Deep thoughts, travel

Tired + some random musings on international travel

I woke up this morning AGAIN at ~3:15, making it the 4th day in a row I have woken up in the 3:00-4:00 a.m. hour. Today though, I felt determined to fall back to sleep. (The last few days I didn’t really fight it and basically just got up extra early.)

But I have been sooooooo tired the last several days, and I’ve had enough of it.

This guy feels me.

So I tried to lay there very calmly, with my eyes closed, just breathing….and breathing….trying to drift back to sleep. I finally did. I think it took over an hour, but I did. (We had a rainstorm move through with some light thunder, so that actually helped. Who doesn’t like a soft thunderstorm for sleeping?!)

I turned my alarm off and decided to just (hopefully) sleep until the boys had to get up for school (around 7 am). When 7 rolled around, I definitely felt like I could have kept sleeping! I’m feeling better/ much more chipper now though with the extra hours.

Some random thoughts:

(Note from the editor…errr, me: This could/ should probably be a more organized, well thought out post, but, nah. 😄 Here’s my 5 minute, off the cuff version instead):

International travel is a very, very interesting thing. It is EYE OPENING in every sense of the word. I mean, it never ceases to just blow my mind how differently people live in other parts of the world- even in areas that “seem”, on paper, that they might be fairly similar in many ways.

And then it kind of scares me to think how many people around the world have NEVER left their own country, state, or town, or whatever…. It would be so easy to just really have no concept of these differences! It’s one of those things, too, that I really feel like you just need to experience for yourself.

The boys noticed.

Ireland is very different from the U.S. Italy is also very, very different from the U.S.! And even Italy and Ireland are very different from each other.

At the end of the trip, we were chatting, and they both said they were so glad and felt so lucky to have visited some other countries now. (Thank God they appreciate this!! Ivan and I were talking about how we absolutely need to make sure they understand that this type of travel is expensive, a “luxury”/ something we’ve had to work very hard, make certain life choices and prioritize to be able to do, and NOT to be taken for granted.)

We discussed with the boys how important it is to stop and think about these many differences, to realize that the world, does not, in fact, revolve around YOU and your way of living and your customs. It’s a great big world out there!

Not that there is anything wrong with “preferring” your own way of life- I think everyone probably does! We’re used things being a certain way, and that’s totally fine. I know there’s a little part of me that always sighs with relief when I get home to the U.S. and things feel “normal” again. We (or at least I) gravitate toward what we know and what feels most comfortable. I’m no expert, but I’d guess that’s probably universal human nature.

But it’s just really important to be aware that there are many, many ways of life out there.


  • eat very different foods and drink.
  • talk differently! Use different words! (Toilet vs. bathroom. Lift vs. elevator. Crisps vs chips. Chips vs fries! Tidy vs clean up. The list goes on and on.) Speak different languages!
  • drive on the other side of the road. Drive different styles of cars!
  • have different “tipping” customs (and different restaurant etiquette re: requesting the check, for example)
  • eat and drink in different portion sizes!
  • have different customs surrounding interacting with strangers/ eye contact/ etc.
  • dress differently!
  • use outlet plugs that look different (and are of different voltage! 😉 )
  • use different looking street signs. Ambulance and police sirens sound different! Taxis look different. etc.
  • The list could go on forever. 🙂
  • (Everybody smiles the same, though. 😉❤)

There’s no “one way”. And I think travel is one of the best ways to really get that concept- it’s one of those things that is hard to fully understand until you just live it and feel it firsthand.

Flying over the Alps. A great big world, indeed.

Thought of the Day:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” – Melody Beattie

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for a little “reset” after our trip. I always feel like after being away, it’s a good time to re-set any bad habits, routines, etc. It’s a fresh start.

13 thoughts on “Tired + some random musings on international travel”

  1. Loved your random, yet deep, thoughts. Very true. And it can be experienced only first hand like you mentioned. Plan a trip to my country India sometime, it will be very very (I could keep adding many more verys 😀) different and exciting.
    Glad you could sleep and get some much needed rest.


    1. Oh, I can’t even really imagine how different India must be!! During the pandemic we got into watching The Amazing Race for a while as a family, and in one episode they were traveling through India. It was crazy how different it looked! And like I said, I’m sure I’d really need to experience to fully appreciate the differences- just watching on a TV show isn’t the same! I was thinking too how even Europe feels quite different from the U.S, but in regions of Africa or Asia where even the letters/alphabet aren’t the same must be a whole other level of different.


  2. Traveling and surrounding yourself with people who are different than you is so important. I barely left ND/MN during the first 18 years of my life. I was 1 of 5 kids and my parents owned a demanding business so all of our vacations were spent in Minnesota, usually camping. I went to CA with my grandparents in their motorhome for 2 weeks the summer after 6th grade so checked a lot of states off the list on that trip. But otherwise, we were stayed close to home and only saw things in the MN/ND/SD region. I flew for the first time when I was 19! Since then I have traveled A LOT! I understand that my parents weren’t able to travel with us for multiple reasons but I’m glad we will be able to take our kids places. But that’s due to our income and having a smaller family.

