Q: Why are you trading the family cow for a handful of magic beans?
Good question. Rarely a day goes by that we don't wonder whether or not we are doing the right thing. We are in a good spot right now. The kids like their school and are doing well. We manage to spend most of our summer in Alaska. I (David) love my job. We have managed to save a fair sum of money (all of which will be spent on the trip) So why push our luck?
Our hope is to return with children who have an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. We hope traveling will make them confident, humble children who are observant, respectful and appreciative.
We can't imagine doing this trip with kids under the age of five. It wouldn't be fair to the kids-they would have the risks of travel, but few of the benefits. When we leave they will be age 12, 9 and 7 old enough to have some memories of this and to attend to many of their own needs. It's also helpful that they are accustomed to book learning. We will be having "school day" most of the time we are on the road.
Waiting for them to be older presents a whole different set of problems; If we wait for them to get older, we will be older too and may not be able to keep up the pace-especially for a whole year. Furthermore, we wouldn't want to interrupt High School, and they wouldn't want us to interrupt High School. Finally, the thought of taking a petulant, or lovesick teen around the world is not very appealing.
Q:How did you choose your destinations?
We (the whole family) made a list of places we want to go. Starting with this list we took into account (in order of importance); safety, weather, cost, variety. We are trying to spend a lot of time in places that are relatively inexpensive (India, Turkey, South America) and are trying to avoid extremes of temperature. It's no accident that we will be in India in January and Thailand in February. Japan will be cold in March, but the rest of our destinations should be fairly temperate.
Q:What are you most afraid of?
Lots of things.
As regards safety, our two biggest concerns are motor vehicle accidents and sickness.
But we also worry about homesickness, family karma, our ability to successfully home school the kids, and dealing with things at home that come up when we are gone.
Q:What are you most looking forward to?
I (David) can't wait to catch up with some of our old friends as we go across the country. It has been far too long!
I can't wait to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, can't wait to show the kids around New York City.
As for the overseas stuff, Africa, Turkey and India excite me the most.
We read a book called "a year off" and the author talks about the day he wakes up and no longer thinks of himself as "a businessman taking a vacation, but thinks of himself as a traveler seeing the world". Even though I love medicine, I can't wait for that day to happen to me.
Q: What are you doing with your house and 'stuff'?
We went back and forth about whether we should sell the house or not. I (Jill) feel it is important for the kids to have a home to come home to; a home that they can picture in their mind on those days that are hard and they are feeling homesick. David supported me on this.....more so when the real estate market slowed down!! We were fortunate enough to find that the sister of my brother-in-law would like to give the valley of the sun a try for 1 year before fully commiting to moving here permanently. She put all of her stuff in storage in Michigan and will be renting from us for the year that we are away. She will also be keeping our two dogs here with her. We are packing up our personal belongings but leaving all of the furnishings.
Q: WHAT ABOUT YOUR CARS?
We leased our cars three years ago with the plan that the leases would be done when we were ready to leave Phoenix in May (David's car) and the country in September(the van). We really have been planning his for a very long time!!