A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Now What?

So, once you’ve decided to take your family on a trip around the world, what’s your next move? It’s great when you think the universe is talking to you – but it’s not like you’re getting specific instructions from a travel planner.

In a situation like this, there’s only one place to turn.


Surely we weren’t the first family to think of this. Not by a long shot, as it turns out.

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Google “Family RTW” or “Family Trip Around the World.” It’s amazing how many families have done it, are doing it, are planning it.

First we found the Canadian Carlsons, David Carlson, Sarah James and their three kids aged 13, 10 and 8. They left on their trip on August 11, 2001. They kept a web-based account of their trip long before blogging was ubiquitous.

More searching led us to Grooms Globe Trek, Carlton and Deborah Grooms’ trip around the world with their two kids. The Grooms are professional photographers, and as a result of their trip, they are producing a book, Portraits of our World. The Grooms have pledged to use the profits from their book to support children’s causes worldwide.

The more we looked, the more families we found.

We came across another family of travelers who call themselves Soul Travelers 3. They have taken off on what they describe as “an open-ended, years long slow trip around the world as a family adventure, unschool, spiritual journey and lifestyle.” They sold their Califonia dream house and most of their belongings to do it.

I think the moment Dani and I realized a trip like this was possible for us was when we discovered the Andrus family, a family of six, ages 38 – 4, who took a year long trip across six continents from May 2006 through July 2007. Believe it or not, we heard about them on Oprah.

When we heard their story, then read their blog Six in the World, we felt for the first time that we could do it too. And we knew it would be the adventure of lifetime.

As we continue to plan our trip, we’re tracking two other families who are currently traveling around the world.

  • The Coomer Family left Las Vegas in April 2007, with plans for a two year trip.
  • The James Family (of the North), a family of four from Canada’s Northwest Territories, left on their RTW in August 2007 with plans to be on the road till the summer of 2008.

What’s amazing is just how different – and how similar – all these families are. The families have different backgrounds, they live in very different places, they all financed their trips in different ways.

But based on what I’ve read about each family, they all recognize three things.

First, each family has expressed the feeling that time with your children is fleeting. They made a choice to share an extraordinary family experience, one that will never be forgotten.

Second, each of these families seems to embrace the idea that there is much more to life than school and a career; that other, less traditional paths can have their own rewards.

And third, each family seems to recognize that seeing the world from the perspective of other people and other cultures makes for a more enlightened world view, and perhaps makes us more understanding citizens of the world.

I admire each of these families for what they have done, and more important, for showing us what is possible.

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1 Shawn Coomer { 11.16.07 at 12:04 am }

Thank you for your comments. Everything you wrote is true and we also found inspiration to travel through some of the sites you mentioned above. I will definitely keep an eye on your site and follow you on your adventures!

2 Kim Spiers { 06.30.08 at 2:02 pm }

We are also part of the traveling family clique and thank you for so eloquently expressing our views also. Our family of 4 have sold everything, quit jobs, and are faithful that this is the best gift we could ever give our children (and ourselves!)

We have been connecting with the Andrus, the Bowmans, and others we’ve followed over the past year or two. We are thrilled to see that we may cross paths with you in South Asia.

I am sharing our webaddress with the disclaimer that it really isn’t ready for public viewing at the moment but it is a placeholder for future viewing. Our tickets are just being confirmed today, but expect to be leaving August 12th. Once confirmed, I will be in a much better position to update our itinerary.

We are thrilled to follow you on your travels. Best wishes, and we hope to meet up with you.
Kim Spiers

3 The Ultimate Family Adventure — Global Mama { 12.15.08 at 8:00 pm }

[…] want to read about it: what if you really want to do it? According to the James family on their RTW travel blog, there are three things that families who decide to take such a journey have in common: First, each […]

4 Sarah { 05.18.12 at 1:18 am }

Well I was just surfing for something else and found the mention of our family in your chronicle of your RTW family trip. I’m a little late in making the discovery, but how’s life several years later? Our children (now almost 24, 21 and 18) are thriving and we are absolutely convinced that our RTW adventure helped to shape the way they have turned out. They all continue to love to travel, especially when Mum and Dad are paying! Sarah (David, Mark, Heather and Chloe)

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