Raising funds for Studio Everywhere with Go fund Me

Happy Holidays Everyone. We love and appreciate all the support, friendship and kindness throughout the year. We are very excited for 2015, esp. because we are dreaming up a special adventure of traveling and making art with children from around the world. “Studio Everywhere” was born to represent the idea and we got to do a test run while in Greece and Bulgaria last August, solidifying our commitment of exploring, learning, giving and art. We would like to launch Studio Everywhere and start the journey by the Fall.

We value your ideas, and would love your support and suggestions. Join our blog studioeverywhere.wordpress.com to learn more and not only follow, but also help us shape the adventure. Help us raise $ at www.gofundme.com/StudioEverywhere . 

Painting with the Children in Greece, Studio Everywhere style!  Art Develops the Whole Brain. Art strengthens focus and increases attention, develops hand-eye co-ordination, requires practice and strategic thinking, and involves interacting with the material world through different tools and art mediums.

Painting with the Children in Greece, Studio Everywhere style! Art Develops the Whole Brain. Art strengthens focus and increases attention, develops hand-eye co-ordination, requires practice and strategic thinking, and involves interacting with the material world through different tools and art mediums.


To contact us directly, please email us at: orwickarts@gmail.com and gaby_orwick@hotmail.com

Best wishes for joyous holidays, good health and lots of magical memories this season and in 2015!

“Studio Everywhere” is a dream and a stand.  As a family, we look forward to taking the first step in a life-long commitment to making a positive difference through art, as we create artwork about “how children express themselves” with 6-12 year-olds from around the world.

We THANK YOU in advance for your support as we raise funds for travel and art supplies (to use and donate).

Two Happy Artists!  Art Generates a Love of Learning and Openness to New Ideas. Art develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk-taking and being open to possibilities. Art allows one to grow from making mistakes. Kids whose creativity is nurtured are curious and inspired to learn more.

Two Happy Artists! Art Generates a Love of Learning and Openness to New Ideas. Art develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk-taking and being open to possibilities. Art allows one to grow from making mistakes. Kids whose creativity is nurtured are curious and inspired to learn more.

For the inaugural installment of our “Studio Everywhere”  journey, we would like to travel across South America, Asia and Europe, and conduct ~ dozen free painting and drawing kid workshops at e.g. schools, orphanages, or community centers.

We hope to capture and share a compelling story of how art transcends language, builds trust and a stronger global community, and reflects deep cultural insight, as we invite children to express themselves through art.

Traveling Teaches Students in a Way Schools Can’t

“…most Americans have not prioritized these kinds of experiences. Unlike the U.K., where 75 percent of citizens have passports, in the U.S. the rate hovers around 45 percent, with some surveys showing that more than half of the population has never traveled outside of the country.” 

American education is largely limited to lessons about the West.

Connor Bleakley/Flickr

When I turned 15, my parents sent me alone on a one-month trip to Ecuador, the country where my father was born. This was tradition in our family—for my parents to send their first-generation American kids to the country of their heritage, where we would meet our extended family, immerse ourselves in a different culture, and learn some lessons on gratefulness.

My family’s plan worked. That month in Ecuador did more for my character, education, and sense of identity than any other experience in my early life. And five years later, my experience in Ecuador inspired me to spend more time abroad, studying in South Africa at the University of Cape Town. These two trips not only made me a lifelong traveler, but also a person who believes traveling to developing countries should be a necessary rite of passage for every young American who has the means.

It’s often said that spending time in less affluent countries teaches Americans never to take anything for granted. To some extent, this is true. During my time traveling in these areas, I often traveled without access to hot water, Internet, air conditioning, or even basic electricity. I slept in rooms with spiders, mosquitos, and bedbugs. I rode on public transportation that rarely left on time and often broke down suddenly in remote areas. Stripped of my daily habits and expectations, I was forced to surrender the idea that I have a right to anything—including the luxury of convenience, or days when everything I’ve planned actually happens. And my minor travel hassles seemed even more petty when I realized that they represented larger systemic problems that locals must deal with every day.

