Our inspiration to take a year off from work came partly from the following 2009 TED talk by Stefan Sagmeister, in which he argues in favour of splicing a few of your future "retirement years" into your work career to renew your creativity.
Given that I am mid-way through my working life, and since I may never fully retire anyhow, I figured that this is as good as any time to take a year off. And while I don't presume that I'll come home to produce award-winning album covers or uncomfortable, modernist furniture, I do hope that a change of pace will renew some of my creative juices!
Why Travel for a Year?
In our work, as a couple, and more recently with our kids, we've had the privilege of visiting some really cool parts of the world. For example, when we worked in Tanzania from 1998 - 2002, we had the chance to visit many communities in East and Southern Africa, including taking a 3-month trip through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia with our eldest daughter, Zoë, in utero (she claims to remember this! who am I to argue?). The kids have grown up with stories of our time in Tanzania, and are keen to hit the road and see some new places.
We were also inspired by our friends, Shawn and Alison who a few years back sold almost everything they had -- apart from two suitcases and some carry-on bags -- and spent a year with their two kids as "location independent," digital nomads. (You can read about some of their adventures on their blog, www.manylives.ca).
They, in turn, put us onto a host of online resources for travelling internationally with children, including a great travel-planning website called "Bootsn' All" that published a 30-day series of blog post on extended travel as a family. Some of this stuff we knew from having travelled before, but the blog posts provided a lot of great tools for planning our trip, including a multiple-country flight flier designed for extended journeys. It's a great resource for anyone looking to hit the road.