We knew we wanted to take an around-the-world trip as a family. It would be the trip of a lifetime and we couldn’t be more excited to plan and take our 9-month adventure. But, like all good things, the trip had to come to an end and we had to return to Charlotte, North Carolina, and settle back in.
After living out of a suitcase, moving every few days, spending days at leisure, and seeing brand new things at every turn, we discovered coming back home was harder than leaving! If you’re considering taking a sabbatical with your family, here’s how we dealt with the return — hopefully we can help make it easier for you.
One of the biggest fears that prevents people from traveling is the fear of not being able to communicate. Visiting a country where English is not widely spoken can definitely be nerve-wracking: How will you find your way? How will you purchase tickets or order a meal? So many “what ifs” may run through your mind, but having visited numerous countries where we couldn’t speak the language, we discovered it’s much easier than you think.
This is EXCLUSIVE content from our book, How To Travel With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind)
After traveling the world as a family of three for 9 months straight, we had to cover three daily meals and snacks, all on the road. Eating out can get pretty costly, and it can be difficult to stay on budget, especially when visiting different countries. We found ways to keep our food costs in check, that you can use for a vacation of any length.
Once upon a time, you used to travel together. Romantic
weekend getaways, relaxing summer vacations. Then you started a family, and
ran out of time to do absolutely nothing. “One day, when the kids are older,”
you say, thinking about when you can travel again. To that, we say, “Go now!”
We loved to travel, too, and when Aarav was born, we made the decision
to keep on traveling while he was young. He’s traveled as an infant on
long-haul flights. He’s seen 41 countries before he turned 4. While we learned
a lot about traveling with a young child (read: What We Learned
on Our Sabbatical (And What it Means for Your Vacation)), we also discovered there are perks adults get to enjoy
when traveling with young children.
When you take a vacation, it can be easy to overindulge and put on a few pounds. Cruises are notorious for all-you-can-eat buffets and lots of fruity alcoholic drinks, with passengers gaining an average of 5 to 10 pounds during the duration of one cruise. To take a 9-month trip around the world, however, we knew we couldn’t eat our way around the globe — although we definitely wanted to sample the local foods. We made a commitment before we embarked on our journey to do it in a healthy way. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t come back from our trip in worse shape than when we left. And we didn’t!
We know it’s tough to maintain your health on the road, so we’re sharing our tips on how we stayed healthy.
The best way to get your bearings in a new city is to join a walking tour. In practically every city we traveled, we took a walking tour to learn our way around and get insights from a local. But even more than suggesting everyone take a walking tour in a new place, we suggest a free walking tour. Yes, we understand the obvious reason, but there are many more!
One of the most often questions we are asked is about taking a gap year with our son. To travel 9 months together meant leaving our jobs and putting our home life on hold. We had to plan a budget, save for the trip, make tough decisions, and have a plan for life at home once we returned. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but was it worth it? Absolutely!
Note: This is the ninth and final article in our series around our travel philosophy, Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. In this article, we breakdown what the 2nd E in Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. stands for. If you want to first get an overview on Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. itself, please click here.
We are big fans of technology. (Then again, we are both software engineers, so we may have a slight bias.) Technology begins with using tools like TripAdvisor and Google Translate to help you with your trip. Planning a trip requires some research, and there are many websites that can help you find your routes, seek out accommodations, and book your trip. When in a foreign location, having apps and resources to help you find your way, decipher a different language, or make alternative plans when weather suddenly changes is imperative.
Note: This is the eight article in our series around our travel philosophy, Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. In this article, we breakdown what the 2nd L in Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. stands for. If you want to first get an overview on Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. itself, please click here.
As parents, we make mistakes all the time, and most of the time — if we are honest — we don’t really know what we are doing (even when we act like we do!). We are imperfect, but we continue to learn as parents.
Note: This is the seventh article in our series around our travel philosophy, Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. In this article, we breakdown what I in Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. stands for. If you want to first get an overview on Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. itself, please click here.
You can help wipe out a lot of anxiety you may have about traveling with a young child by preparing yourself mentally before a trip, as well as being prepared as a family during a trip. AJ is more the free spirit when it comes to travel; he can go with the flow without skipping a beat. Natasha? Well, she worries about what could go wrong and wants to be prepared for the worst.