But these trips didn’t only teach me to appreciate what I had; they also moved me to consider why I had it in the first place. I realized that much of what I thought was necessity was, in fact, luxury and began to realize how easily I could survive off of much less. I didn’t necessarily need hot water or a timely bus or a comfortable bed to be happy for the day. I didn’t necessarily need a jaw-dropping landscape or a famous archeological ruin or a stunning beach to make my travels worth it. Instead, most of the time, that fulfillment came from the people I interacted with—not the things I had or did. It came from eating soup with locals at a rest stop on a 12-hour bus ride, sharing a meal with Peruvian soccer fans while watching a match, or chatting with the owner of my hostel during his lunch break. Discovering that my best travel moments came from these subtle, personal moments instead of the grandiose, materialistic ones made me understand that living contently required little. What I originally thought I “took for granted,” I now rethought taking at all.

To read the rest of this great article please visit http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/12/traveling-offers-lessons-that-us-schools-fail-to-provide/383090/?single_page=true

Seth Godin videos

I have long loved Seth Godin’s ideas on how to get ideas out to the world.  We are hoping many people are going to care about and join us virtually as we travel sharing art with children.

It is easy to watch these videos and be inspired to travel and get out of our comfort zone.

Otaku?

Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

Seth Godin on Taking Risks and Entrepreneurship

Seth Godin – Create Your Tribe, Inspire Those Around You, and Share Your Art

21 Reasons to Travel Around the World with Kids…From Those Who Have Done It

By Adam Seper Reposted with permission from the great folks at Bootsnall.com

Informing friends and family members about plans to quit your jobs, sell all your stuff, and travel the world is usually met with quite a bit of skepticism. Eventually, most come around and accept your decision, albeit with questions and hesitation. One overarching comment we received when telling our loved ones about our RTW plans was that it was good that we were “getting it out of our system before starting a family.”

We agreed, and that was a major reason for deciding to go at the time we did. We knew what everyone else did. Once we had children, traveling long term wouldn’t be possible.

With me having turned 30 and Megan nearing that age, we expected to be the old ones on the road and in the hostels amongst the college kids. Then a funny thing happened. We noticed people older than us. We would come across people in their mid-late 30’s, 40’s, 50’s even. And who is that traipsing around behind these people? Is that? Wait, it couldn’t be. Are those their kids? Families…in a hostel…in South America? I thought once you have children, your travel days are over until the kids are off to college?

How naive we were. Here we were, bucking the trend and doing something that society deems to be irresponsible and reckless. But we didn’t care what society thought. We were doing this for us, to see the world and better our lives. How was it possible for us to be so closed-minded about the possibility of family travel? Suddenly our thoughts changed. Of course you can travel as a family! And it doesn’t have to just be week-long jaunts to Disney World. It is possible to take an extended, RTW trip even if you have kids. Your life doesn’t have to end when children enter the picture!

While we are yet to start our own family, rest assured, when we do, travel will still be ahuge part of our lives. While many may think traveling the world to developing countries with a child is impossible, there are countless families out there who have done it, are doing it now, and are planning to do it in the future.

For those people out there who think that long term family travel is impossible, it’s time to be inspired by some amazing families who are doing just that. Following are several myths ready to be debunked, straight from those who have done it or are doing it right now. In fact, when you are finished reading this, you may start to question why you haven’t yanked the kids out of school to travel the world already.

Your child’s education won’t suffer if you take him/her out of school

People from many western countries, particularly the United States, like to think that their county offers the very best in education, despite what the numbers tell us. Yank your kids out of school for a year, and they’re surely to suffer the consequences by never being able to get into a good college or further their education. As you can tell from the quotes below, nothing could be further from the truth. Traveling the world provides children of all ages an education that simply can’t be matched.

