I could feel the adrenaline pumping, the knot building in my stomach. I had to force myself to take a deep breath and focus on my book – I was only riding the bus home from work for heaven’s sakes! But it was hard to stifle the excitement. This past Saturday, June 5th 2010, our countdown for leaving on our family world trip officially started. I didn’t sleep very well last night as I made numerous mental lists of the things we have yet to do. My work day finished, my mind returned to those thoughts and I realized that this tingling feeling all over was exactly why I wanted to do a trip like this. I am terrified, worried, overwhelmed, yet confident and excited.
So what is going through my head as we enter the final stretch of planning this adventure? Here’s a random sampling of what I was thinking about today for your reading pleasure…
* I will not plan more than the first four weeks of our route in detail before we leave. Yes, I know this may cause us not to get the best deal or be able to do everything we might want to do, but my head will explode if I have to cajole my husband and kids to follow along with a detailed plan. Best to take one step at a time and remember to stop and smell the roses often.
* I’m truly terrified that we will not come back but accidents happen at home too so that’s not a good enough reason to call the whole thing off.
* Ditto for getting sick.
* Putting together a schooling plan for a 5th grader and a 9th grader is a daunting task. If my boys weren’t both highly capable I’m not sure this trip would be possible. Today’s bright idea was to reach out to people we know who are teachers and ask for suggestions, references and review of the plans before we start. So far, the response has been positive.
* Renting out our house and praying to come back and find it habitable is a huge risk. It’s good that I’m an optimist and I believe that most of humanity is decent.
* My younger son is very social and has already voiced his concerns about “getting enough time to play with other kids”. I’m making a list of english-speaking schools in all the cities we plan to visit. Hopefully we’ll find some who welcome visitors for a day.
* My older son is a very reluctant traveler but once engaged is a fantastic person to be with and, in fact, can play tour guide after what might seem like a cursory glimpse at the guide book. The challenge is getting over the initial reluctance which is something we’ll deal with on a daily basis. This, folks, is parenting at the Olympic level.
* He, by the way, has grown an inch in the past two months. Clothing him for a year in advance is going to be very tricky. Ditto for shoes for both of my children.
* To bring electronic games or not to bring electronic games, that is the question. These are noble minds and I would gamble that a Nintendo-less year would be more fortunate for all. But dare I take arms (verbal of course) against my children?
* Based on my family’s genetics, I expect to live a long life. In my 90s I may end up in very reduced circumstances because we took this trip. I have no doubt but that the experience will be worth every penny.
* I am a control freak. Planning to spend half of our trip in countries where I have no hope of understanding the alphabet not mind the language will keep me awake regularly between now and January 2011.
Whew. Now I feel better and the to-do lists for packing and other administrivia don’t seem half as frightening. Thanks for listening.
Family world trip