Since being home, we’ve had lots of questions about our around the world adventure. Here are all of our commonly asked questions, answered.
“WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?”
This is always the first question someone asks. We’ve been to a lot of places, so what was the best? This is a hard question to answer as the eight months were filled with many different countries, amazing memories and fantastic experiences. My favourite was Bhutan. I loved being in the mountains with the spectacular scenery, in a land that takes you back in time. Dave loved China, an enormous country with so much to see and do. Dylan and Flynn both list Australia as their favourite country and Logan loved our time in New Zealand touring in a camper van.
“WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENT?”
Another tough question…as there were so many great moments.
My favourite moment would have to be as we left home at the start of our trip for the drive up to Heathrow airport and the subsequent plane ride taking us from the UK and transporting the five of us to Shanghai, China. The anticipation and excitement about our adventure, looking forward to new countries, people, and foods, and knowing that we where about to spend eight months together as a family. It was an incredible moment.
Dylan’s favourite moment was swimming with sharks in South Africa. This is something he’d wanted to do before we even set off on our world trip. It was the most incredible experience, swimming with these huge creatures in their natural habitat. Scary at first but completely awesome..!
Logan’s best moments were all animal related. Tracking komodo dragons on Komodo Island, learning about being an elephant mahout in Laos and being on safari in South Africa.
One of my favorite things about travelling is that it makes you go outside your comfort zone, doing things you wouldn’t normally do.
“WHAT WAS YOUR WORST MOMENT?”
Becoming stranded at sea in a tiny plastic boat in stormy weather when the engine broke down, off the Indonesian island of Flores. This was the most scary, dangerous moment of the whole trip. One that none of us wish to repeat. We were lucky as we managed to get mobile reception to the mainland and a travel company we’d used previously managed to get another boat out to us. It could have been very different!
“HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO PLAN?”
Not that long really. Having made the decision to travel the world in May 2016 we planned and organised the trip in just three months! I was the chief planner organising visa’s and booking flights, hotels and activities. I was lucky that I could concentrate solely on the trip during this period. We had the first six months of travel organised before we left home. During this period we also had to sell our cars, put our careers on hold and take the boys out of school. This was an immensely exciting time, full of anticipation for the trip ahead.
We had always wanted to travel extensively with the boys but it wasn’t until a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during the easter holidays of the year we set off round the world that we realised they were ready to travel. They were a good age, being old enough to remember all that we did, but not too old to make missing school an issue. They took in everything we did and saw, like sponges soaking up water, enriching their knowledge. Importantly they were good travellers enjoying the experience and wanting to get the most out of it. It was from this that the decision was made to go for it and travel the world for eight months. It was the best decision of our lives to date.
“HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHERE TO GO?”
I’m the sort of person who always has a plan! Dave and I had travelled around the world after university and have lived in various locations overseas, always travelling as much as possible. We wanted to take the boys to places we’d loved and experienced before, but also new places where none of us had been and always wanted to visit. China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia and South Africa were new destinations to us all. I managed to get some amazing round the world tickets from Trailfinders and spent a few weeks determining exactly where we would go and for how long. It was an exciting jigsaw puzzle fitting it all in.
“WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING TOGETHER ALL OF THE TIME?”
We were together, almost all day every day, for 250 days!
We were able to spend huge amounts of quality time together as a family. Being able to spend quality time with our children was one of the best parts of the trip. What a gift to be able to create so many memories together.
At the same time, it was hard being together all of the time. There were times when being together constantly became too much. Being together 24/7 was a big adjustment for us all.
For Dylan, Logan and Flynn, they’ve always been close but being forced to spend so much time together, actually brought them closer. With no friends around to play with they were forced to interact as a threesome. I am sure that the close bonds they developed will remain as they grow older.
“WHAT WAS HOME SCHOOLING LIKE?”
Brilliant. We loved being able to teach the boys, targeting lessons to their needs and interests. Lessons would average two hours per day with weekends off, giving us plenty of time during the day to also get out and see the world. Travelling the world is an education in itself and the boys have learnt so much from this experience.
Now that we are home, the boys have adjusted well to being back in school. They are all doing really well. We seem to have done a good job with our home schooling!
“DID YOU EVER FEEL IN DANGER?”
