24 Following


Currently reading

Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred
Thomas Gallagher
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
Jenny K. Blake
When in French: Love in a Second Language
Lauren Collins
Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job
Jesse Sostrin
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
David Hubel, Margaret S. Livingstone
Achieving Your Potential As A Photographer: A Creative Companion and Workbook
Harold Davis
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Sherry Turkle
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
Roberto Valenzuela
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
Jacob Silverman

One Year Off: Leaving it All Behind for a Round-the-world Journey with Our Children (Footsteps)

One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children - David Elliot Cohen David Cohen decides to take a year off to travel around the world with his wife Devi, 8 year old daughter Kara, 7 year old son Willie and 2 year old son Lucas. A babysitter, Betty, accompanies them for about half of the trip. She's an adult and has a Guatemalan passport. I think they traveled in 1999. He talks frankly about the process of disengaging from their regular lives and some of their fears and hopes for the trip. The kids at first are restless and bored and fit with each other a lot. But as time goes by, they all settle in the new reality and learn to travel well as a family. I think they were enormously helped by the presence of Betty, who serves as babysitter, allowing the parents some space from time to time, allowing them to break into smaller groups with an adult-to-child ration of 1-to-1. Betty basically travels for the paid airfare, lodging and meals. It would be interesting to hear the story from her point of view. She also adds interest because they have trouble getting through some of the border crossings with her passport -- other small countries in other parts of the world not recognizing the country of Guatemala. And reminding us that many people of many countries never attempt anything like world travel. Africa and Asia certainly come off as more interesting than Europe, and certainly appeal to the children more. When they get to Australia, they actually put the older children in a regular school for 4 months, recognizing that they had not succeeded in their plan to home school the children along the way. It was interesting to see how welcoming the Australian school system was, as well as the Cambodian health care system when Kara requires surgery on her fingernails. David doesn't really talk about what he and his wife do while in Australia. I guess this is in the interest of brevity, and keeping the narrative moving along, but it was an unanswered question for me. In the end, he does a nice reflective wrap-up of the whole experience, and how it has affected them them a year or so out from the experience. Really a great argument for travel, as well as living a reflective life. A quick read, written as a series of longish emails spaced throughout the trip (and then no doubt edited afterwards). After the trip, he does not go back to his previous livelihood (producing coffee-table books such as the Day in the Life of America, etc) but instead writes this book, and mentors a student in business (something he was paid for). He is happy to be doing less, and is more focused on being involved in his family, and feels less restless. His wife on the other hand comes back with more energy to do other things (is 5 years younger than him) and becomes a competitive triathlon competitor. He doesn't really say if the children were changed long-term by the trip, which is an interesting question. After completing the book, I looked up Cohen on the internet and discovered that he and his wife Devi are no longer together, that he is engaged to an attorney with 2 smaller children, and that he went back to producing the day in the life of type books after his trip -- maybe it was too lucrative to do without? Maybe he needed to do after the divorce? Kind of sad to learn that afterwards.