When Savannah Met Alida in a Vanuatu Village

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I don’t know why it has taken me so long to write this post.

Savannah meeting Alida was one of the most touching moments I have ever experienced travelling and affirmed for me why travel with our children is the right choice for us.

It’s challenging to travel with kids and I worry about possible negative impacts.

This is the voice of mother’s guilt that arrives the minute your wriggling, crying new born is placed in your arms.

It’s a whole lot of love and responsibility packaged into one adorable bundle and sometimes the task feels so overwhelming.

“This moment in Vanuatu made me feel like I was somehow getting motherhood right”

Our friend, Jennifer, asked about the hugely popular photo we shared on our facebook page. I told her of my struggles writing about it.

children playing

“I just don’t feel like I can capture why it was so special.”

“You can. It’s there within you, just let it come out.”

So I’ll try.

Why did I start this travel blog?

Because I have a whole lot of love for the world and its people.

I’ve been so blessed to travel for the majority of my adult life. The greatest gift it has ever given me is to understand that people are all the same. It doesn’t matter where we were born or what we do with our lives, we all just want to be happy and to be loved.

I hate fighting, I hate people hating, I hate wars.

I desperately want the world to be full of peace, love and mung beans. Life is better when we get along and are happy.

I started the blog because I thought I could share the world and show people just how much we all are alike.

I know this concept of peace is crazy and probably never going to happen, but you can never stop hoping.

Larofa Cultural Village, Vanuatu

a girl watching people dance
Ready for the show

On a sunny Vanuatu morning over a cup of coffee and a biscuit, my ideal world happened through the eyes of our children.

Children don’t see divides, they don’t see hatred, and they don’t see why you are better or less than me.

They just see love and joy and wonder.

Savannah meets Alida

The two girls couldn’t have been more different.

One with curly caramel hair and dark skin wearing a grass skirt.

The other, fair with snowy blonde hair wearing a blue singlet and white skirt.

Two babies enamoured with their differences, yet joined by the commonalities of laughter and wonder.

They eyed each other from afar.

Alida slowly crept closer to Savannah. Savannah giggled and began crawling away before stopping and turning to stare, beckoning her to come play with a smile.

She jumped up and down and began creeping again, getting closer and then running away. The game continued just as the fire walking started, the main event our cruise tour group had come to see at the traditional Larofa cultural village.

Amongst my joy in watching the two girls interact, I felt sad and guilty because barely anyone was watching the warrior perform the amazing feat of walking over hot coals.

They were watching the two girls.

Like moths to the flame they became transfixed their hearts overflowing with joy because they each recognized what it was.

Pure love and honour for each other.

What we all really want.

They celebrated the differences by pulling hair, stroking faces and holding hands. They jumped up and down and giggled and squealed

They pointed and looked back at their families,

“Hey do you see my cool friend over here?”

a child watching people dance

children playing in dirt

Local Vanuatu girl

children playing

little girls looking at a tree hut

Local Vanuatu girl

a cultural group of people

kids talking to each other

kids talking to each other

A small child playing with a baby

little girls holding hands

your heart is the same as mine

the hand of friendship has no colour

the hand of friendship has no colour

the hand of friendship has no colour

two children meet

Got your skirt

Why I Travel With My Children

That moment encapsulates why I travel and why I make the sacrifices to travel with my children.

It’s what I really want for the world I live in.

What sort of people will our children be if they grow up knowing that we are all the same and that is all that matters?

What sort of world will we have when those children bring with them a world that accepts the differences as something to be celebrated and learned from, not feared?

I don’t ever want to stop hoping for that world. I don’t ever want to stop working towards it. For now, I’ll just have to rely on our children to remind me that it’s possible.

a cultural group of people

a woman holding a baby

people holding sticks

a man holding two kids

I have a favourite children’s book I love to read with Kalyra. She now knows all the words and I love to hear her sweet voice read it to me.

I hear it and I think all is right with the world.

It’s called Whoever you Are, by Mem Fox

“Little one, whoever you are, wherever you are, there are little ones just like you all over the world.
Their skin may be different from yours, and their homes may be different from yours.
Their lives may be different from yours, and their words may be very different from yours.

