This week’s family travel goal interview is with Wisterian from Travels With Kids In Asia. He, his wife, and their almost five-year-old triplets(!) love to explore Japan (where they live), Asia, and other parts of the world as well. And their family has an ambitious long-term travel goal!
You can find more family travel goal stories here.
A bit about Wisterian:
I am Wisterian Watertree, a writer living in Tokyo, Japan with my wife and triplets. They will soon turn 5 and keep asking where we will go this year. Or actually, this weekend. All of the family loves to travel, but given that we have Japanese jobs, we mostly take weekend trips around Tokyo, and then go for longer trips once or twice a year.
Does your family have any travel goals? If so, what are they?
With our short trips, we want to do something different and relax together. This means going to one of the many small towns which surround Tokyo, and leverage the experience offered there. It may be the cherry blossoms, a fireworks festival, or something else which we can not do at home.
On our long trips, we also try to experience something different, but here the focus is either on beach life (my wife loves the beach) or showing the kids that their English lessons are not wasted, and there are places where people speak English all the time. And we also appreciate eating and drinking well, although living in Japan that is not a problem. Tokyo has all kinds of restaurants, even a Byelorussian one, so you can get literally all the worlds cuisines here.
I also have a long-term travel goal: That the entire family should take a one-year round the world trip. We are planning for this gap year when the kids have finished school, but it is going to cost us about one hundred times more than an ordinary trip. So while we are saving, financing this is going to require us to become digital nomads for the duration. And who knows what the world will be like then, things have changed a lot in the past 13 years and will change even more in the next 13.
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Why did your family choose these travel goals?
We want to experience something different. And relax. Getting away while experiencing something, this is why we are traveling.
Have you made progress toward your travel goals? How’s it going?
We do not have any problems traveling every month or sometimes more often than that. Even if the kids favorite destination is Disney Sea, we try to take them to different places. It is important to explore alternatives even if you have a favorite place. Even if you like it less, you can always come back to the favorite.
The yearly trip is not a problem – this year we are going to Langkawi in Malaysia. By going slightly off-season we could get good deals on a place to stay as well as airline tickets.
Our long-term goal, that is still far away…
What excites you most about your family’s travel goals?
We love finding something new. All of us. The most exciting thing is to do it together. That even though the kids are small, they have opinions and that they can feel those opinions get baked into the decisions.
What does your family love most about traveling?
We love seeing and experiencing new things. Getting a change of scenery, finding out how people are the same, seeing the world with new eyes, that is what the kids like most.
What has been your family’s favorite trip so far? Why?
I think it was Okinawa. Japan is a very long country and sits stretched over several climate zones, and Okinawa is at the same latitude as Hawaii. So the climate there is amazing, and the culture is different too. People speak Japanese but they live differently from the main islands. And we rented a villa, which the kids loved. They do not get to run around and play in our Tokyo apartment.
What trips do you have planned in the short term? Any big trips coming up?
Well, I mentioned Malaysia already. That is planned for September. In February, we plan to take a few days off and go to Nagano to see the snow monkeys and play in the snow. We were in Sweden last year, and the kids loved it.
Short-term, we plan to go to a small town a couple of hours north of Tokyo that has the biggest fireworks in Japan. We were there a couple of years ago but we came so late that the kids did not get to see the fireworks properly, just the streetlife which was fun enough. That is in two weeks.
If you had to give other families advice about traveling, what would you say?
First, do it. There is no reason not to. Even if you can only afford a short trip, it brings the family together.
Second, make sure you all share it. Make sure the kids involved in the planning and decision-making. It is no fun for them to be ferried to a location they have never heard of and which they have no control over.
Third, eliminate distractions. My wife sometimes has to bring her laptop so she can work for a couple of hours every day, as she is a manager. This breaks the break.
What do you love most about traveling in Asia with your family?
First, we love traveling – period. Second, Asia is a wonderfully diverse continent. And huge, even if you were to forget Russia and China which are like continents in themselves. But you have world-famous beaches, amazing cities like Singapore and Bangkok, and natural wonders like Halong Bay and Langkawi. And my wife likes it when it is warm, although with the Tokyo summer we are having this year I think maybe she got her fill of heat already. It has been 35 centigrade and more for more than two weeks now, and it is July.
Tell us more about your blog, Travels With Kids in Asia. Where can people find your blog, and how can they follow you on social media?
The blog is at https://www.wisterianwatertree.com, and I try to update it as often as I can, mostly with travel tips and experiences. Lately, it has been focused on Japan, but I will start writing more about our trip to Malaysia soon.
On social media, I am @wisterianw on Twitter and wisterian.watertree on Facebook and G+. I am not much on Instagram or Pinterest, most of my photos are of the kids, and I am not a great photographer so it tends to be the textual social media which I use most.
If you have a question, send it to me on one of those channels and I will do my best to answer. When it comes to Japan recommendations I can definitely help, and I will do my best to figure out Southeast Asia as well. When we lived in Thailand, the kids were still small, and the travel is so different when they start to walk. In a positive way. But we have not tried everything.
If you want to learn more about how your family can create and reach their travel goals, you can subscribe here for my free e-book, Creating and Achieving Your Family’s Travel Bucket List: