Around the world

So I’ve alluded some here on the blog, a bit on Instagram, and hinted around a bit on Facebook, but I haven’t been too specific about our plans yet, simply because they’re still etched in lightweight pencil with an eraser nearby. But enough of you have asked, and it’s not a secret, so I figured I’d go ahead and tell you:

Next year, my family and I will be traveling around the world.

We’ve wanted to do this for a very, very long time, so this isn’t a rash decision. Ever since we moved back from Turkey three years ago (has it really been three years already?), we knew we wanted to get back “out there” and explore. So the concrete is still very mushy on our plans (in fact, you could say we’re still mixing it), but we’re planning on traveling for the 2014-15 school year. So, a bit over a year from now.

I’ll be writing about our plans a bit more this next year, as we learn about places, glean advice from friends doing the same thing, and make global connections, but today, I thought I’d address one of the bigger questions I get. It’s this one:


(There’s also How? and Where?, but those are separate posts for another day.)

So, here’s why.

1. Because we can, and because we want to.

This is the overall reason why we’re going when we’re going. Kyle and I both have jobs we can do from anywhere, we’re debt-free, and our kids are young enough to still go with the flow. We’re saving up like mad right now, of course, and this isn’t going to even remotely be a high-falootin’ trip. We’re talking local guest houses, hostels, living rooms of friends, Craigslist apartments, and maybe even some camping.

One of our high values is freedom and autonomy, and that’s one of the main reasons we love working for ourselves. So while this lifestyle is still working for us, we want to take advantage of it. We’ll be working as we go, living out our family life on different spots on the globe.

2. Because our kids are young.

I know some people would argue the opposite—go when your kids are older, when they’d appreciate it more. And you know what? We very well may. Go again, that is.

But we like the idea of taking them while they’re young, when it’ll have a higher chance to form in them a worldview that’ll benefit them the rest of their lives. Giving our kids a global perspective is one of our highest priorities in our parenting, and yes, while that can still happen from our living room in the States, how much broader would their perspective be because of a trip we took while we could?

Our kids, in Paris back in 2009.

Our kids, in Paris back in 2009.

And I know Stephanie is taking her baby, but I like that our youngest will be 4-5 years old—no diapers, and able to carry his own backpack. So, our kids will be young, yes—but that’s nothing to stop us. We’ve traveled internationally with little kids before, and I adamantly believe it’s the fear of the unknown (How will my kids handle a long plane flight?) that holds many parents back from traveling more.

We’ll be homeschooling, of course (“roadschooling” would be more accurate here)—and can you imagine what kind of education this would be? “Kids, here’s a book about the Great Wall of China. And later today, let’s go climb it!” I’ll go in to more details on our schooling plan later, when I talk about the “how” of our trip.

3. Because it’s part of our job.

I don’t really talk about it online, but Kyle and I are also part of a non-profit organization that helps provide guest houses around the world for international non-profit workers who need a break. We know from first-hand experience that global workers—people doing amazing, life-changing things around the world—are easily prone to depression, anxiety, and burnout. Plus, they usually don’t make a lot of money and yet REALLY deserve a break, far more often than they take them.

So we provide houses where these people can find rest, without having to fly all the way back to their passport country. They’re run by people trained to help debrief from recent difficult situations, who can serve as a life coach, or who can simply provide meals and clean towels, and get out of the way so these guests can relax. It’s pretty awesome.

Anyway—on this trip, we’ll be visiting a number of our organization’s guest houses, just to check in on them and see how they’re doing. Kyle works in the home office here in the States (along with working for me on the blog here—so yep, he’s a busy guy), and we like to make sure these houses are visited by the main hub team every few years.

4. Because we may, just may, move back overseas.

We don’t really know about this one here, but we hope this trip will give us a lot of insight—we’re thinking and praying about moving back overseas. It’ll look a lot different than when we first lived in Turkey, including the fact that we want to divide our time between living abroad and back in the States (we want a home base back in our passport country, in other words). But if we did move overseas, it’d most likely be to open a guest house, so we’re going to explore whether that’s a good idea for our family—and also, where would be a good, needed location.

5. Because I’m writing another book.

What? I thought you just wrote one. Yep, I did, and it’ll be out early 2014—I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon!

But Thomas Nelson wanted me to write a second book, and I pitched to them the idea of writing about how different cultures around the world do some aspect of family life, and what we can all learn from each other. They liked it, so that’s what I’ll be doing, in addition to keeping this blog running while trekking the globe. I’ll be gathering stories from families worldwide, and collect them into a book that explores… something. Not quite sure yet. Hospitality? Parenting? I’m mulling over it.

