Update: Real Time

So I’m sitting alone in a hotel room in Vang Vieng, Laos. I’ve got my first case of the runs since we left Switzerland 1 month, 3 weeks and 6 days ago. I’m considering myself fairly lucky since I’m the last of the family members to get it and usually I succumb within days of getting to a different country.

I have just updated my resource page. This page has app that I use regularly, items that we brought that I can’t live without and an updated map that you can see where we’ve been. I will be creating links to all of these items in the future but thought I’d just get this down first to get the ball rolling and get the site updated.

I will be posting blogs now about what followed the Camino in larger chunks of info and more about what I was and am feeling. I’m looking forward to be all caught up in real time so I can post in the moment what I’m feeling.

One thing I will say is that travelling is one of the hardest things I’ve done. It’s amazing, beautiful, stunning and such a growth experience. And with that comes hard times, having different expectations than your spouse, little alone time, and it’s just not as easy as you would think. Yesterday saw us in the very back of a mini van, driving way too fast along roads that were switchbacks, passing huge vehicles around corners, Violette throwing up from car sickness, me sick with worry and anxiety if we’re going to make it to our next destination and being absolutely powerless to do anything about it. Today I am missing Vang Vieng and surrounding area because I need to be near a toilet.

I will also say that while this is such an incredible opportunity, I miss Canada, my friends and my family so much. We are committed to being away until the middle of July but the thought has crossed my mind to head home early because the draw back home is so strong. I know things will be the same when I get back there but it doesn’t make me want to be back home any less.

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Island Parent Submission #2: Trip around the world: getting into the nitty gritty

travel

This is being submitted to Island Parent for publishing.


Last time I wrote, I let you peek inside the realm of what it takes to go on a trip around the world. I’m going to break down some of the bigger topics like money, world schooling and what to do with your home.

Money

How much money does one actually need to travel the world? My husband, Luc, created a spreadsheet that had the daily cost to budget when travelling to different countries. Estimate how long you will be in each country and multiply that by the daily cost and that will give you an estimate. Lonely Planet is a great resource to find out how much the daily costs are in certain countries.

Slow travel is something to look into. Not only is it cheaper, it also integrates you more into the daily life and culture of a country. You no longer are visiting somewhere, you’re living in it.

Airplanes/trains/boats are expensive! Look for credit cards that give you cash back, or where you can redeem points for travel. We got a credit card that had a big signing bonus of points and we were able to travel from Victoria and New York for a family of 4 for approx $75 (one way).

Look for places you can stay for cheap or free. We’re staying in a studio apartment that Luc’s dad owns in the South of France. We also will be living with them for 4 months in Switzerland (big savings!). You can’t go wrong with Airbnb either.

Sell your stuff. Start as soon as you commit to travelling. All that money adds up!

Schooling

I was surprised when we talked to our principal of Violette’s elementary school how easy it is to pull your child from our school district. I believe Violette will be transferrer to SIDES (South Island Distance Education School) while she is away so we can take advantage of any long distance resources we might need.

I am definitely not an expert by any means on world schooling and there are many different terms when it comes to this: unschooling, home schooling, world schooling… the list goes on. I don’t believe there is a strict way we will be doing this. I also believe that it really depends on the age of your kids too. It’s quite different if your child is in grade 2 versus grade 10.

How we will be doing it is going to be a combination. We will teach a lot by doing, interests, visiting museums, asking lots of questions, using our 5 senses, learning in the moment and observing different environments. I’m looking forward to opportunities to learn about nature, different money, patterns, reading, being curious and finding the answers. We will look into khanacademy.org, SIDES distance learning and the BC curriculum to support us. We will bring electronic books and try to find libraries where we can.

The world will be our classroom to learn!

Your home

What to do with your home? If you rent, consider ending the tenancy or subletting if that’s allowed. If you own, now comes the big decision of what to do. Do you sell or keep? If you keep it, do you rent it out? Who looks after the property. I’m not going to lie, this part of the puzzle has been the most challenging for us. We have changed our minds so much on this, I actually thought that we weren’t going to go because this part was just to hard to figure out.

