later presented on altars. The next evening, fisherman take to their canoes again, lit with candles, billowing their nets in formation to mimic
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butterflies and guide souls to the cemetery. The cemetery bell rings all evening, and the cemetery is bright with candles and lanterns. The whole town (plus tourists) gather to celebrate. Getting there: Fly into Mexico City (MEX) or Guadalajara (GDL) and take a bus (both take about 5 hours) to Pátzcuaro. From there, take a ferry to the island. The ferry takes 25 minutes and costs about 70 pesos ($3.50), depending on the time of year. Mexico City Mexico City, the enormous capital city of Mexico and the site of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, combines old and new traditions for a truly spectacular Día de los Muertos. The entire city gets involved, with colorfully decorated streets, restaurants and bars setting up altars, and live traditional dance performances between altars in the Zócalo (the main square). There is no shortage of Día de los Muertos activities in Mexico City. Enjoy the street vendors and lively atmosphere of the annual parade with mojigangas (giant puppets) and floats, a tradition that started in response to demand after the 2015 James Bond movie Spectre, which featured a fictional Día de los Muertos parade. Take a boat tour to experience the “Legend of La Llorona” through the ancient Xochimilco canals, which were dug by the Aztecs. The special Día de los Muertos experience takes you on a gondola-type night ride through the canals, which are transformed into an eerie lighted display, perpetuating the legend of a mother who haunts the canals, searching for her drowned children. It’s a festive cruise, with snacks, beer, and live performances at the end. Explore the different neighborhoods, which have different vibes, each with its own plazas and displays, or wander the museums admiring their altars. (The Frida Kahlo altar in the Frida Kahlo Museum is particularly popular.) And, of course, the cemeteries are focal points during Día de los Muertos in Mexico City and a great way to remember and honor the traditions of the holiday. Getting there: There are regular flights to Mexico City (MEX) from most U.S. and Canadian cities. Experience this powerful celebration in Mexico It’s no surprise that in 2008, Día de los Muertos was inscribed on the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” list by UNESCO for its significance to indigenous communities and its merging of European and indigenous rituals. Día de los Muertos is a great time to respectfully explore Mexico — its food, traditions, and the blending of unique cultures that led to this famous and uplifting celebration of life and death.
Voices: Traveling In The Margins
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ook, honey! Another brown family!” My husband and I were walking through the streets of Rome with our two young kids near the famous Trevi Fountain. On the hunt for a cheap dinner of pizza after a long day of sightseeing, we passed a dark-skinned family standing in front of a restaurant, contemplating the menu. I excitedly pointed them out to my husband as we passed. “Maybe we should go talk to them!” I suggested to him. This conversation may sound strange to a casual passerby, but for our traveling family, it’s an oft-held discussion. As an Asian-American family traveling around the world, we rarely encounter other families of color during our travels — so, when we do see another brown-skinned family traveling, my husband and I are quick to point them out. Why would we care so much about meeting other traveling families of color? After all, since family travel is such a booming
part of the travel industry, all kinds of families are traveling these days, right? The reality is that the family travel community, as with the rest of the travel community, is far from diverse. The typical image of a traveling family is one that is white and fit, with a mother and father leading a brood of active young kids. Among families who travel, a family like ours remains in the minority. A quick glance at the social media pages of popular family travel influencers can attest to this. Their feeds are filled with fair-skinned smiling children and parents, the sunlight gleaming on their blond hair and sun-kissed beige complexions. Families who don’t fit that mold, whether by virtue of skin color, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or often family configuration, are much harder to find online. The stories that this selection of families tells, then, often end up feeling limited, especially for families from traditionallyEverywhere Magazine October/November 2019
while others come from Asian countries like China. From my experience in Togo, the majority of the visitors to that country were light-skinned, so being a traveler with a darker skin tone made me an anomaly. Walking through big cities, I would hear Togolese men call A Fast-Growing Industry out to me, “hee hong!” in their best imitation of a Chinese accent. According to the recent Key Trends In Family Travel survey, Other times, men would call out, “nǐ hǎo!” as I passed by. Never conducted by data and analytics company Global Data, family mind that my ethnicity is Indonesian, and I don’t speak a word of travel accounts for 30.8 percent of outbound tourism worldwide. Chinese. The Portrait of the American Traveler, a survey studying travel I learned to brush off these micro-aggressions, chalking it trends in the United States, reports that among millennial up to a lack of exposure to diverse travelers. But over a decade families, 64 percent of family travelers take international later, those memories came back to me as I walked through the vacations. Clearly, families are taking their kids out into the streets of Parma, Italy, with my husband and kids. Passing a bar world. filled with people, a visibly intoxicated man yelled out made-up, Although short trips are common among families, fullAsian-sounding words as our family walked by. I turned to look, time travel is fast becoming a popular endeavor, too, fueled by wondering if I had imagined hearing families’ desires to find an alternative the taunt, and I saw him stare at me, way to raise their kids. An increase in The reality is that the family travel laughing. I glared back with a look homeschooling (the U.S. Department of disgust but walked away, knowing of Education reports a 25 percent community, as with the rest of that a confrontation was not worth increase per year in some states), the travel community, is far from the effort. In life, sometimes, we have coupled with the fact that 23 percent diverse. The typical image of to choose when to stand our ground of the U.S. working population now a traveling family is one that is and when to walk away. working remotely, as reported by the white and fit, with a mother and My story isn’t unusual among Bureau of Labor Statistics, has made travelers of color or minority long-term travel quite feasible for father leading a brood of active travelers. As travelers from many families. young kids. Among families who marginalized communities, we For our family, we decided to travel, a family like ours remains experience microaggressions on a embark on our three-year, aroundin the minority. regular basis when we travel: wellthe-world trip as a way to expose meaning taxi drivers asking us where our kids to different cultures and we’re really from when we say we’re ways of living. But when we initially American, grocery store attendants eyeing us suspiciously as we started looking online for other families who were doing what walk through a store, or restaurant hosts seating white travelers we wanted to do, we kept seeing the same kinds of faces. Often first because we look like locals. absent from the blog lists of “Top Traveling Families To Follow” To be honest, my story is quite benign compared to what or the magazine and news articles showcasing families who left it other families have experienced. Last year, a black family all behind to travel, are families of color, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, checking out of an Airbnb in Rialto, California, had the police Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) families, families with special called on them because a neighbor thought they were stealing needs, and even single-parent families. It was as if this type of from a home. travel was just something families like us didn’t do. A popular family travel blogger recalled to me once how he and his husband received derogatory taunts and insults Microaggressions and Lack of Exposure while walking through a neighborhood with their kids in the When I was in my 20s, I had my first taste of what traveling American South. the world as a person of color was like when I served as a Peace Leang Ngov, a deaf mother of three, says flight attendants Corps volunteer in the country of Togo. Located in West Africa, will sometimes give her a hard time when she asks to be the World Bank estimates that Togo receives a paltry 496,000 personally informed of boarding times, despite being unable tourists each year. As a comparison, a country like Costa Rica, to hear the public announcements. “Oftentimes, the stewards which is slightly smaller in land area, receives five times as many [don’t] understand why that is necessary, which can be super tourists. frustrating and irritating,” she explains. Other passengers also Many of the tourists to Togo come from European countries,
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marginalized communities. Our travel experiences and realities are sometimes far from the idyllic and carefree moments portrayed by these influencers on Instagram or in blogs.
The Non-Binary Family Traveler
Traveling as a Single Parent
For Linnea deRoche, who travels with their partner and three kids, travel is a way for them to showcase the diversity of the world. Linnea is non-binary, which means they does not identify as male or female and uses “they” and “their” pronouns instead of “he” or “her.” “I have always wanted to show my kids different parts of the world and let them have a fundamental idea that there are a lot of different ways to live,” they explains. Their travels have taken them through national parks in the United States and many Latin American countries. They especially loves traveling through the American Southwest with its stunning desert landscapes and unique culture.
Safety is always a concern for any family that travels, but for Heather Courtney, a single mother of one, traveling the world poses additional safety challenges. She constantly has to take steps to ensure that she and her daughter remain safe. Heather explains, “I say to my daughter, ‘if anyone asks you where your dad is at, just say that we’re meeting up [with him] right now’ so that people won’t know that we are alone and we’re by ourselves. We’re easy targets,” she continues, “the American woman with a child.” But for Heather, the fear of something happening to her daughter and her is not a large enough deterrent for travel. Bad things can happen anywhere, she reasons, even in their home country. “A lot of people I know in the United States don’t want to leave the country because they think it’s too dangerous,” she says, “but even in America, as a family of color, we’re also targets.” She adds, “you can live your life in fear, or you can explore the world, enjoy life, and make memories.” Travel, in Heather’s opinion, is a way to make valuable family memories with her daughter and to gain exposure to the greater world around her. She knows that she doesn’t have to go with the conventional travel experience to have a good family trip. “[Where I’m from,] family vacations are spent at Disney or Universal … I always felt that you could take that money and leave the country with the family and have as nice of memories.”
