30 countries, 12 months, 6 boots, 3 hearts, 1 shared dream, countless memories. Meet Austin, Shalena and Mark. One small family changing their perspective, one global encounter at a time. Journey with us as we learn to slow down and appreciate the great wide world, and the unique people who call it home.
Meet the family
Growing up in a tiny Australian country town (pop. 15) 'travel' meant a ride in the back of a ute on my uncle's farm. My first trips abroad were in my late teens to Bali & Singapore where the world was louder, brighter and far more colourful than the red earth I had grown up roaming.
Corporate life took me all over the world to far flung places like Kazakhstan and Alaska, Russia and South Africa, and some amazing places in between. A move overseas to Texas placed me in a part of the world I still don’t claim to understand, but at least I picked up a souvenir from my time there, my lovely wife, Shalena.
After nearly 9 years in London, it's time to set sail again, this time with a family in tow, and prove to my wife that life does not require 23 pairs of shoes!
My aunt lived in Mexico while I was growing up, and this small town Texas girl thought trekking around on the bonita montanas near her sprawling breezy home was the biggest adventure I’d ever see. Over the years, my parents took us back and forth to Mexico and the Caribbean, and family vacations became the thing you spend the rest of the time looking forward to.
I’m a full speed ahead type of girl, and my approach to travel has always been to do as much as you possibly can in the limited time you have. I do know how nice slowing down can be; there is nothing more inspiring than looking out over a mountain range, or more calming than cooling your feet in moving water. I’m just not great at remembering to slow down.
This time, this trip, I’m looking forward to taking it slow, settling in, and taking the first big long slow breath that will tell me I’ve finally done the impossible. I’ve finally relaxed.
Never met a stranger. Lego enthusiast. Wants to be an architect. At the age of 6, he’s visited over 12 countries and counting. He’s learned how to slot right in with other children on playgrounds, even if nobody speaks the same language, and loves climbing over ancient forts and castles in search of pirates.
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A Family Style Middle Aged Gap Year
The people we meet, the places we go, and the things we do will have an impact. Above all, we hope to come out of this knowing ourselves a bit better. What happens after that? Who knows? We’ll go back to our city, our jobs, school and life. And hopefully our experience will make those things that much richer. Or it won’t. But we’ll never know if we don’t try.
This is the story of how we got here - from inception right through to when we re-enter society on the other side. Here you’ll find our lessons learned and our adventures, which may be useful for your own travel plans or maybe even a little entertainment.
PhotosAll photos presented here are taken by one of us (Austin included) and are subject to copyright.
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