Family Gap Year

Celebrating our five year anniversary at Explora in Patagonia and dreaming of taking a family gap year

Patagonia, Chile 2016

“I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences. They may not all be pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden. But more than likely if you do dare, what you get are the marvelous returns.” – Maya Angelou

There’s so much behind the motivation for our family gap year. We have been avid travelers since before we met. At the beginning, a sense of adventure is one of the many reasons we fell in love. Many diapers, careers, and houses later, that love of adventure is still a core tenet of our relationship. We love meeting new people, trying new things, and feeling the constant reminder of how big the world is and how small we are in it.

Recently, a good friend asked “what is the purpose of your trip?” We see so much opportunity for us and our children to understand more about the world. Our hope for our family is that our desire to explore new countries will help fuel our love for learning from what surrounds us. It’s so easy to travel simply to check things off a list, as we have done with many of our previous vacations. But this trip is different. We’re intentionally focused on just being present. We’ll have the time to explore, whether it’s a small neighborhood absent from all guidebooks or a remote beach. This trip is about slowing down and embracing the gift of time.

By far the hardest part of this Family Gap Year is the thought of leaving our extended families. We’re incredibly blessed to have parents and siblings that we love spending time with and the thought of leaving for a year is bittersweet. Thank goodness for Facetime, emails, calls and texts. Nothing replaces the magic of time together but what a privilege to live today with so many easy communication tools.

So why this Family Gap Year? It’s that smile from a new person, that new food and the personal growth from our mind’s expanding, that taste of coffee to partially relieve the jet lag, and our kids’ excitement when they experience something new. It’s not all roses but these small moments of a sense of belonging, of independence, of finding a way to communicate while not speaking the language…these are the reasons that we’re taking this Family Gap Year and what we want to experience as a family.

Ultimately, this trip is about savoring today and exploring all of the beauty the world has to offer. And, we’re hoping that if your plans overlap, you’ll reach out. We’re certain we’re going to desperately miss home so we’d love to see friends and family anywhere along the way. And if you’re new, reach out too, it’s always great to meet fellow travelers!

Learn how to plan a family gap year