Traveling is a wonderful way of discovering new places. Traveling is fun, but also an awesome experience of immersing various cultures around the world while gaining new perspectives. Julie, Tim, Kara and Tyler, four members of a lovely family, decided to spend 13 months traveling around the world, and succeed it in 2014 and 2015. They have a blog with inspirational travel articles as well as photos and videos from all around the world. As our travels cover a big part of our greatest memories, we reached this brave family asked them some questions about their memories of a long journey. Let’s hear their story!
– Hi Julie, Tim, Kara, and Tyler! Can we learn about you and how does Earth Trekkers come as an idea?
Tim: We are a family of four that shares a passion for travel, adventure, and living life to the fullest. When Tyler and Kara were young, the four of us took several international trips together, which ignited a desire to keep traveling. We all love the idea of exploring the world, immersing ourselves into different cultures, and putting a greater emphasis on life experiences rather than possessions.
Julie and I had done a lot of travel within North America. Then in 2008, we traveled outside of North America for the first time. It was a trip to Europe, and we quickly feel in love with the idea of exploring more of the world. So we started taking as many international trips as our vacation time would allow.
In 2009, Julie read a book about a family that traveled around the world. At first, we thought the idea was insane. Who does that? But as time passed, that crazy idea became more and more enticing. And the more we talked about it, the more that crazy idea became a realistic possibility. From the time Julie read that book, it took us four years to make the decision to go on the 13 month trip around the world, and then another year to put preparations in place.
“At first, we thought the idea was insane. Who does that? But as time passed, that crazy idea became more and more enticing. And the more we talked about it, the more that crazy idea became a realistic possibility.”
– You are a very adventurous family! I read on your travel blog that you put your careers on hold, sold your house and cars, and took your kids out of school in order to have this year. Was it difficult to accomplish these while traveling?
Julie: It was an extremely difficult decision to make. In order to travel long-term, we had to give up our conventional lives. That meant quitting our jobs (although Tim ended up being able to take a leave of absence, it still wasn’t a reemployment guarantee), selling our house and cars, and pulling Tyler and Kara out of a nationally ranked public school system. Basically, we had to completely give up the stable, comfortable life we had built. And we kept asking ourselves what we would do upon our return. It was a scary but exhilarating decision.
It was also the best decision we ever made. To give up possessions for life experiences. To live life to the fullest now instead of putting it off to later. To explore the world and learn about different cultures. To go outside of our comfort zones for the thrill of adventure. To be able to travel long term and share all of those experiences as a family. And to be able to spend so much time together and grow closer as a family; it was the experience of a lifetime. This was truly the best gift we could ever give ourselves. We made so many wonderful memories together, memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. In our minds, these benefits quickly out-weighted the risk of the unknown upon our return.
“We made so many wonderful memories together, memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
– This is a big challenge but sounds fun! When did you start traveling?
Tim: Once we decided that we were going to take this 13-month journey, we knew we had to start a blog to document our travels, keep our family and friends informed, and to inspire others to have similar experiences. And from there Earth Trekkers was born.
We have now turned Earth Trekkers into a business where we continue to share our travel experiences, and provide travel inspiration, itineraries, and advice. Whether it’s a day trip or a trip around the world, we hope we can inspire more people to be Earth Trekkers also.
– That’s great! How many countries have you visited so far and what are your favorites?
Julie: Our 13-month journey around the world started June 29, 2014, and ended July 29, 2015. During that time we visited 35 countries on five continents. In total, we have now been to 57 countries.
As a family, our favorite countries are New Zealand with it’s gorgeous and we love the outdoor adventure sports, Norway which is similar to New Zealand, gorgeous, with some of the best hiking and scenery in the world, Nepal since trekking to Everest Base Camp was our highlight of our around the world journey, plus we love chaotic Kathmandu. And lastly, Scotland which has beautiful, great hiking opportunities and very friendly people.
– Do you have a memory that you never forget during your travels as a family?
Julie: We have tons of memories we will never forget, but the memory that is most unforgettable is hiking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) in Nepal. It was an 11 day round trip journey covering 80 miles. The trek started with an exhilarating flight into Lukla, one of the most dangerous airports in the world. And for 8 days we trekked out to EBC.