Photo by ernop

I don’t pretend to think this book will be all-inclusive, expert-driven, or rich with anthropological wisdom. Really understanding a culture takes years, and we’ll be in different cultures for weeks, maybe months. My job in this book is simply to gather stories from families willing to share them, and then put words on paper.

So… this is the Big Fat Explanation of what we’ll be doing in a little over a year. We’ve got a lot of planning to do in the meantime, along with still living our stateside life. But as this long-awaited expedition draws ever near, it’s becoming and more and more of our dinnertime conversation. We’re excited, we’re humbled that it’s an option, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.

And also, this song has been in our heads a lot lately.

Psst… I’m sharing 30 different places we hope to visit on my personal blog during the month of October.

We’ve got a short list of not-to-miss places already, but I’m curious—where do you think we should go?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. so excited for you!!! We’re heading home to NZ later this year, so you’ll always be welcome at our place, if you make it to Aotearoa…..we even know how to speak American 😉

  2. I can’t even imagine how cool this would be! I wish I would have done this earlier on in life!

  3. My husband and I are doing this with our children too. We are saving for our “Around the World 2020.” We aren’t quite done with our family yet, we plan on adding a third into the mix sometime soon. But we travel frequently because it is part of our study-abroad business, so I don’t worry my children will miss out on a world perspective. I love the idea of raising world citizens! Good for you! You guys will have a wonderful experience! Make sure you get to Vienna, Austria, the zoo and “Tiroler gardens” at schoenbrunn palace are so fun! They have heritage breeds of sheep, cows, and goats all situated in a true chalet farm house. It is such a fun experience. We used to go with our little guy all the time when we lived up the road. I desperately miss living overseas, and hope it’s something we can do again in the near future!

  4. By far, my favorite reason is number one. It’s the best reason to do anything really.

    Since we’re not headed out for a while, I’ll send you my travel list (a mix of places we’ve been and others we place to visit some day):

    1. Taiwan

    2. Thailand

    3. Iceland

    4. Denmark

    5. British Columbia

  5. I am SO EXCITED to read all about your travels- I am planning something similar for MY family in the near future. My husband works in film/television – so his schedule is surprisingly flexible.

    Anyhoo- the OBVIOUS answer is that you should write your next book about how people “school” around the world – public, private, homeschool, etc.!

    Can’t wait to hear more…


    • Oooh… Hadn’t even thought of education! I did love writing that portion for my upcoming book. Hmm. Food for thought. Thanks, Erika.

      • And if you go the “schooling route” I’d love to talk to you about Room to Read, which is likely going to be found in several of the places your family will visit! Exciting news! Funny, as I’ve just posted our blog updates about us choosing to LEAVE the life of overseas living …. (however I do feel like we’ll soon be itching to go back!)

  6. I love that you are going around the world to help and serve people instead of simply sightseeing. My husband and I are working towards becoming Digital Tentmakers. We only need to finish paying off our debt this year, then we are ready to slow travel with our family.

    My youngest is 2. Sometimes I am impatient with our debt snowball, but I know I will be glad that my youngest will be out of diapers when we do finally hit the road. Can’t wait to hear more!

    • Love this, Amanda! I think we need to talk sometime. 😉 And yes, slow travel is the way to go, for sure.

      • Tsh, I’d love that! I believe Digital Tentmaking is a new way to do missions, because Wi-Fi is everywhere. Once you have a location independent business, then you can travel with your family and serve a missionary or local pastor for as long as your visa allows. Our vision is to build and equip a community of singles and families that choose to live as digital tentmakers.

  7. Hi Tsh – wow. This is wonderful and exciting.

    I also wanted to drop a quick note to say how much I’m enjoying the new design. After spending a couple weeks with it – gosh, what a pleasure it is to spend time here. Thanks.

  8. Hooray! This is amazing and awesome and I am so excited for you and also a wee bit jealous. I know we’re just finishing one adventure and heading back to Canada, but I’m already planning our next one!
    Can’t wait to read more!

  9. That’s a fantastic list of reasons to go. I think you’re kids will get a ton out of it, even though they’re young. Go for it!!!

