We are a normal family that took 13 months out of our lives to travel around the world. We put our careers on hold, sold our house and cars, and took our kids out of school in order to have this amazing year of adventures.
Meet Our Family
Husband, father, and the sherpa of the family, Tim is a two time Ironman Triathlete (completing the Florida Ironman in 2010 and the New York City Ironman in 2012) and prior Division 1 Hurdler for the University of Maryland. Tim enjoyed every moment of our travels. To be able to take a career break and spend one year of quality time with his family, all while traveling 87,000 miles around our little blue planet, was the best gift he could have ever given himself. Topping the list of his favorite experiences, Tim loved the trek to Everest Base Camp…11 days filled with adventure, awe inspiring views, and some of the most challenging conditions we have ever faced, standing at Everest Base Camp was one of the most rewarding moments of our travels.
Tim feels fortunate to be working with Analytical Graphics once again, enjoying new responsibilities. He also looks forward to mixing travel with triathlon events in the future.
Mother, wife, and crazy idea generator for the family, Julie is also an Ironman Finisher (completing Ironman Florida in 2009) and Division I Track athlete. Her passion is photography, and she has filled this blog with photos from all around the world. She never saw herself as much of a writer, but keeping this website updated while traveling was a life changing experience. Currently, Julie is working as a physician assistant in the OR on a part-time basis while keeping this blog up to date.
At first, Tyler was a very reluctant traveler, resistant to our plan of leaving our comfortable life behind for a year of traveling around the world. His perspective quickly changed and Tyler became the most enthusiastic traveler of the four of us. A year out in the world opened his eyes to new experiences, where he embraced new activities, such as bungy jumping in New Zealand, speaking mandarin in China, and shark cage diving in South Africa.
Tyler is currently 13 years old and attending the 8th grade in public school. He plays the violin, is working towards his second degree black belt in karate, has taken up long-distance running, and is currently learning Spanish.
The most enthusiastic traveler of our family, Kara got the wanderlust bug at a very young age. Naturally adventurous and open to new experiences, Kara was the most eager to leave everything behind for a trip around the world. Her favorite moments were the animal encounters along the Garden Route of South Africa, surfing in Fiji, and traveling through New Zealand and Australia. But surprisingly, this little girl who wanted to travel so badly, was also the one most afflicted with homesickness. Her source of comfort was Simba, the little stuffed lion she bought at Kruger National Park in South Africa, her constant companion who was always at her side. Now that we are back in the US, Kara is happy to be home, but like her brother, is longing to travel once again.
Kara is currently 11 years old and in the seventh grade. She is so happy to be back with her friends, playing the violin, rock climbing, and having a bedroom all to herself. Kara is extremely independent and it would not surprise me to see her out traveling the world solo when she is older.
Why Did We Do It?
The easy answer would be that we all share a passion for traveling, which is true. Reasons for a trip like this go deeper than just a love of seeing new places. Our time with our children is short. Tyler and Kara are growing up incredibly fast and before we know it, they will be in college and starting lives of their own. We wanted to spend as much quality time with Tyler and Kara as possible while they are still children. This trip wasn’t just about seeing a bunch of countries and museums and UNESCO sites. It was about going on an adventure as a family, LIVING, doing something unforgettable, changing our view of the world, and learning about what is really out there.
But was all of this enough to take such a big risk, to sell our house and cars, take the kids out of school, put our careers on hold, leave family and friends, and be faced with the unknown of what happens when we return, in order to do something so unconventional? It took us four years from the moment we first had the idea to actually make the leap. In the end we realized that we wanted to live our lives to the fullest and have amazing experiences together as a family.
Being able to travel around the world as a family is a gift, one that we do not take for granted. Now that the adventure is over, not a day goes by that I do not reflect on what we did without feeling extremely fortunate. It was the most amazing year of our lives so far (how do you top that?!!), which leaves us wondering…where do we go from here?
Now, Tyler and Kara are back in public school, Tim and I are back to work, and we have a house to take care of once again. Our challenge now is to squeeze as much short-term travel and adventure into our more conventional lives, to inspire others to go outside of their comfort zones, and to help others realize their dreams of traveling to faraway places.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?Mary Oliver