She Taught Us to HALT

She Taught Us to HALT

The physical preparations for a trip of this magnitude were monumental.

To get our life temporarily wrapped up in the US for a lengthy trip across the ocean took time, muscle and thought. While the physical preparations were critical, the emotional prep was equally important to us.

We are pretty good communicators as a family, but none of us has ever experienced this kind of travel, so no matter the planning, we knew there would be times of frustration and emotional ups and down. We wondered how we would navigate the emotional stressors on the trip.

Theresa and Yuri shared their knowledge with us

As often happens, our wonderings were answered with a gift.

It came in the form of a cultural education “class” given to us in our family room by none other than our oldest daughter, Theresa. She has spent years traveling abroad and has learned some valuable lessons about the emotions around going into new and different cultures. While all the information was helpful, there was one tool she taught us that we have already used several times and, honestly, can be applied to many situations, traveling or not. It has improved our communication and lowered our frustrations.

The tool?

The word HALT. She taught us two ways to use it.

The first way is to use HALT to communicate feelings when we’re feeling off. In this case, the word HALT becomes an acronym for:

H – Hungry

A – Angry, Anxious

L – Lonely

T – Tired

First, we recognize that something is not right in the way we are feeling. Then we ask ourselves what we are feeling. Next, we let those around us know what we’re feeling and what we need to feel more like ourselves.

The other day I was in the HALT zone. I became frustrated by technology, by having to pack up our belongings to check out of the hostel, and basically, by whatever I was doing.

When I realized I was not being very nice to those around me, I HALTed. I asked myself what the root problem really was and realized I was HUNGRY. We had gone on a 5k walk that morning, it was 11:00 AM, and I had still not eaten anything. Once I recognized hunger was the problem, I shared it with the family, apologized for my behavior, then got some food. Things went much smoother from that point on.

Learning how the locals handle the buses

The second way Theresa taught us to use HALT helps us adjust to different cultures and customs. She advised us to HALT, observe, and copy.

We did this the other day in Sydney, while waiting for a bus. In Sydney, everyone waits for the bus in one long line stretching down the sidewalk. When the correct bus arrives, the line moves forward as people get on the bus. Those not getting on the bus just move closer to the front of the line until their bus arrives. People don’t typically cut the line, unless you are tourists with big backpacks and no knowledge of the proper protocol. So we HALTed, watched, and fell in line like the locals.

John doing what he does best – telling jokes to the locals







Thanks, Theresa, you’ve already made a huge difference in our trip, as you do in our lives.


2016-10-24T09:47:26+00:00Family, Travel|7 Comments


  1. Carla November 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    You are so right about HALT applying in lots of different situations! I applying it right away as I realize I have been working on this computer far too long and need a break. :-). Not only am I tired but hungry too. I am off to fix that right now, Thanks!

  2. Theresa November 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Glad it’s come in handy. I use it all the time in the US! It works at home too!!! Miss you and love you!!!

  3. Dora Herrera November 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    This IS a wonderful tool! I learned it in my late 20’s just when I needed it most. Now, I do this automatically wihtout thinking about it…glad you reminded me. Now I have to go call the friend who taught me!

  4. Judy Moody November 27, 2012 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Jody, What a great communication tool. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  5. Emma Barlow November 29, 2012 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Hi there! I met you, John, at Sydney Airport waiting for the flight to Cairns (blondeish 20-something if that rings a bell!), we had a lengthy chat and you gave me the address for this blog. Having now read a bit more about your family’s story so far, I just want to say that you are all an inspiration, and what you’re doing is an amazing thing, and an amazing opportunity for you all. You must be so, so proud of yourselves, and I wish you all the very best for your future travels. I’ll be keeping watch on here! Oh, and I hope you enjoyed Australia – Cairns was lovely, we got lucky on the weather!! 🙂 xoxo

    • Jody Temple White December 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Emma. Yes we enjoyed Cairns and the weather was really nice. John enjoyed talking with you. Thanks for following. If you ever head over to the US, please let us know. Take care.

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