Twelve Weeks And Counting


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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.

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About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

9 thoughts on “Twelve Weeks And Counting

  1. diane

    Best of luck. A year ago, we were in your shoes. Now, it’s time to return to Seattle and try to re-enter a different world. It will all be fine, and you’ll never regret it!

  2. Cheap traveler

    As someone who has been around the world three times and taken my daughter to four foreign countries for weeks on end, I’d say you need to ease back on the control freak tendencies. Much will be out of your control on a regular basis and you need to accept that. You certainly don’t need to be “clothing him for a year in advance.” People aren’t naked in other countries, you know. You can buy clothing along the way as things wear out, often cheaper than you can buy things here.

    You’ll meet lots of other families doing the same thing, so your kids will be interacting with others on a regular basis, not to mention the expat kids hanging out at the playgrounds. Take the electronic games for long bus/plane rides. Just set a limit.

  3. wandermom Post author

    Thanks Diane!
    @Cheap Traveler: you crack me up. Of course people aren’t naked in other countries! I just happen to have a kid with high levels of tactile sensibilities. Any random pair of jeans or pants is not going to work for him unfortunately. Thanks for the tip on the other expats traveling with kids. That’s something I’m hoping for.

  4. Rita K

    All wil be fine, I am sure. And such a great experience!
    I am enjoying reading about it already!

  5. Carrie

    How exciting! I was just reading through your travel itinerary and wowee, it’s going to be a great trip for you guys. You’re going to look back on this post a year from now, and your lives will be completely different. Congratulations and good luck!

  6. Sarah V.

    I’ve never travelled around the world, but I did want to offer a little advice regarding renting your house.

    I would do one of two things: 1. hire a property management company to handle all of the house business for the next year. That way if a repair is needed or the tenant doesn’t pay their rent, it’s the property manager’s responsibility to take care of it, not yours. 2. Have you considered looking for a tenant on Twitter? Maybe another travelling family? That way you would at least know them on some level, rather than renting to a total stranger.

    This sounds like quite an adventure! Look forward to reading about it.

  7. Victoria

    You’re about a couple of months ahead of us, we’ve got four and a half to go. I’m starting to wonder whether we’re doing the right thing. I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to wonder right up until we get on the plane. Good luck with all the planning. It’s amazing how complicated life gets when you’re an adult isn’t it. For the record, I’ve decided on computers and DVD drive as only electronic entertainment. My children will be 8, 6, and 4 and I’ve decided to try and survive without DS’s. Hoping they’ll entertain each other. I’m an optimist.

  8. Pingback: RTW and Long-term Travel Trends - Wanderlust and Lipstick - Wanderlust and Lipstick

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