But being part of a queer family does pose certain challenges when it comes to travel. Not all countries are accepting of families like them. “We’ve been mindful of traveling to places that are easy to travel to for us,” Linnea admits. “Jamaica, for example, is a country that I’ve heard is gorgeous,” they continues, “but I don’t really have a high desire to travel there because they don’t have a strong track record for [positive treatment towards] LGBTQ people. There are plenty of places in that region that I would travel to sooner because they have a better track record.” For them, travel is about weighing the costs and benefits. Each destination brings about a series of questions. “What are the things I’m willing to compromise, and what are the things I’m not willing to compromise?” they asks. At the end of the day, it’s all about choosing the destinations that will make travel a positive experience for their family. “There are so many places to travel in the world,” they says, “let’s pick the ones that are more accepting.”
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Two Mommies, Lucky Kids
In the early morning hours, not long after the mosque rings out the call to prayer and before the heat cranks things up to a temperature that will only be tolerable by a shady swimming pool or the coolness that air conditioning can bring, I set out with my wife and kids to the local market near our rental home on the island of Penang, Malaysia. After weeks of buying bright pink dragon fruit from this vendor and sampling lychee from another, we have grown to friendly, chatty terms with the ladies working the stands. Some wear the traditional Muslim headscarves while others do not, which is quite normal in this country where Muslims, Christians, and Hindus all live and pray side-by-side in relative harmony. As the fruit vendor hands me a slice of the perfectly ripe papaya to sample, her wrinkled face peers at me from the wrappings of her colorful headscarf and she asks the question I dread the most, “Which one of you is mommy?”
if not life threatening — possible punishment includes heavy fines, prison sentences of up to 20 years, and even corporal punishment (vigilante executions are tolerated, and as recently as 2018, two women were convicted and caned before an audience in a public courtroom) — we tend to keep a low profile. When my wife and I decided to legally marry, we carefully considered how we would handle our last names to best protect ourselves and our children. Ultimately, we decided the best way was to create a completely new one. (Yes, you can do this.) As we had already experienced an incident in which my then-future wife was denied visitation rights during my hospital stay in New York City, we came to the conclusion that, if questioned, the same last name would give us a safety net of telling people we were “sisters,” “aunts,” or even “cousins.” After all, when you share a last name, no one asks for proof that you are family. Our intentions were to make things as easy as possible in the case we were also asked questions in countries with less-thanwelcoming policies towards LGBTQ persons and same-sex relationships. “Which one of you is mommy?” Such a normal, innocent question. I fumble and falter, looking at my wife’s equally fearful face for answers before I blurt out, “we both are.” It’s not the answer I’ve rehearsed, and it’s not what I was supposed to say — but once it’s out, there’s no taking it back. Here we are, completely exposed, vulnerable at the market. The vendor’s expression changes from curious to genuinely puzzled as she clarifies, “two mommies?” with a penetrating gaze. “Yes,” I repeat, adding that “we are married. These are our children; they have two mommies.” A large grin suddenly breaks out as she calls her friends over from the other stalls and rapidly relates our secret to them. I am gearing myself for shame and embarrassment, preparing for the defense of my children when she takes my hand and says, “so lucky, your boys, two mommies. So much better than my husband.” The women who had gathered around nodded their heads in agreement as they smiled and stroked our children’s silky hair, “so lucky.” I’m still apprehensive of who I share my truth with in this world, but more than anything, I will not lie in front of my children, and I will not have them feel shame at having two mommies. Even in the most unlikely of places, you can find people who agree that my children are so lucky.
As a same-sex, two-mom family traveling in a Muslimmajority country where discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) persons is pervasive and the laws against homosexuality are harsh,
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are not often addressed in Instagram feeds, blog posts, or news give her a hard time for receiving “special treatment” since her stories. Families of color, families with disabilities, LGBTQ disability is not physically visible. “Because of inaccessibility at families, and single-parent families have to search harder to find boarding gates, the stewards will often let me board on the plane the stories of families like them. That can lead some families to first,” she recalls, “I’ve had people accuse me of faking it.” believe that travel is simply unreachable or unattainable for them. More often than not, these instances stem from a lack of exposure to diverse travelers. People are used to seeing a certain The Need for Other Voices in Travel type of traveler; when they’re faced with something different, Earlier this year, our family received an amazing opportunity they’re not sure of how to react. Some respond with suspicion, to share our story on an while others fall back on perceived international scale. Our family was stereotypes. People are used to seeing a profiled in a short video on CNN Despite some of the challenges Travel, one of the biggest media of traveling as a family of color, certain type of traveler; when outlets in the world. being the type of family that we they’re faced with something For a weekend in March, a film are does have its advantages. In crew from CNN documented us as countries where the locals share different, they’re not sure of we visited Manuel Antonio, Costa our skin tone, we often blend in. how to react. Some respond Rica. They filmed us hiking in This works to our advantage in with suspicion, while others fall the jungle, playing on the beach, terms of security, as we’re not ziplining through the canopy, and as easy a target for pickpockets, back on perceived stereotypes. even homeschooling our kids in thieves, or muggers. In other cases, our hotel room. My husband and I our ability to pass as locals allows were also interviewed, and we had a us to experience cities in a different chance to talk about why we chose to live the type of lifestyle that way. While visiting Templo Mayor, a set of ancient ruins in we’re living. the center of Mexico City, we accidentally received the free Months before filming even began, I had been in talks admission normally reserved for locals because people thought with producers from CNN about the possibility of having our we were Mexican. family featured as part of a series profiling travelers on a trip of These types of experiences, whether negative or positive, Deaf Travel with Kids Accessibility in travel is something that’s important for Leang Ngov and her family. As a deaf mother of three, many of her considerations while traveling are things that hearing families may not even consider: not being able to hear boarding announcements, having to navigate through visually-stimulating environments like crowded cities, or missing out on information spoken by tour guides. Leang often comes up with creative ways to allow her family to travel. “When [my] kids were little at walking age, I used a child leash,” she reveals. “Despite [it being] controversial, … a child leash actually comes in handy for me as I cannot hear my child crying for my help, especially in such crowded areas as most touristy areas tend to be… So it is more about the safety issue for me, rather than ‘treating a child like a dog.’ I couldn’t multi-task while [going on an] outing with children, as my eyes needed to be on full alert.” Leang doesn’t let her deafness limit her desire to travel and see the world. She finds ways to make travel work for her family and her. “[Deaf travelers] tend to
be very creative with figuring out any effective form to communicate. [We use] book translation, translation app, gestures, body language, [and] carrying brochures [or] business cards to point out where we’d like to go.” And these communication challenges are worth the effort to overcome; “I believe it is important to have that understanding that there are multiple perspectives outside our own because of the greater diversity in the world,” she states.
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a lifetime. Ours was just one of many stories being considered for the series. They needed to narrow down the list to only a few stories. In that conversation, I spoke plainly to the producers about the need for the stories of families like ours to be heard. Without diversity among travelers, the world will continue to hold their preconceived ideas about what travelers are like. Diverse families will continue to face microaggressions and even flat out discrimination when they travel. Without diverse voices, I reasoned, families from marginalized communities will continue to think that travel is not for them. Our voices need to be heard, and our faces need to be seen so that other diverse families can see that this type of life is indeed possible. A Unique Perspective on the World Our travels have given our kids and us a unique perspective on how the world works. Being a family of color, we are already attuned to racial and socio-cultural dynamics in our home country. Seeing those dynamics play out in other countries is interesting to observe and makes for some valuable worldschooling lessons for our kids.
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In Mexico, we talked with our kids about the contributions that indigenous populations made to Mexican culture, whether in food, religious beliefs, or cultural habits. But we also talked about the current status of indigenous groups in Mexican society, who are often the servants and beggars. While traveling through the United States, we discussed the irony of Thomas Jefferson writing a declaration of freedom from tyranny while being an owner of slaves himself. And in Italy and France, we observed how immigrant populations have influenced the cultures of those countries. The ease with which families can access information online continues to make our society a more globally connected one. As we become closer, it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge the diversity of the world in which we live. Many family travel groups and traveling communities are already making efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. And as our family continues to travel, we are starting to see more and more families like ours traveling out in the world. Iâ€™m hopeful that in the future, it will be impossible to paint a picture of the â€œtypicalâ€? family traveler because they will all be so unique and diverse. One day, the stories of families like ours will no longer be in the margins. We will just be part of the norm.
