The biggest mistakes made by a family who traveled for a year

Exploring the World: A Family’s Year-Long Adventure

Embarking on a year-long family trip is a dream for many people, filled with the promise of life-changing experiences and unforgettable memories. Margaret Bensfield Sullivan, along with her husband and two kids, set out on a journey that took them to 29 countries across six continents. But behind the beautiful pictures and incredible adventures, there were also blunders and unexpected challenges that tested their resilience.

Unexpected Beginnings

The decision to take a year off and travel the world was not an easy one for the Sullivans. They had a comfortable life in New York, with successful careers and a loving family. However, a work trip to Tanzania opened Margaret’s eyes to the vastness of the world and the realization that there was so much more to explore outside their daily routine.

“We needed to get out there and see what was going on,” Margaret reflected. The desire to spend quality time with her family and create lasting memories motivated her to take the leap and embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The Planning

Months of meticulous planning went into preparing for their year abroad. Canceling all bills and turning their home into a suitcase, the Sullivans embraced the freedom of a nomadic lifestyle. Budgeting was a crucial aspect of their planning, and they decided to follow the sun, chasing warm weather around the globe.

With the help of travel agents, they mapped out their itinerary and set off on their journey in January 2019, starting in South America and making their way through Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

The Mishaps

Throughout their travels, the Sullivans encountered their fair share of mishaps, from stomach bugs in Beijing to lice infestations in Berlin. One memorable incident involved a live piranha being thrown into Margaret’s lap while fishing in the Amazon rainforest. Despite the challenges, they embraced the unexpected and turned mishaps into stories to cherish.

The Mistakes

Among the blunders they made, a visit to an orphanage in Vietnam stands out as a solemn reminder of the responsibilities that come with traveling. Reflecting on their experiences, Margaret emphasized the importance of approaching new cultures with respect and curiosity, rather than falling into tourist traps that may do more harm than good.

The Guided Assumptions

One of the biggest misconceptions the Sullivans had was the idea of having ample free time during their travels. With two young children in tow, their days were filled with exploration and adventure, leaving little room for personal projects or downtime. They also discovered the liberating feeling of traveling light, realizing that they didn’t need as much as they thought to be happy and content.

More Good Than Bad

Despite the challenges and mishaps, the Sullivans returned home with a newfound appreciation for the kindness and generosity of people around the world. They learned to approach each new destination with an open mind and a willingness to connect with others, transcending cultural boundaries and finding common ground in kindness and human connection.

After a year of adventures, the Sullivans strengthened their bond as a family and emerged with a deeper understanding of the world and its diverse cultures. Margaret’s advice to others considering a similar journey is simple: pick a date, commit to it, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

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