The Decision

Hello.  My name is Matt.  Lindsay is my wife.  She is also the biggest wildcard that has allowed all this to happen.  Let me explain.

Linds and I have been been together for 15 years.  In that time we have lived what most would consider a pretty normal Canadian life – maybe even more “normal” than normal since I have been the breadwinner and Linds has been a stay-at-home Mom.  Pretty traditional.  The one way we might be a little unusual – we have four kids:  Owen, Jake, Ben, and Eli who are now 11, 10, 8, and 6, respectively.  Naturally, our lives revolve around the boys nowadays.  But don’t tell them that.

Thing is, as normal as we seem, Linds and I have always felt a little restless, unsettled, not quite satisfied with the status quo.   For example, we’ve never wanted to give up family dinners to have the kids involved in a bunch of activities.  No video games.  No tablets.  Lots of conversation, board games, science experiments and family time.

When it comes to travel, the thought of spending thousands of dollars to go to Disneyland makes us nauseous.  Our poor boys have never even been on a plane.  We always knew we were waiting for the right time to invest in a big travel experience that would really help shape them into better human beings.

. . . we had no idea it would lead us to this.

A few weeks ago, we sat down as a family to watch a documentary that was recommended to me by a friend.  It was called “Given” and documents a family’s travels around the globe living and surfing and fishing.  The whole thing is narrated by their five year old boy.  Amazing story.  Check it out if you have Netflix.

For months (years?) I had been feeling more and more burnt out from my job in emergency medicine.  I knew I needed to change something.  In a bout of certifiable insanity I thought about taking on a larger role in hospital administration.  A colleague and I got very close to starting our own business.  I even considered moving us to a place like Equador for a year where it is possible to live a good life on far less money.  Exploring options allowed me to stay positive.

The travel idea stuck with me. Before the era of Linds and the boys I had three big adventures under my belt.  First, when I was 22 I backpacked around Europe for a 2 months. Second, at 24 I backpacked around Southeast Asia (one week of which was spent in a Thai hospital with Dengue Fever).  Lastly, as a medical student I flew to central Africa to travel and work/learn in a rural Ugandan hospital for two and a half months.

Before I met Linds I thought the trajectory of my life was clearly one of international medical work, a la Doctors Without Borders.  But if you have ever met Linds you will know that settling down with her was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  No regrets there.

Linds, on the the other hand, has precious little travel experience.  One high school trip to the Dominican Republic and one guided bus tour in Britain in college.  Hence, Linds was the wildcard.  She tolerates supports all my big ideas, but someone has to be the voice of reason . . .

So, fifteen years later Linds and I are sitting on our couch in our nice little house in suburbia, having just finished watching this crazy documentary with our four boys.  When it was over we looked at each other.  One look.  I couldn’t believe the sparkle in her eyes.  Yes, we were both thinking it – “We could do that . . .!”

One thing about Linds and I is that when we make a decision, things move quickly.  Within hours we had found a handful of other families who had done or were doing the same thing – traveled around the world with their kids.  By the next morning, we were telling the boys that they were going to be “world-schooled” next year.  The response was like a snowball gaining size and momentum as it rolled down a hill.  At first they were incredulous.  Pretty soon the list of countries they wanted to visit and things they wanted to do was a mile long.

It has been a few weeks now and the novelty has given way to the deeper excitement of hardcore planning.  This is part of that planning.  It is important to us that we document all the stages of this adventure.  This blog will record our thoughts,ideas and images as this trip evolves from a plan to reality.  It will also be a medium for the boys to write about their thoughts and feelings.

Although the primary purpose of this blog will be to serve as our own “scrapbook” we have to acknowledge that it may evolve into something more than that.  We have already benefited so much from other travelers’ blogs and YouTube channels, perhaps there is a larger audience out there.  If this blog inspires a few others to consider breaking out of the comfort and security of “normal” for their version of challenge and adventure, well that would be amazing.

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1 Comment

  1. What an adventure! This is something I’ve always dreamed of doing! Good for you guys! I can’t wait to follow along and live this trip vicariously through your family. I’ve travelled quite a bit and believe without a doubt that it is the BEST education anyone can ever have – adult or child. What a wonderful gift to give your children 🙂

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