2020 has just come to an end and it has taught us 6 valuable lessons which we we are grateful for, specially during our travels.
We celebrated the arrival of 2020 in a secluded area of El Nido, check out our blog post about Dolarog Beach Resort. We wished for a year full of travels and new adventures around the world! Our 2020 was all planned out, for the most part. We were very excited for it to start! At that moment our full-time traveling family had no worry in the world!
In January we started moving around the globe, from the Philippines to Thailand, to Bhutan. Until Covid 19 became something bigger than the common flu. Or at least the world started reacting to it with a whole new level of alarm. By the end of our trip to Bhutan, things were getting worse. Our trips started to be more actively affected by all this as we wrote in our blog post How have you been affected by Coronavirus. Once we arrived in Nepal, the world started shutting down. Just as we were getting ready to leave for Japan, Nepal went into lockdown as well! That is when EVERYTHING changed!
We have all gone through this difficult time and I’m sure this year has taught us all a lot. We want to share with you the 6 valuable lessons that 2020 taught our full time traveling family!
1. The importance of being flexible
Being flexible is everrything for a full-time traveling family! However never like this year, it has become important to let go. Not be attached to your original plans but be ready to make new ones! Our 2020 travels were planned out, some plane tickets had already been bought! However, once they canceled our flight out of Nepal for Japan everything was up in the air.
As we watched the events unfold during those months of lockdown we felt that all our certainties were quickly disappearing! We also realized how much we give for granted! First of all our freedom of exploring the world. Unfortunately, as time goes by we keep on getting confirmation that for the time being, we won’t have that same level of freedom as before. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t adjust to the change. In our case, we decided that once we had the opportunity to get back we would follow the world flow and just find a new way of traveling.
So here we are embracing flexibility by traveling full time around Europe by camper van and accepting that border regulations change on a daily basis. Thanks to Covid we are constantly rethinking our next destination! This has given us the opportunity to slow down and discover more of the places we visit. Originally we were going to travel around Croatia for about 20 days. We have been here for almost 3 months and it is ok! We have a chance to see more, take our time, and simply enjoy the experiences that come our way!
2. Take care of the environment
These months in lockdown have given the environment a break from how badly humanity has been treating it for all these years. We have all seen the videos of wildlife making its way on city streets because there were no cars around! Or dolphins showing up in Venice laguna because the water was so clean! We personally witnessed cows walking freely on the streets of Patan, which are usually packed with motorbikes and cars on every corner. They were peacefully strolling along without a worry in the world!
This lockdown period should have made us all rethink how we are treating our home: Earth. It should have been a chance for us to make things better, question more in-depth how we are impacting the well being of our home and of all the creatures on it.
When we were in New Zealand I remember going to visit an animal sanctuary. While we were watching a cassowary swallow a tomato in one gulp, we were told about their importance to the ecosystem of the rainforest. They feed on the fruit of several hundred rainforest species and usually pass viable seeds in large, dense feces. They are known to disperse seeds over distances greater than a kilometer. This made us open our eyes to the fact that there is a very delicate balance in nature where animals and the environment work together in perfect harmony. However, the human race has been disrupting this harmony for centuries!
Hopefully, this break from our craziness can open people’s eyes more! As a full-time traveling family, we are trying to do our best in recycling, no littering, and teaching our children to be more aware of the importance of the environment. Will it help? If we all do our part imagine how much we could accomplish!
3. Get creative!
For us, lockdown happened from one moment to another. We honestly thought we would make it to Japan, instead plans changed in just a day! There was no time to get everything we might need to have with us for weeks in lockdown. Plus we didn’t think we would be stuck in a house for over 100 days!
The first weeks went by happily. We needed some time off from all the traveling and initially, we all thought it was going to be a 1-month break. We cooked, mainly baked. Emma started drawing more, Cosimo was reading constantly, Mass was meditating a lot, Luca was playing with all his toys and I was catching up on our videos and blog posts.
However, the lockdown kept on being prolonged and we needed to find new forms of entertainment. Emma started creating little pets from our finished toilet rolls. By the time we left, we had a whole family! Cosimo used some old boxes to make a board game, which entertained us for many days! We also started experimenting with new recipes without meat, and most came out yummy. We have a whole playlist on youtube with our recipes on lockdown!
When you have limited resources, you find yourself relying on your creativity so much more and it is extremely fulfilling!
