By Gaby Orwick
Many want to know “why” we are doing a round-the-world trip and “why now,” but even more often we get asked “how” we came up with “The Plan.” And since I am the family planner in chief, I am happy to share our thinking and process. Below are excertps from 2 interviews we’ve contributed to over the last couple months, that offer an insight.
Please ask on… what would you like to know. Look forward to your input for future StudioEverywhere-FAQ posts, especially as I learn to keep the word count down and add more pics.
[Jan 2016 – from an interview for Estela Takahachi’s upcoming travel blog]
How was the planning of the trip? How long it took for planning it?
Planning the trip was fun – dreaming of what could be, working together as a family and brainstorming ideas with friends. It was also hard – to choose the place we’d visit and those to leave for a future trip, to think about the various risks we would accept or mitigate, and to figure out the financial plan.
We firmed up the idea of the StudioEverywhere art project in August 2014 when we painted with kids in Greece and Bulgaria, while visiting family. Our pilot’s success boosted our enthusiasm and by November we were committed to give a round-the-world trip a shot. Choosing the timing was the easy part – Elena would finish 5th grade in June and we’d take advantage of the natural transition to Middle School to take a gap year. Summer in Oregon is spectacular, so we set our launch date for late August 2015, in line with the next school year.
We wanted to follow spring and summer weather, which informed the routing: South America => Southeast Asia => Europe. We had a hard time deselecting any more places, so the trip shaped up as a sample platter with roughly 3 months per region, and 2-3 weeks per country. Details would start coming together just a couple months before we left.
We did quite a bit of research on budget travel and for the first 6 months focused on making a solid plan to save money and redirect investments to make 9-10 months away possible.
By March we had a StudioEverywhere Trello board outlining our major ambitions and mapping them into a workable plan. We also drafted a “communications plan” sharing our ideas not only with family and friends, but also working with potential sponsors, setting a gofundme.com/studioeverywhere page to raise money for art supplies, and working out transition plans at work.
The heavy lifting of putting an actual itinerary together, passport renewals and visas, immunizations, and initial bookings started in May, with most everything coming together in the last 2 months before we left.
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[Nov 2015 – From an interview for fellow family traveller Lisa van den Berg’s blog www.flipflopglobetrotters.com]
How do you determine where to go and how long to stay?
Given we only have 10 months, we thought long and hard where we’d like to go on this first (of hopefully many) round-the-world journey. We wanted to visit South America, Asia and Europe for a start, shying away from places with high political or weather volatility, as well as considering safety and cost of travel and living. Some places made the list so we could visit friends and family.
We made a dream list of placed we’d like to go to, and each picked a pillar experience. Did some research on optimal times to travel to each target region, and sought an itinerary that offered us spring/summer-like climate to facilitate minimal wardrobe changes and light packing.
The StudioEverywhere “how you see yourself in the world” self-portraits art project being a centerpiece of our trip, we targeted areas where we’d be able to more easily acquire art supplies and get help (contacts, translation, etc.) connecting with the community and arranging the project. It has been a gift as without it, we wouldn’t have gotten to know real people and connect at such a personal level, in such a short time.
Deciding how long to stay each place came at a balance of how many places we wanted to visit. We scrubbed our initial list over and over to narrow the “sampler platter” itinerary to less than 20 countries… and from there made sure we had 2-3 weeks in each, prioritizing the city / region / places we’d visit. We opted to see more in less time so that we’d be more informed about our future trips, when we’d likely want to spend several months in any one area and really get to know a place and connect with the locals.