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hat would you say if I told you we let our daughter go Extraordinary People Are Rarely the Result of backpacking “alone” with a group of other teenagers in Average Circumstances Belize when she was just 14, spend six weeks in Europe riding trains with her boyfriend at 17, or take a Greyhound across the Teens are capable of far more than we credit them, even those United States just before she turned 18? of us who give them a lot. Historically, kids were off living their What if I told you that our oldest son funded his trip halfway own lives, working, raising families, and building businesses across the country to go live and work on a hydroponic farm and empires by the time they were 15 or 16. The extended for a month when he was just 13 (the other interns were college adolescence that’s become popular in the past century sells kids students; he was the only teenager), or that he sailed across the short and steals some of the best, most productive years of their Mediterranean and Atlantic at age 17 with a group of young lives. We add insult to injury by actually legislating against them — people, without us? “for their own good,” of course. Do you think it’s irresponsible that we let our third child, This drives my kids up the wall! In my version of a perfect at 15, plan, execute, and pay for his first solo trip — a month to world, there would be a completely level playing field where Guatemala, completely on his own, with no program, no adult in teens, if they had the chops, could compete in the adult market charge, just the boy and his dedication to feeding malnourished and be free to pursue their dreams and passions in a productive kids in a village he loves? Or that the same child, at 16, way. Eighteen is not a magic number, after all. kayaked 200 miles (322 km) with a buddy his age and no adult American parents (in particular, but those in many other supervision within 500 miles? countries as well) are caught in a Would you think I’m a terrible death grip of fear, spoon-fed to us parent for sending my four kids, by the media. When fear drives our In my version of a perfect world, aged 10–16, out alone at night parenting, the last thing we tend to into the streets of Chiang Mai, there would be a completely level extend to our children is freedom. Thailand, on a “sibling date?” But without it, our children cannot playing field where teens, if they Does that make us “bad grow, learn, test the waters, and parents” in your book? had the chops, could compete in mature properly. I know it does in some people’s I think the antidote to teenage the adult market and be free to eyes; we get a little negative rebellion is freedom. feedback from time to time. But pursue their dreams and passions in In fact, I think most people here’s the thing: we aren’t aiming have it backward: they extend a productive way. Eighteen is not a for “average” with our kids. complete freedom to their little “Average” kids might be bored at magic number, after all. kids when they don’t have the selfthe mall; texting and sexting until control to use it wisely, then spend the wee hours; or experimenting the ‘tween and teen years trying to with substances and personalities reel those kids back in. The kids, naturally, rebel. Instead, why like they’re hats that can be changed with the day’s outfits, teen not provide tighter boundaries to keep little ones safe and teach rebellion, and apathy. We’re going for results more like we saw in self-control and good decision making so that by the time their our buddy Phil, a 17-year-old we met taking chicken buses across wings are flapping, they’re truly ready to fly? Guatemala. He was investing a few months into learning Spanish so he could hike up a river into an unreached tribe to work Take Calculated Risks building schools and teaching kids. We invited him to dinner. He became a good friend, and we’ve traveled with him and followed We can’t control everything. Just because someone shot his adventures ever since. Another winter, Phil went to Mali and up the opening of a movie in Colorado doesn’t mean we should assembled windmills to help remote villages gain access to clean ban movie attendance for our kids, right? The antidote to fear water. At 19, he had long completed his schooling, was wellis factual information. Armed with statistical realities that versed in a trade, and now traveled, doing humanitarian work on the world is overwhelming safe, it is much easier to watch our his own dime. 14-year-old cross her first international border alone, even Kids like ours and like Phil are young people full of drive and knowing she plans to teach her young friends how to hitchhike determination, vision and values, channeling all of it to change in the back of pick-up trucks, Central American-style, and rejoin the world and live out loud. us on a far off island when she’s had her fun.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
I have this theory that much of the apathy we see in teens results from them being convinced that nothing they do really matters, that they just have to wait out these boring few years until their “real life” starts.
Armed with the historical perspective of the lives of some of the early-blooming “greats” of generations past, it’s easier to send a 13-year-old off to pursue his passion on his own time and his own dime. Could his plane crash? Could his arm get ripped off in a hopper? Of course. Is that less likely to happen if I go with him and hover? No. We step back from fear and allow our children the freedom to take some calculated risks, just like we do. Have Some Faith Most parents have done their level best from day one. Our kids know this about us. They appreciate it, even if they aren’t saying so right now. It can be scary to hand the reins of a precarious life (especially one so precious to us as parents) to a human not yet old enough to have perspective on either of those things, but it must be done. The sooner, the better. If we’ve done the job of providing guidance and wisdom as well as we know we have, our teens are going to fly. There will be bumps, a few crash landings — but in the end, they’ll soar. Wouldn’t we rather have those bumps happen while they’re still within our reach to help them pick up, dust off, and move forward instead of when they’re gone for good? I know I would. Remember, we’re raising adults here, not kids. Expect the Best It is an unfortunate aspect of our parenting culture that we expect the very worst from our kids from day one: sleepless nights followed by temper tantrums, followed by ignoring us and tuning us out, followed by eye-rolling, followed by teen rebellion. Just listen to the dire warnings dished out to new parents and see if it isn’t so. The Pygmalion Effect boils down to this: we get what we expect. So, why not expect the best? Communicate to teens that we expect them to be young adults, to take responsibility, to manage
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their freedoms well, to do great things, to find their passions and follow them, to work hard, and enjoy the benefits of their labor. See what happens. I have this theory that much of the apathy we see in teens results from them being convinced that nothing they do really matters, that they just have to wait out these boring few years until their “real life” starts. What would happen to our kids if we handed them their lives right now? What if we emancipated them in most senses, became their biggest cheerleaders, applauded their wildest efforts, and threw the weight of our experience and financial stability behind their passions? Let Them Go Here’s a newsflash: our kids are on a one-way trip from the day they are born, straight out of our arms and into the world. They are going, whether we like it or not. So, we have two choices: (1) let them go, encourage them to go, celebrate their going, and find that they take us with them in big and small ways, or (2) try to hold them back, fight their passions, and watch them shake us off and go anyway. Look around and see if that’s not true. Which approach did your parents take? Freedom & Responsibility It’s a balance. Every human, regardless of age and lifestyle, has freedoms commensurate with her demonstrated ability to be responsible with them. Failing to manage the freedom to drive responsibly results in loss of privileges. Teens need to have a firm grasp on this delicate balance. Adulthood is not about doing whatever we want – it’s about doing what we can for the good of ourselves and those around us. If our teens aren’t responsible, they won’t ever be free, regardless of whether they turn 18. It has been our experience and observation that teens are most responsible when they are most free, and when children are expected to be responsible very early, their teen years are characterized by freedom and some of the most amazing experiences and accomplishments of their lives. I can hear the comments rolling in already: “but you haven’t met MY kid… Most teens aren’t able to handle that…. Have you BEEN in a high school lately? But they’ll be exposed to drugssex-rock ‘n roll…” These fears aren’t wrong. My kids can handle themselves, but teens are people, and we can’t paint them all with one brush. Not all kids would rise to the occasion — but to be fair, how will we know until we give them a chance? I have not been in a high school lately. The kids I tend to encounter are the exceptional ones who are taking a less Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
conventional path, and maybe that’s why I have such hope for wants to travel instead. My 21-year-old lives and works on a future generations and the capacity of young people to make the boat and has been self-supporting his adventures since he was very best of their young lives if we let them. 19. The current 19-year-old (the one who went to Guatemala My dad has always said that the best approach to raising kids alone at 15) just finished his gap year across two continents is to “treat them as much like adults as they can stand,” and he and is hard into his first semester of university, studying to was the best parent I know. He let me do all sorts of “risky” stuff be a chef. The youngest just turned 17, and he’s learning to fly too young. As a result, I swapped continents under my own airplanes and spent the fall in Bali, adventuring with his teen steam at 16 and moved internationally traveling friends. Phil, the young to attend university a year earlier man we met adventuring in Central than all of my peers. I always knew I America, is now 27 and has taken could do anything I set my mind to, over his parent’s business in Iowa, Adulthood is not about doing and guess what? Even as a kid, I did. risen to foreman of a team on an oil And yes, they’ll be exposed to rig, and continues to lead the charge whatever we want – it’s about things we don’t like. They’re even of his generation. As my oldest going to try things we don’t like. (You three have flown the nest and the doing what we can for the good probably did, too, remember?) youngest embarks on his last year Raising kids in a pumpkin shell of ourselves and those around us. of “childhood,” I’m an even bigger and then tossing them into the real believer in an open-handed approach world at 18 is more harmful than to the teen years and the most loving helpful. Instead, raise them in the push from the nest that we can give real world and let the pumpkin shell our young people. be a place where they can come and go, as they find the need. We all know the old quote about the two most important As I sit down to write this, my oldest, 23, has just graduated things we can give our kids: roots and wings. from university and has turned down a job in her field because We’re all pretty good at the roots part — let’s be brave enough the business she built as a teenager is supporting her and she to give them the wings too!
