Welcome to Our Traveling Zoo! We are Jenia and Shon Rand (and our adorable offspring), and we are glad you’re here. Our entire relationship is built upon traveling the world, as Jenia originally comes from Ryazan, Russia, and Shon from Bowman, Georgia, in the United States. We met and got to know each other online, and we met in person for the first time in Prague. Our long-distance dating relationship included much more travel.

Traveling Before

Before we were married, travel was easy. That is, the hardest thing was saving up money. Otherwise, tickets just had to be purchased, and we could do what we wanted more or less when we felt like it. Shon liked seeing big cities briefly, then finding scenic locations in the countryside to visit. Mountains to hike, for example. Jenia enjoyed the immersive cultural experience of cities like Paris, and liked seeing the countryside, but not to the same extent as Shon. Hiking was not a hit for Jenia. When we were first married, traveling was still pretty easy–we had only to agree on a destination, do a bit of rudimentary planning, and buy a couple of plane tickets. Even if Jenia wanted to spend more time in the city than Shon, we could still figure out an itinerary which pleased both of us. We still hit the road early and stayed on the go all day, often until we were practically too tired to move.

Traveling After

However, ten years into marriage, we now have a toddler and a preschooler of different temperaments, and no longer do we hit the road early. No more are we on the go all day long. Now if we are too tired to move, it’s not because of covering a bunch of miles, it’s because we never get enough rest in the first place. If we’re out all day long, there is likely to be some sort of meltdown, and it may or may not be one of the youngsters. Plus we juggle our varying preferences, being careful to include the children’s needs for free time and play. All told, it’s a bit of a zoo. In fact, that’s where Jenia got the idea for our blog name from.

Traveling with Toddlers

Traveling has become a lifestyle for us, toddlers and all. We’re figuring out how to balance the demands of parenting and marriage, along with living life as expatriates in a new and different culture, and sometimes getting things right. To be fair, it seems we get it right more often than not. But getting it right has an ever-changing learning curve. Sometimes people ask us how we manage to do so much with young children, and we reply that it seems like we do very little. Yet, when having a look at the pedometer on our recent trip to Hong Kong, one day we walked more than 7 miles, so I guess we still manage to cover quite a bit of ground. Well, and our oldest–who is 4.5–has been to 26 or 27 countries.

Why Do It?

Although it is sometimes a stretch for each of us, and we wonder if we’re slightly insane, we learn a great deal about ourselves and each other by exploring the world together. We also learn a lot about other things, and we’re happy to share what we learn in Our Traveling Zoo.

We’re glad you’ve stopped by to see how our sanity is holding out as we travel the world with our young children. Please explore our site and sign up for our newsletter if you like what you see!

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