Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to use our blog

As we've developed more content we thought it made sense to have a short post to describe how we're organizing our information, especially for any educators that want to use our content.  Hopefully it is at least somewhat intuitive, but as we're not web designers, we have the tools that blogspot provides us to organize the blog.

Email updates - This is the best way to keep up with what we're doing, and is located in the upper right on every page of the blog.  If you've signed up, then at the end of every day when we've added content, you'll get an email notification.  If you do sign up, there is one added step that sometimes causes problems.  After you sign up, you will get an almost immediate email verification.  This email often gets caught in junk mail filters.  You have to find this email, and click on the link provided within it.  So, if you don't see it in your email inbox immediately after signing up, check your junk mail.

Where are we now? - This is a map from Travellers Point that we update whenever we move our location.

In The News - We keep links to any articles about us in the press or any articles we've had published.

Photos - We upload some of our best photos to these photo albums.  So far, we've mostly organized them by country.  If you mouse over the photos, you'll see comments we've added to most of them describing the photo.  If you click on a photo, you'll see a full size version of it.

Note, that these photo albums work differently than the email updates, so there is no notification that goes out when new photos are added.  If you would like to be automatically notified, send me an email at  It's quite easy for me to do, but the photo albums are managed through iphoto.

Videos - We're doing a video update, roughly monthly, for Peter Hobart (our kids school) and other classrooms that are following us.  They can be found on this page.

For Teachers - This is targeted at educators that want to use us in some fashion.  As we create more educational content, we've tried to think of a way to provide an index into all of the material.  Plus not all of our posts are educationally focused.  So we created two indexes that we keep up to date that are accessed through this page.  One index is by country and the other is by biome.  The index includes all the contents on both of our blogs (kids and parents) as well as anything we post on The Wilderness Classroom.

Blog Archive - On the bottom right hand side of every page there is a blog archive.  This is a chronological listing of our posts.

Jamie and Jason's blog - Our kids do have their own blog.  The first link underneath the "Important Links" heading goes to their blog.

Carbon Cost of our Trip - Part 2

We're about to start on the 2nd part of our trip, so we wanted to come back to the carbon cost calculations.  Here is our post from a few months ago where we calculated the cost from our first 3 months. We don't have all of our flights set for the rest of the trip, so there will be a "Part 3" post in a month or two.

As before, I'm using the carbon footprint calculator at terrapass to calculate the carbon footprint for our trip (

For this "Part 2" calculation, I plugged in our flights from Minneapolis to Seattle (family Thanksgiving) to Perth, Australia. Then within Australia we'll fly from Perth to Sydney and Sydney to Melbourne. Then in January, we'll go from Melbourne to Hanoi, with a one night stop in Kuala Lumpur (needed to make our flights work).

For the four of us, the flights are estimated at 109,373 miles generating 46,799 lbs of CO2.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Peru video update

Here's a video update we did for some of the schools that are following us.  It is mostly of our activities in September and October in Peru.

At the end of it, there is also a request for students to help Jamie and Jason help the Children's Eternal Rainforest.  This is something that they have decided to do, on their own.  For any classes interested in getting involved in this worthy cause, please feel free to send me an email and we can give you a lot of ideas.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Amazon Rainforest in Peru - An Inspirational Story

This is the last in a series of four articles that I wrote about our travels in Peru for Peru This Week.  This one is about our visit to the Manu rainforest, part of the Amazon basin with a great organization, CREES.  CREES is Peruvian non-profit organization that really gets it right.  They're focused on creating a sustainable rainforest by working with local people to create the right long term incentives.  We met a very special and inspirational person, Reynaldo.  After reading the article, if you want to learn more, click here to see a great video about him.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mystery Photo #6

Here's our next mystery photo post to The Wilderness Classroom site.  Click here to see clues and guess what it is.

