For at least a year or longer I have been thinking about taking a Big Family Trip, not the typical week at the beach or even a two week tour abroad, but an extended adventure; a family sabbatical. I know this is a term we hear about in regards to university professors or corporate executives, but otherwise we American’s are granted typically two weeks of paid vacation annually. We have all read that many American’s don’t even take those two precious weeks off, but choose to continue along on the workaholic treadmill. Yet my dream is an extended break. A sabbatical; defined as period of leave granted for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked. My husband and I have both worked two even three times that length in our careers without an extended leave (maternity leave for twins does not count). I have dreamed of living the Expat life in a foreign land. Emerging my family in another culture possibly mastering a foreign language and taking along our laptops to work remotely…
This past year we’ve talked, talked and talked about this nagging wanderlust of mine. The three year itch developed growing up the daughter of a military officer. This adventure desire was imprinted from my unique upbringing as part of a military family who was constantly reassigned and relocated to a new post every two or three years for my father’s profession. It is hard to explain that moving, change and the exploration of new places is woven into our every fiber. I crave it as much as any other family tradition and love the excitement as well as the planning.
Since our family relocated to North Carolina ten years ago, that means we are overdue a big move, but my husband while patient with my constant wanderlust and open to adventure, has stated he does not want to live abroad. He wants to stay in our community, so the kids form a close group of friends and can attend the great public schools we relocated from the big city to access. He makes a very good point and it seems a reasonable request, but I still yearn and maybe even simply need more adventure. I have shifted my desire or maybe put it on a shelf until the kids are older to live abroad. We’ve come up with a Plan B for now… A Summer Sabbatical our Big Family Trip for four, six, and possibly eight weeks (depending on how much time off we’re granted from our employers). Not quite the Gap Year, but a great adventure for us all to embrace.
We have taken the first step recently, announced it to friends and our extended family. Then the second step for me last year; I took a night course to brush up on my high school French. Now let’s take the third step together; imagine it as an actual future adventure, a dream to be fulfilled this next year. Let the planning and family adventure begin.