Big Trip 2020 is here… we’re going around again!

It’s late afternoon on a Friday … the skies in Seattle are grey, the Sounders are playing this weekend … but somehow today feels anything but ordinary.  On Monday, we Belfiores hit the road for BIG TRIP 2:  AROUND AGAIN.

Four-and-a-half years ago, when we pulled our kids out of 6th and 2nd grade, we thought..

This is our last chance! Middle school is surely the only-opportunity-left to spend deep time away from home & school, exploring the world.  Once the kids are in 8th grade or older, it’ll be too late! Way too disruptive to pull a high-schooler just to travel!”    

Ha!  We were so wrong.  🙂   During the course of our four-month voyage on the World Odyssey, we met a number of older kids– high school kids– whose parents had taken them out of school ..and these kids were awesome!   (thinking of you, Cyrus…)

Fast forward to last November: Kristina had joined the Board of Semester at Sea .. an amazing educational program we’ve been so happy to support all these years – and to join once again.   She and I had met with the (so-supportive) leaders of our kids’ school .. worked through the question “can a 10th grader really finish his sophomore year on the road!?” … talked to my EVP at work … looked at each other to check-our-mettle…  and concluded: 

It’s been a long time since 2015 when we pulled our kids from school for the “Big Trip.”  That one was a LOT bigger, clocking-in at 9-months and involving a complete-skip of their 6th and 2nd grade school-years.  It blows my mind that 4+ years ago, our twins (now 12) were just EIGHT years old when we left on our last marathon-journey.   And today, the twins are the same age & grade that Alexander was when we took them all travelling.

And so .. with vaccines in our arms, visas in our passports and my last work meeting now behind me … the reality is setting in.   Three days from now, we leave again.

What’s the plan?

Funny you should ask.   Life (and work) gets so busy … even the act of PLANNING a (shorter) marathon trip takes on a big life of its own … and we’re trying to wrestle that to the ground.   But we DO have a basic plan .. and here it is:

  1. Europe “Pre-Season”:  London, Munich.     March 11-18
  2. Semester at Sea: Capetown, Ghana, Morocco    March 18-April 23
  3. Africa, Middle East and more.. on our own:  Egypt, Jordan, Israel (firm! AirBnBs are booked!)   then .. um..  Greece?  Turkey?  Tanzania? Seychelles?  India?   then a flight through South Korea to head home!?

We’ve got stuff booked almost through the end of May .. and then June and July are still blank pages to be filled … we have concepts.. and outline .. but no typography or prose.   We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Safe homestays to all of you! 🙂

We’re so glad you checked-in with us…  keep us company!  Follow along!  We look forward to sharing joys, pains, discoveries and dilemmas.  Ask us questions .. post comments …we’ll miss all of you but we can’t wait to connect with everyone else out there in the real world. We’ll see you all soon!

About to Leave: Q&A!

Curious… how do you do all the planning?
Maybe we’ll do a post on this. We’re lucky the ship creates about a month of “pre-booked travel”, and outside that mostly we’re planning on our own with a couple of travel agents helping for specific countries. Our planning process involves a LOT of ONENOTE .. and a LOT of Excel. As an example — here’s our “master plan” spreadsheet-ply as of today. Wonder how much this will change by the end…

What about the elephant in the room? Covid19. 

Sigh.  Let’s get to some specifics…

  • Yes, we’re still going. 
  • No, we’re not particularly fearful of the virus since (a) we’re blessed with good health (and SOME youth), (b) in a week we’ll get to Africa, and that’s a place that’s showing fewer cases than nearly anywhere else in the world; and (c) other than the ship, we’ll be in lots of sparsely populated areas where the weather will be WARM and sometimes humid.  (Ghana!)  
  • Yes, we think the ship will be fine. Even though there have been some cruise-ship problems, we feel good about SAS because the community has been together for a long time and has avoided Covid-19 countries. There’s very little people-churn and lots of hand-sanitizer everywhere with almost 3-months of hand-sanitizing-habit-development.
  • Yes, we’re wondering whether some countries won’t let us in because of countries we’ve visited earlier on the trip… that seems like maybe the big question. 😦

Net net … We’re not letting a little virus stop us…  knock-on-wood…

3 thoughts on “Big Trip 2020 is here… we’re going around again!

  1. So glad we all get to “go” with you again. It’s so fun to live your adventures through you. You all do a great job writing your posts.
    Kristina, I’ll miss golfing with you.


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