Joined June 2022 Message
  • Day59

    Sweet Home - Honolulu

    July 30 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    Twelve countries, 18 flights, 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites, countless stunning views and priceless cultural interactions all within 59 days. It’s hard to believe we’re home!

    I’m certain we’ll be unpacking the experiences and learning more from them for years to come. For now, we are unpacking the suitcases, doing the laundry, and trying to adjust to the time change😴.

    Kai is reminding me to please note that we flew home 🏠 on the world’s largest passenger plane - the A380 - flying honu.

    We look forward to seeing you all soon! 💗
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    welcome home liz - can't wait to see you and hear more about your adventures!!! xoxo [lauren]

    Brooke Loughridge

    Welcome back!

    Peggy Brandt

    Oh my gosh the A380?! That’s so cool!!!

    Peggy Brandt

    Can’t wait to see you! We will be home next week, ourselves.

  • Day56

    Transition in Kota Kinabalu

    July 27 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 81 °F

    Our last days in Malaysia have been spent catching up on sleep and work emails. We have also started the mental task of reorienting ourselves to life back in Hawaii. It will be an adjustment to return to our school and work routines after being on the go for 8 weeks.

    Our hearts and minds are filled with an astonishing array of sights, scents, sounds, tastes and love for all of the people, animals, and places we visited. We are so grateful for the experiences we’ve had and the insights we’ve gained. We are inspired to do more for our planet and to advance health and equity for the many poor and oppressed around the world. The interconnectedness of people and place, as well as the environmental fragility of the planet, were distressingly evident as we circumnavigated the globe.

    Yesterday, there was a tremendous storm in the afternoon with lightening and thunder. It was the most rain we’ve seen ever. The deluge lasted about an hour and then passed. The grounds were a foot deep in water as we walked back
    to our room. This morning not a puddle remained. The trees and plants had soaked it all up. 🌴🌺🎋🌳🌸

    These are photos from around the hotel and a video of the rain. ⛈💕
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    Arlynna Livingston

    “Mostly safe” didn’t really comfort Kai! Looking forward to your safe return home!❤️❤️❤️

    nice photo! [Kent]

    Peggy Brandt

    That’s AWESOME!

  • Day53

    More Orangutans 🦧!

    July 24 in Malaysia ⋅ ☁️ 79 °F

    It’s our last day at Sakau Rainforest Lodge. It’s been like living at the zoo. The Orangutan in today’s video and photos was just hanging around with a group of long tailed Macaques near the lodge. We watched him climb through the forest eating berries for 20- 30 minutes.

    Our afternoon was spent spotting hornbills, monkeys, crocodiles and a small python.

    The sunset was followed by a lightning ⚡️ show but no rain yet.

    Tomorrow is a travel day- 2.5 hours by boat back to Sandakan and then our flight to Kota Kinabalu. We are working our way home. We can’t wait to see everyone and sleep in our own beds 🛌.
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    Arlynna Livingston

    This is an amazing world! Thank you for bringing us into your fantastic journey. Can’t wait to hug both of you. ❤️🌹❤️

    Gabriela Layi


    Gabriela Layi

    Aww. They are rather small and so cute!

    2 more comments
  • Day52

    Sukau Rain Forest

    July 23 in Malaysia ⋅ ☁️ 79 °F

    Malaysian Borneo! We spent the morning with Orang Utans (yes, it is two words in Malay). Some of these lovely animals are wild but swing into the Sepilok Reserve
    at feeding time for a free snack. Others are long term residents of the rehabilitation program. We also visited the sun bears before heading 2.5 hours up the Kinabatangan River to Sakau Rainforest Lodge. We saw crocodiles, Macaques (long and short tailed), Proboscis Monkeys, Sivered Langur Monkeys and several eagles and hornbills.

    Tomorrow we hope to see the Borneo Pygmy Elephant. 💗
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    Monique Weisman

    Oh to be able to hang like an Orang Utan! Your animal pictures really put a smile on my face. Tell Kai no swimming in that river! 😲 Be safe. Love you. ❤️

    Kent Backman

    Yeah, those crocodiles are not as friendly as they look ;-)

    Peggy Brandt

    Orang Utan. Awesome.

    2 more comments
  • Day49

    Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom

    July 20 in Cambodia ⋅ 🌧 79 °F

    Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the world, including Vatican City. It was built in the 12th century or about 3,000 years after the Temple of Karnak and the even older Great Pyramids of Giza 😮! Angkor Wat was dedicated to the God Vishnu and includes both Buddist and Hindu elements. While it is younger than the temples of Egypt, It is equally impressive and includes more stone than used in the pyramids combined.

    Angkor Thom translated in Khmer means “Great Kingdom” - it was the designed and built under King Jayavarman VII. The kingdom was powerful from the 9-15th centuries. He was a very popular leader and built 102 hospitals during his reign.

    Ta Prohm Temple is famous from the movie Tomb Raider. We liked it because of the beautiful trees and setting. It was lovely, late afternoon when we visited and there were very few visitors.

    As in the Valley of the Kings where we visited 3 of 52 tombs, here in Cambodia we visited only 3 of many many beautiful temples. Kai wants the whole family to come back 💞!
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    Gabriela Layi

    Aww 😍. I want to go too!! What an amazing place.

