Schlossini Voyage

World Around the Trip

One Month Home

It was cold when we arrived, colder than we had been in months. The trees were still leafless, and the sight of them felt surreal. We went out to a favorite restaurant for an early dinner, and I found myself in awe that we were really home and that we had really traveled around the world.

We moved back to our old neighborhood, but to a new house. In the first few days, friends and family came by, hugs and tears ensued, and stories were passed around. Now, we’re unpacked and mostly organized, despite three of us falling ill within days of our return to Maryland. Theo and I are planning where to hang some special photos from our trip. The girls will finish the school year with home instruction, then return to their neighborhood schools in August. Swim team and summer camp and fall sports and music lessons will be here before I know it.

People ask “How was the trip?” and I reply, “Amazing” but that’s such a pat answer, so inadequate a description. It was the best time of my life. I can’t imagine topping it, and I don’t even want to try. What’s really cool, though, is that I have a bit of the feeling, the spirit of the trip with me still. It’s not just a memory, it’s a change in how I am every minute of the day. You may not be able to tell by looking at me or listening to me, but I sense it. I feel more curious and more peaceful. I feel less worried and less scared. I feel more connected to everywhere and everywhen and everyone.

I do get sad sometimes, sad that it’s over, that eight months passed in the blink of an eye. I’m sad that we didn’t get to all the places we planned or hoped to see. The sadness doesn’t linger, though, because my sense of time is completely different. The constant is that time goes on and life changes with it, so even though I don’t have a concrete plan for getting to Chile and Japan or returning to Turkey and New Zealand, I believe those trips will happen. I have no reason to think otherwise.

St. Augustine, Florida: Part Two

In this post I’m going to talk about the places we went in the city. First of all, we traveled around on a trolley. It gave you narration while you had the opportunity to get off at historical landmarks, or tourist stops. We decided to get off at the section called Colonial Quarters. We toured the section with our guide named Leila. She was hilarious. She talked to us all about what a colonial village would have looked like and even showed us the guns and melted some iron! We were showed the town plaza, the armory, the blacksmith, and the taberna. We had a fantastic time and Colonial Quarters is a must-see.

We also toured around the Pirate Museum. We saw tons of pirate treasure and read lots of pirate tales and legends. Still, literally all I could think about was Pirates of the Carribean. NOT JOKING. The theme song was playing in my head, and everything. It really only worsened when we entered the room dedicated to all pirate related movies, and displayed the actual sword that Johnny Depp used in the Curse of the Black Pearl.

Later, we went on a very uncomforting tour of the jail. The tour guide was dressed in stripes and he was a very convincing actor. He made me really uncomfortable. Thank the fricking gods that the jail closed in 1953. That place is some scary stuff. He talked about the forms of punishments and it was making more than one person including me really uncomfortable. I was so happy when we left it was unreal.

The next day, we went to the general store. They sold everything. From washing machines, to shoes, to food, to bicycles. They literally have anything you can think of. Including, your very own, brand new, milkshake maker! They don’t have these anymore because it is really noisy and it’s so much easier to do by hand.

We also went to the Fountain of Youth. We took some of the water, and Tori immediately made a face and said, “IT DOESN’T SMELL GOOD!” I took a sip and found that it didn’t taste good either. Also, I do not feel any younger. Tori thought she might disappear.

That is all I have for St. Augustine! I hope you enjoyed it!

St. Augustine, Florida: Part One:

Day one in the first settlement of the United States went great. St. Augustine was first established in 1513 when Ponce de Leon landed and declared the land La Florida. However, he didn’t just claim the modern peninsula, but everything from Labrador, to California, to the Florida Keys. They planted the Spanish Flag, and then left. NO ONE was left behind. While this may sound great, but this was not really a good move for the Spanish. Soon after they left, the French came and claimed the land as their own.

One tiny problem: the Spanish were Catholic, and the French were Protestant.

Once the Spanish heard that there were Protestants in their land, they packed up and headed back to Florida. Upon arrival, the Spanish slaughtered every single French person they could find. After they finished, they dumped the bodies in “The Inlet”. Now, this water way didn’t really have a name until the massacre. When they dumped the bodies, the water stayed red for three days with the blood of the French. After the horrible event, the Spanish named the surrounding water ways, “Matanza.” This may sound nice, but it translates to ‘slaughter’ in Spanish… yeesh.

After the Spanish reconquered Florida, they established St. Augustine. After a while, Britain bought Florida from the Spanish. Britain changed most of the Spanish houses into two story colonial houses. During the British reign, the Revolutionary War was in full force, and all the loyalists fled to Florida and hoped the fight wouldn’t come south. There was even a “fantasy” book written by a loyalist about what would happen if the British lost the war. A few years later, look what happened!

