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On July 22, 2017, our family leaves for a year away, on our Great Big Trip Around The World.
So how did we get here?
The summer of 2007, a year after getting married, Randy and I went on a 2-month backpacking trip around Europe. As we entered the Czech Republic we met a couple in their early thirties. They had sold everything and were planning on travelling the world for 2-3 years. It was a completely new concept for us. We started talking about how much we’d love to do something similar, but by saving up rather than selling our stuff. At the time I had just finished my first year of optometry school. I was already committed to 3 more years and a LOT of debt! We quickly set the idea aside and carried on with life.
I graduated from optometry school pregnant with Calais, moved to our current home town, and settled into a job. We continued to travel after Calais was born, taking her to 7 countries and 3 continents by the time she was 3. At 6, she’s now been to 13 countries on 4 continents. Her little sister is only one country (Iceland) behind her.
We’ve never been afraid to travel with our kids, but the thought of extended travel with them hadn’t even occurred to us. The couple that initially inspired us had no kids. I didn’t think it was something people did as a family!
Not long after Kacela was born (2012) I was having coffee with a friend when she started telling me about her principle who was on a year long trip with her 9 & 11 year old kids. It was an Ah-Hah moment for me. That night I brought up the idea with Randy of taking a year off soon to travel. He immediately agreed and our little plan started to form.
Aside from our serious wanderlust issues and love of travel, I also wanted time. Specifically, I wanted un-interupted time with my kids. Time away from everything to really solidify our bond as a family. The girls were just babies when I started my optometry business, and I sacrificed a significant amount of time with them in their youngest years for the sake of the practice. This trip will allow me to rebalance, sacrificing a little bit my business for the sake of my family.
When we originally started talking about an extended trip I had a mountain of student debt and was just starting my own business. Our financial position left us totally incapable of going away anytime in the near future. 5-7 years seemed like a realistic time frame. With a goal in mind, we started working towards it. I asked Calais if she wanted to go on a trip around the world, to which she asked “where is the world?”, and our blog name was born. As long as the kids can remember, we’ve been talking about this trip, which at some point they renamed “Our Great Big Trip Around The World”. I think this sums it up pretty accurately!
Our initial plan was to take the girls out of Grades 2 & 4, which would have us leaving for our trip in 2019. We figured it was better for Calais to skip Grade 4, than to go a year earlier and have Kacela skip Grade 1. Both are formative schooling years, but we thought missing grade 4 would be the lesser of two evils. Then I got antsy, and decided we should move it up a year. However, life has a way of stepping in and taking control.
Our business has been growing like crazy, and we had the opportunity to bring on a new doctor that we know we want as a part of our team. This would leave us with too many doctors intially, so I decided to take off a year earlier to make it work. Financially, another year to save would have been great, but we should be alright. From a business perspective, it’s by far the best decision. And from a school perspective, the kids will be skipping kindergarten and grade 2, which I think is better than having them miss either grade 1 or 4.
Everything happens for a reason!
Our country rule right from the start was no English and no first world. The girls will still be little, so we want countries that offer the most cultural difference from home. This should maximize the impact and increase the likelihood of them remembering things. It’ll also provide the best opportunity for character-building experiences. Also, we’re not going to be as financially ready as we’d like. Developing countries will offer better value for money and still allow us to splurge every once in awhile.
Stay tuned for more posts as we prepare to leave on our Great Big Trip Around The World!