Team Ninja

Who are Team Ninja?
Lara Gizelle = Ninja Mom
Zander Zhivago = ZZ Ninja Kid

Mom and Son ZZZ World Ninjas

Yes these are honestly our real names!

My mom fell in love with the movie Doctor Zhivago & the ballet Giselle when she was pregnant so decided to name me after the main characters of both.

Unusual names seem to run in our family, my mom has an almost unpronounceable name that begins with a Z so she converted Giselle into Gizelle and the family Z theme continued…

Zander is short for Alexander, its a long tradition in Spain to name a son after his father, it got shortened & tweaked slightly to begin with a Z and I just couldn’t resist Zhivago as his middle name, must be the theatrical gene rearing its head, we’ve always called him ZZ.

ZZ is 7 years old, born in Barcelona, Spain with British/American nationality, he speaks English, Spanish, Catalan and basic Mandarin, he swims, surfs, wakeboards, skateboards, plays water polo & soccer, an avid FC Barca & Formula1 supporter and a HUGE Minecraft fan !!!

What is ZZZ World Ninjas all about?

My new years resolution in January 2015 was to make some BIG life changes, I wasn’t exactly sure what our new life should look like but I felt we werent living life to the full, I guess it was my “Eat, Pray, Love” moment.

Im a single Mom, my son & I lived in Barcelona Spain, in a funky neighbourhood on the beach in the Gothic Quarter, I had a great job in Marketing, lots of friends & an active social life but never enough time to enjoy most of it!

Spanish office hours aren’t particularly flexible and definitely not family friendly, a normal day is 9am-7pm with a 2 hour lunch break which traditionally meant “siesta” but in big cities where everyone lives a long way from their office it’s not viable to go home for lunch so generally you just end up working 9-7pm.

I was also doing a Postgrad degree at Barcelona University three nights a week from 6-10pm, in a work related subject so I could keep up with latest trends and do my job effectively.

This meant I needed a nanny to pick up ZZ five nights a week, by the time I got home he was often already in bed or I was totally exhausted and ready for bed myself.

On weekends I’d run around like a headless chicken trying to make up for not spending enough time with ZZ during the week, organizing 48 hours of all singing, all dancing, non stop “mom & son entertainment”: surfing, swimming, snowboarding, fishing, boating, museums, aquarium, zoo visits, restaurants, cinema, theatre, magic shows etc etc

We weren’t by any means unhappy with our lives, I just felt life could be easier, simpler, slower, less stressful.

Way, way back in the late 1990’s during a Christmas vacation in Boracay Philippines, my very good friend Brendan initiated me into the habit of a writing down my years objectives in a “goal book”.

Ive tried to continue with my goal book writing once a year ever since, it helps me to define where I am and where I want to be, its actually a very therapeutic exercise.

My January 2015 list of “goals” were:

  • Spend more time with ZZ
  • Dedicate time to myself, look after my body, rediscover my mojo
  • Work less hours or at least more flexible hours, maybe from home
  • Travel and enjoy discovering the world with ZZ
  • Collaborate with volunteer projects, teach ZZ to value & appreciate life & our environment.
  • Live with Passion !

I’m very goal orientated and once I get an idea in my head there’s no stopping me. Once I’d decided a big change was necessary I immediately started defining the plan.

By Easter 2015 I’d negotiated a career break from my job so ZZ & I could take a year out and embark on a Round the World adventure !

I wanted to create a blog to document our world adventures and hence…. ZZZ World Ninjas was born.

Why the name ZZZ World Ninjas ?

We wanted our travel diary to be:

  • Personal to ZZ & I: This part was easy, Z is a recurring theme in our family and between the pair of us we have 3 Z’s in our names = ZZZ

  • Descriptive of our new life: We alternated between Adventure & World but chose the more global option = World

  • Fun & Child Friendly: This was a much more heated debate as ZZ was keen on: Jedis, Pirates, Creepers & Endermen (Minecraft fans will understand), we finally agreed on Ninjas … although Im also a secret wannabe Jedi 😉 = Ninjas

Where are the ZZZ World Ninjas going on their RTW adventure ?

Our plan is to spend summer 2015 in Spain with our family & friends, then start our (RTW) “Round the World” adventure in September.

We haven’t got a fixed route but ZZ desperately wants to start in the USA as he has family in NYC & Miami, that also gives him a great excuse to justify Disney and NASA Space Centre in Florida.

We’d like to spend a couple of months in Cuba as ZZ has a Cuban heritage we’re keen to explore before the island’s culture changes too much.

Then I figure it’ll be my turn to choose and as a longtime South East Asia fan hopefully that will be our next destination, but hey plans are made to evolve, so watch this space 🙂

Check out our RTW Travel Map here