  10. Go for it!!! There is nothing quite like raising kids out there in the big wide world – opening up their minds and hearts – and they’re never too young – these are called the formative years for a reason – they will be accepting and curious and so much more because of these experiences – Nothing could make me more grateful than to be raising my family with a more global view of life

  11. I haven’t been *too* many places internationally, but I’m generally not someone who wants to go to the same place twice. In a heartbeat, though, I’d go back to Ireland. 🙂
    What do your kids think about it? Where do they want to go/want to see?
    Sarah M

    • PS-My husband doesn’t work from home or anything, so for, really, more than 3 weeks at a time (Scotland 2015!), we wouldn’t be able to do something like this for quite a while. He’s always wanted to sail around the world when he retires, though. We really hope that someday happens. We’re pretty committed to traveling.
      I was wondering if you’ve ever done WWOOFing with your kids? We REALLY want to do that with them while they are young!
      Sarah M

    • We haven’t done WWOOFing yet, but that’s definitely an idea we’ve tossed around!

      We talk about this trip all the time, so our kids bring up all sorts of places. Reed really wants to go back to Turkey, so he can see where he was born. Tate’s very excited about China.

  12. Wow Tsh, well done for making a dream happen in such a practical way! My husband had a similar dream and we haven’t made it happen, now with kids in high school it seems less likely that we will.
    Look forward to hearing about it.

  13. Heather says:

    This sounds amazing! I spent 10 days in Nepal in 2009 and loved it there. The culture & scenery are amazing, and the people were so welcoming. So Nepal in the low season would be my suggestion.

    I live in Durham UK and would recommend a visit here too 🙂 lots of British history and heritage to explore, and close by there’s a great little WWOOFing farm that takes families.

  14. We have often thought about a round the world trip, but I think we have done our big trip, moving from Ireland to Australia. Good luck with it all, and maybe if you get a chance to see Ireland you should. It’s very beautiful, but go in the summer, the winter is miserable.

    • You know, I’ve been to Ireland twice—once in March and once in June. And I never really noticed the difference in weather! 🙂 It is gorgeous, though, and the Irish are some of the friendliest people I’ve come across.

  15. This is such an awesome idea and I think it’s great to get kids travelling when they are young, they get used it doing it and then it makes it easier each time. We travel quite a bit with our kids (ages 3 and 4) and they love it. I would recommend:

    China (and would pick Beijing if you can only do one city)
    Netherlands (Keukenhof Gardens are awesome at the right time of the year – think tulips!)
    Spain (of course, as we live here!)
    Austria (I second all the suggestions about Vienna mentioned above)
    Germany (Munich is a great city)
    Israel (fascinating)
    Ireland (especially the South West – Co.Cork and Co.Kerry, also it’s my homeland)
    Italy (Milan and Venice, also even though I haven’t been there Tuscany would be beautiful I imagine)

    I could go on but I will stop here! 🙂

    Excited about your plans, planning is so much part of the fun of it too isn’t it! And also excited to hear you will be writing a book as you travel too.

  16. Oh.SO. Excited.

    Okay, places I think you should visit if you haven’t already included them,

    India {ahem!}

    Happy travels and someday, someday, I hope we’ll be able to do the same too.. 🙂

  17. What a wonderful and amazing journey you will have with your family. I have heard you mention it on the podcasts but it’s great to read about the plans here. Thank you for the link to Stephanie and her family’s adventures. I am looking forward to following them.

    I have to say I would add the salt plains that she has recently visited to your list if you want to see some amazing stuff.

    We have recently moved to Auckland, New Zealand from Melbourne. Enjoy your time there this year and next year. You’ll have fun with Darren and his family.

    • Yes, looking forward to hanging with him again, and this time meeting his family! I have a feeling our kids would get along well together…

      And that’s right, I forgot I mentioned this trip on the podcast, too.

  18. Rebecca says:

    If Cambodia is on your list, happy to answer any questions!

  19. This is exciting news! My husband and I live overseas and we love it! We think you should add Madagascar to your list of countries! 🙂


    • We love it, too, and miss it tons. And oh yes, Reed is OBSESSED with the idea of going to Madagascar, thanks to a certain little movie. 😉 He’s probably convinced he’ll get to hang with penguins and friendly lions.

  20. This is the greatest news! It’s something I’ve long considered. I’ve gobbled up every book on the topic – fueling many dreams. Most recently I’ve decided to take a mini trip to Central America this fall with my family to see if its something I really want to do long term. Looking forward to all your stories. And your book.

  21. Uganda. You should definitely come to Uganda! We’d love to have you! Apparently it’s the most ethnically diverse country in the world! And we LOVE living there! We’re excited for you!

