Closing Thoughts

Despite being two weeks away from Alaska—the usual time most Americans have for their yearly vacation—our trip around the world didn't seem to really begin until we landed in Hawaii. It was exotic but familiar, a blend of the new and the comfortable.

But our packs were packed and on our backs, we had no immediate family to contend with or rely on, and we had to use guide books and maps to get around. We were on the road, and already beginning to grow closer as a family— watching out for each other, closely judging moods, offering soothing massages or tempered words when needed.

Our first stepping stone, these islands in the middle of the Pacific, were our first lessons in traveling as a family. We were not on vacation, we were on a journey.

For other families thinking of doing the same, allow us to offer a few suggestions we began to learn:

1) The cost for one person traveling is fixed. The cost of four people traveling is roughly eight times the cost of one.

2) Allow for time to do nothing. Visiting, traveling, touring all subtract from the time of absorbing what you've discovered.

3) Pay attention to eating. It's very easy to get so excited about a day's adventures that you've all but forgotten to eat. Only when one of the family goes into "meltdown," or hunger headaches begin do you then remember what was missing from the day.

4) Everyone should be required to keep a journal, each day. It's also important to have photographs developed and kept in a booklet along the way. It's surprising how much one forgets when each day is new and filled with more discoveries, and down the road taking time to recount where you've been, even as little as two weeks earlier makes your journey much more understandable. In addition, people you meet along your path enjoy seeing snapshots of the road you've been on.

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