Considering a Trip Around the World

Sunrise from the planeThis week, I’ve really been considering a six-month trip around the world. I have connections in a ton of countries and I’d like to do it before Athena is school age. It’s a lot to consider and I’d like to start planning now if it’s possible. What do you think? Am I crazy to want to travel the world with a four year old? Is it much different from what I’m doing now, besides spending a small fortune on an apartment in southern California? Last year, I visited more than a dozen countries but I had a place to call home. Should I ditch the baggage or find stability? You’ll know as soon as I do.Β Icy Blue Water of Lake Louise-AlbertaI’dΒ like to start in January with a trip north to see my family in Alberta, Canada. We could easily spend a month there visiting cities like Edmonton, Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise. Then, we’d head even further north to Fort McMurray and visit my mom. It’s a freezing cold time to visit the province but I’d love for Athena to experience the snow, sledding, skating, and all things winter. (It’s like the reverse of Olaf who loves all things summer.)
Trunk Bay Beach, St. John, USVI

In February, we’d redirect our weather focus and fly to the Caribbean. I would happily spend a few months in the sunshine and maybe finally get PADI certified. Something like a month in Dominican Republic, a month in the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and then a month between St. Lucia, USVI, and Puerto Rico with the possibility of a add-ons.
Innsbruck, Austria

Europe would be a good fit next. I’d like to return to Austria since I had to cancel due to an incident then visit Germany, Israel, Jordan, and UAE. Travel in Europe is so easy that we could add another five or six countries easily and really cross off a few countries that still remain on the list.
Side Streets Outside of Kampala, Uganda

I’ve been thinking about returning to countries in Africa like Uganda and Mauritius and exploring a couple new ones like Tanzania. I have friends in Botswana that I would love to see and South Africa would be a good stop for Athena. I feel like we can’t go wrong in southern Africa. There is so much beauty and wildlife that we feel like we are truly in heaven.
Australia

For the grand finale, Australia would be turquoise dream and I’d finally be certified to experience the reef properly.

It’s all in the dreaming stage right now, but you know how I get – I think about something like this and a week later it’s all planned. I may be certifiably crazy but it’s one hell of a ride.
Athena and I at Newport Beach, California

What do you think? Should I do this before Athena is in school? Should I do this before she has soccer practice and ballet classes and music lessons? I could manage to get a large portion of the trip covered through sponsors and tourism boards but is it wise to spend a huge chunk of my saving on travel around the world when I don’t have a job to come back to or a direction? I’m leaning towards yes! This is the most precious time with Athena. I’d love to soak it up with new experiences and adventures. The bond that has already been created is incredible. Why stop now?

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63 thoughts on “Considering a Trip Around the World

  1. I think you should go for it!!! I think it would be so amazing and life-enriching to travel the world before Athena starts school. It could have its challenges, but that is to be expected. What really struck me was when you said: “Is it much different from what I’m doing now, besides spending a small fortune on an apartment in southern California?” I think that is true. Why not spend your fortune, time, and treasures making your dreams come true and embarking on adventures with your daughter?

    I think you should do it and share your adventures on your blog, of course. Xoxoxo

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  2. YES! I have a two-year-old, and my boyfriend and I dream of the day we have the savings and time to do a round-the-world; I’m banking on another 1-2 years and we’ll go?! So YES, I think the opportunities you’ll give her are, above all, better than soccer practice and ballet class and all those things she can experience at any other time in her life. You’ll be a role model for her, and other parents as well – go! Good luck!

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  3. Do it. And visit Albania too. Why? Because a lot of people don’t even know where it is and that’s the beauty of it. You don’t know what to expect.

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  4. Do it. Now.
    Unless you are planning on home school, this is about your last chance for a long time. I do you think your routing is a little upside down. πŸ™‚ There’s winter fun and than there’s deep winter…

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    • I have been considering the possibility of homeschooling too but I would like her to attend school for the first few years at least. Who knows. There are so many possibilities for travel now that I don’t want to miss it.

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  5. Stop and think. Most ppl will say, sure, go for it. Those are mainly ppl who never left the safety of their home and family, who dream about outragous adventures, but never had the courage to leave their home town. They never experienced living out of your suitcase for an extended period of time in strange land and culture. I have. I would do it again, but what I learned is that a home base is mandatory. You need an anchor. 4-year-old Athena is NOT an anchor.

