Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Strangers in a Magical Land

Lately, I've reconnected with friends from undergrad who are raising their families abroad.

Some are there for brief stints while others have not yet decided if they will permanently be state side again.

Either way, I'm enamored.  The prospect of carving out a family in another country seems magical.

The short time that I spent in college studying in Greece and Turkey taught me that we really do live in a bubble.  It's easy to think that the city we live in and even more pertinently the neighborhood we grow up in is all that there is on earth.  Until you start to see that we're such a young country with very little history and very little tradition comparatively.

So, all of their stories got me enchanted and then I read an article.  A family from out east decided to provide their children an education of a lifetime, by taking a one-year sabbatical and traveling the world.  They saved for almost five years in order to do so and made extraordinarily special arrangements both with the husband's work and the children's schools.  They rented out their house.  Eliminated all of their auto, school loan, and consumer debt.  And saved two years worth of income to use while they traveled throughout the world.

Because the financial sacrifice was immense, they kept a globe at the dining room table and on the desk in the children's bedrooms.  Each night over dinner, they selected a new country to learn about and decided whether they wanted to traverse it or not. 

When their friends were going on vacation or having elaborate birthday parties, the parents pulled out the laptop and started dreaming with their children about their adventures.  In the end, the pictures, video documentary and testimonials demonstrates that there's no question they gave their children the most invaluable experiences of a lifetime.

So, I put a "For Sale" sign in the yard, posted all of our possessions on Craig's List, and called my husband's boss knowing that he would understand.  I think we're gonna go for it.

Maybe not this year...but sounds amazing, doesn't it.

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