When I look at the world....

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Saturday, October 10, 2009

....I ponder; then I wonder where to wander!

With just 66 days until lift off, it's about time we got our blog up to start recording our progress and inevitable hurdles. It's amazing how many people have asked if they could follow our travels while we are gone. Maybe they were just being polite, but you are here now reading this, and that's all that matters, so welcome - it's good to have you here.

Just in case you don't know who we are, and have found our blog by chance, let us introduce ourselves. Hello. We are a Canadian family of four currently living in Alberta, Canada, though our roots are English and Irish (so if you notice spelling "variations", they aren't mistakes, they're "accents", or at least, that's the excuse I'm going with). We plan to spend eight months travelling around the world, in the unorthodox anticlockwise (see what I mean about the spelling) direction. Lauren & Alex will miss most of Grade 3 & 2 respectively, but we hope that despite what they'll miss in the classroom, they will learn valuable life lessons while travelling.

We've been thinking about making this trip for several years now, but it was earlier this year that we started to crank the planning up a notch - When exactly should we leave? How long to go for? Where should we go? What do we want to see and do?

Easy questions; the answers are somewhat harder. When planning to travel around the world time becomes the currency of your household. First, there's finding the time to plan while simply living your current life, then there's determining the correct time to commit to a decision, the right length of time to allocate to this or that, the time needed for travelling, the time for playing and the time to breathe. When you try to cram everything in to your "plan", you find that the concept of time can change in front of your, frequently crossing, eyes ... it's as if months become weeks and days become hours. Without Microsoft Excel spreadsheets we wouldn't be as ready as we are today (sorry Mac fans). Prioritizing our, waaay too long list, of "must-dos" was not an easy task, even for a couple of engineer types; we sadly even had to drop hiking in Nepal in search of Snow Leopards (When I say sadly, I'm referring to Lauren of course). Some key events were easy to lock-in though and have largely dictated our route and timing (e.g. the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in China). We've tried to involve the kids in the planning as much as possible, but at 6 & 8 years old their current concept of what the world has to offer is somewhat limited and also lies somewhere between cute-but-dangerous (Lauren's big-cat fascination) and the non existent (Alex's Pokemon addiction).  

So, after much research and debate we have finally nailed down a rough itinerary and booked our flights. A key word in the last sentence is "rough" - as we have come to challenge our engineering minds over the past few months with building a plan that is not designed to the micro-second, but still has white-space built in. This was painful, but we're hopeful that the white-space is where much of the value of this trip willl ultimately be found. The pre-planned milestones can be found plotted on the map; TBD for the rest!

To add to the experience (or maybe it's the engineering thing again), we've each decided to take on a theme on which we'll individually focus on in each country; Lauren will focus on animals/habitats and children/schools; Alex has Transportation and Infrastructure (i.e. roads, bridges and buildings); Sarah's got food and Derek has taken sports and....wait for it....no surprise here....local drinks! So, watch out for the stories associated with our individual quests....I think Derek's holds most promise for amusing anecdotes....

That's all for now, but stay posted and we'll keep you updated with our plans and progress reports.

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