This is Part one of a four part series looking at planning your family adventure of a lifetime.
Our oldest daughter is going into kindergarten next year and the twins will not graduate high school until 2026. Convention and ‘common sense’ would have us stay at home for at least the next 16 years while the kids go to school, probably a lot longer. We may get a few weeks off each summer and try to experience what we can during that time, but those are only quick rests from work and school. Our plans for this period of our lives have always been a little bit different. At some point, at least once, our kids will be ditchin’ school Man!
Before Lisa and I were married, when the first conversation about having kids came up, the talk went something like:
Lisa – “You ever thought about having kids?”
Me – “of course I want kids and I want to show them the world too!”
Extended family travel was always part of our long term vision. At some point we would take the entire family away from our comfortable existence and travel. Ideas have included working in another country, sailing the oceans, backpacking from location to location, or combinations of all of the above. We plan on spending at least a year overseas and it can easily extend well past that. We are far from having all the details in place (our travelling style means we will leave a lot till we start the trip) and we will not leave for at least a few years, but we are planning now.
Why travel with your family? If you ever have wandered around a strange town losing yourself in the sounds, smells, and sights you probably do not need to be convinced. If you have ever experienced a unique ecosystem and took the time to marvel than you most likely have already envisioned showing your kids similar sights. Any length of travel is great for kids but why would you throw your normal everyday life into turmoil to travel for a year or more? Is it really worth leaving your career, getting rid of most of your possessions, maybe even your home, for this experience? I think you could probably guess my opinion on the matter. With short term travel you just start to understand a place but with a slower paced long term travel you can learn the language, cuisine, history, and culture and meet friends that will last a lifetime. Short term travel can be rushed with a finite amount of time to fit in everything you want while pushing yourself, and the rest of your family, to a point of being agitated. With long term travel you can adjust your itinerary to your moos of that day. You want to have an extra couple days on the beach, go for it, you will still have time to look for monkeys or explore the ancient ruins a few days later. Not only will the experiences be immeasurable you it can really bring a family together.
If the thought of experiencing the world with your family gets you pumped up, like it does us, than all you have to do is get over the fear of making what seems like a drastic decision and start planning. If you really like the idea than don’t talk yourself out of it. The next blog, Extended Family Travel – Common Excuses, is about getting passed all the built in excuses for this type of family adventure. Once you decide that this adventure is for you then start filling in the details to find out when you could take this trip. You will probably find that if you get over your fear of taking the first step, and plan your trip wisely, that you can leave sooner than you thought. The third blog, Extended Family Travel – Fun Itineraries, looks at a few of the different amazing and affordable adventures that your family could partake in and the final blog in this series will look closer at the financial details.