What kind of family would abandon their lives to discover the world? Well, it turns out that at any given moment, there are actually hundreds of families doing just that. We hear occasional stories about other families that are out on the road — and early in our journey, we would glance at other blogs to see if our paths might intersect with any of these like-minded wanderers. Then, while we were in Paris, a chance conversation with an old colleague led us to another family named the Kessels, who are also traveling the world this year. It just so happened that for one day, our itineraries overlapped and we got together, singing the praises of packing cubes, comparing strategies for getting around airline carry-on allotments, and talking about our shared trepidation for reacclimatizing to “normal life.” Every family traveling the world is different, but it turns out, not that different.If you want to learn more about the journey of the Kessel-Bushnells, you can find their blog @ www.kesseltravels.blogspot.com.
We’ve slept on the wooden floors of floating houses in Cambodia, shared cramped hotel rooms in Peru, shivered in freezing tents in the Sahara, and slept four to a train compartment in China. But for one month, we traded the lives of Nomads for the lives of Parisians. And what an incredible place in Paris we found! Never has an apartment been such an important character in our journey. Through sheer determination, we scoured airbnb.com and vrbo.com (and several more obscure sites) looking for a place to call home for an entire month. In the 10th arrondissement, on the very happening Canal St. Martin, we got lucky. Check out what we found. If the owner would have allowed us, we’d have stayed forever.
What does it mean to be “lifelong friends”? Well, Franny, Finn, Charlie and Sam bring literal meaning to the phrase. They met one another within 48 hours of each other’s birth — a consequence of the close friendship of their parents, Mark, Jen, P.K. and Beth. Now half a generation later, the Flackett-Levin family is off wandering the planet while the Colt-Simonds family has settled comfortably in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. For one week in Paris (which flew by as if it were a day), the four young compatriots got the chance to pick up right where they left off, laughing, playing, creating shows — and we get a short meditation on the true meaning of “lifelong friendship” from four bonafide practitioners.
In Montmartre, Paris, a work of art springs to life from a blank page, and the process is captured in a single uninterrupted shot.
Here’s what you have to know about these two cities spilt by the Danube: Buda is home to castles, museums, and rich history. Pest is home to bookstores, bars, hotels, and coffee shops. In other words, Buda is a nice place to visit, but we’d want to live in Pest. And truth be told, Budapest is such a lively, happening city, pulsating with the energy of a recently liberated society that we could actually envision living there. We were there for three days as the city was held in the last fierce grip of winter with stinging winds blowing along the Danube — but you could still sense the vitality of the city. There are artists, young people, movies being made there, the streets pulse with creativity and life. For a city with a deeply tortured history in the 20th Century — held under the steel boot of the Nazis, then the Soviet Union — we found the place to be like a teenager bursting into adulthood, full of potential and fun, a city finding its new dynamic voice in the 21st Century.
There’s nothing like cooking at home with friends. Even if the home is rented through airbnb and the friends are brand new. The feeling of making your own food and sharing it around your own table and laughing is one of the best in the world.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, please enjoy these four million words about the great Czech capital wrapped up in a neat little four minute package.
It’s a funny thing about Tel Aviv. It’s probably one of the most livable cities in the world. Right up there with Sydney, or Paris, or Shanghai (on a rare clear day). But whenever people come home from Israel, they’re talking about the complex history of Jerusalem, or the pulsating politics of the country, or legendary sites like Masada. But the fact of the matter is that Tel Aviv was our favorite part of Israel, so much so that for the first week we were there we never even left town. For seventeen days, we were Tel Avivians. It’s the perfect combination of New York and LA, a great walking city on a beach. The food is world class, the people are smart and funny, the weather is terrific, and our friends lent us their awesome apartment. We couldn’t think of a reason to leave.
Nowhere on earth is more history packed into a single square mile. This walled city is shared uneasily by Jews, Muslims, Christians — and especially tourists, each on their own pilgrimage. Our pilgrimage led us to the Western Wall where we each scribbled a prayer. Once you’ve walked through the streets of Jerusalem and experienced the peculiar energy and tension of so many fighting for their claim to such a tiny piece of earth, the prayer you write down probably isn’t going to be just about you.