Special edition! How did we end up here?

Now that we are a year into our trip, we thought it was a good idea to write a bit about how we got here and try to answer some of the ‘frequently asked questions’ about our trip.

Why?

The idea for this trip came from one of the many conversations we had with a Belgian couple René and Fabienne in the Marquesas during our ‘escaping the winter’ trip in 2013. They had done several world trips with their sailing boat together with their 3 kids. But it had all started back in the 1970’s with overland campervan trips in the Americas and Asia.

They talked with so much enthusiasm about travelling as a family and how it had helped their kids in their later lives. This idea made us dream of a similar family trip, if one day there would be kids…

Fast forward a couple of years and we were a family of four… and the dream was still in the back of our head. It would become ‘top of mind’ again at times when we met with people doing a similar trip while we were traveling during ‘normal’ holidays. Or when the Instagram algorithm showed us a post of one of the many “traveling families’ out there.

We soon realized that if we wanted to make this real, we needed to come up with a plan and ask ourselves some questions.

How?

We really love the idea of sailing around the world in our own floating house. (especially after we had a little taste of it when we joined René and Fabienne on a short trip in Greece in 2015) There were however a couple of issues with the sailing plan. One, we don’t have any experience with sailing and haven’t had the time to invest in getting that experience. Two, I am very susceptible to sea sickness. And three Caro is afraid of being on the open ocean. And then there is the financial part: buying a sailing boat is quite an investment.

On the other hand, we already had a campervan at home, that we were able to buy second hand, one year before Covid happened (at a time when prices for campervans were still reasonable!). For our kids it has become their second home during the summers. So this is a more convenient (and economical) way of travelling at this point in our lives. With a couple of upgrades and (pre-emptive) mechanical repairs (the budget says ouch!) our van  should be able to go to a lot of places.

Where?

Once we decided on what type of trip it would be, we now needed to decide on where to go. The plans have been evolving over the last years. There are many ‘overland routes’ to choose from. We soon decided that the classical Africa route (Cairo to Capetown) was a bit too ambitious with young kids. The ‘tour of Europe’ was also eliminated as we would rather cut this one up in ‘long summer holiday’ trips. So, two contenders remained: ‘Central Asia & Mongolia’ or the ‘Americas route’. Central Asia long held the upper hand, but unfortunately the war in Ukraine and the unrest in Iran made us decide that it was just not the right time to travel over there. So, the Americas it would be!

When?

Let’s end with probably the toughest question of all. What is the best time to undertake this adventure? It seems that there is never a ‘best time’ to do this. There are so many facets to consider but, in the end, we decided to put our kids centrally in this decision.

Our ‘anecdotical research’ taught us that the ideal ‘window of opportunity’ to travel with young kids is between 6 and 12 years old. At these ages there is minimum of independence and on the other hand they are young enough to not miss being around their friends too much. Another thing to consider is the home schooling. Ideally the kids still get the basis of primary education (reading/writing/math) in school and after that the homeschooling can build on that. So, for years we had mid 2024 as start date in mind when Lucie would be finishing the 1stgrade of primary education. However we also learned that the 5th grade is quite crucial, which meant we would need to leave in 2023 to be back in time for Leon’s 5th grade.

And so there we are, end of 2022 the big decision was taken and communicated and a couple of months later in May 2023 off we went…

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