No book, TV show, movie, or story could have taught us what we would learn in the months of travel through Central and South America, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. A textbook would never give you the experience of watching the sunrise atop a Mayan pyramid set deep in a jungle or teach you how to make coconut curry while overlooking the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There is absolutely no substitute for travel and having those experiences firsthand. As my mom and dad like to say, “Travel is the ultimate education,” and my brothers and I are living proof that this statement is true.” – from Morgan at Cooney World Adventure.

The language learning happens so fast! We´re in Costa Rica for three months now and Luísa’s been attending a bilingual kindergarten (Spanish and English) for two months. Her English and Spanish are so developed already….Having her learn another language (or two other languages) was what pushed me to take this extended trip now, while she was still three. I knew this was about the best age for her to learn, so that’s why we are here.” – from Marilia at Tripping Mom

He is a sponge and remembers so many tiny details, even from our previous holidays. It’s been amazing to have the time to appreciate how effortlessly he soaks up new knowledge regardless of whether it’s how to add and subtract, geography, obscure facts about dinosaurs with hugely complicated names that only children and palaeontologists can pronounce, or the workings of a Buddhist temple. Watching your child accept children of all cultures and backgrounds, without preconceived ideas or prejudice is something every adult should take the chance to see and learn from.” – from Tracy at Our Travel Lifestyle

“The young Bedouin kids she met there seemed to really like the fact that she was dressed traditionally and it’s a fun way for a child to immerse in Jordan’s culture as well as a perfect hand-made souvenir to keep forever”  – from Jeanne at Soul Travelers 3

Your kids can live without a room full of toys

Many of us have become brainwashed into thinking that children need every single toy on the planet. Video games and cell phones have become common for kids in grade school, and filling multiple rooms and basements of houses with toys is not unusual. When taking off to travel the world, taking the opportunity to pare down and get rid of a lot of useless crap is very empowering. Getting out on the road and realizing that the vast majority of our stuff just ties us down and is unnecessary is a powerful thing, and it’s a great teaching moment for your children. Making them realize that life is not all about material possessions, and that one can live on much less, is a life lesson that parents and children alike will take with them forever.

“For M, having her own camera (any old digital will do), to take shots, make videos, is priceless. To me, gadgets that foster creativity are better than games and such that are just for killing time. Low tech “Tablet”: colored pencils and a notepad. Dollar store, enough said. If you can’t afford to buy souvenirs, then don’t! Teach your kids that the experience in itself is a gift, and you don’t need to get a “We came all the way to Thailand and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” shirt, to prove that you went there. Your memories, photos, and videos can be sufficient. Buy postcards instead of the more bulky, pricey gifts.” – from J. Bubba at Got Passport

Other cultures are not as scary and dangerous as you might think

No matter if you’re setting off to travel as a 22 year-old straight out of university, a married couple, or a family with children, you will hear this same concern time and time again from loved ones, and it’s usually from those who have never left the country. The media and government likes to inform us that the world is a very scary place , and if we leave our comfort zones, something terrible is surely to happen. For anyone who travels regularly, nothing could be further from the truth. As long as you are smart and use common sense (just like at home), the chances of something bad happening are slim. And the education your entire family can receive from extended travel will open their eyes and change their perceptions forever.

“I think each of us needs to have a healthy fear of the unknown – it keeps us safe. But I also believe we can’t allow that fear to paralyze us into inaction. Why should I (or anyone else) think we are more likely to run into problems in Portland or Bakersfield or Mazatlan?” – from John and Nancy at Travel with Bikes

“We’re looking forward to uncomplicating our lives, stealing back a year and showing our kids how the rest of the world lives. Hopefully we’ll all come back with bigger minds and smaller egos.” – from Paul and Amanda at 6 Out of Oz

” I’m going academic on you here. Yes, things will be different from home, so use that as a teaching moment with your kids. Role modeling is essential, and teaching kids that there’s more than one way to do things, is priceless in our book.” – from J. Bubba at Got Passport

“We want our daughters to grow up to be travelers, to be open to change, to act on their curiosity, and to make their dreams a reality.”   – from Dee at Travel and Travails.