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    • Athena and I have traveled for up to three months at a time in the past and we really enjoyed it. I’m not considering getting rid of everything completely. I was thinking more along the lines of subletting my apartment for half the year so we still have something to return to when we are done.

      Last year, I visited 18 new countries and it was more of a hassle to return home and justify paying such high costs for having a place in California and the wasted time for return flights.

      While I do believe in providing an anchor for her, I don’t think that that needs to be a house. We have nothing holding us in California. I don’t have family here or commitments. I think this will be the only time in my life that I can truly say that.

      Like you said, you would do it again. I think most people feel that way.

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  6. Sounds like a great chance to make new memories – for both you and Athena. And the memories you make as a young child can become some of the fondest πŸ™‚

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  7. I say do it….for you. I know that many memories of travel for children that young somehow slip away. I am sure she will be fascinated with it all in the moment, though. Just another perspective based on my grown children telling me they remember nothing or very little about trips we did when they were that age. Not trying to be negative…just another thing to consider if you are still pondering the options. Enjoy whatever you decide to do…you are obviously a very loving and caring mother. She will benefit from the experience of sharing adventures with you! That is for sure. πŸ™‚

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  8. I think you should do it! It would be amazing for you and Athena, because I mean, once she is in school full-time, are you going to continue on travelling like you do? I think she would love it too! She can make her own memories in the places you all visit and when she does start school, she can share those stories with her friends and classmates. πŸ™‚

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  9. Sounds like an awesome trip. Athena might not remember much of it when she’s older but it will still shape and educate her as she develops now. I have such patchy memories from childhood holidays but that has driven me to revisit many of them as an adult and discover them all over again.

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  10. How exciting! I’m glad you’re going to visit family and even spend time with them, first. They are your anchor. I’m not sure how much she’ll remember as life goes on, but because you take pictures, she will remember and she’ll want to go back again! So go…take lots of pictures…buy a globe to show where the two of you have been and where you want to go next! Best wishes!

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  11. That trip sounds dreamy. But will Athena remember it? Maybe that part doesn’t matter to you. It’s something to consider.
    Also, if you home school, you never have to worry about taking your child somewhere amazing, it’s all part of their education.

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  12. The trip around the world sounds like a real dream. Maybe it’s best that you do it now before both you and Athena has stuff to tie you down to a home-base. You’ll never know what will happen in the future. Even if she won’t remember much, she will have the photos to look upon when she’s older and you can tell her all the stories to relive all over again! Btw, it’s not a trip around the world if you don’t travel to Asia too =) Come and visit the part of the world where I am. It’s my first time commenting here but I’ve been following your fascinating blog for a few months now.

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  13. I’m torn on this. While it sounds so exciting and it will be quite an adventure, I don’t think Athena will remember any of it. My nephew went on a sailing trip with his grandparents at age 10. He did correspondence school and remembers every leg of the journey. Reliving through photos isn’t the same. However, the bonding experience would be incredible.

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  14. Is a RTW cruise an option? That way will give Athena the security of returning to the same place each night … and, if you pick the right cruise line, bring her into contact with people of all nationalities, even on the inevitable ‘At Sea’ days.

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  15. Hey Lesley!
    I find it funny that you’re even asking πŸ˜‰ You are one of most fearless travelers I’ve met (online). You’ve outlined your itinerary. It’s all there in black, white – and turquoise. It’s a no-brainer, girl. Get packing, you’re heading on an adventure of a lifetime. Athena will LOVE and thank you for it. (Let me know if you want a little detour from Oz. Head up here to Bali.. would love to meet you!)