We decided to rent out our house and we’ve enlisted one of our friends to “property manage” the place while we’re away. Currently, we’re getting the place ready fixing, cleaning, packing. If you can believe it, our ceiling and hot water tank both decided to start leaking in the same week. When it rains it pours. Luc continues to remind me that it’s better it’s happening now. Yes, and we still have so much to do!

We have also chosen to rent the suite fully furnished so that we don’t have to store our big belongings. This works for us.

This entire process has been a journey of learning, creating, being open to other opinions and ideas.

If you have a passion to travel and you have kids, a job, a house and feel like there’s no way you could even consider a trip around the world until you retire, I’m here to say, you can do it. All that’s stopping you is just the logistics of how to make it happen. It’s all possible – I promise.

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Island Parent Submission: #1: Trip around the world

Journey

This is being submitted to Island Parent for publishing.


My family and I are going on a trip around the world. It sounds so crazy to say that. It’s like a dream come true.

We’ve had the idea about 5 years ago, and we’ve been planning it for about 2 years. We are now 4 months away from leaving. It’s getting real.

I have a 7 year old daughter, Violette who is in French Immersion. My husband is from France/Switzerland. I also have an 18 year old daughter who is on the other side of the country going to university. My husband and I both have full time jobs which we’re taking 1 year leave of absences from.

Violette, who is Canadian/Swiss, will go to school in Switzerland for 5 months at a French speaking school and then we will world school her after that (I’d be lying if I said I know what I’m doing).

I will walk the 800km Camino de Santiago in Spain at the end of August. It will take approximately 40 days. A journey within a journey.

The voyage hasn’t even started and yet it has in so many ways… it’s a journey of the heart and soul, a journey to seeing what is outside your comfort zone, a journey in relationship with my family, friends and work. A journey to entrepreneurship as I started my own business as a life coach to support our travels while we experience the world.

I’ve been asked a lot about a few key pieces of the prep and the trip. I’ve shared them here in priority of what comes up most.

  • Budgeting: How much money does one need on a trip like this? We created a budget to save money and another budget for while we’re on the road to know how much money you anticipate spending. This enabled us to know where we could scrimp and save prior to leaving. And then how we can ensure we stretch our dollars/euro/francs/etc… the furthest.
  • Our home: Are we going to rent it out or sell it? We will be renting it out. Currently we’re getting it ready to post and find our perfect renters. We have spent days working on the house, fixing, cleaning, repairing.
  • Our child: What are we going do for schooling? We are pulling Violette out of grade 2. This is quite easy in our school district. We spoke with the principal and she has given us lots of ideas and resources. We hope Violette will be a pen pal to her friends at school for her to practice her writing and keep those important connections and relationships.
  • Our jobs: What are we doing with our jobs? We’re taking a 1 year leave of absence. Something for you to consider is: could you quit your job or find a location independent job? Could you work remotely? There are a lot of websites out there now that support location independent lifestyles. While on the road I will continue to life coach and Luc is going to be looking for jobs along the way. He’s also starting up his own YouTube channel soon with Violette. They will be father/daughter cooking around the world.
  • The itinerary: Where do you want to go? Think cheap to start… Thailand or Vietnam. Could you stay with friends or family in distant countries? Also consider slow travel to make the money go further. We will be spending about half our time in European countries and then heading over to South East Asia, Indonesia and Australia.
  • Our friends and family: When did we tell them? We started telling people about a year ago. This helps to socialize it early for people to get used to you leaving. Also, throw a big going away party for them before you go.
  • Many many extra things to think about: Visas, what to pack (you’re going to be gone for 4 seasons and only one backpack? This makes my head spin), mail, travel insurance, vaccinations, passports, automating monthly payments, cancelling your cell phone and all businesses that know that number, and so much more.

It’s a lot of work and a lot to think about, and it’s all worth it. Sometimes it feels like the preparation is never going to end but before we know it, we will be leaving on a jet plane in July.