Only once whilst bobbing about in the sea in our broken down boat in Indonesia. We were never robbed, assaulted, or harassed in any way. Our belongings were never stolen out of our hotel rooms, we were never pick-pocketed, or threatened in any way. Of course, we took precautions. We kept our belongings locked up in the hotel rooms, we left our jewellery and watches at home, we did not wear any fancy clothing, and we kept our phones and cameras in a bag when not using them.
The world is a much safer place than the media would have you believe. Most of the people we met were kind, helpful, and interested in talking to us. Travelling conditions put us in far more danger than the people we met. Travelling by car or boat in some countries felt quite scary at times, making sure we drank clean water and well prepared food was challenging in some places and avoiding getting bitten by mosquitos was another concern.
“DID ANYONE GET SICK?”
We had the expected stomach bugs, particularly during the first few months of our travels, but nobody got seriously ill. We didn’t have to visit a doctor at any point, treating ourselves with our well equipped first aid kit.
“WAS IT LIKE BEING ON ONE LONG HOLIDAY?”
Travelling is very different to being on holiday. Our trip was all about experiencing the world and making the most of every day. We travelled to a new place on average every three days so there was little time for rest and relaxation. We loved it though.
“HOW DID IT CHANGE YOU?”
We certainly have more appreciation for the things that we once took for granted. Clean drinking water, plentiful food, power that runs twenty four hours a day, and the opportunity to go to school and live in a nice house are all readily available in the United Kingdom. So much of the world lives at a level of poverty not seen in the United Kingdom. It is hard to believe it until you see it with your own eyes. Travelling like we did really opened our eyes up to this. Our perspective on life is different now. We are more grateful for the things we have and are happy having less stuff. What we want is to make more memories.
The boys have grown enormously in a year becoming more confident, more “worldly wise” and more aware of different people and cultures. They proved to be highly adaptable throughout the journey and constantly made us proud when willing to try new things and experiences. The boys now view the world with a more global perspective, wanting to possibly live abroad and certainly travel more. It will be interesting to see how our travels shape the future for the three of them.
They have seen a lot with their young eyes and it takes a lot to faze them now. Whether right or wrong, they’ve seen the killing fields in Cambodia, chickens being decapitated in Vietnam, phalluses painted on the walls of houses in Bhutan, extreme poverty in various parts of the world, extreme beauty in others, the list goes on and on. Dylan, Logan and Flynn have matured a lot and realize how fortunate they are to live in the UK, a lesson that most kids and many adults don’t truly get a chance to learn.
“WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE BACK?”
Different for each of us. I have found it most difficult adjusting to being back at home although I am much more used to it now. I miss the travel, new experiences, excitement and planning that comes with long term travel.
The boys have had no trouble to adjusting to “normal”life. They are all back at school, doing their usual sporting activities and enjoying being back in one place.
Dave has started a new job up in London. He is crazy busy and enjoying the challenge of something new.
We are lucky that we have a great life here in Wales with a lovely home, jobs, school, family and friends. We are so lucky to have all of this.
“WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?”
Absolutely, but not in the near future. As parents, we want the boys to have some stability for the next few years, especially with two of them in secondary school from September. We will have to fit lots of travel into the school holidays! Dave and I have travelled around the world twice now, once after university and this time with the boys. Both times were fantastic, giving us different experiences. After university we travelled very cheaply, finding accommodation as we went, having to spend time working in Australia to make more money. This time travelling as a family, making memories together, with flights and accommodation all booked in advance. We had more money this time around but were still careful about what we spent. I’m thinking another round the world trip in ten years time…!
Taking a trip like this does not extinguish any wanderlust we may have had at the start of this trip. In fact, for every destination we ticked off the list, two more got added. Our quest to see as much of the world as possible, to fill our lives with memories, will continue way past the last day of this trip. Now we are once again faced with the obstacle of balancing work with time away to travel, all while raising three kids.
“HOW DO YOU TOP IT?”
I’m not sure you do, in the short-term anyway. How do you top a one year trip around the world? However, there are so many places still to explore. Next year we’re planning a trip to Nepal to hike to Everest Base Camp. This was something I wanted to do this time around, but having researched it Flynn was a little young for the high altitudes. Later on next year the boys will be 10, 12 and 14, that bit older to cope with the altitude and living conditions en-route to Everest Base Camp.
We also want to inspire other families to travel more and to experience more of the world.
See Also: Eight Months Around the World