Tips For First Adventures Discuss Contingencies Before sending your kids off on their own adventures, teach them how to get themselves home if it all goes to hell in a handbasket. The “what to do if…” conversations need to start young and be thoroughly ingrained. If my husband and I went out on a date on our motorbike when we were all living in Thailand and didn’t return by morning, my teenagers knew exactly what to do to find us and find out what happened (and we talked about what that meant) and to get their younger siblings back to their financially-viable adult alternatives. Travel Together Kids learn more from watching you than from any number of words you speak. They will learn to love adventure if you love adventure and take them with you. They will learn from you how to handle issues when they arise. Start Small & Start Young Let them go to the park alone in grade school. Let them ride their bikes to school and the grocery store. Let them take the bus or train around town in their double digits. Let them fly between grandparents without the “unaccompanied minor” status as soon as you think they’re ready. Take Precautions Make sure they have the skills they need, the resources they need, and the safety nets in place. Technology makes this so much easier than it was for my parents when I took my first solo trip to Europe at 16. Prepaid credit cards, debit cards, cell phones, travel insurance, first aid and CPR certification, legal permission slips, and appropriate ID are all aspects of being appropriately prepared.
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Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Getting Out of Africa with Both our Disabled Child and our Sanity Intact
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Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
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t was the eve of our family’s departure for Tanzania, East Are the Benefits Worth the Risks? Africa. My wife and I and our four kids were giddy with When thinking about taking a medically fragile child to a excitement. Tanzania, an equatorial gem nestled between Kenya developing country, my wife and I asked ourselves: and Lake Victoria to the north and Malawi and Lake Nyasa 1) Why would we consider taking such a risk in the first to the south, is considered by many to be one of the wildest place? and most beautiful places on earth. From the snow-capped 2) What precautions can we take to create a reasonable peaks of Kilimanjaro (Africa’s tallest mountain) to plains like “safety net” for our child in the event he experiences some the Serengeti teeming with all manner of wildlife — zebra, type of medical emergency? elephants, giraffes, antelope, lions, hippos and more — to the mountainous, semi-tropical Southern Highlands, where vast The Why That Makes You Cry banana groves, stands of coconut palms, coffee plantations, Almost all travel comes with a degree of risk, but traveling and tea fields provide a living for some of the kindest, most to remote locales with a disabled child where medical care may hospitable people on earth, Tanzania is a land like few others. be iffy takes things to another level. The reason for the risk, We couldn’t wait to experience it together. therefore, has to be compelling. That said, choosing to avoid all Our excitement came to an abrupt stop when the phone rang. risk has consequences as well. It’s certainly wise not to have a On the other end of the line was a good friend who had just heard cavalier attitude about a child’s physical health, but that must about our travel plans and was not happy for us because we were be balanced with his or her cerebral, social, and emotional taking our youngest son, Isaiah needs. Children are not only (then age 5), who has the rare vulnerable to physical harm; genetic disease osteogenesis they are also harmed when Children are not only vulnerable to imperfecta (OI), commonly they miss out on activities called brittle bone disease. OI and experiences that would physical harm; they are also harmed is characterized by bones that give them physical activity, when they miss out on activities and break much more easily than mental stimulation, social and normal bones. Our friend was emotional relationships, and experiences that would give them incredulous that we would take maturity. a risk that to him seemed so Inclusion in activities with physical activity, mental stimulation, unwise and unwarranted. other family members and social and emotional relationships, “I can’t believe you’re taking friends is very important to Isaiah to Africa!” he practically young people. With that in and maturity. shouted into the phone. mind, when Isaiah was very “What if you have an young, we made a decision to accident? What if he breaks be relatively “aggressive” with another bone? What if you what we allowed him to do in can’t find a hospital? What if he gets malaria?” he asked in rapidlife. We were never going to be able to keep him from fracturing, fire fashion. and hovering over him would limit his full potential. When we His comments stung, but we knew our overzealous friend lived in Quebec, he played street hockey in our neighborhood had his heart in the right place. In fact, his concerns were every day, and at school, he often played football. He sustained completely valid. Our son has suffered over 80 fractures and a few fractures from time to time, but in the long run, the effects has undergone 13 surgeries to piece his bones back together. He were a happier, healthier boy. might break a bone if he falls, and advanced surgical care of the That is our why. So, when the opportunity came to visit type he requires is not available in a country like Tanzania. His Tanzania, we knew we wanted to do anything it took to get Isaiah many prior fractures and surgeries cause him pain when he rides on that trip with the rest of our children. down rough roads here in the U.S., but the “roads” you travel in Tanzania are far worse. Lessons Learned So, did we go? Yes. Despite our friend’s concerns (and our Proper planning, imaginative problem-solving, and taking own!), we took the trip. Isaiah, along with the rest of us, more wise precautions can minimize the risks of traveling to a than survived: he thrived. We truly had the adventure of a developing country while maximizing the fun. lifetime together as a family — a whole family. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
sometimes we wouldn’t be near a hospital. Because fractures are our greatest concern for Isaiah’s health, we brought along instant casting material and ace bandages (and trained ourselves how to use them beforehand) so we could make our own casts and slings should he suffer a fracture. Social Considerations “Non-essential” social considerations like autonomy and privacy become very essential as kids enter their teenage years. We let Isaiah do as much of his own care and planning, like arranging transportation, as he likes and is able to do, especially when he’s in public places. We just ask him if he’d like our help doing something. To value his privacy, we use great discretion talking about private matters concerning his health. This would be especially important for families traveling with children that require assistance with the bathroom, dressing, or feeding.
Comfort Children with disabilities often feel uncomfortable on long trips. In Isaiah’s case, we had to figure out how to deal with the shock his body would take on bumpy roads. After trying a few other solutions, we found that adding memory foam to his seat did wonders, and having a place to rest his feet helped him brace against the jarring. We also deflated the vehicle’s tires a bit, and we drove a little slower than usual — except the time a bull elephant chased us (true story!). Have a Plan B We all need a back-up plan, and that couldn’t be more true than for travel in Timbuktu! On our Africa trip, we knew that
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Lost in Translation Traveling has taught us that much gets “lost in translation” when traveling in other countries and experiencing new cultures. When choosing an excursion, we’ve learned to doublecommunicate our needs before arriving at the location when possible. Many citizens of developing nations do not think about accessibility as much as we do in the West, so it’s better to be safe than sorry! We’ve also learned not to get all wound up if our hosts behave in ways that are not acceptable in our home country. We remind ourselves that they’re probably not thinking, “I’ll be insensitive and not care about others today.” Most of us in the West have had years of conditioning in school, public service announcements, movies, and other social situations to become aware and sensitive to the needs of disabled kids. The average bushman in Tanzania has not. We do our best to give them a break and a little grace, even if we decide to educate them gently as well. And there is no “no touchy!” For children with visible disabilities (even with visible medical equipment like wheelchairs or casting), it’s important to prepare children to be stared at, touched, and generally have their space invaded by other children (and even some adults). It happens to all visitors to developing countries, but it typically happens a bit more frequently for a child with a disability. Isaiah had silver caps on his teeth when we visited Tanzania. When the local children saw this, they gathered around and stared at him for half an hour! Family travel to a rugged, remote area of the world has its dangers with many potential pitfalls that must be wisely navigated to ensure every family member not only has a great time but is always safe. We did it and hope our experiences can help other families with disabilities make travel more accessible, too!
