These are a few of the questions we get asked the most, so I thought I’d put them all into one place:
Q: Who are you guys?
Just a normal family from Germany. Mom, dad and two kids Lara (8) and Finn (6).
Q: Did you have to quit your jobs to do this? Seems very risky these days!
Germany is trying to raise it’s (very low) birth rate and offers very extensive benefits for parents. One of them is the “parental leave”, which allows each parent to take time away from their jobs for up to three years. During this time, the employee is basically on an unpaid leave of absence with a guarantee of return afterwards.
Q: Don’t the kids have to go to school?
Finn is not in school yet (he will start first grade right after we get back).
For Lara we had to apply for an exception from her school and will be making sure she doesn’t fall behind in her school work while we travel.
Q: How much is this going to cost you? Must be a fortune!
Yes, this trip won’t be cheap. We’ll know more afterwards, but right now we are estimating to spend about 30,000 Euro … about the price of a nice family car in Europe.
The last time we did this (see below) we spent about the same amount of money to travel for nine months (and a lot more flights) … but this time the destinations (especially Australia) will be quite a bit pricier.
Q: Isn’t this very risky? Won’t you get sick / mugged / killed?
Based on past experiences, we’re not too worried about crime. I’ve only had four things stolen from me in over 25 years of extensive travel:
– A 10 Euro bill in a German Youth Hostel
– Four tent pegs on a campground in Death Valley
– My pocket knife while I was sleeping in the New Dehli airport
– My flip-flops during a snorkelling trip in Fiji
And in that same time period, I “only” had three encounters that could have gone downhill very quickly:
– Child soldiers on a bus in Mozambique
– Heavily armed (and sinister looking) men in the Caprivi Strip between Namibia and Angola
– Drunk teenagers early in the morning at a bus stop in Malaysia
In contrast, the risk of getting sick (especially the kids) is something we are very worried about. In our route, we avoid all Malaria areas (we’ve given the kids Malaria prophylaxis before … trust me, it’s not fun) and never go off the beaten path far enough not to be able to get medical help fairly quickly. But, of course, we fully expect one of us to get the usual (food induced) diarreha while in Nepal and/or Thailand.
Amazingly (and surprisingly) nobody got sick during our last trip of nine months, let’s hope for a repeat performance.
Q: Have you done this sort of thing before?
Yes. Both Anna and I travelled quite a bit (Africa, Asia, South America, ….) before we had kids.
Also, in 2009, we took seven months off (much the same as this trip) and travelled with the kids in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Tahiti, Samoa, The Cook Islands, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and Bali.
Our blog from that trip is here: http://familytrip2009.wordpress.com
After this trip, I will have been to 62 countries, finally clearing the 30% hurdle ;-):