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  16. I say do it… The best thing I did was to take my kids 11 & 13 out of school and travel across the globe with my husband. The most precious thing we have is time with our children. Mine are now 23 and 21. My daughter has been living in Thailand for 6 months and as proud as I am of her going and doing her own thing – as Mum I miss spending time with her and my son is a professional performer and in his own life – we see each other for small moments but I’ve been more fortunate than most because I’ve travelled the world with my kids. We learnt to scuba dive together, snow board, spent time on the Great Barrier Reef and explored cultures and learnt about our country’s historical place in the world. Which wouldn’t have happened if we had stayed at home. It was tough for us when we came back because we had changed so much and our home town and societal attitudes didn’t understand what we had done. If you have money and can make sure you can sort yourself out when you come back or have somewhere to stay whilst you do say – it makes the reintegration a lot easier. Reorientation takes time and will probably be easier when she is younger rather than older. My son at 14 got the taste of freedom and has never let it go!
    Your’e more established in your field of work, so it may not be as difficult to continue – it will enhance what you do, add value to your work, because it will add another dimension to your site and writing.
    And you will have so much fun with your daughter – will her dad be able to fly out and meet you in places so she gets her daddy fix?

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  17. I have memories from age 4. Such a trip my form a lasting impression and help build the foundation for an adventurous spirit later in life.

    As others have observed, once school starts, everything changes. Add sports and other extracurriculars, it will be a long time coming.

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  18. You have identified all of the reasons to do it now – before regular schooling makes it impossible. Life is an adventure, you have built a great brand exploring the world so far, and you have the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with your daughter – take it!

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  19. Having completed round the world by plane and cruise ship last year, it is highly recommended. Time to start planning. We live in a global economy and your daughter will learn more in 6-months than many years of school.

    Check out the round the world special airfares offered by both One World & Star Alliance. We use One World and traveled with BA, Qatar, Cathay, Qantas & AA. We were permitted up to 16 flights and pricing was based on number of continents visited.

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  20. That sounds amazing and inspiring. I couldn’t begin to give you advice on a trip like this. But there are lots of great travel bloggers out there and, if I was thinking of doing something like this, I would write a little note to a few of them to see what they have to say. Maybe they’d also be interested in partnering with you on your trip. Your perspective on what it’s like to do a trip like this with you daughter accompanying you could be interesting for a lot of readers. I know I would find it interesting. It’s a big, brave thing to do. Good for you.

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  21. I vote yes. The best education is experiencing life, and your daughter will not only be able to remember a lot at this age, but be impacted in so many positive ways. In addition, it will be a special experience for the two of you that will bond you and solidify your relationship in unique ways. Obviously, doing anything with a child requires some sacrifice on your part to put them first in making sure they have what they need, including you, but if you are able to do that in this setting, I think it is a wonderful opportunity! As a side note, this is also one reason I spent a number of years home educating my children. School can be great (my kids love where they are right now) but nothing beats learning by experience and the educational system doesn’t really allow for that. Have fun!

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  22. I think Athena will remember many things! You have had some wonderful adventures together, and if you ask her, she might tell you about them in her own words. Wouldn’t that be fun to record??? I am at the “dislike the airport” stage, and the “wasted time” of the “day of the flight”. If I was going to do it, I would book an “around the world cruise”. Athena will get a great education in the process. I have “traveling friends” who used these opportunities to teach the children as they went along. Imagine the in-depth learning you could have with a particular culture – history, language, sociology, etc. She is never too young to learn. There are also “great” home-schooling packages if you feel the need to “be official” with her education. My grandkids move every year with the military, mom is homeschooling them, and they are so far ahead of children their age, socially too. I like the comment about having that home base that Travelrat mentioned. A cruise ship does that. Shop carefully for a voyage that gives you maximum port time; overnights etc. Pack up your treasures and ship them back home to your family in Canada, get rid of the rest, as it is just “stuff”, and grab your luggage & passports. Get your annual routine health checks (eyes, dental etc) before you go, buy evacuation insurance & travel insurance and LIVE! The only caution I have is the “daddy” custody issue, and you must make certain you have your paperwork with you that “allows” for you to travel with your daughter out of the country.

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  23. DO IT!!! What amazing memories and experiences to arm Athena with before she starts school – and what a wonderful experience to give yourself, both in terms of seeing beautiful things and seeing the world through your daughter’s eyes. Looking forward to vicariously enjoying your adventures!! πŸ˜€

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  24. Are you packed yet? She will love the mom time and al the things you will see. Its the perfect time as it won’t interfere with school at all. And I believe you will regret if you don’t. No New Zealand?

    it is your call and we will support you no matter what, but I say go for it!