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Travel Tips for Children with Disabilities Comfort • Avoid the Hot Seat. If your child sits in the same position for a long time (which happens on these types of long trips), his or her seat will get warm and sticky. Find a solution that allows the air to vent, including having your child wear breathable clothing and get out of the seat at regular intervals. • Secure All Limbs Inside the Ride. On bumpy rides, the limbs of kids with less muscle control may flop around much more than usual, banging on things and even other passengers. Secure limbs with a pillow, Velcro straps, or whatever method you use at home. • Plan for In-Flight Comfort. Make sure any airline seats you purchase will work for your child’s special needs. Do you need more legroom in front? Wheelchair accessibility? Aisle seat so you can transfer your child in and out of the wheelchair? • Consider Sleep Aids. If air or auto travel is going to be miserable for your child, consider providing a sleep aid to help him or her sleep through it. • Arrange for Special Beds. If your child needs certain sleeping arrangements (like a bed that inclines), plan ahead to find suitable accommodations, or come up with a portable solution. • Find Restrooms & Shower Alternatives. There won’t always be accessible toilets where you go. Can your child go to the bathroom where there’s not even a commode? If not, bring a portable. There also aren’t showers everywhere you might go. Can you do a sponge bath? • Charge Up Electric Avenue. If you need electricity to power or charge up important devices, ascertain whether your destination has power (and how consistently it’s available), and bring battery power if it isn’t available. For most places worldwide that have power, it will be 240v, so you’ll need appropriate converters for your equipment, too.
Plan B • Make a Back-Up Plan. To survive a trip to a country that doesn’t have the medicine or equipment your child needs, you will have to have backups of these essentials. This starts with the flight over. Make sure to pack a back-up set of essential meds, EpiPens, clothing, and equipment in your carry-ons in case your luggage doesn’t arrive, is lost, or is stolen. • Prepare for Picky, Picky. If your child is a picky eater or on a special diet, find out what Western foods are available for purchase where you’re going. Often, you may be able to find a market if you’re traveling to or passing through a large town or city. Purchase food there, because you’re not likely to find Western foods out in any rural areas you visit. You may also want to bring some staples with you (like cereal bars or beef jerky) if there’s room in your luggage.
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• Conduct a Pre-trip Equipment Check. Make sure to check and service essential equipment and devices before you leave home.
Fun • Head for H2O. Water is one of the best environments for people with disabilities. Cannonball! • Try Snorkeling. Snorkeling is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages and most abilities. • Rent Some Fat Tires. Some places rent manual wheelchairs with fat tires that drive well on the beach — and can even be driven into the water! There are even powered chairs with fat tires (but keep these dry!). • Get Bikes That Help. For physically-challenged kids, a motor-assisted recumbent bike can be a great way to get in on a bike ride with the whole family.
Safety & Medical Precautions • Buy Air-Evac/Travel Insurance. Travel insurance is essential. Do not scrimp on this. It’s not very expensive but worth every penny if something goes wrong. And make sure it covers emergency air evacuation in case you or your child need to be evacuated by helicopter and taken to a nearby country with better facilities. Also, find out ahead of time who you would need to call in case you need medical assistance by plane or helicopter in your area. • Know Your Embassy! Know the contact numbers for your home country’s embassy and where it is located. Inform them of your upcoming stay and how to contact you while you’re there. In the case of an emergency, their assistance can be crucial. Don’t be afraid to ask! Sometimes they are the best first call to make. • Carry a Mobile Phone. If you’re able to carry a cell phone, even just for emergencies, it can be a lifesaver. Sometimes buying a phone in the country you’re visiting is easier and cheaper than an international plan on your current phone. • Map it Out. Determine what level of medical expertise your child would likely need in the event of an emergency as well as how quickly he or she would need to be seen at the hospital to survive that emergency. Then plot out where these hospitals are and calculate how long it would take to drive to each of them from various points along your journey. Keep this info in a place you can find it easily.
Other Considerations • Get Help. In order to give a partner and/or your other children quality time, consider bringing a designated caregiver on the trip to share the care burden for your disabled child. It will make life better for everyone! • Get Real. The truth is, there are some places you may not be able to go in this world due to your child’s particular needs. That’s ok — there are so many places you CAN go. Whatever you do, don’t sit at home. Choose the best place you can visit and GO!
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
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“How would you feel about moving to American Samoa?” “What? Where is that?” American Samoa is an overseas, unincorporated territory of the United States, located about halfway between Hawai’i and New Zealand. In addition to stunning beaches and extraordinary jungle hikes, the territory’s seven islands are home to a traditional culture that’s still alive and thriving and offer a radical change of pace. What began as one family’s South Pacific adventure has become their treasured home, and their favorite thing (next to exploring the islands) is sharing with the world the unbelievable beauty and adventure of living in and visiting Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa. Fun fact: the islands were ceded to the U.S. in 1900, but the U.S. Congress didn’t officially recognize the cession until 1929.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Local Attractions 1. Fatumafuti A legend tells of two forbidden lovers who sailed away, looking for a place where they could be free to be together. Their canoe sank just off the shore of Tutuila, and the starcrossed couple was transformed into islands, forever near each other but never touching. These islands, Fatu and Futi, lie just offshore the beach at Fatumafuti, which is popular with tourists and locals alike. An offshore reef full of brightlycolored fish helps preserve the pristine shoreline along this section of the island. The warm waves arriving gently at the beach are perfect for young families. Beach-goers are sure to spot blue starfish and maybe a sea turtle or two.
2. Fogama’a Locally, Fogama’a is referred to as Hidden Beach — and for good reason. The jungle trail to this beach twists through banana plantations, descends into the cauldron of an ancient volcano, and finally opens to a white sand beach framed by black basalt cliffs. This beach is enjoyed only by those who know the way; this trail is not marked on maps. Find a good local guide to trek to Fogama’a (and don’t forget the sunscreen!). 3. Aunu’u Aunu’u, the smallest of the islands of American Samoa, is a perfect day trip from Tutuila. Arrange a tour that includes a hike through the rainforest, past taro plantations, and along the rocky shore. Hiring a guide also offers the opportunity to learn about
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traditional Samoan life, help prepare and eat umu (a traditional earth-oven meal), and end the day with an ava (kava) ceremony. 4. Blunt’s Point A quick, half-mile rainforest trail leads to Blunt’s Point on the ridge of an emerald mountain overlooking Pago Pago Harbor and Fatumafuti. Positioned on the ridge are two of the only surviving artillery installations from World War II. A tangible piece of the territory’s relatively limited military history, the two six-inch naval guns have been well-maintained for over half a century. As a result, this site is one of the Pacific’s bestpreserved World War II sites. If the half-mile hike isn’t enough to get the family’s hearts pumping, continue past the second gun to follow the WWII Heritage Trail, snaking along the spine of the mountain range above the harbor. 5. Tuafanua Trail The Tuafanua Trail begins at the “Old Hotel” (which hasn’t been a hotel for over a decade) in Vatia, making use of the switchbacks that lead to the summit. It then traverses a series of ladders and ropes, scaling down the north side of the mountain and ultimately spilling out onto a sunbaked pebble beach with views of Pola Island and endless miles of deep, blue ocean swells. The Tuafanua Trail is challenging but perfectly achievable for most adventure-seekers. 6. Nu’uuli Falls When the South Pacific heat becomes unbearable and the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean just aren’t cutting it, a dip in the natural pool at the base of Nu’uuli Falls may be the perfect answer for refreshment. The freshwater falls are a series of seven separate waterfalls that cascade down the sheer black cliffs on the southwestern face of Matafao Peak. It’s an easy hike to the first pool, which is a favorite swimming spot for local youth. Even so, consider employing one of the local teens as a guide, as the trail can become quite overgrown at times. Fun fact: American Samoa is home to the largest U.S. Marine Sanctuary.
