My name is Stephen, I life in Santa Cruz California and I just turned 38 years old. I have 2 kids ages 4 and 6 and my wife, Wendy is 12 days my senior. We have been married for 14 years. Wendy is a registered nurse and was my college sweetheart. I am a family practice physician assistant. Our son is in preschool and our daughter just finished the first grade. This is the story of our 1 year (343-day journey) into and around the world. Here is a photo of our family in November while traveling to Rotorua New Zealand:
Riding the Luge in Rotorua New Zeland
Read our Manifesto
The Traditional Gap Year
Taking a gap year was originally designed to be a break from academics before college, for personal growth, travel, or to participate in community service or internships.
This is a common term in Europe and Australia and roughly 230,000 young Britons annually leave on such an adventure.
In the United States, no one tracks the exact numbers of American students taking gap years, but most agree the trend is growing.
Studies have shown that students taking a gap year can benefit from time off to stave off burnout and enjoy self-discovery.
- They can benefit from cultural and language immersion programs, home stays, and community service programs.
- They can learn valuable communication skills, network and make important lifelong connections.
- Students who return from gap year do well in college, they are often more focused, party less and study more.
Grown up Gap Years
It is estimated that 90,000 working-age Britons take career breaks every year and another 200,000 retirees aged 55+ will also join their ranks.
Commonly used terms for this generation of gappers are:
- Career Breaks
- Mature Volunteers
After months or even years slaving away at the same job, many feel that now is the right time to take a career break or sabbatical.
Career breaks can be anything from a few weeks abroad to a full year’s sabbatical seeing the world.
Those who want to give themselves some breathing space from work to travel and explore the world, may try to negotiate a career break for a few weeks or months?
A career break is usually unpaid, but the advantage is that you can enjoy travel but return to a secure job, refreshed and ready for a new challenge.
Sabbaticals can be a great way to escape the stress and responsibility of the workplace. Sabbaticals are usually taken for a longer period of time than a career break, and allow for time to explore a range of exciting destinations at your own pace.
A career break or sabbatical can be the perfect opportunity to take a short gap break without all the commitments of a full-on trip.
Senior Gap Years
It is estimated that 200,000 British retirees aged 55+ will also join their ranks.
Commonly used terms for these “senior gappers” are:
- Grown up Gappers
- Golden Gap Years
- Mature Volunteers
More and more career breakers, grown-up gappers, and retired gappers are now venturing into the unknown – why not live and work in a community that is so far removed from the routine existence of the Western world it’s impossible not to come back with a brand new perspective, higher energy levels, greater motivation and a general sense of increased clarity and peace!
The Family Gap Year
You have a good job, 2.5 kids, a townhouse in a decent neighborhood, 2.5 cars, a stable marriage and you are making some headway on your retirement goals. All is perfect right?
Your job is challenging, but it has become routine, your sex life is stagnant, you have some discretionary income, but it seems all your money goes to repair or replace something that needs repairing or replacing.
You have this sinking feeling that there is more to life, but what is it?
When you were in college you dreamed of traveling the world, but you never found the time. After graduate school, you were offered a good job so you took it. Your spouse is your rock, supportive, kind and loving. They also have built a life to support the family.
You remember your Grandfather telling you how the years flew by and before he knew it he was an old man. You sense that life is flying by, your kids were just babies the other day. You have big dreams, but how do you live them now?
Now is the time
2015 is an unprecedented time in history for family travel. It will only get easier as communication technology becomes more abundant, internet speeds become faster and more ubiquitous, life in the US becomes infinitely more expensive, and more families will be in a position to negotiate remote work arrangements.
The advent and growth of the internet have allowed families to connect, explore and learn in ways I never thought imaginable. And on very low budgets.
- You do not need to be a millionaire to take your family abroad.
- The gap year can be a stepping stone to career development in place of career burnout.
- The family gap year can rejuvenate your marriage and bring you closer together with your spouse.
- The family gap year can bring you closer to your kids.
- A family gap year can teach valuable lessons in generosity, kindness, and community service.
Get Out, Adventure and Explore – With Kids!
While preparing for our family gap year, I spent countless hours (OK maybe days or weeks) on the internet doing research about around the world family travel.
Most of the time my research revolved around three basic questions:
- Where should we go with kids?
- Where should we sleep with kids (finding accommodations)?
- Where should we explore with kids (what types of adventures can we do as a family)?
Let’s be honest when it comes to family travel Lonely Planet Guidebooks leave a lot to be desired.
So I am creating this blog to hopefully help you while you plan your gap year, and not just any old gap year, a family gap year.
To save you time by focusing on Family Travel with Kids
This blog will tell you exactly:
- Where we went with kids: How exactly we got there and what transport ion we used while we were there… And exactly how much this cost.
- Where we slept with kids: How each accommodation was for families, what amenities there were and exactly how much we paid.
- Where we explored with kids: What places are the best places to go in each destination with children, and exactly how much we paid.
I want to create resources, guides and handouts that will help your family navigate the often treacherous waters of global family travel.
Time above all else!
- Time is the only currency of true value, and we should value it above all our possessions.
- Life is short, life is beautiful, our worries that seem so important today are mere distractions when compared to the full spectrum of our lives.
- Our children grow up fast, in a world focused on collecting stuff, they don’t need stuff, they need our time and our attention.
- Live today, care deeply for others, take time to enjoy the little things… the simple things and have confidence in the journey!
This is an unconventional guide – A site built for families who need a straightforward, no-nonsense, simple to follow the path for breaking the “rules”.
The web is an amazing resource for planning any kind of trip, but it is overwhelming and the resources for families are often limited.
- Most bloggers and travelers are giving advice as solo or couples travelers
- Much of the information is wonderful but very disorganized
- I just want a simple start here and end here guide (much like my man Rick Steve’s) for a 1 year around the world adventure. One that is dedicated to families!
Families need special accommodation, travel info for 3 or 4 or more, and a way to determine a real family budget. Kids travel differently than adults and families are often established with homes, jobs and too much stuff which need to be appropriately dealt with before leaving on an around the world adventure.
So this web site is made for us. This site is for families who need a straight forward, no-nonsense, simple to follow guide for traveling around the world for as cheap as is humanly possible while still enjoying everything the world has to offer.
Why is Learning How to Learn is So important?
“It is the single most important activity that you can undertake. It is the Archimedes lever for squeezing the most out of every hour you have on this planet.”
Cast of Characters
Our family consists of 4 members; 2 children (Lucca and Layla) and two adults (Stephen and Wendy). The current ages of the kids are 4, and 6.
- We view long term travel not as an escape but as an adventure and passion – a way of overcoming your fears and living life to the fullest.
- By following our blog you will find out how to gain an impressive wealth of travel (and family) time through simplicity.
- You will find out how to discover and deal with new experiences and adventures on the road. Not as a solo, 20 something traveler but as a family. And as much as anything, you will find out how to travel the world on your own terms, by overcoming the myths and pretensions that threaten to cheapen the experience.
If You’ve Ever…
- If you’ve ever felt the urge to travel for extended periods of time but aren’t sure how to find the time and freedom to do it, this is the place for you.
- If you’ve traveled before but felt something vital was missing from the experience, this blog is for you, too.
- This blog is not for misfits, daredevils and thrill seekers (although maybe just a little bit :-)) but for any family willing to make an uncommon choice that allows for weeks and months at a time, improvising (and saving money) as you go.
If this sounds like an intriguing possibility, then by all means subscribe to our blog…