Welcome to ‘follow-our-backpacks.com’.
In 1872, Jules Verne described the travels of Phileas Fogg who put a wager on travelling around the world in 80 days. Whereas Phileas travelled East, our global journey heads mainly west, so we know we won’t gain, but lose one day. And while we have faster means of transportation today and we will remain connected to our friends throughout the voyage, we too splash into the unknown to a great extent. But for us it is not a race, the trip itself is the purpose, and we plan eight months (without the 9th of December) to do it.
How we got here? Not a late night alcohol induced bet in a bar, nor a run from demons we like to oust on a religious mountain top (though we plan visiting these). Our story demonstrates the domino-effect, or better yet how the butterfly effect stretches over time, over geography.
It starts with a family who decides to spend more time together. As a consequence we moved about 18 months later from near Geneva to Vienna (Austria) for a planned 3-year assignment. Family-time trumps income, so we accepted a career-break for one of us. It was a welcome trade-off and we got to spend much more time together. Then, in the turbulence of company restructure, suddenly the job of the breadwinner transformed into a garden leave. The butterfly had a smile on its face. . .
A bit puzzled, perhaps dazzled, we reflected; now what? Kids were happy in school, doing very well. Savings were in the bank so no direct stress. But: Now what?
I always wondered where the very first thought in the morning comes from; come to think of it, any new thought for that matter. This particular one happened in the second week of garden leave. Whatever the cause, the spark set off, and as with a combustion engine, once the plug ignites the fuel, there is no going back.
I had asked Heidi over dinner, “what if we’d pack it all in and travel the world for a year?”. The initial reaction was luke-warm at best, but by the next morning the spark plug and fuel had done its job. And in fact, once we realised that we could, it became a fait accompli, not going ahead would mean the risk of a life time of regret “we had the chance then, if only,…”
So in a matter of 3 months we cancelled our rental contract, moved all our belongings into storage, got the support of the children, researched volunteering, figured out how to continue schooling, booked flights and accommodation for the first part of the journey, visited banks to ensure we could get to funds when needed, started school applications in new locations, found travel and health insurance, and, of course, built this website.
The purpose of this site is manifold.
1) To have a travel log
2) To keep family and friends posted on where we are/what we do
3) To provide a platform for the kids to continue to write (English and French)
4) To stay connected to those dear to us
5) Give you, the reader the opportunity to read, suggest and comment