    Gabriela Layi


    Gabriela Layi

    Amazing the amount of detail. I can see one needing days to explore all the temples. You must be in awe!

    7 more comments
  • Day47


    July 18 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    Today we visited a legitimate, locally run elephant sanctuary. It was an uncomfortable 1.5 hour drive in the back of a tuk-tuk to get there but well worth the effort. The elephants were healthy and the setting was verdant and green. Volunteers (the tourists) help feed, wash and give the elephants 🐘 a post river wash - mud bath. Only one visitor left the river with a leach. Thankfully, it wasn’t Kai or me 🍀.

    The visits help support the care of the elephants and provides alternate source of income to the villagers.

    The elephants had different preferences and personalities. We were feeding them bananas and watermelon. The baby had a clear preference for watermelon. One of his Aunties would politely take the watermelon from your had and then hurl it in disgust to the ground. Bananas only for her🍌. The only time the elephants were behind the fence was during the feeding. Otherwise we were all together on the grass, in the river, and in the mud!

    The fancy tops are loans from the sanctuary. ❤️
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    Monique Weisman


    Gabriela Layi

    Aww!!! 🥰 I heard of the sanctuary. Wonderful that you got to visit. I like Kai’s new look.

    Peggy Brandt

    I want to go to there!!!

    Hali Robinett

    Love these photos with the elephants!! What an experience!

  • Day46

    Chill’n in Chiang Mai

    July 17 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 86 °F

    Chiang Mai is a beautiful, quiet, and spiritual city of 128,000 in Northern Thailand. There are many ornate, old, new, large, small…temples in the city and monks of all ages are easy to recognize in their orange robes. Many of the temples are from the Lan Na Kingdom that reigned for 500 years (13th-18th centuries). Chiang Mai was the capital of the kingdom and thus the center of wealth and religion. Today, Chiang Mai is Thailand’s 3rd largest city and a tourist destination for domestic and International travelers.

    We’ve only heard one gentle toot of a horn since arrival. This a tremendous contrast to India and Egypt where horn honking is ubiquitous and relentless, and maybe essential to navigating the roads.

    Kai likes Chiang Mai so much he’s lamenting that we can’t stay longer and he’s plotting a return trip in December 😳!

    Photos are of the temples around or neighborhood (hotel) which is within the old city walls.

    Tomorrow we’re off to an elephant sanctuary.. We elected not to ride elephants in India for animal welfare reasons. We are excited for our chance to interact with them tomorrow. We will also learn about their care & about efforts to reduce their misuse around the world.
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    Arlynna Livingston

    Thank you for the fabulous photos. I was surprised India had erected a picture of you and Kai, with eloquent frame in Jaipur!!! I would return to Chang Mai with Kai! So happy he resonates with the peaceful energy and not a bit surprised.

    Kent Backman

    I can make out what looks like broccoli, cabbage, and maybe green bell peppers, but what is the meat?

    Kent Backman


    2 more comments
  • Day43

    Jaipur Highlights

    July 14 in India ⋅ ☁️ 90 °F

    Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, was fabulous. Highlights from the Amber Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahal & Jantar Mantar are below.🐘🐪🪷

    Gabriela Layi


    Gabriela Layi

    Has Kai grown another inch?

    Kent Backman


    Hali Robinett


  • Day42

    Taj Mahal & Agra Fort

    July 13 in India ⋅ ⛅ 95 °F

    Hello to Agra, cute monkeys, and high temperatures with high humidity!

    The Taj Mahal was built over 22 years to honor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife. It was completed in 1658. This Islamic, white marble mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the “new” 7 Wonders of the World.

    The Agra fort 1565-73 was built for Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is sometimes called the Red Fort but as there is also a Red Fort in Delhi, our guide feels strongly that it should only ever be referred to as the Agra Fort 🙃. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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    Kent Backman


    Gabriela Layi

    The Taj Mahal wall reliefs are exquisite! I know its hot but so worth it. I hope rest of trip goes smooth. 🌺

    Arlynna Livingston

    Dear Lizzy and Kai, The Taj looks so pristine. I hope Kai has a good memory for any new info on the Red Fort! You guys are amazing especially endurance!

    2 more comments
  • Day40

    Delhi bound but in Dubai

    July 11 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 100 °F

    Kai and I had hoped to be in Delhi early Sunday morning but visa issues and flight challenges resulted in a longer stay in Egypt and a 28 hr. layover in Dubai🥺.

    The Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building) is impressive and the Dubai Mall is bustling with residents and people from all over the world. Shopping is not my thing but I did enjoy people watching, the aquarium and the Dubai Fountain show.Read more

    Monique Weisman

    That's quite a different environment from the one you just came from. Look at that Kai, always smiling ear to ear. Not many kids would have the attention span for all the history you're encountering in a such a compacted space of time but Kai just keeps absorbing and smiling. Such a bright young man. You just know his intelligence is expanding exponentially on this trip. Plus, guaranteed he'll have the most interesting summer break stories to share with classmates in school this fall! Love you two. Keep having fun. 💕

    Gabriela Layi

    Wow!! I wasn’t expecting Dubai in the itinerary. Agree with Monique. I hope the heat is tolerable and that you will soon get back on schedule 🥰


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