I am pleased to share an adventure story from Stacy and Randy Earlywine who, along with their two children Bodhi and Joshua, take to the road as often as possible. This family recently took a year off to travel in their VW Vanagon through Canada and the States and then hopped on a plane for further travel in Central and South America. A friend of mine forwarded me their blog, Lusting for Wander, a few months ago and I was instantly hooked. I am especially impressed with the extended travel as a family unit – something that we hope to do soon as well. They prove that you can indeed take your family across the globe and back in one piece! Also, be sure and check out her latest blog post listing out the reasons behind her travels – really well written!
We left on July 2nd, 2011 and traveled by ferry to Haines, Alaska. From there we spent approximately 2 months traveling around Alaska then driving across Canada and the US to Maine. We left our vehicle in Maine at my childhood home and flew to the Dominican Republic on Oct 31. We spent 6 weeks there and then we flew to Costa Rica for a month. After lots of movement we decided to find a place to stay put for a few months and flew to Peru where we found a volunteer opportunity and spent 3 months living in the mountains near Huaraz, Peru. We then traveled overland for a month to Quito, Ecuador and flew from there to Mexico for one last week on the beach! We arrived back in Maine in early April then took 2 + months to drive back to Seattle.
The decision to travel for a year was centered on the program at my husband’s job. He works for a very progressive place of employment. Employees are eligible to take a one year, unpaid leave of absence for every 7 years of employment. Interestingly he applied for this job while we were traveling in Asia 11 years ago and this perk was a selling point. We have always loved to travel and not taking advantage of this opportunity was really not an option for us.
Why travel? Hmmm…. This is a hard question to answer in a few words. The world is a big place and there is so much to see. Many people choose to read about other countries, mountain ranges, ecosystems, etc.. When we read about them, it lights a fire and there is a strong desire to go and experience these things. Travel is one of the most enlightening, educational, challenging and fun experiences in life for us. We have learned more about our world and ourselves while traveling than in any other educational institution or experience. We wanted to share this with our children at a young age. When you encounter difficulty or adversity while traveling, which surely will happen if traveling for an extended period, you have to find the resourcefulness to deal with the situation. This is different from dealing with adversity at home. There is often the added challenge of language barriers and different cultural expectations. Once you succeed at a challenge like this you feel like you can do anything!
The last thing worth mentioning is that travel breaks you out of routine and habit. These are not necessarily bad but I often (really often) hear friends talking about how busy and stressful life is. Taking an extended leave from this life allows an opportunity to reflect on what works, what doesn’t, what parts of life at home you want to keep and what you have the power to change to achieve the life, the balance you desire.