“We returned more thankful. More tolerant and respectful of differences. More aware of the things that bring people together and drive them apart. More appreciative of other cultures and other ways to live your life.” – from Craig at The Wide, Wide World

Your kids might be as eager to explore as you are

Many think it’s selfish to take kids on a whirlwind tour of the world. Detractors state that parents are clearly the ones who want to do this, and no child in his or her right mind would ever want to do something similar, particularly if they are school-aged. While taking a child out of school and away from his or her peers is something that many kids would hate, you would be surprised at how many children would be excited and ecstatic about this proposition. Obviously dynamics are different in each family, but unless you actually broach the subject with your child, you’ll never know what his or her thoughts might be.

“One night we got Chinese take-out. Over dinner I asked Caroline how she felt about the idea of the trip now. She would be heading into high school, and it would probably impact her more than anyone else. She said, ‘Dad, I’ve thought a lot about this. And the way I feel right now, I’m scared to go. But I also know I’ll be really disappointed if we don’t go.’” – from Craig at The Wide, Wide World

“The trip I took with my family was the best time of my life; we followed our dreams of travel and I encourage everyone to do the same! In fact, the dream is still alive and kicking inside of us. My twin brother and I are leaving in September for a three month expedition to Costa Rica and perhaps will visit a few adjacent countries as well.” – from Morgan at Cooney World Adventure

“Cam, our very reluctant traveler, has started talking about ‘doing a trip like this with some of my buddies when I’m older’ and ‘when I’m telling my kids stories about this trip, I’ll tell them about …‘” – from Michelle at Wander Mom

You’ll never know if it’s right for yourfamily until you try

No one knows your family better than you, but sometimes we sell ourselves and our loved ones short. “That would never work for us,” we say. But what better way to bond with your family than by living your dreams together? The memories that families build when they travel are ones that last a lifetime, and the traits and skills people learn when traveling in foreign lands for long periods of time are those that you just can’t get anywhere else.

“Living your dreams with children is a rewarding, exhilarating experience, and will build unforgettable memories for both you and your child.” – from John and Nancy at Travel with Bikes

“Things that used to drive us to madness now just make us laugh. Not all the time, mind you, but enough to know that perhaps we’re a little more buoyant that we used to be. More buoyant, more brave, more resilient. More together, more happy, more healthy. More accepting of ourselves, of each other, and of the world.” – from Bob and Brenna atFrom Here to Uncertainty

How can you not be inspired by the above quotes? After perusing so many family travel sites, I was amazed at the sheer number of families from all over the world who have thrown caution to the wind and taken off on epic adventures. For those who have been inspired to do the same, here are some tips and more inspiration for traveling with children, from babies to toddlers to teenagers.

Traveling with babies and toddlers

Traveling with a baby or toddler may seem a bit crazy and extremely daunting, but there are plenty of people out there doing it right now. While your child may not have any vivid memories of their travels as babies, they will get used to the travel lifestyle. Parents can also learn from this experience, as different cultures have different customs when it comes to younger children, and it certainly takes some getting used to.

“I recently added up his total travel since birth: 4 continents, 8 countries, over 30,000 miles and 21 flights. That sounds impressive and worldly, but the reality is more tame. It’s less international jetsetter and more naps and snuggles with mom…However, I have noticed little things. He’s become a better traveler. He can sit on my lap in a car for 12 hours. He’s calm and accepting when it’s a travel day, in a way that he isn’t usually (he’s impatient if he has to wait more than 10 seconds for me to get my shoes on and follow him out the door). It’s like he knows about these intermittent disturbances in the routines and accepts them. It’s the way it’s always been for him since we left the US when he was four months old.”  – from Christine at Almost Fearless

“In Vietnam, the biggest baby snatchers are waitresses. They crowd around discussing the cuteness of the baby, the length of her eyelashes. If they spot her dimples, they nearly start screaming. They hoist her up and carry her about the restaurant as if she’s a religious relic…Those are the positives of living and traveling in Asia with a baby. There’s a whole new world of interaction. It’s not terribly deep or meaningful, and it really does make me feel like I’m just a manager of a rock star.”   – from Barbara at The Dropout Diaries