But inside, their hearts are just like yours,
Their smiles are like yours, and they laugh just like you.
Their hurts are like yours, and they cry like you, too.
Remember this:
Joys are the same, and love is the same.
Pain is the same, and blood is the same.
Smiles are the same, and hearts are the same, wherever they are, wherever you are, wherever we are, all over the world.” 

Have you ever experienced a moment like this before in your travels?

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152 thoughts on “When Savannah Met Alida in a Vanuatu Village”

  1. drop my tears. You’re my role model Caz&Craig! I will travel with my own little family too, someday.

    And like John Lennon said “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as ONE.” You are not alone, we have the same dream.

    I love the “Whoever You Are” thank you for sharing.

  2. Absolutely adorable kids and beautifully captured moments. I wish I could take my daughter around with me and give her the kind of education you talked about.Unfortunately, formal education is a necessity at the moment. 🙁

    1. Thank you Vibha! Education can get in the way of so much life learning!! I understand though. It’s never too late though, once schooling has a break or is over you can travel more then

  3. You have done a great job putting the moment into words. Thank you, thank you and thank you!!! It’s such a joy to be able to show our children the world. And thanks to you and your blog I hope many more families will decide to do the same.

  4. Travel with kids can open their eyes and change your perspective. Seems that kids open doors to connections and experiences that we just can’t do as adults. Maybe one lesson we can learn from this is speak less and play more with others.

  5. Thank you. I just shared twice today via Facebook with my friends in Egypt, where I now live after 20 years of also being blessed to travel to many places and meet many amazing people. Life here is not always easy, and I have learned more from people and their different-but-sameness than any university could ever teach.
    Caz,I share your dream, as the old song goes “I’d kike to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…” Even when the world conspires to frustrate that dream, and when some of the people I meet make it hard to believe, the negative experiences and people are outnumbered 10 to 1 by the good, and by moments like those you captured in this post. This is what makes me continue to believe a peaceful world is possible.
    These children will soon be the adults responsible for our world, and what you are teaching them through travel, I believe will make a difference. Never doubt that.
    I hope some day your kids also get to meet Bata, Mohamed, and the other children here in Egypt who have reminded me through their acceptance and love, of what really matters.

    1. Thank you for sharing Sue! I agree the negative experiences are outnumbered. I feel sad that some people think it is the other way around.I think it is just their perspective and life can be so much sweeter if they change their view.
      We would love to come to Egypt Sue. What an amazing experience for myself as well as my daughters.

  6. Steph | DiscoveringIce.com

    What little cuties! So touching! You expressed this beautifully Caz, you should be very proud of yourself, your kids and your amazing achievements! Here’s to many more encounters like this one! 🙂

  7. A picture tells a thousands words and that one certainly does. Amazing photos and you can see the joy and excitement on the face of all those people watching on.

    That is a wonderful tale and I can only imagine the amount of joy it would provide to a parent. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

    1. Complete joy. It was amazing to see how everyone watched and was so touched by it. There are lots of photos of the two girls in peoples’ photo albums now!

  8. Love this post – I think your words have matched the magic of the photos and maybe even captured the magic of the moment – and that is saying something. You are so right to travel with your kids – you are giving them the gift of empathy and like you I believe that the more we travel, the more we explore each others worlds through the internet when we can’t meet face to face, the more chance we have of peace.

  9. This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time, and the reason why I cannot WAIT to show Erika the world. Lovely job, guys! You should be so proud.

    1. Oh Charu, you will have the most amazing experiences travelling with your girl. It can be challenging, but this proves that it is so worth it.
      Thank you so much!

  10. What a beautiful experience! It makes me look forward to having kids and traveling with them one day. Great Mem Fox book, too. She’s a brilliant author and illustrator. Thanks for sharing!

  11. im not a reader but i dont really need to read to make a comment here our children can teach us so much and it comes from there innocence they show no hate no matter what color or i would imagine what gender a person is. as well it really goes to show how messed up we are when we become adults and have all types of bull shoved down our throats. god bless our children

  12. This brought tears to my eyes, such a beautiful post and a wonderful message. I really wish people all over the world would recognize the similarities we all share rather than the differences. Those two little girls are so adorable, and I’m so glad you finally found the words to write this post!

