Simple joys found through traveling

Travel is one of many things parents can do to help their kids grow into well-rounded adults with perspective that extends beyond their own neighborhood. For starters, it has made Benjamin realize flowers and thick bushes exist.

Ben and flowers

Seriously. You should see him stop at every flower in pot or otherwise or chase every insect and butterflies in the meadows.

ben skip hop

Traveling with (small) children is no walk in the park but we do it anyway. We do it so they can see the ‘other world’ beyond where they are everyday. We believe that traveling with kids is never a waste. I love how their eyes sparkle when they see new place, people or hear a different language. I would like to show them how others live.

Like, in most parts of the world (technically in Northern Hemisphere), children go out and play outside in summer (especially when school is out) and the weather is finally warming up after cold spring and winter. They sweat after playing outside in July – that doesn’t happen while living in Dubai because first, you don’t play OUTSIDE in July in Dubai!

Drinking tea

While our holiday to Japan wasn’t really a “holiday” as per dictionary terms, it was a terrific time to reconnect with our children’s roots, culture and language.

Most of all, it was the best way to connect with nature and enjoy it.

Pristine at grandpa's rice field

Most importantly, our simple vacation was a great way for them to reconnect with…US.

One of the best things about this vacation is the time we gave to our children: 100% undivided attention. There was no work to do, no deadlines to beat, no work-related errands. It was just us and them.

Playtime with Papa

This? This doesn’t happen often because of his crazy work schedule

We did a lot of  first-time activities that made our trip not only vividly memorable, but they also instill in kids a sense of adventure and a feeling of accomplishment that will last long after the trip is over. No, we did not get to see exotic jungles or animals in the wild. Or visit remote villages.

Our experience were are simple as finding joy in walking on grass.

Ben walking on grass

And then jumping for joy.

Jumping for joy

…being fascinated with vending machines.

digital vending machine

It’s still the same wonderful Japanese vending machine selling hot or cold beverages from teas to sodas, coffees and energy drinks, only with flat screen in front.

We did not go see the Eiffel Tower or walk the Great Wall of China so the exciting moments were as simple as finding and holding a dandelion for the first time.

Holding a dandelion for the first time

and then blowing the dandelions,

make a wish

…hoping and wishing this kind of vacation will come again. Soon.

It’s amazing how Pristine sees everything with fresh eyes. She was born in Japan but we left when she was three. The last time we were there, she was 5. It seems she has forgotten most of our travel four years ago – made us happy we made this trip all the more.

Our trip was nothing fancy, it’s like a staycation but in a different country. We didn’t go out much like tourists, we only met a few friends around town and saw temples and shrines nearby.

P and B in Japan

And of course ate as much authentic Japanese food as we can!

Soba tempura

So how did our simple trip turn out?

As I was tossing things and folding clothes on our last morning there, my daughter said quietly, “I don’t want to leave.”

“That’s the sign of a good vacation,” I replied. “Let’s come back some day.”


  1. I enjoyed looking at your pictures and reading every details about your travel…sure, you really did have a great vacation!



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