“She has developed an immense sense of home as wherever her family is, rather than it being a place. She’s had more time to be shaped by her parents than most children her age (we hope this is a good thing). We’ve been there to see her learn to hop and jump, read her first words, learn how to draw recognizable objects and people, and interpret the world in her own unique way.”  – from Tracy at Our Travel Lifestyle

Learning from your children and traveling differently

Your kids aren’t the only ones who will be getting an education during a long-term family trip. Giving your family the chance to spend so much time together increases those learning opportunities. Yes, your children will learn a ton throughout a trip of this magnitude, but parents can learn just as much. Traveling as a family forces both adults and kids to travel in a completely different way. Museums and famous sites get boring to kids after a while, while going to only kid-friendly destinations and restaurants can get old for mom and dad, so changing it up is a necessity. Many parents are surprised at how much they enjoy this new style of travel, while their children are exposed to many new and interesting things that they aren’t during the course of a normal vacation.

“Her view of the world and her openness in exploring it has led us to stop and pay attention, to focus on where we are, and who we’re among. Her curiosity about people, places, and things has brought the world home to our family. Having an entrée into the local kid culture (having our own child) was a blast – we made new friends at playgrounds and children’s museums, saw fantastic theater productions of children’s plays, and explored a variety of libraries (and activities there). This way of traveling was an eye-opener for us, since we didn’t focus on art, museums, and gourmet restaurants (my favorite things!). Instead, we learned what it was like for families with children in different areas.” – from Jessie at Wandering Educators

“Our family dynamic has shifted; thankfully, for the better. We spend a lot of time together, and bloody battles are mostly kept to a minimum these days. We have so many lessons to learn from each other.” – from Bob and Brenna at From Here to Uncertainty

“Our daughter always asks for sushi, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Thai, or anything with noodles. This early exposure to cuisines is critical to a child’s developing palate. And, the attention of the adoring waitstaff is a good thing. She’s learned to ask for help, understand people from different cultures, and have a sense of safety and love.” – from Jessie at Wandering Educators

There are many families out there who view travel together as a giant hassle. Visions of screaming kids in the back of the car and “Are we there yet?” questions dance in the heads of parents. Snarky looks from airline passengers and voices of doubt from loved ones prevent many families from ever hitting the road for a vacation, much less something long-term. Ingraining a sense of travel and adventure in your child from the get-go could help the entire family dynamic. Many families would be surprised at just how well they could adjust to life on the road. And the bonding and learning possibilities are endless. Just check out those who have already done it, and a world of possibility may open up that you never knew existed.

Not having traveled much before is simply an excuse, and there’s only one way to change that.

Part 2 of 2, reasons 5-11

Edited from

11 Reasons to Stop Dreaming and Start Planning Your Round the World Trip By Adam Seper

http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/11-04/11-reasons-to-take-a-round-the-world-trip.html

Welcome to Bootsnall Travel Network

If you’ve dreamed of seeing the world and traveling for an extended period of time, then do it!  This is your chance!  This was a concern of ours before our RTW trip.  We had only been to Mexico (to resorts) and on a short Western Europe trip, so places like Bolivia, Vietnam, and India seemed very intimidating to us.  While there were certainly challenges along the way, the high points far outweighed the low ones, and forcing ourselves outside of our comfort zone provided us with lasting memories.  Not having traveled much before is simply an excuse, and there’s only one way to change that.

Surreal View Of Yokohama City And Mt. Fuji Stock Photo5.    You can be free from all your crap.

While I’m very far from being a minimalist, there was just something freeing about living out of a backpack for a year.  Having all my possessions on my back just made life easier.  There was no pondering for an hour about which outfit to wear or what shoes to put on (when you only have 3 outfits and 2 pairs of shoes, it’s much simpler).  A lot of the time, more stuff means more headaches, and now that we’ve been home for over three years, I can’t count how many times we said to each other, “It was just so much easier on the road, not having a car or a house or all this stuff that can break or get damaged or costs money.”