    1. Thanks Ali! I am too. I feel I’ve done something valuable with the moment. I hope it can help others reach out to strangers in the same way and not be afraid

  13. I’ve visited this post twice and was moved each time. There is hope for this world if we would only recognise that humanity in each other that Savannah and Alida recognised.
    A song called Blood Brothers by Ingrid Michaelson (on iTunes) expresses the reality beautifully.

    1. Thank you Leigh. If only everyone could reach out to touch each other in friendship like these two did. I am going to check out that song. thank you for recommending it.

  14. We loved your blog. The photos are fabulous. Yes we agree people all over the world just want a happy life without problems. Some of the nicest people we have met have had hardly any possessions by western standards, but they are happy & proud.
    The world isn’t some scary place where everyone is out to get you. It is full of beautiful welcoming people who are not so different to us in the things that really matter.
    You can read about our travels at http://www.teachorbeach.com
    Jon & Jenny Stark

    1. Hi Jon and Jenny! Thanks so much for your comment and enjoying the post. I think you learn a lot about what brings happiness when you travel and you see how happy those with very little are.

  15. So Beautiful! I’m not going to lie, your pics made me tear up a little bit too! It’s amazing how small our world really is. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  16. Thank you for this poignant and beautiful post. I lived in Vanuatu for 5 years and my two children were young like this when we moved there, back in the 80s. Your post is incredibly powerful. I take your words to my heart and will post on my FB page: facebook.com/johatcherretreats

    Jo Hatcher

    1. Thank you so much Jo! We really appreciate it. What an amazing experience living in Vanuatu. We were only there for a short time, but I loved it and really want to go back. It had a special air about it.

      1. Read this link through Jo…. bought tears to my eyes. Your pictures are so moving, and your words are even more so. After traveling to the middle east, I also came home telling people that I didn’t see the differences so much as I seen the similarities. They all want the same things we want, the best for their children. I wish more people in the world would realize how alike we all are and embrace our diffences. Thank you so much for your powerful blog.

        1. Thank you for following the link Beverly and enjoying the post. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I just know deep in my heart that the more people travel and have experiences like this the more they will see only the similarities and celebrate that.

  17. Gorgeous story! Reminds me of my childhood a bit – mum always tells how when I was two or three my best friend was a little Seychellois boy who was about as opposite to me as you could get. I was your average blue eyed, blond haired white kid, and Cyril was as dark as they came. And we were practically inseperable!

  18. Wow! What a great experience. This photo story is an amazing way to inspire more parents to travel with their kids. Congratulations on living the live you two!

  19. This is officially my favorite travel blog post. Just grinned like an idiot while reading the whole thing. Out of the mouths (and hearts and minds and souls) of babes. 🙂

    (If only adults would do the same…)

      1. An acquaintance of mine experienced something similar with his baby daughter recently, and I just sent him this very post a few minutes ago. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it. It definitely still warms my heart. 🙂

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world. I was having a bit of a bad day and this brought a smile to my face. I love every word you said and can relate to it so well. One day when I have a family of my own I want to give my children the same experiences you are giving to yours right now. Thank you inspiring me and reminding me about my purpose in life 🙂

    1. Thank you Fleur!! I’m so happy it brightened your day. Thank you for letting me know. You can do the same with your children in the future for sure!

  21. Love the story, touched my heart!! Children are so open to everything in this world!!
    Where would you suggest, be the best place to travel with your kids?? I have a 10 month old and a 7 yr old.

    1. Thanks Julie!! This all depends on where you are from. But I always say its best to start in your own country or local region, just to get them used to travelling and the experience. Other great places I feel are South East Asia, the Pacific Islands. Cruising is always a fun option- great break from everyone. Any Western country is easy, but will cost you more. I hope that helps!

  22. CAZ I dont know why but tears rolled down from my eyes .. when I kept on seeing Savannah and Alida playing together! It made me feel like .. two different cultures coming closer to each other and sharing the time without any selfishness! One of the awesome post from you Caz.. thanks ! By the way it made me feel happy to see both of the girls in Craigs arms!

    1. Thank you Suzzanne! It was such a special moment for that reason and I think everyone there was able to see it. I’m so glad I could show it through this post

  23. This is why I travel with my daughter, too! It is more challenging but so, so worth it. My daughter is now 10 and can help plan our trips 🙂

  24. Reading a blog has never made me cry before. Those pictures and your memories are truly priceless. And I agree with you entirely, our differences should be celebrated and enjoyed.