    • Really? Wow, I’ve never heard that before! Interesting. Uganda’s on my radar, for sure, as are a few other African countries near there. 🙂

      • I just spent 2 weeks with my 10 year old daughter building a school at an orphanage just outside Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. It was an awesome experience, and as soon as we got home my husband said, “Next time we are all going!” – including miss 4 & Master 6! We can’t wait to all go together. My eldest daughter, Miss 10, thinks of Canada & the USA as her 2nd & 3rd homes as she has crossed the Pacific 4 times already, and spent 1 tenth of her live there, and took her first Asian trip to Hong Kong in utero! We love travelling with the kids, and though it can be difficult at times – will never forget the 17 hour flight Vancouver-Sydney while 7 months pregnant with a 1 year old who would only sleep on my lap, and I was suffering from food poisoning!! But it is definitely WORTH every challenge, both we and the kids, and our family as a whole are so much stronger and “others centred” for the experience! You are welcome to bunk with us in Tasmania anytime if you come “Down Under”, & the OWCIA (Orphan & Widow Care Initiatives for Africa) orphanage would love for you to visit!

  22. What an amazing opportunity. I just returned from three months in Jerusalem with my family (a 2 year old and a 7 month old). It was such a great experience, and we definitely hope to do more. I’m not sure what slow travel is, but I really like spending a long period of time in one place. I hope Israel is on your list. There is truly no place in the world like it. Not so easy to find places that are that unique.

    What is the non-profit you work for? I’m intrigued.

    I can definitely recommend places to see if you end up passing through Israel on your travels.

    • Slow travel is basically what you said—spending a longer period of time in one place. Not hopping around, frantically running around to see all the sights. Living similar to the culture, possibly working as you go, soaking in the culture and not just the sights… that’s slow travel. 🙂

  23. I lived in Thailand for 3 years as a kid (5th-7th grade) and my parents brought all 5 kids to a floating hotel. We slept in hammocks and rode elephants in the morning. I HIGHLY recommend it! Your kids will remember it forever. I know I do!

    Have fun! I can’t wait to follow your adventures. Maybe I will copy someday… 🙂 Any chance you can podcast from the road with random people you meet?? Ha. No? Dang.

    • That sounds amazing, Ashley! We were in Thailand for two months when Tate was 2.5 and I was pregnant with Reed. That place is on our must-do list; we love it so much. Thanks for the tip there!

  24. I think this is such an amazing and exciting opportunity for your family. What a blessing to be able to travel and educate yourselves in the process.

    I really love your nonprofit organization that provides guest houses to non profit workers needing a break. What a clever and much needed effort!!

  25. So excited for you. My husband and I just started thinking about this option for our family as well. We are looking more at the 2019 or 2020 time frame. As far as where to go, tough question. On one hand I have heard amazing things for younger kids as far as South America for cost or Africa because of the nature connection. I think any place that has lots of things going on ecologically would be cool for younger kids to make connections. However I love Italy for the connection to art and food. My bachelor brother-in-law just did an Asia tour last year and loved it and said once there, the cost of living is pretty low. This is appealing because going to Asia was one of the times I most went out of my comfort zone and I can see this as a great learning experience for children about getting comfortable with unfamiliarity. Anyway, I am so excited for you. I hope you do post, especially on doing this economically, because that is one of my very biggest concerns. Good luck!

    • Well, we’ll definitely be going to Italy, a few countries in South America, and a few countries in Africa, so I completely agree!

  26. My husband just loves his business trips to Barcelona…beautiful scenery, architecture, interesting people, and a wonderful food culture, even if the restaurants don’t open til 9 pm! 😉

    Although I think education would be a great topic and a fascinating one, hospitality across cultures sounds very appealing too! And something you’ll be experiencing more first-hand as you travel. 🙂

    • Very true—that’s one of the reasons I’m leaning towards hospitality; because we’ll be experiencing it first-hand.

  27. How exciting! That you and Stephanie from KOTH are doing this is completely fascinating/fabulous.etc. Love hearing the plans.

    Would love to be able to take our kids to Israel someday. The Hubs prodded me to leave our little one and go back in ’11 and I’m so glad we did it.

    And, I agree about traveling with kids–it’s the fear factor that stops us. We’ve never done international, only lots of domestic flights, but it’s often not be nearly as bad in our imaginations. And if it is, the plane eventually lands and you never see those people again :).

  28. Victoria says:

    What an exciting adventure!

