Q: You have just started your traveling adventure – can you run through your timeline and destinations real quick?
We are taking a year off (July 2012 through August 2013) – we are starting with 4 months in Peru (Cusco specifically), Chile, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Tahiti (French Polynesia), New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Russia. 16 countries in all before we return to the United States.
Q: Why did you pick to travel to these places? How did you decide where to go?
Traveling as a family, we felt that we needed to be “realistic” about locations to travel to/through as a family that we would feel safe, but would provide us with a range of different experiences. We also made decisions based on travel distances, visa requirements and availability of friends we could stay with. For example, we had to choose between India and China. China offered more free places to stay, so China it was. Europe and Scandanavia are too expensive right now while the Middle East and Africa are too far out of our way. We will save these places for another trip. Other considerations included wanting to go places that none of us had been before (new for all), wanting to engage in slow travel vs. sightseeing, finding some exciting volunteer opportunities, and (of course) budget considerations.
When we originally started planning our itinerary, we thought about doing an around-the-Pacific route, ending with some time in Hawaii (since that was somewhere that the kids really wanted to go), but through our airfare research we learned that most RTW tickets won’t allow you to cross the same ocean twice, so we decided to change it up and add the Trans-Mongolian railway piece. Now it’s truely “around-the-world”. We ended up with a “hard / easy / hard / easy” mix – we decided to pick a “hard” place to start (Peru) where we didn’t speak the language, so we could learn new culture and language (that’s why we are spending a longer time in our first location). Then we will move to “easier” locations (like New Zealand and Australia). Repeat with SE Asia and China.
Q: Tell us a little about your decision to take these 13 months off – why travel in the first place and why not just for 3 or 6 months?
Great question(s) – perhaps we’ll split up our answers:
We decided to travel in the first place because we feel that we learn and grow the best when we are separated from our comfort zone – we can theorize how other people live, but nothing has the same impact as “being there” – that’s when the real growth occurs. Plus, it’s a great life opportunity for perspective shift (as individuals, as a family, and as a couple/team).
Why did we decide to travel for 13 months and not less? We got this question a lot from family and friends. After asking ourselves this question, we think the original idea came from Anne’s year-abroad experience. She realized that it took literally months to shake off the “comparing everything to what it was like at home” and embrace “being there” in the present / in the moment. Not that you can’t learn and grow in a shorter time period, but a year seemed like a true commitment. Short answer = because we could. True, we made that happen, but it was made a bit easier that both Anne and Noah were able to make a CareerBreak happen – Anne as teacher, Noah in project-based IT work.