On our very first date, Robin told me about his dream of taking a year to travel the world, probably to make sure I would at least be willing to entertain the idea! Although I hadn’t traveled at all as a child and only some as an adult up until that point, I was keen on the idea and thought it sounded like a goal worth aspiring to. Originally his dream was to sail around the world and, being somewhat of a good sport, I agreed to take sailing lessons with him early on. I think he really enjoyed them but I say we would have ended up divorced before we were even married if we’d continued. I don’t like open water very much and I’m nervous when Robin is driving the car, let alone navigating a vessel on the vast, scary ocean. We quickly revised the plan (i.e. I said new plan or I’m not going) and have been talking ever since about taking a sabbatical year to travel with our kids.
By now I have traveled to many countries both with Robin and on my own and I have definitely caught the travel bug. Before meeting Robin I did a few resort vacations with friends and then in 2003, embarked on my most adventurous trip to date when I visited Europe with my friend Suzanne. It was a bit of a whirlwind and over the course of only 10 days we visited England, Holland, Belgium and Ireland. Since then, Robin and I have been to Thailand – one of my favourite places in the world has been Chiang Mai – and Cambodia in 2005, then Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in 2006, and Italy in 2012. We visited Dubai as a family in 2015 and while we were there, my dad, sister and I also made a side trip to Jordan. In 2016, Robin and I went to Iceland to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and then in 2018, Robin and Kieran went to Belize together and Caleb and I went to Guatemala on a mission trip with our church. It was a great experience traveling alone with each of the boys and helping them gain some travel experience and confidence being in an unfamiliar country with just one parent. This past year I had the opportunity to visit Germany and Poland, again with Suzanne, and Poland stole my heart! I’m very excited to add a long list of countries visited to my travel resume.
Besides traveling and learning about the culture, geography and day to day life in other countries, I think one of the things I love most about travel is what it has taught me about myself. Travel certainly pushes me out of my comfort zone and tests the boundaries of my tolerance and perspectives. While traveling in Australia and New Zealand, I learned that I don’t prefer to move around very quickly between places we are staying. I became very agitated (okay, I freaked out) especially when there was a lot of flying involved and I knew that for future travel, it would be important to me to stay a little longer in each place that we visited. That’s probably one of the things that made me love Chiang Mai so much – we stayed for longer in one place and I started to become familiar and feel comfortable with our surroundings. While I’m okay with minimal planning and being spontaneous during travel, I don’t like being rushed or trying to fit too many things into a short period of time. I do like to have prior knowledge of what to expect and do some advance planning for things that we absolutely want to be able to do/see/experience in order to avoid disappointment in the moment. I do not like being lost and to this day, cannot find the adventure in it. Maybe that will change (but probably not).
Above all else and probably most importantly, I love to travel with Robin and now with the boys as well. Seeing the world and being able to share experiences with them is one of the greatest joys in my life. Taking us out of the rush and bustle of every day life and being able to joyfully share experiences and grow together are among the reasons that this dream has become an important reality for our family. One that we have prioritized for many years now and I can’t wait to embark on together.
Top row (left to right) – Robin and I taking cooking lessons in Thailand; me sitting on steps of a temple in Ankor Wat, Cambodia; feeding kangaroos in Adelaide, Australia.
Second from top row – bungee jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand (top left); visiting the Guinness brewery with Suz in Dublin, Ireland (bottom left); Robin and I sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy (right).
Third row – Colosseum in Rome, Italy; eating pizza in Naples, Italy; Robin, Caleb and Kieran climbing the sand dunes in Dubai, UAE; Lori and I at Petra in Jordan.
Fourth row – snacking on glacial ice in Iceland; diving at Silfra in Iceland (top middle); at Kerid, a volcanic crater in Iceland (bottom middle); enjoying a pint (and then some) at Hofbrauhaus Munchen.
Bottom row – discovering my new favourite food (Zapiekanka) in the Jewish Quarter in Krakow, Poland; Caleb and I admiring the view from our hostel in Coban, Guatemala.