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  25. Wow, great plan! What if you spent more time in one place to explore the little nooks and crannies of a city? I took a lot of rushed bus tours in many countries and none of them compared to staying in one place for two weeks or more. πŸ™‚

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  26. Well, you know me, Leslie. Of course the answer is yes. Bits and pieces of the journey are bound to remain in Athena’s memory banks. The solution to those who are concerned about with her not remembering, is to take her again at 10. πŸ™‚ The only regrets I have in life regarding travel are for things I haven’t done rather than things I have. You are bight, imaginative and not afraid of work. There will always be a job waiting. –Curt

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  27. Sounds like the perfect time. Besides if you find you aren’t having the time of your life (fat chance of that!!) you could cut it short. Or if you are – extend it!! I love to travel and it sounds as though you have a perfect time and trip planned. Can’t wait to read all about it!!! πŸ™‚

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  28. Don’t overthink it, Lesley. But I suggest to do it before Athena get to school. She’ll bring a lot of memories to shared with her friends or future friends before she the class starts.

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  29. I follow a lot of travel blogs and at 27 sometimes I feel like my avidity for travel and adventure is incompatible with having a family of my own. I know that it’s possible it just takes planning and more money perhaps, but it would be really inspiring to see you do the world with a small person as a single mother. I feel like motherhood/family/marriage can be the greatest adventure of them all, and to see that combine with freedom would be really inspiring to me and people like me.
    society so often makes it seem an either/or and I would love to see you turn family and travel into a both/and, espcially with motherhood where there are so many messages saying life ends once you even sart thinking of having a little one what with no more stinky cheese, sushi, and sacrificin your sleep, body, and all that.

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  30. Hopefully you saw my last (late) comment, on your post about rediscovering your passion. Loved the shout out, and appreciated the sharing. I get the desire, but wonder what is driving it. How would A feel, being away from her dad, and how would he feel, being away from her? Tough decisions, and I agree: it’s easier while she’s young. I look forward to following along! Who knows, maybe I’ll actually meet up with you (finally) in one of these places. πŸ™‚

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    • We’ve been traveling regularly for the last six years and basically my entire life. I think about what’s to come and how much I’d like for Athena to be in school full time, enrolled in sports or whatever she likes, and part of a community. I just feel like now is the ideal time to explore a few more countries that we wanted to visit while deciding what comes next. Financially, we won’t be able to stay in SoCal long term nor I certain its where I want to be. With so much uncertainly and so many wonderful decisions coming up, taking some time to truly enjoy the two things I love most – travel and Athena- seems like a great start. I want Athena to have a great relationship with her dad and it’s why I stayed here for the last year but I have to plan for our future with our best interests first. I don’t take the decision lightly. I guess time will tell but I’ll keep sharing in the process. πŸ™‚

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      • I know this is a tough one, and understand all of your reasons… not that you owe me or anyone else an explanation! πŸ˜‰ I’m sure the adventures will be worthwhile and meaningful for both you and Athena. Will your new partner join you too? Wow, so many big decisions on your plate. Wishing you the best as you sort it all out. xox

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        • Nah, I never feel like it’s an “owe you an explanation” type of situation. I appreciate your thoughts and words. It’s helpful to hear from others, especially from others who have been around since the beginning. I do consider everyone involved, including Athena’s dad, when making decisions. I’m happy that he is part of her life and I don’t want that to change.

          As for my partner, I never know the proper word to use, I’d like for him to join us wherever we are. It’s still a rather new relationship in terms of figuring out what’s next but we are working on it together. πŸ™‚

          It’s truly remarkable the difference one person can make in your life. I worried that the happiness and enthusiasm that I use to feel for life and what’s next was changed so much that it would be impossible to get back but it’s a daily part of my life again. I felt like a robot going through the motions of everyday life without the emotion. Like I was shut off or in sleep mode. Even the most beautiful things were tainted in some ways. Anyway, that’s all for another time and maybe not right here lol.

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  31. I recently read a great article about a mom that visited 18 countries with her baby while on maternity leave! Check it out: http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/parenting/mom-visits-18-countries-with-baby-on-globe-trotting-maternity-leave/ar-AAj4ny7?li=BBjnvnR&ocid=spartanntp

    She also has a blog that gives tips on how to travel with baby. http://www.travelmadmum.com

    I am not a mom, but learning her story definitely changed my mind about traveling with your child.

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