Having all my possessions on my back just made life easier.

Don’t misunderstand me here.  I like stuff.  I grew up and live in America, a culture built upon collecting as much stuff as you can.  And while I do still enjoy having nice stuff, after having lived both ways, I can firmly say that happiness does not only come from how many possessions one has.  Happiness, at least for me, comes more from experiences, from living life, from seeing amazing sites and meeting new and interesting people.  You can have your 5 pairs of $100 jeans.  I’ll take my dirty backpack, ridiculous-looking zip-off pants, and Chang Beer tank top (which could be reason #12 why RTW travel is awesome-men get to wear sleeveless shirts).

6.    You can be free to finally pursue what it is you truly love.

When you’re working 50-60 hours a week and have family, friends, and obligations, it’s difficult to pursue what it is that truly makes you happy.  Sure, there are some who are lucky enough to love their job and have that as their passion.  But the majority of us don’t do what we really want to do for our careers.  We do what it is we have to do to get by.  This is your chance to do something different.

This is your chance to do something different.

Have you always dreamt about getting certified to teach yoga?  Have you always wanted to learn how to scuba dive?  Do you love photography but never had the time to really work on it?  Have you thought about volunteering with young children in need?  Do you want to learn how to cook a new cuisine?  Or maybe, like me, you’ve thought about what it would be like to pursue that one dream you had growing up – to be a writer?  Whatever your dream or passion is, a RTW trip will allow you the time and freedom to finally pursue those dreams.  The excuses for not following what it is you truly love are now gone, replaced by all the time and freedom in the world.  If I was ranking these reasons, this would probably be #1.  There is no price tag for getting a second chance to do what it is you love.  And extended travel releases you from your obligations and gives you that chance.

Okinawa Islands Stock Photo7.    You get to do what you want, when you want, every single day.

Perhaps the coolest thing about RTW travel is this.  Waking up every day and saying, without anything else holding you back, “What should I/we do today?”  When’s the last time you’ve been able to do that?  Can you even remember?  There are so many obligations at home that tie us down, and having the freedom, as an adult, to do exactly what you want when you want every single day is one of the best feelings in the world.

There are so many obligations at home that tie us down, and having the freedom, as an adult, to do exactly what you want when you want every single day is one of the best feelings in the world.

Want to go sit and lounge on the beach all day for a week with your favorite pile of books?  Do it!  Want to go hike to the top of a mountain or volcano?  Go for it!  Want to eat yourself into a coma?  Nothing wrong with that!  Want to sleep all day and sit in the common area of your hostel watching movies?  Who’s going to tell you not to?  Want to go to the pub and drink yourself silly?  Hey, you don’t have to work tomorrow!

One of our favorite mantras of the trip was, “What, you gotta work tomorrow or something?  Didn’t think so.”  Whenever someone made an excuse for not wanting to do something, this was our response, both to each other and friends we met along the way.  Once you get out of college and start working, there aren’t many times in life when you can say, for an extended period of time, “No, I don’t have to work tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after, or for several more months, so you’re right.  I can do whatever the hell I want!

8.    You can see iconic sites after iconic site after iconic site.

 

Over the course of a year, we hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, went on a Salar de Uyuni tour, visited Iguazu Falls, hiked all over Patagonia, went ice climbing on a glacier in New Zealand, watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, saw the Taj Mahal, and hiked in the Himalayas.  And that was just a tiny portion of what we did and saw during our year-long RTW trip.  I say this not to brag, but to show you what is possible with extended travel.  All of these iconic places were on our travel bucket lists, and we managed to cross them all off in less than a year (though we managed to add twice as many new sites along the way).

Walking through the Sun Gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the very first time is a memory burned into my brain forever.

When this becomes your life, whether it’s for a few months or a couple years, it’s pretty amazing.  Sailing up the Mekong River one day and then being at Angkor Wat two days later was just incredible.  Hiking to different glaciers in Patagonia three days in a row was a powerful and awesome experience.  Walking through the Sun Gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the very first time is a memory burned into my brain forever.

