What do we want our kids to learn during this journey around the world?
Two kids. A curly blonde boy who just celebrated his second birthday and a 9 month old little girl. The decision to leave it all behind, live without a stable home and begin the most exciting adventure: a trip around the world. But why?
I’m writing while sitting on my bed, leaning on my pillows. The silence reigns at home, rhythmically interrupted by my two children’s breathing, napping after lunch. Teo is in his room, hugging his pillow in his little bed. Lia is in her little bed too, laying on her lovely floral sheets. When they will wake up they will probably play together with their toys, placed in the same old boxes, the boxes that they both know exactly where to find and grab with their little hands. After playing, they’ll probably have a snack, each with their favourite yogurt, and then they will start playing again until their dad and I will prepare them for bedtime at the end of the day. Bath, dinner, kiss and goodnight. And all over again the day after, and the day after, until that day. Until the Day.
That day they will jump on an airplane without a return ticket. They will find themselves in a hotel room, and then another hotel room, and it will be like this for a while. Airplane, a new home on the spot, airplane, hotel room and airplane again.
We are getting out of our comfort zone, out of that reassuring sensation of knowing exactly where the toys are, what we will eat for lunch and most importantly where we will be in a week.
I was very young when they explained to me for the first time the concept of comfort. Maybe I was too young, because I didn’t quite get it. They drew it on a paper sheet, ripped from my favourite agenda (where I used to write all my notes in a symmetrical fashion and then highlight according to the colors). They explained it to me with a maths graph.
[Just for the record, since I am a perfectionist, I had the crazy idea to go and look out for that paper sheet to share this concept with you and how it was explained to me. I perfectly knew I could find the paper sheet in that same agenda but at the same time I had no clue at all where the agenda could be. To find that notebook again I, in no particular order:
risked to wake up Lia
risked to fall from the stairs leading to the studio because it’s currently full of stuff left there because of a considerable lack of time.
destroyed in 4 minutes and 35 seconds the logic sense of order in the boxes for which Julien worked for hours
risked to destroy my back to lift the heaviest box of all time (we all know that what we are looking for is always carefully located in the very last box way down there)
made Julien mad (did not risk this, it really happened) after calling him to my rescue to avoid that I could further break my back
broke the screen of my old iPhone (whatever, it didn’t work anymore)
opened boxes and found crazy stuff, so crazy that if Julien knew I’m still keeping it he would think I’m insane
understood I actually am insane considering the exorbitant amount of receipts and small tickets sweetly preserved only to hold on to the memories they carry, like that night in the bar. Oh, too bad the date wore off and disappeared!
almost gave up on the mission, desperately
found the agenda in the end in a cotton bag full of old notebooks
desolated, risked to give up on the mission again because I discovered that the paper sheet was no longer inside the agenda
found the paper sheet that went lost in the cotton bag at the very last moment
risked to wake up Teo in my extreme happiness
Well, you know, life is too beautiful to not take any risks ;-)]
This maths graph involves several concentric circles. The comfort is the first one of these circles, the central one, the smallest. Many factors allow us to come out of this little circle, where our habits and comfort live and are nurtured.
Getting out of this first circle, though, is very difficult, tiring and intense. You need to take risks. You need to accept them, face them. This is the only way you can reach the next circle, and then the third and the fourth, which are bigger and wider, because they’re always more vibrant and rich of experiences.
These bigger circles are like mountains that allow us to see things from above, from a different perspective, moving out of that first tiny circle. And so on until you reach the last one, which represents a brand new level of comfort. A comfort that now has been researched and found according to your unique (and important) principles of happiness. In order to make your wishes come true you have to risk and challenge yourself.
“Will Teo enroll to the kindergarten in September?”. No, Teo will not go to the kindergarten in September if by “kindergarten” we mean what I have always known about it: comfort zone. But on the other hand Teo will play with children all around the world with his feet immersed in the Ocean. He will understand the difficulties of climbing mountains, he will draw on the sand waiting for the wind to wipe it all out, like an Etch-a-Sketch. He will learn that there are several languages and in order to be understood and understand people he will have to take steps towards others, with humility. He will find out that “home” is not about walls but about the people you live with. Teo will fly, swim, run under the rain. Teo’s hair will grow with the perfume of Faraway Countries, he will grow out of his clothes in Singapore, his feet will grow longer in Ho Chi Minh, his eyes will grow wise in Pechino. He will learn how to say “hi” in Indonesian, Japanese, Russian, German, Hebrew. He will finally meet all the animals that for months he only saw on an illustrated cover. And he will play. Always. With different and unique toys, with new friends from all around the world, whose memory will be treasured and held into boxes that he will open anytime he wants to. Laughing louder and louder, as he would at home.
And Lia, well, Lia. She will not stop smiling and she’ll be elected ambassador of Good Mood in Bangkok, Osaka, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Johannesburg. Lia will start walking God knows where, the cuisine of the world will be the familiar one, just like pasta al pomodoro. She will speak her first words in all the languages of the world. She will grow with her eyes filled to the the brim with colors. She will get used to flights and jet lags. Lia is leaving as a newborn, she will come back a young lady. Lia will grow up in the world. She will run together with her brother, the best gift life could give her, her rock. And when she will need to feel at home we will always be there for her and that hug will be the most beautiful royal castle.
Our kids are young and it’s very true: we are taking decisions for them. But we’re doing this because we want to:
show them that the world is big and it’s worth to discover it all
learn about the importance of humility together, of helping and being helped
let them comprehend the deep meaning of respect for people, populations, humans, of living at their own rhythm
breathe the scents of all the places in the world by their side
appreciate the smiles on the faces of the world, white, black, yellow, dotted or striped, a smile is beautiful anyway
learn with them how to live with essentials in small baggage and a big heart
write with them the most beautiful diary of life
In September we will leave for the big trip of our life. Because the most beautiful, the most important journey we are already living. Our family.
With a lot of Love.