Reflections on the First Week

 

One week ago exactly, we were making our way through Sydney’s airport on the start of our trip.  And, now, we’re one week into it.

Tasmania 079 First, it’s been an amazing week.  We’ve stood a few feet from eastern grey kangaroos in the wild.  We’ve seen a moonlit field of wallabies, padymelons, and wombats.  We’ve held wombats, and fed a hurt baby wallaby (note, wallabies and padymelons are smallish kangaroos).  We mountain biked down a mountain in a Tasmanian national park.  We saw one of my favorite operas (“The Barber of Seville”) in the world-famous Sydney Opera House.   And all four of us watched a full lunar eclipse unfold in the clearest sky on the earth (Tasmania’s).  So it’s been an eventful week!

Tasmania 126 We’re doing well on the school front.  Each morning, the kids get up around 6:00 a.m. (and we’ve adjusted pretty easily to the time zone change) and start right into their school work.  They do math, Worldly Wise, geography, a book on Australia history, and they write their journals.  They are flying along, and the system seems to be working.  And, the best part is, the “school” start to the day isn’t the end of the day’s education.  We’re typically touring with a guide (an expert on local culture or nature), and picking up all sorts of things.  Tasmania 004 So when we’re playing baseball (more later) in the parking lot last night, Gibson looks up in a tree and says, “Look, Daddy, a Kookaburra!”  Then, when he pursues it to take this photograph, he calls back, “And, Daddy, there’s a padymelon here by this tree.”  Anyway, Australia has been an unbelievable nature “classroom” for all of us.

We were warned by lots (and I mean LOTS) of people that we were doing too much moving around on this trip.  In the first eight days, we’ve spent the night at four different places (and are flying later today to Kangaroo Island).  But we have been able to pack and unpack easily, and our family really loves seeing different things.  So we still think we’ve planned the right trip for us.  I’ll revisit this in a few weeks, and our view may change. 

One thing we’ve encountered, though, is the pluses and minuses of using local guides.  We feel we really get a lot out of touring around with someone expert on the local history, culture, and nature.  We’re discovering — FAST!! — though that their idea of a good day and ours can be quite different.  We’ve been asking questions (e.g., “So how long a drive will this be?” and getting answers (e.g., “Oh, it’s not far at all.”) only to discover that “not far” is three hours! 

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We’re doing a pretty good job of getting in some sports as we travel.  We brought a fair amount of baseball equipment, and have been able to play most days.  And, with the help of the Boston Red Sox and long-time friend and colleague Kristie Jochmann, we are about to start our around-the-globe “Baseball Ambassadors” program (more next week!).  So we’re pretty happy with our balance of sports, school, sight-seeing and education.

Tasmania 127

We’ve stayed at a range of places, from Sydney’s finest to the Millybrook Inn in a tiny place in Tasmania.  The variety has been fabulous, and we are pretty good at going with the flow on the types of places we stay.  At this particular place, we were able to see some of the cutest little wallabies and padymelons you can imagine.  Our tour guide and his wife cooked us dinner that night, which was going great right up until he brought a skillet of freshly-cooked . . . wallaby!  Not a huge hit with our kids!!!

High Tech Stuff In packing, I clearly underestimated the impact of the electronic equipment we are bringing on the trip.  We have three laptops, four digital cameras, two blackberries, an iPod, a satellite phone, three pairs of binoculars, two 250 Gig hard drives, two sets of noise-canceling headphones, and more chargers and adapters than I could ever imagine.  We’re making great use of most everything.  The kids are using their cameras constantly, and to good effect.  And their laptops play a big role in their schoolwork.   But my biggest priority for the coming week is to rationalize all of this stuff!

And tonight, all four of us were walking at sunset along this amazing beach on Kangaroo Island in southern Australia, laughing giddily, and saying, “Wow!”  So far, at least, we’re thrilled to have taken this leap!

2 Responses to “Reflections on the First Week”

  1. scott Says:

    ted,

    great trip info with a bit of humor mixed in. sounds like a great experience to date. rooted for the sox but to no avail in an with NY sweep.
    take care, scott

  2. Bobbie Says:

    Hi Ted -
    This sounds like the old days at Aegis…Opera and bird watching.
    How wonderful you can now share it with your loving family.
    Seems like everyone is having a great time.

    I feel like I’m following right behind you guys on this trip.
    Stay safe
    Bobbie

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