>> Read 10 Things You Should Know About Round the World Tickets

9.    Putting your career/relationship/purchases on hold is just temporary.

World Map  Stock Photo

These are perhaps the biggest excuses out there.  “Quitting my job will be career suicide.  I’m saving for a house and just can’t do it now.  My boyfriend is most likely going to propose soon, so I can’t do something like this now.”  I’m going to let you in a little secret.  That job?  It will still be there.  A new house?  They have many of those, too.  A proposal?  Well, maybe if it hasn’t happened, yet, there’s a reason for that.  Or maybe you can get your significant other to share this amazing experience with you.

But what if you don’t really want that path?  What if you constantly think of doing something different?  What if you just want to quit it all and go explore for a while?

For those of us who grew up in cultures where you go to school, graduate, start a career, get married, buy a house, and have kids, straying from that path can be daunting.  Believe me, I know.  We were on that exact path before deciding to go on our RTW.  But what if you don’t really want that path?  What if you constantly think of doing something different?  What if you just want to quit it all and go explore for a while?

You can do that.  I assure you.  While you may be met with negative words from some people, most of the time it’s because they wish they had the guts to do the same.  All that stuff you’d be leaving behind?  It will still be there when you return.  You may not be able to get the same job, be on the same career path, have the same boyfriend or girlfriend, or buy that same house.  But after a trip like this, chances are you won’t want all those same things.

10.    It WILL change your view on life.

One of the things I didn’t expect from our trip was how much it changed me.  I knew I would probably look at certain things differently when we returned.  But our experiences completely changed how I viewed the world, my life, and what I wanted out of it.  Maybe it was the horrific poverty we experienced in some places.  Maybe it was the freedom of being on the road and doing whatever we wanted for an entire year.  Maybe it was seeing and reading about other travelers pursuing their dreams.

As corny as it sounds, our RTW trip made me realize just how short this life is, and it gave me the confidence and motivation to seek out the life I truly want.

It was probably a combination of everything, but suddenly, I wanted more out of life.  Whatever I was going to do when we returned, I wanted to love it.  I was no longer satisfied with a job that I enjoyed, a life I really liked.  I wasn’t unhappy before we left.  Quite the contrary, I was very happy with my life.  But after the trip, I wanted more.  Call me greedy, but I wanted to not only enjoy my job, but feel passionate about it.  I wanted to not only be happy with my daily life, but love where I lived and what I did.  The trip really hit home for me and made me re-evaluate what I wanted out of life.  As corny as it sounds, our RTW trip made me realize just how short this life is, and it gave me the confidence and motivation to seek out the life I truly want.

World Map Recycled Paper Stock Photo11.    REGRET

This was the biggest reason of them all when it came down to why we decided to chuck it all and head out on the road for a year.  Regret.  After reading about RTW trips, talking to others who had done it, and thinking about whether or not it was right for us, what it came down to was this:  If we decided to bypass the trip and go on the path that we were on, would we regret our decision 5, 10, 20 years down the road?  On the flip side, if we were to get rid of most of our stuff, quit our jobs, and take off on this epic adventure, would we regret it 5, 10, 20 years down the line?

What’s important when making a decision of this magnitude is how you feel about it.  Disregard what others think.  Do what’s best for you as a person; what’s best for your life.

Once we broke it down like that, the answer was easy.  By not going, we were setting ourselves up for a lifetime of “What if’s…”  By going, would we really ever regret doing and seeing the things we were going to experience?  How would it be possible to regret volunteering at an orphanage in Cambodia? Or spending New Year’s Eve with a local Argentine family in Buenos Aires?  Or being invited to a home-made lunch at a painter’s studio in India?  Or teaching English to college kids in Laos and learning about their lives?  Or waking up to the view of 23,000 foot (7000 m) Himalayan peaks?  The answers?  We wouldn’t, and we haven’t.

