The weekend wanderlust.

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A summary of this week’s victories, lessons and roustabouts.

The last few weeks have been busy and I’ve been an uncharacteristically social butterfly.

We’ve gone to barbecues at the Air Force Base, entertained friends traveling through Tokyo, and even met up with local ones and had sleep overs. I’m utterly exhausted.

So, this weekend I planned for us to be lazy and not get out at all. Saturday was amazing. I barely had clothes on and took two of the most glorious naps known to man. It was needed and absolutely welcomed.

However, this bliss was short-lived because on Sunday the boy had a trial session with the British Football Academy to see if he wants to take up soccer again on a more constant basis. He absolutely loved it.


Afterward, we roamed around Roppongi and grabbed some food before heading home. It was a pretty awesome day.


It makes my heart smile to see him find some normalcy in this foreign city in which we have found residency. He was so energetic and excited to get back to something he knows and loves and I was happy to see him in a familiar place again. I feel like we are on our way to finding our pace here in Tokyo, finding more stability and becoming more acclimated with who we are in this space.

It’s nice. And we need a bit more of that in our lives.

What adventures did you get into this weekend? Share in the comments below!

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Leaps and bounds.

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Today is Leap Day. The extra day we acknowledge when that 1/4th of a day we ignore until it actually equals up to something to recognise.

I know. I haven’t posted in a while and I start off all grouchy. I swear I’m not in a bad mood.

But it’s also a day that we can choose to make something more of our lives with this extra day we have been given. For no other reason than this opportunity only presents itself once every 4 years.

But today, my thoughts were more on the past rather than the present. Because it was this time last year I was traveling in India with Nomadness for the Holi Festival of Colors. During that week, we traveled to Agra to see the Taj Mahal in all is majestic glory, and rode camels through the Pushkar Desert. We even celebrated Holi with a local family and danced and drank under sporadic clouds of pigmented chalk. But it was in exploring the streets of Jaipur when I experienced the true magic of India.

Roaming about, allowing myself to become enveloped in all the sights, sounds, and smells that Jaipur offered, I began to see the world through a new pair of eyes. In a country that is overrun by poverty and still seen as “developing”, I was only able to see it’s beauty in the bright smiles of those who call India home. It was while walking the streets that I discovered that I needed to see more and do more with this life that I had been given.

I know there are people who say that visiting a certain place or having a particular experience while traveling “changed their life”. It’s pretty cliché, I know. But traveling to India definitely was that for me.

Perhaps it was the spirit of Holi in the air. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, a time to reflect, forgive and forget, and to repair broken relationships. And I did. I thought about my life and the things I wanted to change within myself and with those around me. It was then that I decided to take the biggest leap of my life, to leave all that I had ever known and move abroad with my son.

I guess it’s appropriate that I reflected on that experience today. A chance to make more of yourself and your life with the gift of an extra 24 hours. In thinking about my travels last year, forced me to reaffirm the commitments I made to myself then. To constantly immerse myself in new cultures and experiences, to live boldly and on my own terms, and to always choose myself first.

I needed to be reminded of that today. I feel like that last 6 months have become lost to me. I’ve been busy and have used that as an excuse to become lackadaisical about what I’ve accomplished and how much farther I have to go. Moving to Tokyo wasn’t the end for me. I’m content here, but I have never wanted to feel or become stagnant anywhere. There is still too much world to see and too much I have yet to experience. Today was the reminder and reset that I needed, I suppose.

Although this “extra” 24 hours was still a work day for me, spent juggling the problems of students and their families, it wasn’t wasted. I made time to reflect and give thanks for all that I have experienced thus far and found a new source of energy and determination.

One thing I have learned today is that India still speaks to me and continues to reintroduce me to myself.

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Lessons learned while mothering and traveling in 2015.

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Over the past year, I have traveled to more countries than I have in my entire life. 17 countries, 24 cities, and 4 continents to be exact. That’s a lot of traveling for me. And the boy went to 10 of those countries, and 12 cities with me.

He’s one well-travelled kid.

The beginning of my travel binge started when my grandmother passed away in the summer of 2014. I think it was just a tipping point for me to live my life and stop being a person who wished their life was different, but actually worked hard to make it different from what it ever has been.

In addition to increasing my country count, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the boy in the last year. Our relationship is growing and becoming increasingly stronger because of what we have experienced and endured together.

