After completing the first leg of our journey to sing 80 Anthems around the World, we made our way from South America across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand and Australia before making our way over to Asia. Travelling with a family of four around the world certainly has it’s challenges, but overall we’re having an amazing time and learning so much from all the cultures and people around the world. Here’s a highlight of what we’ve experienced along with some key takeaways we’ve learned from the journey so far.
Arriving in Auckland, New Zealand after spending months in Central and South America was a bit of a culture shock for us. While the people in Latin America were incredible and very outgoing and lively, you definitely got the sense that life was more difficult for so many of them. Arriving in Auckland, we felt a familiar sense of home – the harbour and the city reminded us quite a bit of our city of Vancouver. The people were extremely friendly and so helpful as we navigated the excellent transit system and explored the beautiful sites.
One of our favourite parts of Auckland was the day we spent in Davenport, a short ferry ride across the harbour to a quiet and quaint beach town where Capri recorded her new album, “International Anthem Girl” (now on iTunes) at a wonderful recording studio attached to an art gallery at Depot Sound.
Don’t miss: Ferry ride across the harbour and a walk along the harbour front!
Our next country was Australia, where we spent 11 fabulous days in Sydney. The media there loved our story and we feel like Australians really “got” our journey and supported our mission. A definite highlight was exploring the Sydney Opera House (Capri was invited to sing the anthem of Australia on the steps) and enjoying a ferry ride from the gorgeous Sydney Harbour to Manley Beach.
The ferries that run in the Harbour to a variety of different local destinations are very reasonable and highly recommended. We did a very cool trip to Cockatoo Island, an army base during WWII and a former prison that is now a tourist destination that included a free “treasure hunt” for the kids. They loved running around the island searching for clues for a well done “Convict Clue” scavenger hunt.
Don’t miss: Sydney Opera House, playground with water/sand play area at Darling Harbour, Cockatoo Island!
Our next culture shock occurred when we landed in Tokyo. Wow, what an incredible city. There is an immediate sense of order and cleanliness that envelopes you as soon as you enter the airport in Haneda. We found that everyone we met was incredibly polite and eager to please. Right away we figured out a very important rule that was foreign to us North Americans: Never eat in public unless you are in a restaurant. During our time here we did not see any overweight people nor did we see anyone walking around snacking. Even the ice cream stand had a sign warning us: “Do not walk while eating!”. Capri also had the amazing opportunity of singing the Japanese anthem at Tokyo Disney.
Don’t miss: Tokyo subway and Tokyo Disney!
Korea was a huge surprise to us. We had no idea that we were going to love Seoul as much as we did. Everything from the friendly people to the Korean BBQ and the amazing reception we got from our radio appearance. We even had a school teacher contact us and had her class sing the anthem and collect a donation for SOS Children’s Villages..
Don’t miss: Korean BBQ!
Onto South East Asia we went! The Philippines had us smiling from the moment we stepped off the plane. Friendliness and happiness emanated from everyone we met and the food was delicious and plentiful.
One thing we would caution against is driving anywhere in Manila at anytime remotely resembling rush hour! We encountered some of the most horrific traffic we had seen anywhere in the world so far. We also got to appear on a crazy popular daytime show called “Showtime”.
Don’t miss in Manila: amazing food everywhere, Mega Mall (which even has a church in it)!
Vietnam had an exotic and peaceful feeling nicely captured by the festive lanterns that we saw hanging everywhere. Our time in Da Nang allowed us to see the famous “Dragon Bridge” that spits fire and water as well as the gorgeous beaches where Capri was interviewed for a national Vietnamese talk show and Bowen loved digging in the sand for hours.
Don’t miss: Dragon Bridge and the beach!
Laos and Thailand
Laos and Thailand were next and we felt that our time here was too short. The main religion of Buddhism and its emphasis on meditation and the quest for nirvana was evident here. The many temples and ornately decorated buildings lent a unique flavour to the cities of Vientiane and Nongkhai.
We were deeply saddened by the legacy left in Laos by the bombs dropped during the Vietnam war that continue to kill and maim through the countryside.
Don’t miss in Vientiane and Phnom Penh: Take a Tuk Tuk – crazy but immersive experience
Asia has been such an unbelievable collage of different foods, cultures, people and experiences. We have vowed to come back here to experience more!
Stay tuned for the next leg of our journey that includes India, South Africa and Europe.