WE ARE NOT THE ONLY FAMILY OUT THERE GOING RTW.
For those who may not know, "RTW" stands for "Round the World." We are the Richter de Medeiros family – bicultural, binational, and bilingual – who love to travel, explore different cultures and learn new ways of life. Our family (Gretchen, Rodrigo, Isabella and Marco, and our bichon-poodle Pablo) currently lives in Washington State. Sometime in 2011 we decided that it was time to shake things up, step out of our comfort zone and hit the road. Both Gretchen and Rodrigo were overworked, under pressure, and often stressed out. Rodrigo’s daily round-trip commute sometimes took up to 3 hours, depending on traffic and time of the day. Gretchen had been working the past 9 years at Microsoft, as a Design Program Manager, and Rodrigo as a Photographer, Producer and Director of videos, commercials and films for an advertising agency in Seattle. The kids, although they attend great public schools on the Eastside, were showing signs of boredom and lack of interest in the overall educational system. We all had enough of the daily grind.
The idea to take a year off and travel was sparked in 2011 after a 6 week journey through Brazil with friends. The kids got to experience Brasilia (where Rodrigo and Gretchen met) and meet many of our friends from high school and college. We saw amazing wildlife in the Pantanal – the world's largest wetland – and visited Salvador, the center of Afro-Brazilian culture. And of course, we stayed two weeks with Rodrigo's family in Natal. Coming home from that trip we started chatting about how fun it would be to travel more often, and for longer stretches of time.
In the Summer of 2014, when we were nearly finished planning the RTW trip, we traveled with Gretchen’s extended family for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We spent 5 weeks in France and Italy – it was an enlightening “trial run" for our upcoming adventure: we explored different ways of facing some of the challenges we might encounter along the journey – from properly packing to understanding each other's thresholds regarding pace, hunger and level of expectations.
We believe that traveling is a need, not a want, and that by doing so we become better, more knowledgeable human beings; traveling opens our eyes and minds to new ways of looking at the world around us, making us more resilient, more respectful of others, more HUMAN. This is part of the legacy we want to leave our children. People always say they want a better world for their children, but perhaps that thought is backwards: we need our children to become better adults so the world can be a better place. And we think seeing and experiencing the world is a vital step in that direction.
Our RTW plan was to do an 11-month loop across 4 continents: South America (Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil), Africa (South Africa), Europe (Greece, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, France, The Netherlands) and a little slice of Asia (Turkey.) We wanted to go places and stay for a while, taking the time to get to know how local living feels like. We road-schooled the kids with the help of our good friend Heather Holmes, who joined us for the whole duration of the journey, as a tutor and curriculum expert.
FAMILY COMES FIRST
GET A GREAT EDUCATION
TRAVEL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
HAVE A WARM, WELCOMING HOME
THE PLACES WE'VE BEEN TO:
Italy, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Ireland, France.
Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, France, The Netherlands, England, Iceland, India, Israel, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Portugal.
BELLA & MARCO
Brazil, Costa Rica, Canada (Marco), Italy, France.
Bahamas, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland.
"ONE'S DESTINATION IS NEVER A PLACE, BUT A NEW WAY OF SEEING THINGS."
Our group selfie in beautiful Copenhagen, in 2015.
From left to right: Gretchen, Rodrigo, Marco, Heather and Isabella.