Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

We’re Leaving… on a Jet Plane (and train, and bus and boat)

Posted on Mar 30, 2011 in Europe, Featured |

We’re Leaving… on a Jet Plane (and train, and bus and boat)

Two years in the making, dozens of conversations, one giant wall map, four plane tickets bought and zero plans.

We leave with our backpacks and children in just over six weeks for a six-week stint in Europe. We have no business doing this. None. La Gringa’s got a new job she loves, I’ve got full-time work on the horizon and the kids are missing a lot of school for this little nutso plan that started as a year abroad concept that somehow, between life and work became a trip of a lifetime instead of an escape from life. Somehow a year abroad seems a lot more manageable to me than six weeks on-the-move.

The plan is to be plan-free. I’ve done enough homework and traveled enough to know the gist of what we want to do and where we want to go. This isn’t a sightseeing-type vacation. Instead, we will plan on heading from the UK through a few countries in western Europe and a quick stop in Slovakia before La Gringa leaves. I’ll hunker down in Spain or Italy for a couple weeks with the kids until heading to Ireland with Aunty T. to see her home town. By then, I’ll need a good night in an Irish pub, no doubt.

I haven’t been afraid of this adventure at any point until now. I’m worried a bit about the stability in the Middle East, despite the fact I was in some pretty hairy jams when I traveled in the mid-east in 2000. I’m a bit concerned about money — gas prices, cash flow and inter-country travel is starting to make me nervous. And the kids told me that they are worried about where we’ll be sleeping. I want them to feel free, not afraid.

This week I’ll work on some modifications to the trip — a few hotel reservations, some goal dates to hit and maybe some pre-purchases of train and air travel within Europe so that I can get the best deals possible.

The purpose of our trip is to feel life without any restraints. As we approach departure, I’m noticing that the concerns are creeping into all of our minds. It’ll be my job this week to try and alleviate some of those concerns.

I’m not planning on going into the Louvre, but maybe playing tag on the lawn outside of it. I’m planning on showing the kids the Coliseum in Rome, but know they will care more about throwing Lire in the Trevi Fountain. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s perfect. We’ll go to Monza race track near Milan because Thing 1 read a book that describes the grand prix racing there. It’s also in the great book The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Long before I had children, I had the notion that I’d raise my children as people of the world, not just of a small community, a city, a state or one single nation. I wanted my children to be multi-lingual, have an open mind about people in the world around them. I wanted children that would have empathy for the needs and beauty of places beyond themselves. It is my hope that we, as a family, will grow from our journey together.