Connor is in fourth grade and enjoys swimming and playing card games. His favourite subjects at school are math and science. Connor enjoys school but he is looking forward to traveling the world for a year to explore, learn about the different cultures, and to spend time with Mom and Dad. Connor makes us laugh with his sense of humour and witty comments. He is “Mr. Easy Going” so we hope he will adjust well to new places and cultures.
Caleb is in seventh grade and loves school. He will miss school and his friends for the year we are away but he is looking forward to learning about different cultures. Caleb loves math and playing piano. He is a detailed and logical thinker, who likes to know the plan for things and will help us to stay on track with our itinerary and budget! Caleb enjoys using the computer and will be a big help with the blog.
Barb is an elementary teacher and the one who initiated this crazy idea of traveling the world for a year. Fortunately, she has a very accommodating husband who was willing to go along with the idea! She likes to organize things and to create interesting learning experiences for the boys. Barb is an introvert who loves adventure and is addicted to surfing the MLS listings (always looking for that special piece of property in the country!).
Clay is a music teacher that dabbles in computer technology and audio gear in his spare time. He is married to Barb (a planner and organizer) which is a perfect match because Clay can’t remember what he had for breakfast to save his life! In addition to following Barb around the world, Clay enjoys teaching and learning magic with Caleb and throwing Connor around in the pool.
A very special thank you to our families and friends, without whom this trip would not have been possible. Both sets of parents have helped us to get our house ready to lease; they are helping to oversee our affairs while we are away; and they have offered tremendous support. All of our friends and family members have been incredible every step of the way and we can’t thank you enough.
Thank you also to our school, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School in Oakville, ON, where both Clay and I are teachers. The school has been incredibly supportive of us and we hope we will return even better teachers, having had this opportunity. During our travels we will be inquiring about various overseas experiences (i.e. Green School Camp – Bali) which might be good future experiential trips for the girls at St. Mildred’s.
And we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing without the spiritual support and guidance of our church, Forestview Church Without Walls. It is with the help of our church family that we try to keep our priorities straight and find our path.
Interview – Our Thoughts Before the Trip
(We answered these questions before we set out on the trip and we will answer them again every 3 months to see if/how our answers change.)
- What are your goals for the trip?
Clay: I don’t really have any goals! (But now that I hear Caleb’s I want his goals!)
Caleb: to try new foods, speak different languages, and to learn about other cultures
Connor: to go on the slide at the Great Wall; to not be too scared to get on an elephant in Thailand
Barb: My goals are:
For me –
- To spend time together as a family, learning and trying new things
- To spend time outside each day so we can appreciate God’s creation – and hopefully lose a few pounds in the process (8 would be great!)
- To slow down and reflect on our lives, our priorities, and the world around us
For the boys –
- Perspective – To experience other cultures so the boys recognize how fortunate they are to live where they do and they look at things from a different perspective
- Purpose – To expose the boys to a variety of cultures, activities, and experiences with the hopes that they will see that they can make a difference in the world
- Passion – It would be amazing if through this trip the boys found a topic, cause, or purpose that they are passionate about
- Perseverance (grit) – To struggle through hikes, volunteer projects, travel experiences and learn through the process that it is important to persevere in challenging times and that “hope” is a tremendous motivator during hard times
- What are you most looking forward to?
Clay: I’m looking forward to “unscheduled” time – the freedom to spend our time as we want to.
Caleb: doing things together as a family; riding an elephant; trying new foods
Connor: going down the slide on the Great Wall
Barb: slowing down our pace and spending time together as a family; learning and experiencing new things
- What are you worried about?
Clay: I’m worried about political corruption it the countries we are visiting.
Caleb: diseases; making mistakes because we’re not familiar with the cultural norms of the country
Connor: sickness and getting kidnapped
Barb: sickness – especially with the boys. It’s not nice to see your kids really sick.
- What has been your favourite experience so far in preparing for the trip?
Clay: I’m not sure!
Caleb: It’s becoming more real as the things in our house disappear!
Connor: packing makes the trip start to seem real
Barb: Purging our house from things that we don’t really need. It hasn’t been fun or easy but we have far too much stuff and that stuff just complicates our lives and makes more work for us.
- What have you learned in preparing for the trip?
Clay: I’ve learned that the house is a lot of work! (To get it in good condition for renters.)
Caleb: We should appreciate what we have because not everyone has those things (e.g. water, food).
Connor: it’s becoming very real and that is good!
Barb: I have learned that planning for a full year is a LOT of work!
- What do you think you’ll miss the most?
Clay: I don’t know!
Caleb: I’ll miss my friends, our house, books, and the piano!
Connor: our house; my friends; family
Barb: I’ll miss face to face chats with friends and family. I actually think I will miss work – feeling a part of the community and chatting with colleagues.
- What do you think you will appreciate the most when you return?
Clay: I have no idea!
Caleb: I think I’ll appreciate my life in Ontario, Canada because it’s probably better than some people’s who live outside of Canada
Connor: that I survived the trip!
Barb: I think I will appreciate the familiarity – being able to speak the language and to know the routines and culture – not having to figure every little thing out.
- How do you think your life would be different if you had grown up in another country?
Clay: Not sure!
Caleb: I would have a different culture, different friends, speak another language, and eat different food
Connor: I might have a different hairstyle! We would have a different culture and celebrate in a different way.
Barb: That would depend on the country!
- If you were to visit ______ again what would you do differently? (If you were to prepare for this trip again, what would you do differently?)
Clay: I would start fixing the house earlier!
Caleb: I would invent a travel piano!
Connor: nothing that I know of yet
Barb: I would get the house finished and fixed the year before, so then I could just focus on packing and planning.
- Do you think it is important to visit other places and why/why not?
Clay: Absolutely. We need to learn about other cultures.
Caleb: Yes, because it helps us to learn about different cultures and it helps us to appreciate what we have and to understand what life is like in other places.
Connor: It is important to learn about other cultures and languages – the way they act. We need to experience the life of other people because some kids don’t have the things we have. You learn not to be selfish and you learn to be grateful for what you have.
Barb: Absolutely! Learning about other cultures helps to challenge us and our way of thinking. Things that we think are right just because we have done them that way all along, may not make sense to people who live in a different country. When you travel to other places you get a sense of what other people value and this helps you to reflect on your own values and way of living.