However lately our creativity has also expanded to the way we deal with any issue right now. Since nothing is straightforward anymore. Creativity is fundamental in finding a new solution for our family. We always look at every problem from every angle in order to find the right solution for us. You would be amazed by some creative solutions we came up with!
4. Treasure the time with your family
We are a full time traveling family. Spending 24 hours a day every day of the week isn’t something new to us, we actually really enjoy it!
Our relationship evolves constantly and we grow together through this process. We have our ups and downs. Our days aren’t all perfect. Believe me, it is a constant learning process since we are 5 humans sharing our time while growing up together.
As I look back to this year and all its challenges I am so grateful for my little tribe. We have learned to help each other through it all. Each one of us went through some difficult moments. We all struggled a bit with this “new reality” and all its consequences, but we have always been there for one another, each one in its own way.
Our little family has shown strength through these sudden changes and has found a way to adapt. We accept each other’s moods and try to adjust to them. It is important to learn to hold the space for the family member that is going through a difficult moment until he/she is back in balance.
5. Appreciate the community around you
During these deep changes to our reality, community has been so important and helpful in pulling through. For “community” in this day and age, I don’t mean a group of people that you physically meet every week. That is clearly not possible right now. But a group of people that you might not even know personally but that are virtually connected to you and are happy to offer help or suggestions on how to overcome some situations.
Our worldschooling community has been valuable as usual. It has helped us through some difficult times, by asking for help or simply reading what others were going through. It gave us a chance to connect with like-minded families that are going through similar struggles as we are. These are 2 of the groups we value most and turn to in moments of need We are Worldschoolers and Worldschooling Central. We are so grateful for their existence!
Through these groups, we have also had a chance to meet some families that were traveling in the same area we were in. It is valuable to us to simply spend a few hours with someone that shares the same passion for travel and family. We realize that we share similar concerns about what to do next. It is extremely liberating to know that you are not alone!
We are also grateful for the community in Nepal as well that has accepted us there and treated us with kindness from the first moment. During our 3 months there we have shared our videos on Youtube of our travels in Nepal and they have written to us so many lovely posts, offering words of kindness, friendship, and help in any possible way. We felt at home in Nepal and miss it dearly.
6. Live in the moment
Now the biggest lesson of them all! Live every moment to the fullest!!! Stop living in the past or just thinking of your future plans! Life can change from one moment to another, you have no real control over it! All you can do is make your present the best it can be.
Kids are great teachers for this! They focus on the “NOW”. If they are playing they will do it 100% NOW. They don’t care about what they have to do later. They don’t think back to what they did before unless it is in some way related to the NOW! The NOW is their only focus.
Kids aren’t always rethinking about what happened to them years ago. Unfortunately, with time, they learn this from us because we are the ones that have a hard time letting go of the past. In fact, as we get older it seems that the past continues to run our present. It is hard to let go of the past, but it is important to. We can’t let it affect us and our relations. It is past, it already happened and you have already dealt with it in one way or another!
As for the future. As full-time traveling parents we probably do a lot of that very often, especially with our adventures. We are always looking forward to our next stop and on the last days of our stay, we might not always enjoy 100% our present. As we were looking forward to our next stop in Japan, Nepal became our present for over 100 days instead of the original 14! This was a blessing.
Now we are reminded constantly of this. Every time we try to plan ahead of a week, border regulations change, new rules are applied and we have to rethink everything! So all we can do is take one day at a time and enjoy it with who we love! After all, as Master Oogway said in Kung Fu Panda:
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift.”Master Oogway
These are our 6 valuable lessons from 2020, what are yours?
Wishing you all a fantastic New Year full of new valuable lessons!!!
P.S. This is a recent post we wrote about Post lockdown effect….is this our “New Normal”? after traveling around a few months after the first lockdown.
2 thoughts on “6 valuable lessons from 2020”
I really appreciated reading your lessons from 2020. It was enlightening to learn from your perspective of things. I must say that while I would never wish a pandemic to happen, it has forced us to stop and diligently look for the blessings in our lives. They are really everywhere. You just have to stop to look and savor. Wishing you a blessed 2021. The Jamison Family
So true! It wasn’t the best year to follow our plans, but it was the best year to look inside ourselves, slow down and give us the time to really appreciate what we have. Sending you love and hugs!!!! All the De Santi ❤️