The Nearby Manu’a Islands For families looking for even more beauty and seclusion, Ofu, Olosega, and Ta’u (making up the Manu’a islands) could be the cherry on top of this already unforgettable island getaway. Reached by a quick 30-minute flight east of Tutuila, the islands, which have a combined population of only a few hundred residents, offer true ecotourism. Ofu Beach, voted #2 of the Best Undiscovered Beaches In the World, stretches for 2.5 miles (4 km) alongside some of the healthiest reefs on earth, which have vibrant coral heads that have been growing for hundreds of years. A bridge spans the narrow but deep ocean channel between Ofu and Olosega, where thrill-seekers jump at high tide, and miles of jungle trails lead to forgotten beaches and sweeping mountaintop views. There are no restaurants to be found on any of the three islands, but visitors can enjoy homecooked meals at all of the homestays and lodges. Manu’a truly offers the untouched natural beauty that’s hard to find anywhere else. Fun fact: the world’s largest and oldest coral head, Big Mama, is around 540 years old and is found in the waters around the Manu’a Islands. Eseta’s Homestay A taste of island living, Eseta’s Homestay is within walking distance of the National Park of American Samoa and its playful pebble beaches. Eseta’s is run by Eseta and her sister, Ann, who offer guidance for arranging a trip to Manu’a, including information on flights and boat rides, and have a wealth of knowledge about their island home. Ta’u Starting at $200/night for 2; includes meals Vaoto Lodge With individual bungalows right along Ofu Beach, Vaoto Lodge offers ocean views along with easy access to hiking, snorkeling, and bike rides. Its location is ideal for exploring the islands of Ofu and Olosega. The owners Deborah and Ben are the perfect mixture of laidback and helpful, a great combination for any island holiday. Ofu Starting at $120/night for 2; meals charged separately
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
EAT Being a remote island in the middle of the South Pacific, the eateries are not as diverse as some mainland tourist destinations. There are, nonetheless, some notable dining options that are sure to impress. Ruby Red Cafe The Ruby Red Cafe serves fresh, wholesome, and local foods, expertly and beautifully combined into healthy wraps, smoothies, and power bowls. Folks who believe that fresh food is meant to be as much of a treat for the eyes as it is for the taste buds will find their happy place at Ruby’s. It’s not uncommon to see diners licking their dishes clean to get every last bit. Pago Pago Plaza, Pago Pago Goat Island Cafe The in-house restaurant for Sadie’s By the Sea, Goat Island Cafe offers local and island fare along with American dishes. Make sure to try the oka (a fish salad that uses citrus to “cook” the fish, like a ceviche) made with fresh, locally-caught fish and served with homemade ulu (breadfruit) chips. Next to Utulei Beach Park, Utulei Tisa’s Barefoot Bar and Grill Live out your Treasure Island fantasies and leave your shoes at the door. Incorporating a purist approach to openair, beach-side-dining, Tisa’s Barefoot Bar and Grill is certainly a must-visit bar and eatery for those that relish an ocean view with their piña coladas. Tisa’s is famous for the weekly umu, which is prepared and served each Wednesday evening, and its annual Tattoo Festival at the end of October. Reservations are recommended for the weekly umu to ensure a spot. On the East Side, Alega Cheat Day The best desserts on-island are served at Cheat Day! For a uniquely Samoan experience, be sure to order the Koko Samoa Brownies or share a Lava Cake with a friend, topped with vanilla ice cream and hot Koko Samoa Sauce. Across from Laufou Center, Nu’uuli Samu’s Ice Cream Shop Samu’s Ice Cream Shop has the best homemade ice cream on the island.
Samu’s in-house ice cream recipe uses rich, New Zealand cream mixed with a variety of flavors. Try the Snickers, Coconut, or Peach Mango. At the Scanlan Service Station, Utulei Roadside The best barbecue chicken isn’t found in a restaurant — it’s found at a little shack on the side of the road with a massive, homemade grill out back — but it’s definitely worth a stop. Orders come with huge servings of BBQ chicken, turkey tail, rice, and sapasui (Samoan chop suey), all for $5. Not sure about the turkey tail? Request extra chicken in its place. Next to Fa’atamalii Center, Malaeimi
STAY Accommodation options are rather limited in the territory. The few hotels and bed and breakfasts are well known for their friendly staff, comfortable rooms, and serene views. However, there are also a number of off-the-beaten-path options for accommodations that will excite adventure-seekers. Tisa’s Beach Fales Connected to Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, Tisa’s Beach Fales rents beach fales (simple thatched huts), which offer the perfect retreat for the eco-minded traveler to relax to the sound of soothing waves. Air conditioning is not available, but constant ocean breezes and in-room fans keep rooms comfortable. Starting at $119/night Alega www.tisasbarefootbar.com Tradewinds Hotel Close to the airport, Tradewinds offers many sizes and styles of air-conditioned rooms, along with an in-house restaurant, gym, and an idyllic outdoor pool. Starting at $156/night for 4 people Tafuna Sadie’s By the Sea Sadie’s By the Sea is set right on the water and boasts an outdoor pool and its own private beach. Enjoy comfortable airconditioned rooms overlooking the ocean and the connected Goat Island Cafe. Starting at $126/night for 2 people. Utulei www.sadieshotels.com
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Airbnb Airbnb is a relatively new option in the territory, but the variety of properties available is growing weekly. Many rentals work closely with the Visitor’s Bureau to ensure a pleasant and comfortable stay. Check listings to determine if air conditioning is available. Prices vary. www.airbnb.com Homestay For a richer cultural experience, try any of the number of homestays available across the islands of American Samoa. Arranged through the National Park of American Samoa office, there are a variety of affordable homestay packages, which typically include room, meals, and cultural experiences that are sure to create lasting memories. www.nps.gov/npsa
TRANSPORTATION Travelers can find a taxi upon arrival at Pago Pago International Airport or from the taxi stand across from the market in Pago. Rental cars may be the best choice for visitors planning to spend more than a day exploring the island who want the freedom to come and go as they please. A number of rental car options are also available at the airport. For those who wish to experience the island as the locals do, an inexpensive ride on an Aiga bus may be the way to go. With their eccentric decorations and thumping music, these familyowned island buses are the pinnacle of Samoan public transportation. Sometimes crowded beyond bursting, Aiga buses offer an unfiltered view into real day-to-day life in the Samoan Islands. Dependable between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., all travelers should take at least one ride while on-island.
Pumpkin Everything, Even in Spain When the autumn months roll around, I crave pumpkin bread. It was a staple of my American childhood, and it doesn’t matter that I live in a place where it’s still beach season in October — I want my comfort food! I’m raising my family in the south of Spain, and while we have many wonderful things here, one thing we don’t have is canned pumpkin — or any pumpkin, save a few teeny, tiny ones the bigger supermarkets have started stocking close to Halloween. It seems the American pumpkin-carving tradition is catching on, but baking with pumpkin is not. One year, I tried to bring canned pumpkin from America, but security considered the cans potential “weapons” and confiscated it all. In order to keep up certain traditions when living abroad, I’ve had to get creative to “pumpkin hack” my favorite pumpkin recipes. This recipe will work for any recipe that calls for pumpkin, even pie! PUMPKIN SUBSTITUTE To create pureed “pumpkin” substitute, blend equal parts butternut squash puree and sweet potato puree. Peel one squash and one sweet potato, chop into large pieces, steam until soft (I use my Instant Pot for this), and then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. This will make a pretty big batch; pre-measure portions and store in the freezer for use later.
• • •
Heaped ¼ teaspoon ground ginger Two pinches of ground cloves 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (or use equal parts white and whole wheat flour)
Topping 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together “pumpkin” mixture, oil or melted butter, eggs, and 1 ⅓ cups sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Scrape into a buttered 6-cup loaf pan and smooth the top. Mix the 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar topping and sprinkle over top of batter. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before inverting, slicing, and eating. Enjoy! This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Pumpkin Bread My kids and Spanish friends are hooked on this “pumpkin” bread. •
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1 ¾ cups “pumpkin” puree (equal parts pureed butternut squash and sweet potato) ½ cup vegetable oil or melted butter 3 large eggs 1 ⅓ cups white sugar 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ¾ teaspoon baking soda ¾ teaspoon fine sea or table salt ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon Heaped ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Mexican Mole for a Holiday Feast
fter living in Mexico, I became accustomed to the country’s endless celebrations and rich, bountiful meals that often included mole (pronounced moe-lay) — a highly-regarded sauce known as Mexico’s national dish. Now, when I set out to make a festive holiday meal, mole’s chocolatey aroma and spicy flavor immediately come to mind. I pile my kitchen counter high with chiles and make a variation on the rich, savory sauce, a standard for any big fiesta (party), particularly in the regions of Puebla or Oaxaca. Made with chile peppers and a dash of chocolate, this Mesoamerican sauce is versatile and can be used with many kinds of meat and poultry. Its rich texture and strong flavors most often announce a special occasion. That said, mole has traversed the globe; it has become so popular that it is now found in restaurants and homes around the world. One origin story for mole credits this dish’s creation to a convent in Puebla that needed to hastily prepare a dish for a visiting archbishop. The nuns were poor and, after praying, they threw together what little they had: some chiles, nuts, old bread, and a bit of chocolate. They poured it over a turkey — and as the legend goes, the archbishop loved it. When asked what it was called, the nun replied that it was “a mole,” meaning a mix of things. Oaxaca, Mexico, also stakes a claim to its creation, and yet others claim its roots go back much further and belong to indigenous cultures. Each region in Mexico has its own variation (like mole negro, mole poblano, and Colorado, to name a few), some quite simple and others using up to 100 ingredients. Recipes are passed down in families from generation to generation, so moles can differ even within a region. The key ingredient of mole is the chile (ancho, pasilla, mulato, or chipotle), each with a distinct taste. Regardless of the chile, the sauce is rich and warm and adds a wonderful spice to any holiday meal. Try this recipe for your next family celebration.