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Gratitude

Youre going to Paris

This post is hard to write. Mostly because I’m afraid of what you’re going to think. I think you’re going to think that I’m bragging or wanting everyone to know how great my life is.

That’s not it at all. I think what I want you to know is that it’s just hit me, that I do have an incredible life. I’ve known it all along, but the lightbulb went off and has shifted my entire perspective. Entirely.

I’m so so so so grateful for this incredible life I have. What really hit home was something that happened yesterday. I woke up and there was an email in my inbox that read:

Youre going to Paris

And it hit me like a ton of bricks. My dream is coming true. We’re making it happen. How incredibly lucky I am to have such an amazing life to see this message in my inbox. How grateful I am for the chance to see this city and so many others. How fortunate I am to be here in this moment and have everything that I have.

So while I’m sharing, I’ll share that we have plane tickets now for Nice, France and Biarritz, Spain. Biarritz is the start of the Camino de Santiago which also means I’M DOING THE CAMINO. No shit, no kidding now. I might be alone, I might be with others; regardless, it’s happening.

I spent the rest of yesterday (and will carry this forward now as a practice) being so immensely grateful for what I have. I had an opportunity to thank the postman so I acknowledged him. I said hi to every single person I walked past yesterday. I was fortunate enough to go on a date night (which Luc scheduled – so grateful for that) and there was live music so I thanked the musician and gave him some money. The woman who served me, Carmen, was so wonderful and spent so much time chatting with us and joking.Jesse (who I’ve met once) called me and he wants to workout with me to support me with my health and fitness goals. I coached yesterday with my AMAZING coach Maria who I am over the moon with gratitude for her beautiful soul and the contribution she is for me and my life.

My heart is wide open with the gratitude and love that I have for everyone in my life and all that I have.

So while I don’t want you to know how amazing a life I have because I’m afraid you’ll judge me – I also need to say it – mostly for myself. I’m excited for what I’m creating and I’m so incredibly grateful for what I have and every single person in my life.

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261 days

Switzerland: Les Dents du Midi

Since Jaedyn graduated I’ve been counting down the lasts… last band performance, last musical, last award ceremony, last day of school… I cried my way through most of these events.

Now: we’re coming home after our trip (or so we think) but I can’t help but think of what we won’t be doing next year. We won’t be having the halloween party at the Fairbanks. We won’t be celebrating Luc’s birthday at our neighbours house and then trick or treating with our friends while Luc steals birthday candy tax from V. It goes on and one. We won’t be having Christmas with my family next year. We won’t be celebrating V’s birthday at home. When V get’s to the end of school, we’re saying good bye to her friends for a whole year.

It actually starts to become a bit overwhelming emotionally for me. Those of you who know me know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don’t hold back on the feeling machine.

It’s such bittersweetness: so much joy, exploration, wonder to be had. Yet everything we have to say goodbye to (Sanja I got the feels you’re having right now and I’m still 261 days away from leaving!) will be hard. Not being with my parents, my beautiful Jaedyn, my besties, my friends, our neighbours, collegues… yikes.

I cling to people coming to visit us when we’re on our travels (pleeeeeeease come). I envision Skyping with friends to keep in touch. V will write postcards to her friends to practice her writing and spelling (this is homeschooling right?). I know what Christmas in Switzerland is like and it’s the stuff of dreams (except when you light real candles on a real tree – that’s TERRIFYING. My mother-in-law caught on fire just a little bit last time is all I’ll say). I can’t wait to get out there into the world and walk walk walk and meet so many people on the Camino. I think the thing I’m looking most forward to is the people. Meeting, talking and connecting with people. Getting to know where their journeys will take them both physically and spiritually. The landscapes. Watching my daughter experience so much diversity. Experiencing my marriage with Luc grow and expand.

I feel better now reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Connecting back to what my dream is. I was stuck a bit in the sadness of leaving home. I get FOMO (fear of missing out) like crazy. So when I think of missing out on an epic camping trip with friends or watching V and our neighbours kids play in our backyard or the snow, I think of what we will be missing. It’s helpful to remind myself of also what I will be creating.

Switzerland: Les Dents du Midi

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