Well hi there! After years of dreaming and what was seemingly all talk, our crazy family of four has finally decided — no, make that committed — to embark on a sabbatical break from life’s rat race. Destination? South America! When?! T-minus 18 months or so!!

Since my last mountain climbing adventure roughly 4 years ago to Bolivia, the wanderlust inside me has been building steadily. Add to this the realization that our kids are growing up way too fast — my baby is turning 7 in January! — and will not always want to hang out let alone associate with us… there was no question that it was time to get serious.  Taking into account realistic budgetary limitations and commitments to partners/work; we’ve decided that a 3-month itinerary should give the scope and length of break we are looking for.

Alvi is fully on board, in fact, I dare say my adventure-seeking nature is totally rubbing off on him. It’s December 27th, 2014, and we’ve loosely discussed some MUST SEE places if we’re going to be on that end of the world. “Since we’re going to be down there…. lol”. Acknowledging my over-achieving nature to bite off more than I can chew, here are a few examples of dreams we’d like to turn into reality:

  • A few weeks in some of the lazy, hazy fishing villages in Ecuador
  • Intensive Spanish language lessons in Quito, Ecuador
  • A trip to the Galapagos Islands to witness unbelievable sea-life
  • Heading South to Peru to take in Machu Picchu
  • Exploring the Salt Flats, Copacabana and Lake Titicaca in Bolivia
  • Easter Island to witness one of the wonders of the world
  • The Olympics in Brazil ← yeah right lol. Pure Pipedream!
  • A visit to see our former Aupair in Southern Brazil

If money and time were no objects, we’d also love to get down to Patagonia — hey, a girl can dream, no? So what are we hoping to get out of this trip? In a word?

Connection. To each other as individual family members — number one goal. To the people we meet along the way, to the new countries we’ll embrace enroute.

Education. No better way to understand the world and its challenges than to go out into it and see for yourself. Our girls will end up missing two months of their respective grade levels — the last two months of grades 2 and 7. I do not consider this in any way a detriment to their schooling. They are bright, curious and open-minded kids. I want them to see beyond the sheltered bubble we have encasing us here in our cushy suburban life in Canada.

Inspiration. Sometimes in life we get stuck in our own ruts. Even the kids do. I’m hoping this expedition will spark new interests and passions in all of us. A self-discovery journey, if you will. Together as a family we’ll witness unbelievable sights, share in unforeseen challenges and marvel at our own capabilities. All of this — I hope — will inspire each of us in some way.

Living in the Present. Life is short — no really, it literally says this on my office wall. Every week I’m confronted with the fragility of life — clients getting sick, losing loved ones, people dying. Imagine working your whole life to save for retirement only to get there and learn you have just a few months to enjoy it? My practical nature has kept me from truly living in the present; falling trap to always being three steps ahead in my brain… responsibly planning for the future. But why not the present? When does the present get a chance to shine? Will this trip cost us an arm and a leg? Yup. Will it mean we don’t get our mortgage paid as quickly? For shizzle. But is tomorrow a promise? Nope. Not even close.

Growth. If there’s anyone primed to get out of our comfort zone, it’s my youngest daughter Saffron. This kid — for whatever reason — is the classic homebody. Not that this is a bad thing… however, even the thought of getting her on a plane requires convincing. And though she’s the same kid who’s zip lined across canyons in Guatemala and held a pecking, pooping chicken; she seems to want to shy away from adventure at all costs. I have no clue where this comes from considering that both of her parents are hard-core travel nuts. And so… I’m hoping for growth. Time away from the pressures of everyday life and all electronics — save for this travel blog lest I want a tyranny on my hands with a worrying mother. We all could stand a little growth.

And while I’m sure there’s much more we’re hoping to achieve on this grand adventure, that seems to be a great place to start. We hope to chronicle both the planning of our trip and the trip itself so that others might learn from our mistakes and/or take our well-researched advice.

SOOOO excited!!!!