A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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The Space Between


As we roamed Madrid we found ourselves living in the space between when one thing ends and something new is about to begin.

Our great adventure, conceived over lunch in a neighborhood restaurant two years earlier, planned in great detail for nearly a year — and lived for the previous ten months — was coming quickly to an end.

Endings, no matter the circumstances, always come as a surprise to me.  Where did the time go?

It seems like just yesterday we were wandering through Old Town Quito, wondering if we’d made some kind of crazy mistake by taking this trip.

Now, home was on the horizon: We’d be touching down at Washington Dulles airport in less than 48 hours.  The fantasy we had been living would end; “normal” life would begin again.

On one level, we all knew it was time to head home.  We were road weary and ready to experience the pleasure of a familiar place.

But I know my wife, and something was troubling Dani deeply.


“It’s not that I’m not ready to go home,” she told me later.

“It’s that I don’t want this time to end… Time with the kids, just us. When we get home, within days we’ll all be heading in our own directions.  I’ve gotten so used to us all being together.  I’m not ready to give that up.”

Later she added: “Do you realize that when we get home, we’ll only have Caroline for three more years?  How can that be?  It’s not just that the trip is ending.  A whole chapter in our life is ending.  It’s hard to let it go.”

I realized at that moment, for the first time, that it wasn’t about the trip, what we would see or wouldn’t see, do or wouldn’t do.

It was about stealing time.

As usual, my wife had figured it out long before me.


1 Jarkko Laine { 06.24.09 at 4:24 am }

Beautiful post! I’ve been following your trip from the beginning and it’s been great to read about your family doing all these things together.

I think this is a great reminder to all of us who are not (yet) ready to do a trip like yours to remember to find time to be together with our loved ones and not let life rip us all into our own, separate directions.

2 Linda in Oregon { 06.24.09 at 8:39 am }

Hey Craig – thanks for the cry first thing this morning! That precious time together can never be taken away. One of the things I’ve always loved about your family is seeing how deeply connected you all are with one another. Letting go reminded me of this:

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


3 Doug Spiro { 06.24.09 at 8:49 am }

You have captured, in a few words, what is precious in this life; the time we spend with the people we love. Your trip and this blog have become an important part of my life and I am sad to see it coming to an end. No matter what was going on, world economies crashing, a new hope realized with the election of Obama, or the daily production crisis, I could escape in the beautiful photographs and incredible stories of The Wide Wide World. I truly believe that you should publish your stories and pictures. I would buy a copy.

You, Dani, Caroline and Conor are my inspiration. I feel like I know you all and want to wish you great success and happiness in you next great adventure!!

4 Suzanne { 06.24.09 at 2:07 pm }

I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for your entire trip, yet this is my first post. I guess your thoughts struck a cord with me. When I was a kid/teenager, my family traveled a lot and I wonder if that has been something that has helped us remain close all these years. In fact, we still travel as a family a lot – whenever someone wants to go somewhere (especially international), the rest of the family wants to tag along! It has been great. At any rate, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on how this trip has impacted your relationship with your children and what sort of long-lasting effect you think/hope it may have. How have you and your children changed since it all began? I’m also curious to hear about how the return to the US goes. I have always found that to be the hardest culture shock to deal with after being abroad, but imagine the experience may be different after doing a trip as big as yours. Thanks for posting this for others to read and for inspiring us all with your travel adventures!

5 ScubaKay { 06.24.09 at 8:59 pm }

What a beautiful ending to a beautiful journey!

A trip to remember and cherish forever — by everyone in the family.

6 soultravelers3 { 06.26.09 at 5:33 am }

Sweet & I so understand. What a wonderful journey you have had!

Somehow it always makes me sad when family journeys end. It does go by so fast doesn’t it? Remember I mentioned that before you began? 😉 And how important the bonding time would be. You will enjoy these shared memories forever!

Yes, indeed, the time together is so precious. I just wrote a father’s day post about my gratitude for our open ended family world tour and the together-time that allows us as a family & the unusual quantity and quality time it allows my husband to be with his daughter. It makes me sad that almost every child, every family misses this opportunity.

We will soon enter our 4th year of our world tour as a family and yet it still feels like we have just begun. We have seen so much of the world, yet there is so much more to see. The world has changed greatly since 2006 and so has my child who was 5 when we began and soon will turn 9.

The good news about travel is…there is always the next adventure waiting for you! Happy Homecoming to all of you!

7 Still Life in South America { 06.28.09 at 9:40 pm }

I lost track of your posts when we moved from Argentina to Chile. I am so surprised to read that you and your family arrived home.

I can imagine what you are feeling right now because I imagine returning to the United States and not knowing where I belong–wanting to travel but also wanting to settle down. We are in a bit of purgatory right now. I hope the transition is not too hard for you all.

These experiences must have been priceless for your children.

8 Elizabeth { 07.01.09 at 10:22 pm }

Wah. That really choked me up and hit “home.”

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