our family goes to Taipei.

Three years ago we decide to do our first family international trip. We always wanted to take the kids to see the world. Ben was on the road for nearly 5 weeks and was planning to leave for another 4 weeks. Rather than miss out on all the fun, I decide to take the whole family to Taiwan! (I love a good adventure.) I have one week to plan the trip, get airline tickets, find us a place to stay, and get passports for my boys. Airline tickets are a great last-minute deal at just under $1,000 a piece (round-trip!). I find a clean apartment in a safe neighborhood for rent on Craigslist. It has a rooftop swimming pool that is perfect for the kids. We don’t have time to wait the typical 4-6 weeks for passports. Luckily there is a passport office a couple hours from our home in Seattle. We drive up and make a day trip out of it and get the passports. The boys are so excited to fly and we make it to Taipei without much difficulty. The first few days there are really hard. Ben is gone working and I am in our tiny apartment homeschooling 3 boys that just want to have wrestle mania on my bed. I regret my decision to take us to the other side of the world and I want so badly to be back in the comfort of my own home. I convince myself to change my thinking and stop being so afraid to leave the apartment. I leave a handwritten note for Ben that says, “We went for an adventure. See you later! Love, Katie.” (no cell phones mind you :) We end up having an amazing day and meet so many kind and helpful people along the way. From that point on we explore a new part of Taipei each day. The boys and I figure out the local bus system, the trains, and of course we take a few cab rides every now and then. We find our local food mart, the book store, local tourist attractions, the zoo, memorials, parks, and traditional markets. I have learned the most important thing to pack on any trip is a spirit of adventure. Only once I step outside my comfort zone am I able to enjoy these life changing experiences.

 

 Same-day passports. We decide on Wednesday we will take the family to Taiwan. The following Friday we drive 3 hours to Seattle to get each of the boys a passport. 3 days later we are on the plane and headed for adventure.

I make sure to give each child a piece of luggage they are responsible for. Both for packing and transporting. It lightens my load and gives them a sense of purpose.

Consciously I decide to have an analogue trip (no digital devices or cell phones). My kids are armed with items like books, drawing pads, chess sets and magnetic blocks for their entertainment. It helps them interact and play together rather than zone out or argue.

Keeping with our minimal packing efforts, we bring lightweight chess pieces and draw a chess board on a piece of paper.

There is never a shortage of fascinating sights to see and new places to explore when visiting a new city.

We take advantage of local holidays and celebrations and get in on the festivities.

Interacting with the locals is a favorite memory.

Clearly these guys love shopping the local night markets as much as I do!

It’s rare to get a picture of all 5 of us. I keep that in mind and hand the camera to a bystander to take our picture. I make sure to set the shot up exactly as I want.

Everywhere we go people want to take our photos as though we are celebrities. Luckily Sterling is not camera shy.

Food is always a big part of any vacation. And exploring foreign foods is always an adventure. We buy new fruits and veggies at the local market and try them out. This is what water chestnuts look like before being shelled.

A 3 year old can be just as fascinated with pen & paper as he is with a digital device.

Writing in their journals while we wait. The boys always bring their backpacks along with pen and paper. Its a great activity to keep them occupied anytime we are transporting.



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