A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Some days it feels as though the world is working against you; other days the breaks seem to fall your way. And sometimes, if you can both quiet and open your mind, providence appears.

Just as I had begun fretting about the trip again (obsessing, really), an email from Dan Clements arrived in my inbox. I didn’t know Dan, but he had found this web site and decided to send me a note of encouragement.

Dan also shared with me a copy of his book, Escape 101: Sabbaticals Made Simple.

I have to admit that when it arrived in my inbox, I was skeptical. Few things in life feel simple these days, least of all sabbaticals.

But I set aside my skepticism and read the book’s prologue. I was hooked. In his book, Dan organized and articulated many of the fleeting thoughts I’d had over the past year as I had tried to prepare mentally for this trip.

When his book arrived, I had been caught in a vicious cycle of plan-worry- plan-worry and was digging myself a pretty deep rut. I found myself trying to plan for every contingency – in some cases for things that would happen more than a year from now.

I was beginning to question my own sanity for thinking we could do this.

Then I read this passage:

Just below the surface of your consciousness, your remarkable brain is operating an auto-planning, predicting mechanism that constantly calculates next steps, likelihood of success, and more important, whether we should even bother with something.

This system is running all the time, even in your sleep, and it’s this mechanism that tends to throw ideas out the window before we get a chance to really consider them…

Stop planning… Stop wondering… and open your mind to enjoying what your time away could be, and why it’s important…

Dan didn’t know it, but he had thrown a life preserver to a drowning man. Providence.

So I decided to try to stop worrying – and in the process, to stop trying to plan every little detail. We don’t need to know today where we will stay in Japan a year from now (if it stays on the itinerary). We can sort that out later.

The world works in mysterious ways. As I began to let go of my obsessive worry, three of my biggest pre-trip concerns moved towards resolution with no action on my part. Providence.

Some days, if you let it, the world works with you.

Dan starts his book with a quote from Joseph Campbell.When I read it, I could only smile:

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

For anyone trying to figure out how to fit extended travel into their life, for anyone trying to figure out how to step off the treadmill, even temporarily, Escape 101 is a good place to start.


1 Dan Clements » Traveling With Children: Family Sabbatical Resources { 03.18.08 at 12:59 pm }

[…] late July 2008, and they’ve been blogging regularly about their preparations. Craig had some nice things to say about Escape 101, but his thoughts and reflections on everything from preparations and […]

2 shirley { 03.18.08 at 3:56 pm }

YES! And we’re not alone in our journey. People want us to succeed; people like to help. Whether a trip to the grocery store where we come upon a fresh but unfamiliar vegetable being examined carefully then chosen by the shopper next to us (what is that? how will you cook it? hmm. smile. thank you.) Or arriving at midnight in October in Budapest to be told there are are no hotel rooms available in the city because of certain conventions that weekend. Then out of nowhere a young man appears who is a student at the Karl Marx University of Special Economics. He speaks English because of time spent with his American grandmother in New York, & he will escort you on the train 25 mins outside Budapest to a resort closed for the season but he can call ahead & get you & your friend a room. And then return the next morning at 8:00 a.m. & give you a tour of the city, then take you to a restaurant where you have the best fish soup in your life.

Ok, Craig, I know as the father & husband, you don’t want to rely solely on the kindness of strangers, but if you’re respectful appreciative, the world is waiting to help you. And in my own experience that’s a big part of the pleasure of the adventure.

3 mark @ mytropicalescape { 03.19.08 at 6:52 pm }

Greetings – I came over from Dan’s site and I just wanted to wish you well on your journey!

I “escaped” the cube over 15 years ago and just know that you CAN do it and I am sure that you will have the trip of a lifetime.

All the best,

4 John DeWilde { 03.20.08 at 3:39 pm }

We are leaving on a similar journey in July 2008. A year away with our two children in about 10 countries. I have appreciated your blog and the things learned. I thought we should stop just reading and not commenting. We can appreciate the cycle of panic and worry and I’m glad you found the book helpful. Despite all the encouraging words in the book there is a measure of courage and trust required in something like this.

Our blog is not as far along as yours but you can still see what we are up to at http://www.dewildejourney.blogspot.com/. If you want to put it on the list of travellers that would be great.

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