    I love how travel opens your eyes or reminds you how differently people live in other parts of the world. Like our grocery stores and Targets are SO HUGE. And then you go to Paris and see how small their stores are, how their kitchens sometimes include a combo washer/dryer, etc etc. So much is different! I am also usually very happy to get back home, too, but am glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see how others live. The most eye-opening experience was my trip to the Dominican Republic to visit a friend in the Peace Corp. I wanted to kiss the ground when we landed because that trip showed me how good we have it here!


    1. I bet the Dominican Republic was an awesome experience!! I also went to RURAL/ mountainous Guatemala when I was in college, and that was also a crazy experience. I mean, I stayed with people living in one room huts with a whole family of multiple children, cooking meals over wood burning stoves…up a mountain 3 hours….it was just so different it’s hard to explain!! I bet your experience may have been similar. SUCH great things to see and live though. And the nicest people!! I have the best memories.


      1. Yes, I think our experiences were so similar. The previous peace corp volunteer brought in an aquaduct for water, I think, and my friend’s project was building stoves in people’s homes so they didn’t have to cook over open fires. The hospitality of the people in her community was like nothing else! I feel like I might have shared this story before, but one day we went to lunch at the home of a family that my friend spent a lot of time with. I bought a chicken to help cover the cost of the meal (like an actual live chicken!). When we got there, they gave me a really big portion and wanted me to eat first. I felt so uncomfortable doing that as I could easily miss a meal but my friend said it would be such an insult. I couldn’t finish everything so the kids asked my friend if they could finish what I didn’t eat, and ate off the chicken bones I had eaten off of and used my utensils. Which again made me feel so bad/sad but my friend said hospitality overrules everything. That was probably the most life-changing travel experience I’ve had so I am so glad I went to visit her! My friend was also in the mountains – I think she referred to where she lived as a campasina? I may be misremembering the word. I won’t forget the cold showers I took while I stayed there or sleeping in mosquito nets. There was no electricity so we got up early when the sun rose (mostly because of the loud roosters!!) and went to bed when the sun set.


  3. This is such a great post! It can be SO eye-opening to spot the differences and then, also, to see the similarities. Years ago I went to Australia and someone commented how much they wanted to go there (from Canada) and how different it must be. Aside from the accent, I felt like Australia was more like Canada than many spots in the US I had visited. So it can be interesting how SIMILAR things can feel as well.

    The washer/dryer combo thing – IN THE KITCHEN – threw me for a loop in Denmark. Like that combo apparatus was right next to the dishwasher.

    I love travelling and now that things are easing in terms of restrictions and our kids our out of car seats/diapers and all the paraphernalia that makes travelling with kids hard I am SO excited to start taking them places.

    I agree with Lisa; when I get home, I often appreciate the things I have at home better than before I left! It can be interesting to leave just so you get the experience of coming back home again.


    1. That’s interesting about Australia!! I’d love to go there. It’s soooo far away though! Talk about jet lag…. I’d love so much to see New Zealand too. Someday….


    1. Ha! Well, it’s very possible that I was sleeping during the worst of it! I am known to do that. So maybe I just caught either the tail end or the beginning?? What I heard didn’t seem too bad at all, just some rain and light thunder.


  4. I really love that you talk about this, Kae. As a foreigner, who has lived in the US for almost 20 years, these differences (between the US and my home country) have blurred, but yes, I definitely still feel them when I travel and especially now, after calling the US home for so long, it’s almost strange to go back to my own home country.

    I love that you’re teaching your kids such valuable lessons, because I think people forget how diverse and different and absolutely wonderful the world is sometime, when we’re wrapped up in our own little bubbles.


  5. Yes to gratitude. It makes us a blessing magnet. 🙂

    I also have had that experience wherein I wake up at a certain hour. Sometimes I can go back to sleep sometimes I just get up and start my day. I prefer sleeping of course. Sleep is essential. The older I get the more I appreciate sleeping in.

    Just like the rainbow, there is beauty in our diversity.


  6. Hey Kae, I wanted to let you know that just today your last 11 blog posts (from March 13 forward) showed up in my Feedly. I don’t know if you’ve further looked into your RSS Feed issue… just wanted to let you know that Feedly did finally pull some posts from your blog 😉


    1. Hi San, THANK YOU for thinking to message me about that! That’s so sweet. Yes, I’m actually in the process- I think?? hopefully?? of switching my site over to a site and getting rid of my self-hosted site. I just could never get Feedly to work with my old site for some reason, and I got tired of it. I think I would have needed to switch hosting providers, and I decided to just go with for the better support/ hopefully easier to manage. I am not sure it’s all fully moved over yet/ need to attempt to migrate email subscribers yet- waiting for some responses back from support. It’s all so confusing. I am not cut out to be a web designer person. hahaha.


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