    What is the name of the non-profit you are part of? My husband and I recently acquired a second home with the intention of serving a similar mission. Would love to learn more about the organization.

  29. I’ve heard that Connecticut is pretty cool. =) And close to New York City, too!

    Can’t wait to hear more as your plans develop!

  30. Way to Go! You will be living my dream. What great stories you will write by making this decision. Enjoy the work to get there!

  31. That’s so great! You are doing what so many wouldn’t even consider.

    AND as a full-time “non-profit worker”, thank you. I’ve been a part of getting people out of closed countries at a ridiculous pace. So thankful for places to go.

  32. I love, love this idea!! My husband and I traveled for six months right after we got married and loved it. We basically did a circle around the Pacific Ocean: NZ, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China and Taiwan. You can tell Tate that China is pretty awesome! Walking on the Great Wall was an incredible experience. =)

    One of our big dreams is to travel again, for a year (or longer) with our girls. Our oldest is only 3 so we’ll wait a few years until they are all independent.

    The international part of your story is what drew me to you in the first place, at that time I didn’t know many people who had traveled/lived overseas like we had and a lot of what you said about cross-cultural stuff really resonated with me.

    Looking forward to reading more as you fill in the blanks!!

    • Kyle and I went to China about 11 years ago, so I think one of the reasons Tate is so eager to check it out is because of our stories. We went to Beijing, Xian, Urumqi, and Kashgar. So totally fascinating!

      Your trip sounds heavenly as well. And thanks for reading!

  33. I’ve just “started” my family (my daughter is 9 months old) but travelling around the world with my family is one of my biggest dream for the future!
    As I’m Italian, I suggest you to come visit our country (there’s plenty of wonderful place here, everybody knows!), but if you would like to visit something unusual you should not miss Lake of Garda (Gardone Riviera, Salò) during spring-summertime.
    Good luck, Sara

  34. Wow! I love hearing the back-story of why your family is doing this and about some of the “what” of it all. As someone who just moved to Thailand with her family (husband, kiddos aged 2 and 4), it was a great reminder that my kids are NOT too young,(even if return to the States while they’re still younger) to be exposed to some really great things – mindset being a huge one – while we’re here. I look forward to hearing more as you share more!

  35. Jessica says:

    I would say that Ecuador would be on my list, you have the mountains, beach, jungle…it’s amazing a beautiful and the people are simply wonderful. Not to mention that travel and food are pretty cheap there. Blessings as you plan where to go!

  36. I love love love this idea! Your reason’s are great too. As much as I wish this was something in the future for us, my hubby is not fond of the idea of traveling out of the country, although we do want to take a trip to Europe with our kids and visit Germany, France and Italy…so I hope all of those are on your list! I personally would love to go to the Congo, Thailand, Israel, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Scotland, Ireland, and Ghana….we plan to take a trip to all the US states someday though, so that’s at least something. 😉 I can’t wait to follow along on your adventures, and your book could just be about what home life in general is like in different cultures…what they do for school, what is expected of the children…Ooh, or maybe what their dreams are. It would be neat to compare goals and dreams from different cultures. 🙂

    • Dreams and goals = I like that. Good food for thought.

      And honestly, we haven’t been to a lot of the States, and that’s something we’d like to do more of, too! That sounds like a great idea.

  37. My 12 year old daughter and I recently visited our sponsored child through Compassion International in Haiti. Beautiful people and intense poverty. I applaud you for taking your children and doing this together no matter their age! God has something for all of us wherever we are, and I’m sure you will all learn many things about Him and the diversity He has created.

    Btw, I know your brother in law…and have heard nice things about you from many. He was asking about my knee surgery and mentioned you had one as well! Just found your blog and this post was timely since I just traveled with daughter.

    God’s blessings on your family as you serve Him…
    Faye in Oregon

  38. It’s brilliantly wonderful. Happy for you guys and adore living lives without boxes or borders.

  39. Sounds really cool but, since I am not a good traveler the thought of being on so many flights makes me dizzy

  40. How awesome! I cannot wait to hear about your adventures! Will you be podcasting from overseas? Maybe you could interview locals as a part of the Simple Mom podcast. Well… assuming you can find someone who speaks English. So maybe interview the aid workers or missionaries who you will be visiting! 🙂

    • I will be podcasting, yes, but probably not interviewing locals! Not sure that would fly well. I think it’ll be fun to check in regularly with my girlfriends back in the States—a dose of sanity for me. 🙂

  41. I love this idea, and my husband and I have often dreamed of making it a reality some day. How do you plan on a year of traveling? Can you offer tips for those of us who don’t have a clue where to start?

