A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Category — Inspiration

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

Know Hope

Hope arrives, and not a moment too soon.


January 20, 2009   1 Comment

Hope Changes Everything

November 5, 2008   4 Comments

Roadschooling Too


When we last discussed the issue of roadschooling, we were considering working with Learning Community International, a Maryland-based organization that initially seemed excited about working with us.

But when the time came to put together a course of study, we felt their interest in working with us had waned (to put it charitably), and we decided to look at other options.

We considered a broad range of possibilities:

  • Nonschooling (probably the best idea, but it’s hard to make the leap);
  • Unschooling–I swear, this is a legitimate movement;
  • On-line schooling presented by Maryland’s Department of Education (sadly, ironically, the county we live in does not yet approve our state’s online curriculum);
  • Making up our own customized “curriculum” to reflect the places we would be visiting;
  • Purchasing the Montgomery County curriculum and administering it ourselves, figuring out how to manage the legally required periodic reviews by homeschooling office personnel (fly them to Thailand?, Budapest?);

However, none of these options would put us in the best position to accomplish Caroline’s ardent wish: To graduate high school with her peers.

It’s important to her, and we didn’t want our wanderlust to put her ability to graduate with the class of 2012 in jeopardy.

Ultimately we settled on the most “conventional” of the unconventional choices open to us. We enrolled Caroline and Conor in online private homeschool programs that have been accredited by Montgomery County, Maryland.

Both kids are enrolled in Griggs International Academy’s online homeschooling program. The school provides a comprehensive, county and state accredited curriculum and will supervise and grade schoolwork and provide transcripts at completion.

We also registered Conor in a math class at the impressive Calvert School.

One thing we learned so far in this process: The text book industry is far, far behind in the digital revolution.

We have had to dedicate one piece of luggage to text books. There are no online or CD-ROM versions of books the kids will be using in their studies.

At some point, not long from now, I imagine text books as we know them will be a thing of the past. But for now, they represent about forty extra pounds we’ll be hauling around the world.

RoadSchooling Kit

July 9, 2008   7 Comments


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:

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March 18, 2008   4 Comments

A Map For Saturday

There is a priceless moment near the beginning of the documentary film A Map For Saturday when writer-director Brook Silva-Braga tells his co-workers at HBO’s Inside the NFL that he is leaving his job to travel around the world by himself.

One colleague asks incredulously, “You’re doing this alone?”

Another is less charitable: “There’s the idiot. There’s the idiot. He’s the one who had it all. He’s the one who’s giving it up.”

For the next ninety minutes Silva-Braga explores the world of long-term solo travel. One reviewer called it, “the single best cinematic response to ‘why we travel.’”

On the Saturday before Christmas, Dani, Caroline, Conor and I sat down to watch the documentary. I thought it would be a good idea if we watched together and got a small sense of the reality of being on the road for a year. Let me tell you, Silva-Braga delivers in spades.

He has produced a remarkable documentary that communicates the arc of emotions that are part of long-term travel. His early days of loneliness and second-guessing give way to moments of incredible discovery and friendship, and ultimately to the emotional recognition that it is time to go home.

One of the things I’m interested in experiencing on our trip is the emotional journey that parallels the physical journey. What happens when you thoroughly disengage from your settled life? What impact will it have on us as a family?

David Elliot Cohen and his family took a year-long trip around the world, which he chronicled in the book, “One Year Off.” Apparently, at some point after their return, Cohen and his wife separated. I know nothing about their situation or if the trip played any role in the couple’s eventual parting. I do know that Cohen had this to say in the last chapter of his book:

“Neither Devi [Cohen’s wife] nor I would have made this journey if we weren’t getting along, and even then, there were tense moments – especially at the outset… If anything, we learned that a trip like this accentuates problems rather than solves them.”

I’ve always felt that our nuclear family was very tight, that we are a good team and always try to be respectful and supportive of each other. It will be interesting to put our relationships to the test. I’d like to believe that we will take something strong and make it stronger. We’ll see.

Thanks to A Map For Saturday, we’ll be going into this journey with a better sense of what to expect. At least now we can all visualize examples of the highs and lows of long-term travel. For anyone interested in a journey like this, I highly recommend this documentary.

For the record, the film presented no “deal-breakers” to any of us, though bedbugs and some Asian toilets may present a real challenge. 😉

Check out the trailer for the movie.

December 18, 2007   1 Comment


There was no longer any doubt, my body had begun to break down.

Chronic back pain. Weight gain. Shortness of breath climbing stairs. No one approaching fifty could consider these “positive indicators.” Soon I began to understand the main culprit behind my decline. My desk. Or more accurately, the eight hours or so I spent hunched over a keyboard, staring at a monitor each working day.


My body could no longer do the things I imagined, like delivering a burst of speed in a touch football game or tracking down a fly ball playing softball. I was beginning to walk stooped over; I had lost all flexibility; I felt unsteady and brittle.

I thought of the story told about travel writer Bruce Chatwin. Chatwin had been a highly regarded expert on Impressionist art when his eyesight began to suffer. A doctor determined a latent squint was impairing his vision; the close analysis of artwork demanded by his job caused it.

Chatwin’s doctor recommended a sabbatical – preferably one that involved looking at distant horizons. So Chatwin went to Sudan, and later, famously, to Patagonia.

One day I stumbled on a video, written and produced by Erik Trinidad, in which he poses a simple question. If you’ve ever questioned the idea of living your life chained to a desk, take a look at Erik’s video “Would You?”

November 20, 2007   2 Comments

Where The Hell Is Matt?

Matt Harding has become an Internet phenomenon for dancing badly in amazing places. And no wonder – the videos he produced documenting his travels (and dancing) are oddly compelling. In what undoubtedly began as a lark, Matt captured something special about the joy of travel.

November 6, 2007   Comments Off on Where The Hell Is Matt?

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