To Plan or Not To Plan

It has now been a couple of weeks since we made the potentially life changing decision to take our family away for a year on a round the world trip. During this time it has been incredibly difficult to think about much else. Normal life goes on, but my head is spinning with itinerary options, flight booking possibilities and worldwide climate information.

My tendency would be to plan our year away in minute detail, with routes fixed in advance and accommodation pre-booked. I suspect that I need to steer away from this as much as possible and give space for lingering in places that we like very much and roaming regions that we don’t yet know well enough to plan with any confidence.

We still have plenty of time to mull over options and preferred routes, and I will pre-book certain likely hot-spots (US national parks in summer / Christmas holiday week down under), but otherwise hoping to go with the flow and not drive my family too crazy by trying to fully schedule an entire year.

Of course, as soon as we find ourselves somewhere without a bed for the night, I anticipate the inevitable complaints of “Dad, why haven’t you booked something!?”. But at least I can now look back at this post to justify to my children why I have led them into the wilderness without proper forethought and due diligence.

How To Tell The Kids

This evening we have had an initial conversation with our eldest daughter about the idea of our round the world trip.

I definitely want both kids to be involved in the planning of our trip, but I am also conscious that our departure is still roughly one year away, which will feel like an eternity to them. However, it was probably inevitable that it wouldn’t take Kiera long to grasp that Mum and Dad were cooking up something, so tonight we had a proper chat about the idea.

Kiera’s initial reaction was, thankfully, very positive.

What we will do about school figured highly in Kiera’s list of questions, quickly followed by how cool the idea of home-schooling seemed, so that by the end of this evening we had got to ‘what will happen if I don’t ever want to go back to school’.

The next major source of questions was what we would do with our house (sell it); our stuff (sell or store); our pets (find somebody very kind to look after them). Even the idea of needing to have some jabs to visit certain countries didn’t seem to dim the initial enthusiasm, although the idea of long plane journeys isn’t so popular at the moment.

Ultimately, the main driving force behind this trip is the idea of doing something interesting and exciting as a family, but with the emphasis being that we will go through this whole experience together. So I am thrilled that Kiera will be helping with the planning and is as excited as we are.

It won’t be long before we talk to our youngest daughter also (Alexandra – 4), but there really will be no coming back from that discussion, because once Lexi knows then so too will everybody that she meets for the next year!

The Thorny Topic of Packing

The thorny topic of packing for our round the world family adventure has raised its head today. Our last family holiday is still fresh in the memory, where for one week on the lovely island of Rhodes, we managed to transport more than 40kg of our personal belongings with us. Please bear in mind that this was purely clothing, no household furniture or heavy mechanical equipment was included.

I have been researching packing tips and suggested equipment lists posted by ‘real’ RTW families, i.e. families who have actually completed their trips, who I am massively thankful to for sharing their advice. The general consensus is that we need to condense our packing, for four people, into two travel packs of approximately 60 litres each…assuming that it is probably unreasonable to ask the kids to carry much more than their body weight, especially when they are likely to be heavily laden with sweets and teddy bears.

The method for getting all of our stuff into two travel packs is yet to be tested, but I am already sensing some potential resistance from my three girls! In terms of gear, both Berghaus and Osprey seem to have some good options, but I also love Mammut gear, not least because they have the best logo (woolly mammoth). Further consideration will be given to these options in due course, but I can definitely be swayed by any sponsorship opportunities on offer…too optimistic?

Round The World Flight Tickets

Starting to research ’round the world’ flight options today, in between working from home and enjoying some sunshine down the park with Lexi (my 4 year-old).

The flight options are mind-boggling, and I can see that planning a year off to go travelling the world with my family is going to take me some time to get right. It usually takes me several weeks research to settle on the best hotel for a family beach holiday in Greece, so I’m going to need all of the year before we go to get on top of this.

I have no idea how anybody managed to leave home before Trip Advisor was invented, but I also know that most of the joy from this trip will come from unplanned diversions and unscripted moments – just hard to trust this philosophy when you’re sat at home with nothing to do but plan.

First Major Decision – When To Leave For A RTW Trip

Having decided that we are going to take a year away to travel the world as a family, we are now settling on July 2016 as our likely departure date.

I would love to down tools and leave tomorrow, but there are some jobs that we need to get done first, the largest of which will be selling our house and most of our stuff to fund this trip.

As somebody who is unaccustomed to being without a home, I have to admit that the idea of selling our house is frightening, but it is the only practical way that we can pay for this trip.

On a smaller scale, I am also planning a long overdue clear out of some of our possessions, which are destined for a car boot sale somewhere in the Bristol region any weekend soon.

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