by Joe

Day 1 – In the air, somewhere above Wyoming.

I can’t believe this day has finally arrived.  Seriously.

It’s been 25 years — TWENTY-FIVE YEARS–  of driving on the same freeway to the same work-campus, walking into same-ish offices and conference rooms… and doing more-or-less-the-same-job (OK, not really… but more the same than “brain surgeon in New England” followed by “beach bar troubadour in Belize”).   And I’ve loved that… but… TODAY that changes FOR US, as it has for so many other people we’ve known.

I’m incredibly excited.

In the simple act of driving to SeaTac and getting on an Alaska flight, a 9-month Big Adventure around the world has become our reality.  After fantasizing about the possibility for years and years, wondering if it was more “pipe” than “dream”… debating if the logistics were workable…   today it IS our life.

As we walked through SeaTac airport this morning, I heard Piper complain about the weight of her backpack.  I turned to the three of them walking behind Kristina and me…

“Kids– today we start a 9 month adventure. 9 MONTHS!  Yes, it’s going to be hard sometimes, because the road will be our home… and right now you’re noticing that your shoulders hurt carrying that backpack… and maybe you’re worried about being bored on the long flights and drives — but realize now that you’ll be doing these different things on most days.  And even though it will seem hard at first, every day it will get a bit easier.  And by the end, you’ll be incredibly strong, much smarter, and will have seen things you’ll never forget.  By the end of the trip– you’ll have practically turned into super heroes!”

I’m not sure they bought it.  But Kristina and I are full of patience.  🙂

The kids are all now learning our destinations… in the row behind me as we took off, Kristina pulled out a map and asked Syd and Piper to explain where we’re going.

“…Atlanta first.  Alabama.  Disneyworld!   And then we’ll drive to Washington DC and visit New York.”

Hope abounds.

Shockingly,  at 6-weeks-away-from-home,  this “pre-trip” trip will be the longest trip anyone in our family has ever taken.  And after we get back to Seattle and enjoy a two-week Christmas holiday, we’ll leave on a trip that’s 6 times longer!

Right now I’m in 11C,  Alaska flight 746 bound for Atlanta.   On my left is Alexander– typing away on both his SCDS entrance essay and the first entry of his trip journal.  We’ve told the kids that even though we’re starting the big trip, today is still a “school day.”  So, everyone has reading to do, writing to do… I wonder if they’ll find Belfiore-Home-Schooling more demanding than regular school.  I kind of hope so.  J

Homeschooling is just one of the “mundane” topics that people ask us and wonder about.  Logistically—this first trip section is only a little complicated.  After all, we’re just touring the US for six weeks.  No big deal, there are WalMarts everywhere! We’re experienced light packers.. this is the first trip where we’re checking bags, and as you can see we each have a backpack and roller.  The only real complexity is making sure we have flip flops and bathing suits for Florida while also carrying rain and cold-weather gear for NY in December.  No big deal. As of the “early xmas gift” they’re getting at Thanksgiving, our kids will each have a Surface to use to write and watch videos.  (On the movie front—we’re loaded up with educational stuff like “Gettysburg”, “Selma”, “Glory”, “The Crossing”, etc., as well as offline Kahn Academy videos.)

But mostly what’s on my mind right now is the emotion of it.  Anticipation.  Mystery.   Fulfillment.

Stay with us here.  We’ll try to make the ride worth it.   🙂


8 thoughts on “It begins.

  1. “I’m not sure they bought it. But Kristina and I are full of patience. :)” Awesome, thanks for the hearty morning chuckle! We are so excited for the Belfiores as you begin this new adventure and plan to follow along and ask lots of hard questions to keep you on your toes. Your presence in Seattle will be missed, but following your blog will be almost like we are right there with you. Almost!


  2. I have a couple of questions.

    How long did you and your family talk about this before you finally decided?
    How did the conversation go with your school? Is it hard to take a year off?


  3. Joe, this is awesome and I’m closely following your journey:). This is something my husband and I are interested in doing with our 10 year old daughter. How are you managing school work and missing school?


    • We’ll do a post on homeschooling at some point… We’re still really early in the process. Right now we’re emphasizing 3 things:
      1) Anerican history and government. Our kids have learned a TON of this… And so have Kristina and I. We’re visiting key sites, explaining concepts, watching relevant movies and the kids are reading relevant books. I quiz them over and over on dates, key people, “reasons why” … It’s been GREAT to focus on that while seeing the sights.

      2) reading and writing. They all have books to read and are writing a lot.. Journal + blog for everyone, and Alexander is doing essays too. I drive him way more crazy on rewrites and quality than I think he’s used to. 🙂

      3) math. A fair amount of age-specific math practice. This is easy for Alexander who loves math and is happy watching khan academy algebra videos.. But requires a bit more prodding of the twins.

      I expect our approach will evolve a bunch as our schedule and surroundings change.. But so far this seems to be working great… Knock on wood. 😀

      Watch for a full post later!


      • It might be good to keep track of the miles traveled each day and also give the average miles travels per day. Fun with math for the kids. Having to convert between miles and kilometers or nautical miles. Work on converting currency as well.


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