In 2011, I read about a couple who, as soon as their youngest child went off to college, retired and set sail for a year of worldwide travel. It sounded amazing and I immediately knew I wanted to take a trip like that. Only, I didn't want to sail and I didn't want to wait until my youngest went to college, because she was just four years old at the time. So many things can happen between when you dream a dream and when you can realize it. We began planning for a 2015 departure.
Yes, we're taking the kids. I mean, they're pretty cool little humans. I like having them around. We will be homeschooling as we travel. My degree and experience in elementary education will be of great use! Theo and I have complementary passions and interests and knowledge, plus a pretty evenly matched love of learning. The prospect of teaching and learning together as a family is one of the more exciting parts of this trip.
We sold our cars, rented out our house, and put our belongings in storage.
No, Theo's work is not sending him on this trip and he is not quitting his job. There's a major scaling back for him, and it's a bit like a sabbatical. For me, it's more like working a double-shift while gaining some co-workers as I go from primary caregiver of formally-schooled children to a 24/7/365 partnership with Theo and our nanny.
Our long-time babysitter, Michelle, is coming with us as our nanny. She'll care for and tutor the kids right alongside us. We're so excited to return to man-on-man coverage after eight years of zone-defense, and we're pretty excited for Michelle to get to travel and experience the world at this point in her life.
Well, that's a hard question to answer. Our numbers are our business, and of course it costs more to transport/house/feed/entertain six people than it does one or two, but it doesn't have to cost a fortune. It takes some planning and saving and choices. Every trip is different.
We're going to 30-some countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. We're going to New Zealand but not Australia, and Costa Rica is the only North American country we'll visit. Here is the full itinerary, which may change.
One backpack per person. Truly. Theo already wrote about his pack, but let me just tell you that picking just five tops and six bottoms to pack for the year was a bit of a blow to my fashion vanity. My back and shoulders will thank me, I know. It was all made easier by the decision to avoid cold weather. Temps will be between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit for the vast majority of our trip. We're also bringing cell phones, tablets for the kids, laptops for the adults, paper journals and drawing tools for me and the kids, a camera, and some first aid/medical supplies. They do have stores where we're going...and FedEx.
This is truly the hardest question I've been asked. I'm excited about it all! I'm very excited to spending a month each in Germany and New Zealand. I'm pinching myself about our tour of Morocco and our stay in South Africa. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to visit the town in Italy where my grandparents grew up. We're doing that. Then there's the high desert in Chile and the Galapagos islands and the steppes of Mongolia. Honestly, I'm excited about it all!
Not anymore. (hehehee) I had a bit of a hyperventilating breakdown in May, preceded by a whole lot of tension in March and April, around getting it all done and what if I messed it up and what if we couldn't go on the trip because of my mistake or worse what if we left and got stuck somewhere with some major problem because I didn't do this or that or the other thing. I'm fine now. There are lots of things that could go wrong and mistakes that were probably made that have yet to be revealed, but it will all be okay. More than anything, I feel gratitude for all that it took to make this dream trip happen. To a person, our family and friends have been loving and supportive. We're ready.