The family left Frank’s native Holland when Vigo was one year old. “We’d been planning on taking time out for travel but we wanted to wait until he was a little bigger and stronger and could have most of his vaccinations,” Aza says. From Iranian descent, she grew up in Germany and eventually moved to The Netherlands after she met Frank.
“Other people bought houses. We saved so we could travel and have time together as a family,” Aza says.
Both quit their jobs – Frank as an economist and Aza as an online marketing sales executive – and off they went with no schedule, no plans and no end date. “Until we don’t want to travel anymore,” Aza says.
Most of their trip thus far has been constantly on the road. “We’ve been together 24/7 and that’s really been good. I enjoy the family time. Living like this, there’s no space for fighting, nor any time for romance. No romantic dinners out either,” Aza says. “We have to get up each morning and figure out our day. Do we go or stay? What do we eat? How do spend our time?”
The family is spending three weeks at New Life. “It’s the longest we’ve stayed in one place,” Aza says. “It’s been an adjustment because all of a sudden we have a schedule – community meeting, work, mealtimes. We weren’t doing that before. We ate whenever we felt like it”
Frank and Aza came to New Life with a we’ll-see attitude. We wanted find out if this was a place for us and we wanted to make sure we approved of the recovery program here. You don’t want to volunteer for some place you don’t believe in,” she says.
The parents alternate between volunteer and guest. One day, Aza takes on a work assignment while Frank spends his day with Vigo and then vice versa. Recently Aza has been teaching art therapy workshops for residents. On Frank’s workday, he’s often with the earth building team helping to finish facilities around the new meditation hall.
Aza says traveling has made her an even freer person and a more confident mother. “I used to wash all the baby’s cutlery while eating out at food stalls. I got worried when strangers smothered him in kisses. Then one day, I decided we just had to go with what is. We have. And it’s been fine, better than fine. Vigo has been incredibly healthy. He adapts faster than we do. He loves moving to a new room, checking it out, exploring.”
Mom says everywhere local people are drawn to Vigo like a magnet. “Just having him with us, we’re constantly invited into homes and extended incredible hospitality. Whenever Vigo encounters other children, he’s eager to play, which usually creates an immediate bond with the family,” she says.
Aza cautions, “To travel with a child, you have to be beyond that time in your life when you’re exploring yourself. Now many things are about him.” She and Frank are grateful for their experience. Not only are they both getting to see their son grow up, but also they’re watching him become a very independent little guy. And, last but not least, they share every precious moment with each other, as intimate friends, lovers, two people who have chosen to spend their lives together.