Our first Round The World trip comes full circle - we are now back in the Pacific Northwest. And a little culture shock is inevitable.
As my family and I face a reentry into the "real" world, I am reminded of how important this trip has been to all of us; we are stronger, wiser and now have a much better idea of what we want our future to look like.
It is not possible to fully quantify the benefits gained during this nomadic time abroad, but I can mention a few things we have learned on the road that no corporate job or school system could provide. It is no small feat to successfully plan and deploy such a complex 11-month trip involving 5 people, 4 continents and 13 countries. We are now officially Professional Creative Troubleshooters. Our primary goal for this trip was to decompress and reset, with a secondary objective being to learn by living with locals while traveling. Real life skills matter more than people give them credit for.
Shooting a documentary almost single-handed meant that I had to tap into my extensive experience as a Producer and Director to fulfill all the roles commonly associated with pre and post-production of films and video (director of photography, DAT, camera, sound, editor, etc.) AND build the story as it unfolded. I learned that control is a very tenuous concept - you can only control your own output, but not the environment; what is vital is to know that the plan you have so carefully crafted will always need adjustments, and you need to be nimble and focused in the moment in order to succeed.
My wife Gretchen successfully managed our finances and allocated budget like a pro (in fact, we came out with a slight surplus) - those 9+ years as a Program Manager at Microsoft really paid off. She was also in charge of all the logistics involved - bookings, tickets, city sojourns and home rentals. Our friend and teacher Heather had to make sure the kids got their scheduled lessons and tasks done on time amidst all the activities and experiences we embraced in each country. She never lost her cool, even when the wi-fi connection didn't cooperate and our daughter had a deadline to upload her assignments.
Our 16 year-old daughter is now an avid "vlogger", having learned how to film, photograph and edit her content using Adobe Creative Cloud. And she also added a fourth language to her repertoire (English, Portuguese, French and Spanish.) Our 12 year-old son read 40 + books during the trip and has solidified his love for soccer, having participated in two different camps in Brazil and Spain, learning how to navigate the turbulent waters of different cultural expectations while building a stronger sense of respect, tolerance and sportsmanship; he also mastered the ability to objectively communicate his frustration and react more positively to unsavory situations (just ask him about the two road trips we did in Argentina and South Africa.)
Lastly, traveling has helped us refocus our energy and goals on "being" more than "having" - by gradually debunking a few concepts that have been ingrained in our culture, such as the myth of productivity, and the true meaning of success.
So many extraordinary experiences, perfect places, memorable moments comprised our journey. Our first RTW Reel is just a small fragment of those experiences. Everything was shot handheld and in the heat of the moment, completely unscripted. We believe in the everlasting impact of stories - strong and truthful narratives illustrated by beautiful, effective visuals. We hope our story might inspire other people to travel more and discover their dormant wanderlust.
first published on Aug 7, 2015 on LinkedIn