  25. I love the photo about halfway down with the two children playing and the crowd of (Gasp) travelers in the background. There is one where someone clearly has the same thought as you and is taking a picture of the two girls. It really is a good example of what you are talking about for sure. Always loved seeing this photo pop up on Facebook!

    1. Thanks Jeremy. It was a really cool moment to watch. I love that photo too. There were so many people there capturing the photo. One picture ended up in a Queensland newspaper and did the rounds online as well.

  26. What a great post! Where do we go wrong as we get older? If only we could all keep our childlike sensibilities! Teaching your kids and exposing them to other cultures is one of the best things that you can do for your children. We cannot have the world you (and most of us) hope for unless more parents like you teach children when they’re young that our differences should be celebrated. I hope to have these types of experiences with my children once my husband and I start a family in the coming years. I wish you and your family all the best as you continue your adventures!

    1. Thank you Dana! We really do believe in the power of teaching our children at a young age about tolerance and respect. This is the only way we can build a better society. I love watching my children interact with those from another culture. It makes my heart sing

  27. So cute and touching, I love the photos of the two children laughing. No matter where you were born, what culture, and what language you speak those are not barrier to meet and get acquainted or perhaps build friendship.

  28. This is soooooo cute! You’re right, we ARE all the same, and I think we know this when we’re little – we’re just taught differently, or not taught that lesson, when we’re growing up. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  29. This is so beautiful!! It reminds me of Disney’s It’s a Small World! I was fascinated by that as a child, all the small children dancing together, in their own different costumes. And now my son is. And this is the realization of making it a “Small World After All!” Thanks for sharing.

  30. They are such amazing pictures of your little one meeting the little tribal girl. I know what you mean by special, its almost like old world meet new world. Beautiful imagery.

  31. I’ve always wanted to go to Vanuatu. I absolutely loved all the pics. Made me a little emotional, thanks so much for sharing!
    I just discovered your blog, I loved it! Will be following it now.. you guys seem like a lovely family, much love to all of you!
    xoxo from Brasil!

  32. My daughter pinned your blog on Pintrest, I am grateful she did thank you for sharing such special moments. I never traveled until 5 years ago, and since then I go as often as possible. I look forward to sharing experiences like this with each of my grand children.

    1. Thank you Juanita! I’m so glad you found the photo and our blog. You will have such amazing experiences with your grand children when you travel

  33. Hi, soo touching.. I’m from Singapore.. Can I share just one photo of Savannah meets Alida in my facebook .. and the words ““Little one, whoever you are .. ” ?

  34. Tears. I have known about your blog for a LONG time and have perused every now and then but this evening I just yelled out at my hubby, “We have to get away!” We also have two little ones 18 months and 4. I think a road trip is in order pronto. Good luck on your year away. Wonderful.
    Cheers, Mandy

  35. I’m so thankful I found your blog site.. I really like reading your blogs and this one is so touching and beautiful. Seeing two babies from different cultures is just so wonderful. It seems like they have known each other for a very long time. They are so cute and innocent. I hope I can visit Vanuatu too. Good luck on your next travel adventure.

  36. Now this is what traveling and experiences is all about! I can’t wait to have my little girl who just turned 4months visiting places that most people will never see. Kids are the eyes to the heart and soul. Here’s to hoping my daughter as just as pleasurable and memorable experience someday soon.

  37. These are the best Pics I have ever seen in my life.. Your baby is so beautiful & cute…. These photos express each & Every expression & feelings…. Look at the smile of this cute baby after meeting other one…

    I loved these pics

  38. This is so adorable! These pictures are a teaching to this world where people look down upon each other on the grounds of skin color, status or lifestyle.

  39. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this and sharing your stories! My Husband and I have traveled all over the place since we were just dating. We are now pregnant with our first child and SO many people have told us that our “traveling days are now behind us” and “good thing we got that out of our system before starting a family”. We hate these negative comments because like, we believe that traveling opens our minds and hearts to so many other people and cultures and we desperately want to travel with our family. It’s refreshing to hear about a family who is making it happen. You sound like amazing parents and wonderful role models!!!