Lake Titicaca: Floating Islands and Solar Energy

Here's our next notes from the trail post on The Wilderness Classroom site.  It's about our time visiting Lake Titicaca and two of the islands in the lake.  At over 12,500 feet, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake in South America.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mystery Photo #5

Here's our next mystery photo post for The Wilderness Classroom.  Click here to see the clues and guess what it is.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Colca Canyon and Condors

Here's another notes from the trail post that we did on The Wilderness Classroom site.  It's about the Colca Canyon, claimed to be the 2nd deepest canyon in the world (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon) and the huge condors with a wingspan of over 10 feet that glide on canyon wind currents.  The condors part is from a post on condors that Jamie & Jason did.

Andean Condor
Colca Canyon

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Peru This Week - Lake Titicaca: Floating Islands and an Energy Lesson

While we're in Peru, we're contributing articles to Peru This Week, an online news portal designed to be the world's window on Peru.  Here is our 3rd article, titled "Lake Titicaca: Floating Islands and an Energy Lesson."

Here are links to our other two articles.
- Introduction
- Arequipa

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween in Pisaq, Peru - Video

We had a quite unique Halloween, here in Pisaq, Peru.  Pisaq is a picturesque town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.  The Sacred Valley is where Machu Picchu and many other Inca ruins are located.  After a couple of busy weeks of travel, we decided to spend 4-5 days relaxing a bit in Pisaq, and catching up a bit on school.


Pisaq from our hotel
We had thought that Halloween wasn't really celebrated in Peru, and had prepared Jamie & Jason for that.  We planned to go out to a nice cafe we found in Pisaq (Ulrike's) that has especially delicious desserts.  We all had our eye on some carrot cake, as we figured it was orange and would be good to have on Halloween.

After we settled in to a table at Ulrike's close to the door, we quickly realized that Halloween was in fact celebrated here.  During the 90 minutes or so while we were eating, we were treated to a steady stream of kids in costumes coming up to the restaurant.  Apparently, here, the kids don't go from house-to-house, but instead go from restaurant to restaurant or store to store.  Also, instead of saying "trick-or-treat" the kids yell out "feliz halloween" (happy halloween) or "Buenas noches... Halloween" (good evening... halloween) or as one incredibly cute and direct little girl said "Buenas noches, dulces por favor" (good evening, candy please).

Jamie and Jason were absolutely delighted.  For a few of the groups, the people at Ulrike's let Jamie & Jason give out the candy, which was a huge hit.  After we finished eating, the kids waited by the door, getting so excited when a new group would come in.  We had to pull Jason in from the street, as he wanted to go out and flag down more groups of kids.

In one of those really simple, but precious moments, Jason was playing with a small stuffed bear that was at Ulrike's, making it dance for the kids coming in for their treats.  One of the children really enjoyed it and gave him a piece of candy as he was leaving.  This was so kind, and made Jason absolutely thrilled.  Not so much because he now had a piece of candy, but because he had made a connection and the boy gave him something.

Lauri and I both agreed that we were quite proud of our kids.  When we realized that Halloween was in fact celebrated, and that we could have worked out a way for them to go trick-or-treating, we shared a worried look, wondering if Jamie & Jason were going to be disappointed.  But, they weren't at all.  They totally loved our unique Halloween, and I think they will remember it for many years to come, probably more than Halloweens where they come home with overflowing bags of candy.

Here is a video of some of the events of the evening.

Answers to kids questions

We recently had some video conferences with several classrooms.  After one of the videos, Kim Schafer's 3rd grade class at Breck School in Minneapolis, had some great questions for us.  We thought we'd publish the questions and answers here.

What animals did you see in the Amazon Rain Forest?  Did you have a favorite?
The animals that we saw in the Amazon rainforest were:
  • Monkeys
  • Caterpillars
  • Butterflies
  • Snakes
  • Birds
We've created a specific photo album focused on Amazon rainforest animals that we saw.

It's hard to pick a favorite, but some of our most favorite are squirrel monkeys, woolly monkeys, andean cock-of-the-rock birds, oropendola birds, and hoatzin birds (thought to be related to archaeopteryx dinosaurs).

What kinds of things did you see in the desert?