A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)

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Now Appearing on Instagram, Flickr & Facebook

This trip is done, but The Wide Wide World lives on.  Visit our new blog, or check us out on InstagramFlickr,or Facebook.

January 24, 2013   Comments Off on Now Appearing on Instagram, Flickr & Facebook

Four Years Later


Sitting on a cool tile floor in a serviced apartment just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand, we huddled around a 19-inch TV set to watch the first African-American U.S. President take the oath of office half a world away.

It was a thrilling moment, flush with optimism and hope for better days. None of us could imagine all the change that lay ahead.

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January 21, 2013   7 Comments

Full Circle


People ask: Was it worth it?  Would you do it again?

Yes. Without question. Without hesitation.

We are glad to be home, among family and friends, but we recognize how fortunate we were to have had this trip together.

The Wide Wide World has been an important part of our lives for nearly two years now.  But this journey is complete. It’s time to imagine what’s next, then make it happen.

To those who have followed our adventure, shared our posts with others, given us advice, made insightful comments, sent supportive emails or simply held us in your prayers: We thank you. We’ve felt your support every step of the way.

And I hope you guessed our dirty little secret: If we can make a trip like this anyone can.

All you have to do is look for the Signs.

RTW Fortune.jpg

July 17, 2009   14 Comments



A close friend leaned in, trying to get to the root of it all. “So,” he said, followed by a long pause.  “What’s changed as a result of this trip?”

He wasn’t the first person to ask.

For weeks I had stumbled for an answer, trying to absorb what we’ve experienced and what it means.  I mumbled something and changed the subject. But now an answer that feels true is coming into focus. 

What’s changed? Nothing.  And everything.

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July 15, 2009   11 Comments

Your Life Is Now

July 13, 2009   4 Comments

The Luckies


On the 17th day of our trip around the world, Conor came within inches of being swept from the deck of the GAP II into the Pacific Ocean.

I remember it all too vividly:

The day was bright and clear as we made our way from North Seymour Island to Chinese Hat Island in the Galapagos. The captain had the boat near top speed – seven knots – as we covered the open ocean between the two islands.

The boat was headed into the wind and the prevailing current, and there was a light chop on the water. We were five hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador and five miles from the nearest point of land.

The four families aboard were on deck, enjoying the sunny day.  Hanzel, our tour guide, was napping.  The captain was on the bridge and the crew was below deck.

Most of the kids were sitting on the metal benches at the bow of the boat, holding on to the rails and dangling their legs over the edge.

As the boat powered through the chop, ocean spray would fly over the bow, giving the kids a light shower. With every wave the kids would squeal with delight.

Conor was sitting inside the main cabin, missing the fun.  His friend Meg ran to get him.  I helped position Conor on the bench and told him to hold on tight, but I’m not sure he was really listening.

Within moments I saw a large wave heading towards the boat – the biggest so far.

“Hang on,” I said to the kids.  “Here comes a big one.”

The wave hit the bow with such a jarring force it sent kids flying.  The metal bench was suddenly slick as ice, making it hard to hold on.

Conor was knocked flat on the bench and was perilously close to slipping through the railing into the ocean.

Chris, a twelve-year-old who was sitting next to Conor, was thrown outside the boat and was suddenly clinging to the railing, calling for help.

Dani and I dashed across the deck.  I threw myself on Conor, who was lying semi-conscious on the bench after hitting his head on the metal railing.

Dani grabbed Chris, and with Cam McPherson’s help, managed to pull him back in the boat.  In less than thirty seconds both kids were safe. But it felt like a lifetime.

Once things settled down and Conor was resting inside the main cabin, I went below to our room.  I staggered into the bathroom and threw up.

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July 8, 2009   3 Comments

By The Numbers


We have lived with the idea of our around the world trip for 815 days – approximately 530 of talking, thinking and planning followed by 285 days of travel.

That’s a “planning-to-doing” ratio of almost 2-1.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little compulsive about planning.

Once we started “doing,” we traveled to 17 countries, crossed 38 borders (entering and exiting Thailand twice), took 26 flights, five long-haul buses, three rental cars, one overnight train and rode in who knows how many tuk-tuks, trucks, cabs and whatnots.

We slept nine nights on a boat.

We took approximately 10,000 pictures and posted 2,553 of them to Flickr. Approximately 8,500 visitors to our Flickr page have viewed our pictures 75,000+ times.

We made 23 videos and posted 21 to YouTube.  They were watched approximately 6,000 times in total. BTW, my personal favorite video, Rotorua Adventures, is now hosted on Vimeo (a long story).

This is the 209th post we’ve written (with just four more to go).

Readers have made 900+ comments.

To date, there have been 50,000+ visits to this site and 19,000+ unique visitors from all 50 U.S. states and 132 countries or territories around the world.

The nearly 400 subscribers to the site have viewed 65,000+ items via email or RSS feed and clicked on 11,500+ links.

Now, there’s one number I’m sure many are curious about – what did it cost?

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July 6, 2009   9 Comments

101 Favorite Pictures


I’m not prepared to call them our best pictures, but here are 101 of our favorite pictures.

If you’ve got too much time on your hands you can wander through all our RTW pictures here.

July 1, 2009   7 Comments

Letter to Lucy


Dear Lucy,

I am writing to you from my own breakfast table while Maryland songbirds trill a familiar morning soundtrack.

Next to me is our family kitchen, complete with sharp, usable knives and well-worn cookbooks, pages stained with drops of vanilla or soy sauce.

Caroline and Conor are still asleep in their cozy beds on pillows that smell like home; cats curled against them—one for each.

A gentle wash of light spills across our little wooden deck and, after days of drizzle and chill, the sky between the trees’ leafy branches sparkles blue—all the neighbors’ chimneys finally retired for the season.


In my cup, the one I love best with the little place to rest my thumb, steams freshly brewed coffee made irresistible with cream and sugar.

The refrigerator is stocked with milk and eggs and strawberries. Ice cubes (ice cubes!) in the freezer are being made mechanically while I type. I could fill buckets with them and more would spit out.

My computer is plugged in comfortably without an unwieldy tower of adapters precariously held up by stacked books.

All the clothes we stored while we traveled are unpacked and put in drawers. I am wearing new underwear!

And yet I feel unsettled.

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June 29, 2009   11 Comments


“All travel is circular… After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home.”

-Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

Home from The Wide Wide World on Vimeo.

June 26, 2009   16 Comments

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