Everything is crazy. Go read the story here.

I can’t even figure out how to write this post, except to say, “Yay!” a million times and then collapse on the ground.

Okay so last March, we were trying to get Stella’s passport in Mexico, so we could, you know, leave Mexico, I got an email from George Stone, an editor at National Geographic. He was putting together this year’s list of the Travelers of the Year and I was on it. (Woah.) I completed the interview, and a few months later we arranged a photo shoot, and Drew, the kids and I all took the bus to Girona, Spain (from our apartment in L’Estartit) to meet up with Tino Soriano, a National Geographic photographer, so he could take our photo for the website and the magazine. The issue would come out in November.

Then I had to keep that a secret for six months.

I think in a way I did such of a good job of compartmentalizing it, that even yesterday, as I knew the announcement was coming out today, I just kept my regular schedule, doing a little writing, hanging out with the kids, and for dinner I made some Romanian grilled chicken (there’s this lovely spice mix they sell here with paprika and herbs) and fell asleep watching Lucy, a movie I can’t seem to get through more than five minutes without dozing off. Then this morning, people started tagging me on Facebook, congratulating me and I was like, “oh this is really happening!”

That is how far down I had to suppress this, because otherwise I would have totally vague-booked about it, until someone guessed. We told people about our first pregnancy at six weeks. You are supposed to wait until 12. Not us. Nope. Blue line on the stick? Everyone gets to know.

Anyway now I can finally tell this story. What is it like to do a photo shoot with a National Geographic photographer? We had no idea. I kind of expected more of a setup, but when we arrived in Girona and met Tino (along with his lovely wife and helper) it was really laid back. He’s a little older than us, his face has laugh lines, and he had a beat up looking albeit high end camera, with a regular portrait lens. We essentially walked around the city, and during this time Girona had a it’s annual flower festival, so he’d sit us down next to a sculpture or a flower installation and take our photo.

Very quickly I realized what the challenge was going to be. How do you get all four of us to look either at the camera or at one another, at the same time?

We had about 60 seconds of posing where we got the kids to sit still and look where they needed to look, and then they had enough. Okay, done! Let’s go to the park, right?

So we walked around with the kids, and picked them up and tried to be all casual, while also getting everyone into the frame. The two pictures they chose illustrate the day pretty well. If you have kids, this probably is self-explanatory.

Photograph by Tino Soriano


Photograph by Tino Soriano


I love these photos and I am so happy to have this memory for my kids when they get older. I am so humbled and grateful. It’s also really great that it’s “The Gilbert Family” not just me, because truly we’re all doing this together. If you’re interested in reading more, my interview is on the National Geographic site. (It’s probably the best job I’ve done explaining our travels and what it means to have kids and travel.) It will also be coming out in the November print edition of the magazine (National Geographic Traveler). You can also see the interviews and photos of the other Travelers of the Year.

Big thanks to George, Marilyn, and Tino at National Geographic for making this happen!