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3 ancho chiles with stems and seeds removed 3 guajillo chiles with stems and seeds removed 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, boiled 6 cloves garlic, peeled 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds 4 medium tomatoes, quartered 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup lightly-packed brown sugar 1 750 ml bottle red wine 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 4 ounces queso fresco or other soft, white cheese like mild Feta or Monterey Jack, crumbled ½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
Soak the ancho and guajillo chiles in the hot chicken broth for 30 minutes with a plate on top of the chiles to makes sure they are submerged in the broth. While the chiles are soaking, roast the garlic and sesame seeds in a pan with hot oil until lightly browned. In a blender, combine the chiles, garlic, sesame seeds, and chicken broth and blend. Add the tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, and salt and blend again. Once combined, transfer the mixture to a large simmer pan. Add the brown sugar and red wine and stir, then simmer on low for an hour. Stir in chocolate, and add more seasoning to taste. Pour the mole over grilled chicken breast, baked turkey, or stewed meat, then sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro, and serve with rice. Consider warming some additional corn or flour tortillas and enjoying with a shot of good tequila. Buen provecho! This recipe was adapted from Mexican Flavors, a cookbook by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison.
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t the start of a year-long road trip that would take us from Virginia to Panama, my family (my wife, Rebecca, and our 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son) incorporated a tour of the American South into our roadschool curriculum. As a human rights attorney, Rebecca was acutely aware that we would see many parallels between the struggles faced by her clients from Central America with those confronted by African Americans and other minority groups in America. Even though the U.S. Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, we knew this wasn’t always the case in practice. After slavery was finally ended following the American Civil War, it took three amendments to the U.S. constitution to purportedly give African Americans the same political and social freedoms as whites: the 13th Amendment (ratified in 1865) abolished slavery, the 14th Amendment (1868) made former slaves citizens with equal rights and protections under the law, and the 15th Amendment (1870) guaranteed the right to vote to all male Americans no matter their race.
(Women of any race did not gain the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.) Despite these laws, many states continued to disenfranchise and segregate African Americans. States passed measures such as literacy tests or land ownership requirements to prevent African Americans from voting and enforced strict segregation of public facilities through “Jim Crow” laws. Additionally, police and other authorities often looked the other way when white supremacist groups used intimidation and violence. By the 1950s, African American leaders had begun to “fight back” through organized non-violent rallies and marches designed to draw attention to these inequalities. We targeted three Southern cities in particular, all within a few hours drive of each other, to provide a canvas to draw the origins and achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s and to instruct us on our role in forging a path forward through the challenges facing the nation today: Atlanta, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; and Birmingham, Alabama.
Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
Atlanta, Georgia We began our American civil rights tour in the buildings that comprise the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, a 35-acre site in downtown Atlanta. It was in this area that Dr. King, the most recognizable figure of the civil rights movement, learned the Christian values that influenced his development as a leader for social justice and equality. We saw powerful images at the Visitor Center that brought to life the events that inspired Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Of particular interest for our family was the Children of Courage exhibit, which highlights the important role yesterday’s children had in promoting civil rights and challenges today’s young people to make positive contributions to society. A National Park Service ranger-led tour took us inside of King’s childhood home, where he was born and educated under the tutelage of his maternal grandfather and father, both of whom were pastors. We arrived early because tours are limited to 15 people on a first-come, first-served basis. The Ebenezer Baptist Church is where Dr. King was baptized, ordained, and served as co-pastor with his father while also assuming a national civil rights leadership role. It was from this pulpit that he delivered some of his most famous sermons extolling a more just, humane, and peaceful world in the face of extreme racial prejudice. Founded in 1886, the church remains a thriving and active tribute to his legacy. The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change was established by Coretta Scott King after her husband’s assassination in 1968 as both a memorial and a resource to continue the work that inspired his life. It is also the final resting place of Dr. and Mrs. King, whose remains are placed in a tomb alongside a reflecting pool and eternal flame.
Montgomery, Alabama Montgomery has been called the birthplace of civil rights because of all that was achieved in its streets, homes, buses, and churches. It contains a multitude of important sites on the timeline of civil rights history, including churches where organizers met to plan nonviolent protests to draw attention to segregationist policies, the home where Dr. King lived from 1954 to 1960, and state and federal government buildings where significant court-rulings and rallies took place. My children had heard in school about Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus — one of the most famous events of the civil rights movement. The exhibits at the Rosa Parks Museum gave context to the events that led to her refusal and the subsequent citywide bus boycott that it inspired, pieces of the story that were not included in their school curriculum.
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Since my children were bussed to school, we decided to stick to that theme at the Freedom Rides Museum, which highlights a lesser-known bus event. This museum celebrates The Freedom Riders, courageous African American and white bus patrons who rode together to various points in the South to highlight the lack of equality in interstate bus travel, terminals, and other facilities. The museum includes a bus station restored to its 1961 aesthetic and exhibitions describing how, despite attacks by segregationists, the Freedom Riders continued their activism until the Federal Government enforced stricter guidelines ensuring safe and equal interstate travel for all Americans. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the nearby Legacy Museum pay tribute to the victims of the thousands of lynchings that took place across the nation throughout its history. At the powerfully emotional memorial, we solemnly made our way through 800 six-foot-tall monuments which reveal racial terror in its many forms. The museum, located at the site of one of the country’s most prominent slave auctions, exposes the history of racial injustice in the country and its continuing effect on society. Both sites call for visitors to reflect on this past and take action to reshape our cultural landscape.
Birmingham, Alabama The Birmingham Civil Rights District is a six-block area in the historically black downtown business district, including several sites where violent acts by segregationists helped turn the American conscience and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We visited the 16th Street Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church, both havens used by organizers of civil rights rallies and marches to meet and train leaders for upcoming events, and we learned that this made them attractive targets for violent opponents of the movement. The Bethel Baptist Church was bombed multiple times by white supremacist terrorists, and in 1963, a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church killed four young African American girls: Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, all 14; and Carol Denise McNair, 11. With this cause for reflection, we picnicked across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Kelly Ingram Park, the rallying point for many assemblies — but also the scene of horrific police repression, including the use of fire hoses and police dogs to turn back peaceful protestors. Several powerful sculptures in the park depict these emotional scenes, giving us more food for thought even as we ate our lunch. After lunch, we made our way to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where self-directed exhibitions focus on the history of African American life in America. My children stood a long time over the model of a segregated city — an emotional trip through the past and a fitting start to a conversation about a new way forward. While Atlanta, Montgomery, and Birmingham each have enough history to sustain a civil rights lesson on their own, combining the three into a multi-day road trip presents a more complete picture of the events that compelled a generation of leaders to step forward and of the challenges the country still must confront to guarantee equality for each American. Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
IN THE FIELD
Inside the Civil Rights Act of 1964 assage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the signature achievement of the U.S. civil rights movement. The legislation was introduced by President John F. Kennedy and then signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964. The Act consists of 11 titles that aim to prevent discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The 1964 Act primarily applies to voting rights laws and to racial desegregation and equality in schools, employment, and public facilities such as transportation and accommodations. Its provisions have been interpreted and applied in numerous court cases, and it has inspired and influenced an expansion of civil rights legislation to provide equal rights and protections to other disadvantaged groups. Each title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has a separate purpose: Title 1 makes unequal voter registration requirements illegal. Title 2 bars discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, sports arenas, and all other public places that solicit customers. Title 3 prohibits States and municipalities from denying access to public facilities such as parks, courthouses, restrooms, and bus stations based on status. No longer could AfricanAmericans be forced to ride at the back of the bus. Title 4 desegregated public schools and allowed the U.S. Government to file lawsuits forcing States and municipalities to comply. Title 5 created the Commission on Civil Rights to investigate, report on, and make recommendations for civil rights issues in the United States. Title 6 prevents discrimination in public or private programs that receive federal funds. Title 7 prohibits unlawful employment practices and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to regulate discrimination in the workplace. Title 8 requires statistics on voter registration and voting data be submitted to the Commission on Civil Rights. Title 9 governs the movement of civil rights cases from State to Federal courts when needed to receive a fair trial. Title 10 created the Community Relations Service to assist with community-related discrimination cases. Title 11 addresses the rights of persons charged with violating the new laws and sets penalties.