That is a basic history up until the civil war. This post was mainly just background information so you could understand what the heck I’m talking about when I say stuff like, “during the Spanish period,” and stuff.

(Sorry, but we don't have any pictures of St. Augustine on our picture website yet, so these posts will not have any pictures!)

Seven Months, Twenty-Three Days Done

Just a few days after passing the seven-month mark of our year-long plan to travel the world, we touched down in San Francisco and hopped over to Houston. It wasn't all the way back to Maryland, but in an important sense we had circumnavigated Earth.

It wasn't the end of our travels, though. In fact, we were planning five more months of travel. We were going to circle the globe again, in the opposite direction, by visiting Central and South America, East Asia, Turkey and possibly Eastern Europe before returning to Maryland. Whereas we left the U.S. on July 8 with every night of lodging and every mode of transportation booked through mid-February, plans for Round Two were a little looser. We had flights through early July, but only lodging and ground transportation booked through mid-April. First destination? The Galápagos Islands.

Sometime between leaving Auckland, New Zealand and arriving in the Galápagos we got some information that put the future of our travel plans in doubt. By the time we were back in Quito after our 8-day cruise, it was clear that we had only one week left before we had to return to the U.S. Costa Rica would be our last stop.

The week we spent in Costa Rica was great. We spent most of it in the Arenal area, checking out the wildlife, having adventures in the trees and on the rivers and lakes, and soaking in the hot springs. We also met up with an old Schlossnagle family friend. The weather was perfect. I don't think I could possibly ask for a better last stop.

Returning to the U.S. on March 1 was, honestly, not a happy event. Theo's company had called him back to work, but our house is not ready for us. We decided that the girls and I would head to Florida to visit family for a few weeks until we could get our things moved in. So, not only were we cutting the trip short, we were going to different cities. Even though it's not great, it's definitely the right thing; Theo can focus on work and getting the house set up with more ease if we're not there, and our days will be significantly more comfortable with family to dote on us and actual beds to sleep on.

I'm thrilled to be with my parents and looking forward to seeing more family and friends soon, and I'm definitely grateful for nearly eight months of world travel as a family. It's not the homecoming I envisioned, but it's a new day. A new adventure begins.

Wildlife in the Galapagos

We saw so many islands and so many animals in the Galapagos. One main attraction of the islands is the giant tortoise. We saw those on San Cristobal, and on Santa Cruz. I want to share the story of Lonesome George the tortoise.

Lonesome George

Five species of tortoises have gone extinct in the Galapagos. Including, the bree from Pinta Island, in the north section of the islands. One day, a group of naturalists found an adult male Pinta Tortoise when scoping out the island. They immediately brought him to Santa Cruz’s conservation center in 1971.

They made so many efforts to help him reproduce, but nothing worked. They tried to make him crossbreed with other species of tortoise, but he wasn’t interested. Lonesome George helped the Pinta tortoises receive the name “the rarest species in the world."

While on board the ship I watched a documentary. They had filmed the movie before the death of George. I was just about to comment on this while the movie was playing, but the narrator followed up by saying, “In fact, George died just 2 weeks after filming with him.”

Other animals that were very common include sea lions, marine and land iguanas, frigate birds, gulls, sally lightfoot crabs, stingrays, sharks, and sea turtles. One of the main reasons people come to the Galapagos is for the wildlife. The animals will come right up to you, because humans have never threatened them before, and they are therefore, not afraid of us. Sea lions and iguanas do not flop into the sea or scurry away when we walk towards them, they simply sit and pretend you aren’t there! Here are some pictures to show you what I mean;

land iguana

baby sea lion

So cute!!


sally light footed crab

sand heron


Darwin in the Galapagos

We entered the Galapagos on February 15. Upon arrival, I had no idea that Darwin had visited the islands about 180 years ago. In my defense, I was busy looking around and holding onto a raft that would take us to the boat.

Originally, Darwin wanted to be a Clergyman, like his father. However, Darwin didn’t have a particular liking for the job and moved onto another topic. Darwin wanted to come to the islands because his next topic of interest was geology and since the islands had been formed by volcanos three to four million years ago. When he got here, his focus switched to evolution, the reason the islands have so much fame. His main study was of finches.

Now that I have explained a bit about Charles Darwin, I will tell you about the formation of the islands. The first island that appeared was Española. It was the product of a hotspot that sits directly under the islands. Slowly, Española moved to the right of the hotspot, so other islands came up in its place. Now, the Ecuadorian province is home to 13 major islands, 6 minot islands, and a great deal of small, barren islands and large rocks. Some of them include Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz, Santiago, San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, etc.

While we only visited some of these islands, we spent ⅕ the time Darwin spent there and hit just as many islands. Well, we weren’t doing scientific research!

family standing behind large tortoise