Monday, August 3, 2015

The Year Trip. 25 Days Until Go Time!

We are leaving for our Year Trip in 25 days. Twenty-five days is less than a month and I still feel like we have so much to do. It is funny because we have been planning this trip on and off for years, but for the last 5 years it has really started to take shape. It always seemed like such a far off dream and we have had plenty of setbacks and issues that have made it seem like it was never going to happen, but every time we made a different decision or made a new change that get us a little closer to the trip, it feels a little more real. This past week we made a big move towards getting ready, we delivered all our winter and ski gear to the family cabin in New Mexico, where we will start our ski season next winter. We are getting closer to our goal, which has been a long time in the works.

The idea of traveling the world started when Andrew, my husband, and I met while
Andrew and I in front of Notre Dame, Paris - first date. 
backpacking through Europe. We were at different parts of our trips, he was going home and I was just beginning, but we spent 3 days in Paris together, seeing the sights, eating great food and enjoying the simplicity and love of travel. When Andrew headed back to Seattle, he wrote a letter to my parents’ home while I was still traveling, I made my mom read the letter when I check in with her and Andrew and I chatted on the phone when I was able to make a collect call in whatever random hostel I was staying in (this was 1996 – way before we even knew about cell phones or considered having a personal email address). Our conversations were always about traveling, whether we were going to head over to WSU (where we both graduated from) for Apple Cup, or when we would come back to Europe or maybe when we would visit somewhere new like Australia or New Zealand. We met so many travelers from Down Under, we figured we could easily find a cheap place to stay. Our love of travel continued while we were dating and during our marriage. We love long weekends away, exploring new places and knew this was something we needed to do more often. For our honeymoon we traveled back to Europe and explored France, Spain and Portugal. But sadly, we haven’t been back together since then. Before we had our first child, we had plans to spend some time in Italy, but our first child came before we had a chance to pack our bags. Instead of traveling to Italy, we named our daughter Siena, with the hope that we could visit with her one day. We are so happy and blessed with our two beautiful daughters, and we have done some amazing trips with our girls, but we also have started to get sucked into the day-to-day business that comes with school, work, after school activities, friends, family commitments, home projects, and the list goes on and on. It feels like we are hamsters on a wheel, moving through the same steps, just on a different day. And finally, my husband and I realized this was not how we wanted to spend our family time, because we never really had family time at home, if we were at home we are usually being stretched in 20 different directions, and that is when we made the decision to buy our camper. 

Trip to watch WSU in the Rose Bowl 
The idea came when we saw others camping near our favorite ski area at Alpental Ski Area near Snoqualmie Pass, we loved the idea of coming up for the entire weekend to ski and be together. Once we got the camper our weekends became ours again. We could head out on a Friday night after school and spend Saturday and Sunday with no commitments or plans, just playing, skiing and being a family. Our weekends became week long trips and the longest trip was last summer when we took 3 weeks to travel around the 11 Western states. After this trip, we knew we were ready. We knew it was going to be tough, but we also knew it was the kind of challenge we wanted. And that is when we made our decision official. We vowed last summer that the 2015-2016 school year was going to be the year we pulled the girls out of their traditional school settings and home school them on the road while we travel around Canada and the United States. We have been saving our money, we have been setting our itinerary, we have been purging everything in our home and we are getting ready to go. Our girls have gone through each stage of the grieving process. They were definitely not on board when the idea of this trip came up. They did not believe we would actual be going, this was the first stop at the Denial stage. Then they were really mad at us too, this was the Anger stage. How could we do this to them! Take them on an amazing adventure they will never forget – I know, the cruelty! But in reality, they really don’t want to leave their friends and transitions are never easy for kids, especially a change this big. We are not just moving to another city, we are packing our entire family and only a few possessions into a very small camper and traveling to a new location every few days or weeks. 

They have tried to negotiate with us, the Bargaining stage, trying to figure out what could go wrong so that we might have to stay home. We have had plenty of setbacks and challenges trying to make this trip happen. Probably the biggest challenge we have faced this year was Andrew’s prostate cancer diagnosis. Cancer is scary and nothing to take lightly, but luckily Andrew had amazing doctors, the cancer was small and slow growing, so he made the decision to have surgery to remove the prostate. His recovery is an ongoing process, but his doctors have given him the go ahead for the trip. His GP doctor has even tried to help plan parts of the trip! One thing cancer will teach you real quick is that life is short and now is the time to live.

The girls have also gone through the Depression stage. We have had many nights with tears and long conversations about why we have to go, and they get sad when they think about the things they will miss out on at home. But as we are getting closer to leaving they have moved on to Acceptance. They are excited about all the cool things they will get to see and do. They are looking forward to home schooling, or road schooling as we like to refer to it, especially when we tell them they get to be in charge of some of the lesson plans. They understand that 9 months to a year is really not that long of a time in the big scheme of things and they also realize that with as much technology we have available, their friends will only be a phone call, text or video chat away. Although, we are going to still make them send letters and postcards – because that is one of the best parts of traveling. We also plan on visiting friends and family that we don’t see very often because they live in other parts of the country. Cousins in Virginia, Florida and Texas, Uncle in Montana, Aunts, Uncles and more cousins in California and hopefully friends in various parts of the country for meets ups during their school breaks. We have a packed schedule and now I keep hoping one year is going to be enough time!

Recent family trip to The Gorge to see The Zac Brown Band
And now with 25 days left to go we have a lot more to get done. We need to find qualified tenants to rent our home, we didn’t think it would be so tough to find renters for our Ballard home, but when we try and rent it furnished, for 9 months and no pets we cut out a big population of renters. We may have to give in a little on our requirements, which is something to think about. We also have to figure out what we are going to take on the trip and what we don’t need anymore. One of my biggest struggles is trying to pack an entire year’s worth of clothes – for a variety of seasons and climates into a 19" x 14" x 7" H box (yep, this is what I am storing all my clothes in for the year – I will sneak in coats and shoes in other spots in the camper, but that’s it – this could be a whole blog post on its own). Not to mention packing the girls' clothes, moving items we want to keep, but can’t take on the trip into storage, setting up our road schooling curriculum, and seeing all of our friends and family before we go. We have been spending this summer planning, packing and preparing – with a few short camper adventures thrown in, but for the next 25 days, we have to finish packing and final preparations, getting the camper organized and making sure we have everything we need. 

Thank goodness we are going to be in Canada and the United States, we know that if we need anything there are lots of stores along the way that we can probably get what we need, so for now, we are just counting the days and filling the boxes and hoping someone else wants to live in our house so we can live out our dream!  


  1. Can't wait to hear about all your adventures - you guys are an inspiration!

  2. So fun-the girls will LOVE it! What a special thing to get to do this!

  3. So awesome - you guys are inspiring!