The mothering thing is ever evolving

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Livingstone, Zambia

As the boy grows older, the way I am with him changes. Still consistent in most of my methods, but he is one smart kid *pats back* and I have learned that I have to change my approach with him sometimes. I’m raising a critical thinker that I am challenging to question everything that doesn’t make sense. And sometimes that applies to me. I try hard not to invoke the “because I said so” when I’m frustrated with his questions. I want to encourage him to be inquisitive and search for answers instead of just accepting what is because some authority figure told him it was fact.

This is extremely hard when bad things happen. He wants to know why and I have to maintain honestly with him. I try to always tell him the truth about why we moved to Japan, why I sob at the injustices that are happening in the United States, and why I search for a feeling of safe outside of our home country. He is still wrapping his brain around this, but has a clear understanding of where I stand with most things because of this honesty.

We are both growing together, that I do realize. Just as he is a different child than when he was 5, I am a different mother to him. The way we interact is more intentional than ever before and our relationship is developing into something of mutual respect, love, and adoration of who the other is becoming.

The boy is more resilient than I could have ever imagined

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Seoul, South Korea

So this move to Japan was really just out of the blue as far as the boy is concerned. When I left him with my mom this past summer, he thought we were moving to Cambodia. Hell, so did I (and most of you). But things changed and I came back to the states with a whole other destination on the horizon.

When I told him I think he just shrugged and continued playing. Or come to think of it, he may have been like “What the heck?!?!” Either way, he didn’t really fight me on it. He just rolled with it and we kept it moving.

Even when we’ve traveled this past year, he has been so easy-going I couldn’t have asked for a better travel partner. Whether there are train delays or changes in the itinerary, we never complains. He eats airplane food and switches gears when things do go as planned.

This year of travel has tested us both, but this child of mine has shown that he can overcome almost anything and I’m so proud to be his mom.

I am one awesome chick

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Nairobi, Kenya

This year, I did some incredible things. I zip-lined across the Zambezi River with the boy, I flew in a hot air balloon in Ethiopia, came face to face with a mama elephant in Botswana, and had some pretty amazing adventures in Haiti – one of which involved being in the back of a police truck.

This past year challenged me in so many ways and I learned how to say yes for the first time. I embraced the moment and ended up having some pretty cool adventures and stories for years to come.

I never would have thought that I could have traveled this much in my life and moving to Japan is creating even more of a bad ass experience. This past year has shown me that I have more grit within me than I gave myself credit. And that I can do anything once I make the decision to do so.

I’m most comfortable when I’m uncomfortable

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Traveling isn’t easy. It’s not as glamorous as some may choose to show through social media. I’m even guilty of this. But this past year has shown me that when I am in the most uncomfortable of situations or the most unfamiliar, that is when I feel most at home.

It’s really hard to explain sometimes, but when I find myself in a country whose customs are alien to me, where the language is indescribable and the food is unrecognizable, it stirs something in me that makes me feel like my most authentic self. That I’m able to lower barriers and relax in a way that I’m not able to at home.

Maybe it’s the familiarity of it home. The routine and the lack of spontaneity. But being in unfamiliar places makes me feel most alive, I suppose. Or maybe it’s that I’m constantly searching for that feeling of home in other places.

Home is where we are

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Johannesbug, South Africa

One thing I’ve realized is that we can find home no matter where we find ourselves in the world. In Zambia we felt at peace and familiar with our surroundings. South Africa welcomed and embraced us like no other. Haiti brought me so much joy to see in the faces of those who call Port au Prince home. And India brought me back to myself in a way that I will never be able to explain or recreate.

I’m realizing that home is not where your family resides, but more about the experiences you have together.

I seem to always return to this concept of home when we travel. Among all the chaos, culture shock, new sights, smells, energies – something seems very familiar about it al. Instantly I recognize it and my surroundings. I connect with the language and the people of that country. Despite language barriers, the boy can always find a friend to play soccer with.

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Kliptown Youth Program, Soweto, South Africa

No matter where we are or where we go, we always find ourselves in the people and in our surroundings. I can almost always find the faces of my aunts and grandmothers in the women, whether it’s in Tanzania or Tokyo. We connect with the souls of those we encounter and in these connections we find home no matter where we are.