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After the Actâ€™s passage, several court decisions helped illustrate its application. For example, in Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the law applies to private businesses that solicit customers in interstate travel. A U.S. District Court held in Blake v. City of Los Angeles (1977) that minimum height requirements for police officers violated the law because women could not usually meet them. The 1964 Act also influenced other important civil rights legislation. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution by prohibiting States and municipalities from establishing any qualification or prerequisite to voting, such as a literacy test or poll tax, that could result in denial of the right to vote. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 extended many of the same rights given to African Americans by the 1964 Act to American Indians. That law also banned discrimination in housing in a section of the law that came to be known as the Fair Housing Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 gave more powers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created by the 1964 Act, authorizing the Commission to investigate civil rights violations and enforce laws related to discrimination in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects people with disabilities in employment by requiring reasonable accommodations in the workplace and equal access to public services and facilities such as parks, buses, restaurants, stores, and hotels. It also requires modifications in telephone communications for the hearing impaired and makes it a crime to retaliate against persons who assert their rights under the law.
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alika Kaponay has traveled the world for the last eight years with his family, visiting and living in over 50 countries on 6 continents. Now 18, he is translating his passions for travel into a labor-of-love business, helping other travelers find the most cost-effective and convenient modes of travel around the world. “When we started traveling the world full-time…, I was always fascinated by the details of the travel logistics — getting online, seeing what the best prices were, rummaging through the various different scenarios and always challenging myself to find the best options,” said Lalika. At the time, his mother was in charge of booking everything, but he always felt that he could find better prices and experiences by thinking outside the box. At 13, he suggested that his family stay at an Airbnb in Bogota, Colombia. “Airbnb in those days was relatively young and unheard of. My Dad told me he thought it was a scam and he wasn’t convinced.” But after Lalika’s family ended up staying in a hotel chain at three times the cost, the family agreed to give Lalika more responsibility for finding and booking the family’s travels.
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As time went by, the Kaponays started to meet more and more traveling families. After hearing some of Lalika’s tricks and tips, families began asking him to help them plan their travel itineraries and encouraging him to start his own business. When Lalikae turned 16, he asked his dad to help him research what it would require to set up a travel concierge business. They did the research together, built a website, and soft-launched the business to great success. At 17, he officially launched Destinator Travel. Lalika was determined to create something unconventional and new. Destinator Travel is not a typical travel agency. Lalika describes it as “a travel concierge service, meaning that I will find, research, and deliver the best, most convenient, costeffective travel options for my clients.” This might include the best flights, routes of travel, accommodations, or transportation. Lalika explains, “I coordinate it all for my clients from beginning to end, and I make myself available to them throughout the entire process, before and during their travels. It is an end-to-end service, and I go to great lengths to ensure that my clients’ needs are my top priority, where everyone feels like they are getting the best deal or options on the
PAGES 92–93: COURTESY OF REKA KAPONAY
market. Once I have everything organized, I send them the links, which makes it very easy for them to book their flights, accommodations, and transport.” Facing the prospect of a rapidly changing landscape in the travel industry, Lalika came up with a rather unique way of charging for his services. Lalika notes that “When we started, I was struggling with what would be a reasonable amount to charge for my services. It occurred to me that along our travels, we had learned much about creating equitable ways that people could get what they needed. We even started a project called EnergeticXChange, which was intended to help people meet their needs and also provide a way in which they could help others meet theirs too. I was thinking along these lines when I thought, ‘what if I were to empower my clients and let them decide what they felt my services were worth?’” That’s when Lalika came up with his “pay-what-you-feel-it’s-worth” model of payment. This allows his clients to have full power in deciding what value his services were to them, in relation to the benefits that they received, including the time, stress, and energies that they save. “This turned out to be quite successful, as people have been more generous than I expected. It has also encouraged very positive word-of-mouth referrals that have seen my business grow rapidly over the last half-year.” While Lalika recently turned 18 and completed his schooling, he feels passionate about continuing to immerse himself in learning experiences. In the process, he wants to provide young people with unique learning opportunities through immersive travel learning adventures. “In the last couple of years, along with my parents, we have been focusing in on developing ways that families could deepen their connections in their daily lives. My parents co-founded and run a family retreat, At Home In the World Family Retreats, which we hold in Transylvania, Romania, every June-July.” The family also will soon launch a family membership website, Museley — The Muse for Your Family, dedicated to helping families navigate the challenges of daily living through an integrated framework of self-guided learning and family development for adults and children alike. The website will have a focused topic of learning each month, so together, participants can learn from each other and experts practical ways to reinvest in their families. Lalika then took this idea a step further, thinking of the ways in which he could potentially serve young people who want to experience travel and incorporate learning and service as a key aspect of their personal development. He is now organizing travel adventures with learning and service as key components, with the potential for young people to also receive credits towards university courses. His first organized trip is to Bali, October 7–11, 2019, in conjunction with one of his partners, Global Family Travels. This unique 5-day learning adventure will immerse young people first-hand in the heart of Balinese Culture. The program will also work with one of the world’s most innovative marine biology institutions, the Coral Triangle Center, which leads the way in regenerative coral reef projects. The journey will incorporate a unique storytelling aspect, which Lalika describes as an opportunity for participants to “create their very own narratives of learning.” An additional trip is being scheduled for January to Panama.
Lalika’s travels with his family are planned to continue well into 2020, their ninth year of continuous travel together. With a strong commitment to service and learning, their focus continues to be on strengthening family. In fact, this year, they added a new traveler to their team: Lalika’s grandfather, who continues to provide real opportunities for intergenerational family learning through travel. Réka Kaponay, Lalika’s twin sister, is an equally entrepreneurial teen who became one of the world’s youngest published authors at just 14 with the release of her debut novel, Dawn of the Guardian, the first in a trilogy of young adult fantasy adventure novels inspired by the Kaponay family’s ongoing travels. She is also the family’s chronicler, sharing their experiences and adventures online at her storyteller travel blog, Dreamtime Traveler. To follow the Kaponay’s ventures and adventures, check out: • Destinator Travel, www.destinatortravel.com • At Home In the World Family Retreats, www.athomeintheworldretreat.com • Museley - The Muse For Your Family, www.museley.com • Global Family Travels, youli.io/t/global-family-travels/ bali-2019-teen-service-program • Dawn of the Guardian, dawnoftheguardian.com • Dreamtime Traveler, www.dreamtimetraveler.com Everywhere Magazine October/November 2019
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The Lopes Photography is Savannah + Rui Lopes. Savannah is from sunny southern California, USA + Rui is from trendy Lisbon, Portugal. We fell for each other in Lisbon + from there on we couldn´t get enough of each other. Together we make things happen. With Savannah´s creative + keen eye for detail (maybe slightly OCD) + Rui´s professionalism and quiet humour, we take pride in our photography because it isn´t just a job, it´s a hobby+ to see the outcome of our work is priceless.
We are all about the timeless, natural, trendy + adventurous type! We’re focusing on mostly Europe, but also have open arms for those in the USA as well.
Sketches Ethan Goodell, age 14, set off from Portland, Oregon, with his family in 2014 on a travel adventure. After a year of traveling around Southeast Asia and Europe, they landed in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where they have lived for over 4 years. Ethan attends a local bilingual school and spends his free time drawing, reading, attending his circus arts class, playing with his dog, and exploring Mexico.
“I really wanted to go to Paris, France. I wanted to eat macarons and visit the Louvre Museum. I love French food. It’s the best!” Lilia Kamata, age 13 at the time of this drawing, got her first passport when she was six months old. Her mother is American and her father is Japanese, so she has dual citizenship. She has traveled to the United States many times, most recently to Hawaii, and also to France and Singapore. She currently lives in Kyoto, Japan.
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ALTAR DRAWING: COURTESY OF ETHAN GOODELL (PATI GOODELL); ALTAR PHOTO: ZÉLIE POLLON; EIFFEL TOWER DRAWING: COURTESY OF LILIA KAMATA (SUZANNE KAMATA); EIFFEL TOWER PHOTO: ANDERSPHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
“An ofrenda is a traditional Mexican altar put up for Day of the Dead. On it, Mexican families put photos of their ancestors and gifts to remember them.”
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