“We have tons of memories we will never forget, but the memory that is most unforgettable is hiking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) in Nepal.”
We hiked from teahouse to teahouse, gaining in elevation, and staying in less than ideal accommodations. During this time, we met other trekkers from around the world, and we were immersed in Nepalese culture. The scenery along the EBC trail is amazing, with the Himalayas towering above you. But it wasn’t all glorious. The rescue helicopters flying overhead were a constant reminder of the dangers of high altitude trekking. So to stand together, as a family, at Everest Base Camp was an awesome accomplishment. It is one of our proudest moments and one of our fondest memories.
“The scenery along the EBC trail is amazing, with the Himalayas towering above you. But it wasn’t all glorious. The rescue helicopters flying overhead were a constant reminder of the dangers of high altitude trekking. So to stand together, as a family, at Everest Base Camp was an awesome accomplishment. It is one of our proudest moments and one of our fondest memories.”
– You really are a brave family! What was your longest journey?
Julie: This trek to EBC was our longest trekking journey.
– 13 months traveling around the world – can you tell us the ups and downs you faced during this process?
Tim: Traveling long term is not all fun and games. It was a lot more challenging than we realized it would be. We maintained an aggressive travel schedule, moving to a new city on average every 3 days, which meant we were constantly figuring out our way around a new place (safe places to eat, how local transportation worked, etc.). Plus we were basically living out of our backpacks the entire time. We had to deal with things like homesickness, food poisoning, and dengue fever. We homeschooled, worked out future travel plans, and updated the blog. And we had to adjust to being with each other 24/7. Yes, we grew closer, and as a family, we strengthened our bonds. But sometimes each of us just needed our own space and that wasn’t always easy to achieve since we were balancing our expenses by staying in smaller and cheaper accommodations.
On the other hand, it was so exciting, traveling from country to country. Everything always felt so new, and so interesting. We got to try new foods, meet new people, and immerse ourselves in many different cultures. Sometimes it was hard to say goodbye to a country, especially ones that we loved, but it was always exciting moving onto a new one.
– Where would you like to live the most?
Julie: We currently live in the same town we lived in before we embarked on our around the world adventure. Who would have thought? When we started the trip, we dreamed about the idea of relocating to a new country. We considered moving to Germany, New Zealand, and Australia. But as we traveled, we got a new appreciation for the US. It took being away from the US for so long to realize how wonderful it is. Yes, the US has its share of problems, but so does every other country. I was surprised at how much we missed the US while we were traveling. It was completely unexpected. We are happy where we are now, surrounded by friends and family again. But who knows, maybe sometime in the future we will resume a nomadic lifestyle and embark on another long term adventure. But for now, we are continuing to explore new parts of the world and continuing to share those experiences on earthtrekkers.com.
– What is the best memory each of you keeps from your travels?
Tim: Some of our favorite moments were walking on an unrestored part of the Great Wall of China, shark cage diving in South Africa, rock climbing on the beaches in Thailand, eating lots of gelato in Italy, touring the temples in Kyoto, surfing in Fiji, learning about Buddhism in Bhutan, going on a safari in Botswana, and playing street bingo with the locals in India.
• Tim – Everest Base Camp Trek
• Julie – getting on that first flight out of the US at the start of our year around the world, what an amazing sense of freedom and anticipation and possibility
• Tyler – bungee jumping in New Zealand
• Kara – being in Fiji
“Go outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes these moments make the best memories. Talk to the local people and immerse yourself in their culture.”
– Any advice to give to the long-term travelers?
Tim: Plan your itinerary so that it is summer for most of your long term travels. This way, you can pack less (and lighter) clothing. Go outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes these moments make the best memories. Talk to the local people and immerse yourself in their culture.
Julie: Enjoy the experience and let it change you. Long-term travel has a way of altering how you look at the world!
Do you also have a passion for traveling and looking for inspiration? You can visit the blog of Earth Trekkers, and you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram! Wherever you travel, don’t forget to seize the moments of your journey, like Earth Trekkers did! With PastBook, you can turn your beautiful memories into a gorgeous, one click photo book – a very special keepsake!