Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mystery Sound #1

We are starting with our educational focused posts that we are sharing with The Wilderness Classroom. Make sure to check out their site, for our content and other great stuff.  We're creating a list of our educational posts on the right side of our blog, to make it easy for educators to find them.

Costa Rica is full of amazing sounds.  When we heard this one, we thought it would make a great mystery sound.  Watch this short video and see if you can guess what is making the mystery sound.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kids Adapting to our trip...

Here's a short video of how "hard" it has been for them to adapt to Costa Rica and life on the road...

Monteverde Cloud Forest

We are in Monteverde, Costa Rica, studying Spanish 4 hours a day.  Monteverde is home to a cloud forest.  It gets quite a bit of rain, but it also has a unique location close to the Continental Divide at an elevation of about 4500 feet.    Clouds blow into the cloud forest from both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.  So, even when it isn’t raining, it often is misting.

Clouds coming in

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Climate Reality

I had the opportunity to attend two training sessions in the two weeks before we left on our trip that were energizing, but in quite different ways.  First was a three-day session in Chicago, with 1,250 other people, to become part of the Climate Reality LeadershipCorps.  

A few days later, I attended the Will Steger Foundation’s Summer Institute on Minnesota’s Changing Climate with 50 educators.  I’ll blog about the Will Steger training in a subsequent entry, but suffice it to say, these two very different sessions really caused me to reflect on why our trip is environmentally focused and why I’m so keen on getting involved in global sustainability issues. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reflection on Past Trips

As I think about the first time I did an around the world trip in 1990/91 and when Lauri and I spent 9 months in Central and South America in 1997/98 the changes in technology are truly amazing.  On those first two trips, the only thing I/we had that turned on was a 35mm camera (had a little camera battery in it).  On my first trip, communications with my family included postcards, plus those super-thin, tissue-paper like international letters, and a once-a-month an expensive 3-minute phone call.  And if they wanted to send anything to me, they would send things to American Express offices or would use “Poste Restante” at pre-arranged post offices I had given them.  Poste Restante basically means that the post office holds the mail for you until you come and pick it up.

Start of Trip

Well, we’re off.  It’s been a crazy week with getting our house ready (we’re renting it) and with our final trip preparations.  Throw in Jason’s broken wrist and a nasty cold I’ve caught, and it’s made for an interesting last few days.  But as I write the first part of this we’re probably an hour or so from landing in San Jose, Costa Rica.  I just took Jason to the bathroom, and while there, he said, “Diddy, I can’t wait to see what Costa Rica looks like.”  I love it.  I told him that we were going to be in a city for the first night and it might not be much different, and he reminded me that we were going to the rainforest shortly after arriving.

At the airport, we weighed all of our bags.  Combined we have 110 pounds worth of stuff.  About 25-30 pounds are electronics, as we have one laptop, an iPad, an iPad mini, a Kindle, 2 phones, 1 DSLR camera, one waterproof point and shoot camera, and one solar power charger.  Just the various plugs and cables for all this stuff makes up a small bag. 

I am so excited for this adventure.  We are going to have to find an entirely different rhythm of life.  One in which we are together pretty much all the time.  One in which we are learning together and constantly experiencing new things, together.  There will be some amazing times, but also in the course of a year, some really challenging times made even more challenging by being thousands of miles away from home in a strange place.  Jamie and Jason, as typical of two close-in-age siblings, are simultaneously best friends and adversaries.  I’m very interested to see how their relationship evolves.  I think that over time there will generally be less getting on each other’s nerves than at home, but we’ll see.

Anyway, here we go!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Adventure Begins... a bit early...

We are frantically getting prepared for the beginning of our trip.  Packing up the house and preparing it for renters (we have a lease - yay!), selling our cars, finishing last minute preparations, and trying out our gear.  Yesterday, we had a little ... ah... unexpected surprise.  We'll get to that in a minute.

First, check out Jamie and Jason with their backpacks and some of the clothes they are bringing.  Other than their fleeces, all their clothes for the year are in their backpacks!

So, now for the unexpected surprise.  Yesterday, Jason was swinging in a park.  An adult with two little girls was going after one of them, didn't see Jason, and accidentally bumped him.  It was enough to get him off balance.  He fell off the swing backwards and... broke two bones in his wrist.  So that's the bad news.  The good news is that the breaks are not too bad.  The orthopedist, who knows Jason very well from his skiing broken leg this past February, called them buckle breaks.  He is in a cast for 3-4 weeks, but they gave him a cast that he can get wet, and that we can actually take off ourselves.  Here's a picture of him with his new, temporary, travel companion.

Other than spending most of yesterday afternoon and evening at the hospital dealing with this and compressing our remaining time, it should not impact our departure date.  It will, however, give our already rather gregarious boy another reason to make friends with new people as we go!