It’s never easy to do something that isn’t deemed normal or popular by the culture you live in.  Some will denigrate you, some will put you down, some will dismiss your plan as stupid.  What’s important when making a decision of this magnitude is how you feel about it.  Disregard what others think.  Do what’s best for you as a person; what’s best for your life.  RTW, long-term travel certainly isn’t for everyone, but there are tons of people who would benefit from a trip like this.  Are you one of them?

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10 Reason Why Art is Good for Kids and the World by Mark Wagner

She has been drawing and painting all her life.

Elena creating, using flowers and leaves and lots of colorful splatter.

Mark first wrote this in 2011 for the great organization Drawing On Earth, “Connecting Art and Creativity to Youth and Communities Around the World.

http://www.drawingonearth.org/resources/10-reasons-why/

We agree and hope to learn from the groups and foundations that have come before us and everyone that is sharing and creating with children wherever they may be.

1) Art Generates a Love of Learning & Creativity. Art develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk taking, learning from one’s mistakes, and being open to other possibilities. Kids who are creative are also curious and passionate about knowing more.

2) Art Develops the Whole Brain. Art strengthens focus and increases attention, develops hand-eye coordination, requires practice and strategic thinking, and involves interacting with the material world through different tools and art mediums.

3) Art Prepares Kids for the Future. Creative, open-minded people are highly desired in all career paths. Art and creative education increases the future quality of the local and global community. Being creative is a life long skill and can be used in every day situations.

4) Art Teaches Problem Solving. Making art teaches that there is more than one solution to the same problem. Art challenges our beliefs and encourages open-ended thinking that creates an environment of questions rather than answers.

5) Art Supports Emotional Intelligence. Art supports the expression of complex feelings that help kids feel better about them selves and helps them understand others by “seeing” what they have expressed and created. Art supports personal meaning in life, discovering joy in one’s own self, often being surprised, and then eliciting it in others.

6) Art Builds Community. Art reaches across racial stereotypes, religious barriers, and socio-economical levels and prejudices. Seeing other culture’s creative expression allows everyone to be more connected and less isolated – “see how we are all related.” Art creates a sense of belonging.

7) Art Improves Holistic Health. Art builds self-esteem, increases motivation and student attendance, improves grades and communications, nurtures teamwork, and strengthens our relationship to the environment.

935850_713794598634205_1106995944_n8) Art is Big Business. At the core of the multi-billion dollar film and video game industry are artists creating images and stories. Every commercial product is designed by artists from chairs to cars, space stations to iPods. A Van Gogh painting sold for 83 million dollars.

9) Art Awakens the Senses. Art opens the heart and mind to possibilities and fuels the imagination. Art is a process of learning to create ourselves and experience the world in new ways. Arts support the bigger picture view of life: beauty, symbols, spirituality, storytelling, it also helps us step out of time allowing one to be present in the moment. Art keeps the magic alive.

10) Art is Eternal. Creativity and self-expression has always been essential to our humanity. Our earliest creative expressions were recorded in petroglyphs, cave paintings, and ancient sculptures. One of the first things kids do is draw, paint, and use their imaginations to play.

They go on to say

•  We believe that creativity is a natural renewable energy that when exercised and practiced during youth empowers one to experience an inner resource that is sustainable, long term, and available in all aspects of one’s life.
• We believe that kids who are nurtured creatively grow up ready and able to more effectively interact with the world, connect to the environment, integrate with technology, and understand the bigger picture.
• We believe that art is not just a pretty picture but also a way of being creative that will help to solve some of the world’s problems.
• We believe that creativity crosses race, economic, gender, and religious boundaries and is the glue that brings communities together that heals personal and collective wounds.
•  We believe people connected to their creativity consume less, are more comfortable with what they have, are able to generate more of what they want and need, are better at taking care of themselves, are able to help others with their generosity.
• We believe that creativity continues to be important later in careers and business, partnership and marriage, community engagement, becoming an elder, and being curious about the end of ones life.
• We believe that a creative art education to be the best investment into the future that anyone can give and receive.