I received this book for free from Author for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Here We Are & There We Go by Jill Dobbe
Published by Orange Hat Publishing
Publication Date: 2012
Genres: Humor, Nonfiction, World or cultural
Barnes & Noble* | Amazon Kindle*
A delightful, heartwarming book about an adventurous family using the world as their classroom to teach their kids valuable life lessons.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“A heartwarming travel memoir filled with temper tantrums, disorienting jetlag, and zany, once-in-a-lifetime family adventures. Who says you can’t travel with kids? Dan and I find out we can do just that as we set off with our two very young kids, first to live and work on an island far out in the Pacific, then on to the continent of Africa with a few stops in between. Armed with strollers, diapers, and too much luggage, we travel to over twenty-five countries throughout a ten year span, while working together as international overseas educators. After surviving typhoon Yuri, almost being mauled by lions, and, being nearly shot by a presidential guard, we happily endure all of the good times and bad, while living life to the fullest. A decade’s worth of experiences and lifelong memories remain with us, as we return to the U.S., now with two teenagers in tow, and begin to experience our very own version of reverse culture shock.”
After graduating college, I dreamed of where our world travels would take us. We made a list of all the countries we’d like to visit. We honeymooned in Cancun, Mexico and went to Spain during our first year of marriage. Spain was magical and wonderful but the end of my trek around the world. Sadly, my travel wish list is still unfulfilled. I use the excuse that it would be harder and more expensive to travel now as a family of 5.
When Ms. Dobbe approached me to read her book, I wanted to see how she handled what I considered to be the impossible, traveling the world with little ones. It terrifies me the thought of get on an airplane with my sweet and adorable but crazy, fidgety and loud preschooler for a flight longer than two hours. I found her story remarkable and loved the way she described her kids and their ill-timed meltdowns. I was amazed at how they acclimated into these foreign cultures, often times not knowing a word of the native language (and I think it’s hard to understand a middle schooler)!
I thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. Dobbe described the immense beauty of Guam, Singapore, Ghana, and Mexico, and gave a testimony to the hard realities they faced living in more primitive conditions. While here I am complaining when my internet is down, Ms. Dobbe lives for weeks without utilities when they move to a new location and have to hunt down a reliable person to help them. While here I think going on a weekend road trip can be cumbersome, Ms. Dobbe and her family hop in the car or plane to take advantage of every holiday to explore a new corner of the world.
I really enjoyed Ms. Dobbe’s stories about how her children were impacted by their travels. How they met kids from all over the world and how with their blond hair and blue eyes, they were considered a minority and the natives would ogle and be curious about their appearance. How the kids acclimated easier in many ways to their new environments than the parents. And how the family got around and kept the kids entertained in the different countries….maybe the world isn’t so big after all, parents worldwide want to find ways to keep their kids happy and healthy.
When my family went to India when I was a teenager, I remember the culture shock I encountered as we flew over the shacks and into Mumbai. The city was a dichotomy between the gorgeous hotels and magnificent buildings while the poor begged for change every time the car stopped. And it was not unusual to see a cow roaming the crowded streets along with throngs of people and honking cars. While my trip to India was only a couple weeks, the differences in our cultures surely made an unforgettable impact. Coming back to America after that experience, it was a reverse culture shock as Ms. Dobbe describes. After her family was away 10 years, the Dobbes came back to a very modernized, fast paced and materialistic society and quite a reverse culture shock indeed.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Dobbe’s conversational style and the lighthearted and sometimes life threatening experiences while learning about these different cultures. I’ve highlighted several excursions she described as places I’d like to learn more about and dare I say, visit one day. Overall, this was an easy and fast read as I just had to see where she and her family were going next and what they would encounter. What an incredible journey and an amazing childhood her kids had using the world as their classroom. I’m glad that Ms. Dobbe invited me to read along for the ride, she’s definitely inspired me to want to travel more!
“I feel that as citizens of the world, we can always learn better ways of doing things if we keep our minds open and accept and request the differences in people and governments.”
“In the course of our travels, homes became any place we could be together.”
Where would you like to travel to? What countries would you consider living in for a year with your family? Happy reading and happy travels!