Thanks, Mom

DSC02280Aran here.

Five years ago, mom had a crazy idea. I know, I know, that’s pretty commonplace, but trust me, this one was absolutely bonkers. She proposed that four years from then, we would travel the world, and the idea appealed to me. I was but a young buck of nine, and I could think of nothing I would rather do than travel the world with my family. However, it seemed so far away, and I could hardly think that far ahead, and so I buckled down and got on with my life.

Fast forward a few years. The thought of a world tour had been pushed to the back of my mind, and only occasionally would it surface to trouble me, but, whether I liked it or not, the date of our departure continued to speed towards me like a rogue tuk tuk. I was worried when we got on the plane for Paris about all the things I may be missing out on at home, and the prospect of a year with my family started to seem more and more daunting.

However, despite all this, I ended up loving the trip. Everywhere we went I was (mostly) engaged and (almost) always was ready and willing to go. I (sort of) enjoyed all the places we went, and would totally do it again (HA!). And so it is with a heavy heart that I must say: “Thank you mom for a great trip, and I am anxiously awaiting the next one (fingers crossed).

1. Thanks Mom: You always got us where we had to go

Okay, sometimes the transportation was a little sketchy, but you got us there…


Standing room only in India


Rush hour in Hampi


Looking for rhinos by jeep in Nepal


Horse drawn buggy in Nepal


Getting pulled over by the bike police in Phnom Penh


On the road in Kep, Cambodia


Best. Bus. Ever. – Aran has the best view of the lingerie fashion show on the sleeper bus in Vietnam.


The Hampi canoe


And, of course, by foot

2. Thanks Mom: the places we went were really cool.

Okay, sometimes we dragged our butts, but… you took us to some awesome places.







3. But did you have to read every plaque along the way?

Like, if there was the tiniest sign at the other end of the longest field you’d have to go read it. And then call us over to read it too. And discuss.








“School’s in!”

Eva here.

Five years ago, mom told the family that we were going around the world. At first I was worried about some of the places we were going, like India, but then I decided to just be excited. So, after four years of saving up we left Canada for a year. So mom, I want to say thanks. Thanks for the ice cream, thanks for the temples on hot days that you forced us into. Thanks for showing me fifty different ways to get travel sick. Thanks for always being there with a bag (well, almost always).

The trip was amazing.  Can we go to Iceland next?

4. Thanks Mom: You always found us a place to stay

Off to a good start: our first digs in Paris


Checking out possible low-budget accommodations in Paris


Crashing in Rome


Overnighting in Mumbai airport


Thinking about a tiny apartment in Istanbul


Camping on the Seti River, Nepal


Out in the desert in Rajasthan

5. Thanks Mom: We always ate well

Well, we always ate.


Eva, tell us what you really think about the palm fruit


About to down the first deep-fried cricket


Devouring fish sandwiches at the Galata bridge in Istanbul


A restaurant in North Vietnam


The roadside banh mi in Vietnam were the best


On the menu, it said “chicken wings”

Chris here

Five years ago, Nancy came home and said, “I just found out about this great program at work where I can set aside a quarter of my salary for four years and on the fifth we can travel the world. What do you think?” Weighing all the possible responses and ramifications in a split second, I replied, “That sounds great. Sure, why not?”

Well, it was great. Thanks, Hon. You read a thousand books, but always kept the options open… you edited every blog post (except for this one which has at least one typo I left in just to drive you crazy). You kept us going the whole way.

6. Thanks hon: for being an amazing partner.

Up in the Alps


Coffee in Istanbul


On the boardwalk in Newcastle, Australia

 All of us here.

You know, there is something totally special about the way you always looked out for us.

 7. Thanks Mom: You made sure we always got there in one piece

More or less. Travelling is not all peaches and cream, so we discovered.


Worn out (and it was only midday)


No problem here…


Bangalore belly


Chris’ bruised toenails from hiking the alps – soon to fall out and grow back in


We always celebrated personal victories over our ailments


Ringworm: the Cambodian equivalent to the family flu in Canada


Nancy’s one bad day: eleven months into the trip and she finally gets sick.


It’s just a flesh wound

And you made sure no one got left behind.




8. Thanks Mom: for making it happen

Yes, it was a family trip and we all made it happen. But it never would have happened without you. We always talk about “Nancy’s excellent adventures” in our family, and this one was the best!

Thanks Mom.


Watching the sunrise in the Rajasthan desert


Wintardys World Tour 2014-15

11 thoughts on “Thanks, Mom

  1. You guys are awesome to write something so perfect for your mom. (I’m a mom and it made me cry!) I have known her since articles when she talked about doing this trip with you, though she had no idea then who you would turn out to be or whether it would ever come together. She is one amazing woman, that’s for sure. I’m so happy for all of you!


  2. Oh my!!!!! It’s your birthday and I feel like I just got a present!!!!!
    Thank you Aran,Eva and Chris for the fabulous tribute to your mom. I absolutely loved it. Couldn’t stop laughing at the bit about reading every little sign and making everyone else read it and discussing! That will bring a smile to my face for some time. I especially love the radiant smile on every one of Nancy’s photos. A completely happy loving woman. That makes me happy too. Way to go wintardy’s. Nancy lets talk soon!!!
    Happy birthday!


  3. LOVED reading about your adventures! Glad you’re back safe and sound. We did a similar (much smaller) 6-month trip in 2012 and this allowed us to relive the ups and down. Can’t wait to hear more!


  4. Love this! So glad to have met you (several times!) along the way! Hope adjusting to life at home is going well! Don’t forget to look us up next time you hop across the pond! April and the Brooks’ family


  5. Thank you family for sharing your travels through this blog. It obviously took a lot of planning. I will never go to those places but feel I was able to experience them through your blog. I am going to miss reading of your adventures so please do go on another adventure soon!


  6. What an incredible, life-shaping gift you’ve given Aran and Eva with your Excellent Adventure! Not to mention how it must have changed your own lives deeply. Happy belated birthday Nancy. Looking forward to getting a glimpse of some of your experiences over a glass of vino.


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