    1. Oh yes, shut your ears to what they say. You so can continue your travel dreams with your new bubba. It is a little more challenging, but totally worth it. I actually feel it’s more challenging being a settled Momma as there are so many other normal life things that interfere. When I’m on the road I feel happier and freerer which means I’m better able to manage the parenting challenges. And the joys are just so much sweeter and more frequent. STay connected. We’re hoping to have a family travel ebook published next year, which should help you a lot.

  40. This reminds me of the first time my daughter and I went to Mexico. She found a friend that she played with all day…no one spoke the same language but that was the day that I learned “Play” is universal! Love the blog and I love that you have taken a risk and are letting your children get a “hands on” education!

  41. Beautiful pictures! When my wife gets pregnant, we will still continue traveling the world and expose our first child to different culture like you did with your kids. It’s nice that you are traveling with them as early as toddlers. I’m sure they’re going to benefit from it in the long run. You know what they say, traveling does make you wiser.


  42. kids do have the purest of emotions and expressions. 🙂 My friend’s daughter has a foreign friend as well. They never understood each other but they hug everytime they see each other. It’s just amazing. You did great in bringing your kids with you in travelling, they will benefit from it in the long run 🙂 amazing and heart-warming.

    1. I don’t think anyone can define what travel means to another person. We don’t usually travel in tour groups but sometimes we did. If we didn’t our daughter would never have had this experience, and it was priceless. There is immense value in the lessons in these photos. Moments like this can be found anywhere if you just remove the barriers of your definitions

  43. Thanks for sharing your experience. Definitely one of the best blogs I’ve read in the recent past. I’m really inspired .The photographs are so touching and they speak for themselves.
    Good Luck on your next travel adventure….

  44. This is such a beautiful read. My mums tells a similar story of myself as a child. I was among many children in Singapore airport as a very small girl – there was an interactive piano that played when you ran over the keys. She said it was so beautiful to see children from all nationalities playing and talking together. Even though we could not all communicate with each other, that did not stop us running and laughing together.

  45. Thank you for sharing, as they say. I teach a university class about human relations in a multicultural society. Students can earn extra credit by creating a pinterest page about what they learned in the class. Many many students have pinned your photos into their pinterest pages! They are also struck by how much people around the world are alike. Thank you for helping them reflect on “What sort of people will our children be if they grow up knowing that we are all the same and that is all that matters? What sort of world will we have when those children bring with them a world that accepts the differences as something to be celebrated and learned from, not feared?” How are your children doing now?? Thank you!!

    1. Wow! That’s so awesome to hear. Thank you so so much for letting me know. I’m loving watching my children grow into people like this. It’s a beautiful thing.

  46. Caz – this is the first time I’ve read your blog and really loved this piece. Thank you for sharing it. I lived internationally for 5 years, until I moved back to the states to go to university and now I’ve lived in the same city for 7 years…the wanderlust kinda faded, but this article really sparked that little fire and I am going to start planning my next adventure. Thank you!

  47. Just found your blog! Funny enough, reading this reminded me of an experience in my own childhood. My parents were very much of the same mindset as you and my family travelled South East Asia a lot when my siblings and I were kids. About 13 years ago now, when I was 8 or so, we went to Cambodia, it had just been opened up to visitors and we were one of the few people there. Near Angkor Wat there used to be just 2 or 3 local restaurants instead of the many that exist now. We had lunch there one day and while waiting for the food my siblings and I met and went off to play a soccer game with the local children. Playing that game and exchanging bracelets with the Cambodian girls is a memory I still treasure today. I’m sure your little girls will have many treasured memories from their experiences. 🙂

    1. What an amazing memory to have Casey. Thank you for sharing. It makes me so happy to hear that as it reminds me of what a good thing this is for my children and to keep doing it!

  48. How are you able to travel all through your adult life? I live in Canada and would dream to do what you do however, I have to make a living you know! I am really fed up with the rat race here.

  49. This was moving beyond words. I can only imagine how it was to actually be there. I am a visually impaired travel writer and I’m unable to see the photos, but I felt it as I read. This is why I believe travel is so essential. It is what I can only hope to do or achieve with the travel blog I hope to build. This is what our world sorely needs.

  50. Such beautiful photos and a beautiful story to go with it. I wish we could all keep that loving acceptance that children have. The world would be a better place.

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