  42. This has been a dream of mine since being a travel agent in the later 90s. This spring I read Brother Andrew’s books with my daughter and began to dream again of going to revisit countries we’ve been to and going to aid Open Doors in other countries, bringing encouragement to the church in need.

  43. I can’t wait to read about your travels. Totally agree exposing kids to new cultures at an early age can only be beneficial to them, and the family as a whole.

  44. We actually travelled with our 4 kids to Japan and Indonesia earlier this year. It went surprisingly well, and it totally made me want to travel more with them. We visited missionaries in both places. Now our kids want to run “guest houses” in both countries. Maybe they could hook up with your organization when they get older.=) They got to met a lot of mk’s their age. It was the best experience ever. I would encourage anyone to save their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and take your kids overseas.

  45. What an amazing opportunity and way to do it when your kids are young. My parents did the same and it instilled in us early a Global perspective of the world. As Christian, it has dramatically impacted my faith.

    I’d add the sweeden/finland/norway–the north tip of Norway has been one of my favs and to watch the sun go down and then back up over the water is breathtaking in the summer—plus the Lofoton islands are very magical.

    Indonesia too is a magical spot–but I think heading to thailand sounds awesome with all the food!

    • We definitely want to visit Scandinavia—it’ll all depend on finances and the weather, to be honest. 🙂 We hope to travel as light as possible, which means doing our darndest to hit mild weather as best we can. We’ll see.

  46. Hey Tsh! So exciting. Please come visit us in Ireland, we are moving to NI in August to work with YWAM and would love to have your family visit! Can’t wait to hear more about your plans!

  47. We’re moving our family to Ukraine in November, in fact, we’re there right now looking for housing. We’ll be working with children with disabilities. We have little kids and I totally agree with you on the worldview perspective! You should come visit us! 🙂

  48. Do round-the world air tickets still exist? I’ve always wanted to circle the globe and visit far flung friends. What an amazing opportunity to take the whole family!

    • They do, actually! It’s a bit of a toss-up whether that’s the best route, financially—it’s important to us to have flexibility, and sometimes when you buy flexible tickets in advance, they can cost a lot. Just one of the many things we’ll have to figure out this year!

      • Good point. Regional carriers might be the way to go cheap, though they each have their own quirks. No car seats allowed on Asia’s Tiger Airways for example.

    • You can definitely still get round-the-world tickets, but based on our own planning and research, we found that they weren’t worth using. They typically were more expensive and cut down on our flexibility too much. We felt super restricted by them (not that we actually used one, I just mean in attempting to plan our trip using one, the restrictions were getting in the way too much, so we ditched the idea of using them).

      Instead, we’ve gone with discount one-way tickets pieced together by a company that we’ve been really happy with called Air Treks. I’m sure there are others out there that do similar things. We’ve been buying our tickets in smaller groupings so that we can still change our plans as we go. We bought our first set of tickets to cover the first 6 months of our trip, we’re currently planning our next purchase for another 4 months, then we’ll make a final purchase for the last 2 1/2 month portion. It’s working well for us, and I know of other families that have used this method for round-the-world travels as well. 🙂

  49. How exciting! I would check out Peru and India if you have the chance. I went there before I had kids, but I would love to go back to either of those places with my kids!

  50. Tsh, come to Israel! We are in full-time ministry just outside Jerusalem and would love to meet you and your family 🙂

    • Wow, lots of readers in Israel! We just may have to pop over en route to Turkey… How fun would a reader meet-up in Jerusalem be? 🙂

  51. I’m so excited I can barely breathe. Not even exaggerating. Will be back to this post a billion times to check out all your links (and all the amazing people in the comments!), but have to get back to work right now because THIS IS MY DREAM TOO. (Well, not necessarily the whole world, but Asia. And also Africa. And possibly South America. So, yeah.) SO THRILLED BY THIS!!!!!

  52. So…I just really can’t imagine doing this and it scares the mess out of me thinking of doing it for ourselves. But I’m so excited for you guys…you seem positioned well to do this kind of thing and I think it’s awesome that you’re being brave and taking the leap. I can’t wait to learn along with your family! That is a good question though–how much of these stories will you be sharing on the blog versus just the book? I assume we’ll get some insight as you go?

    • Oh yes, I’ll still be blogging as we go. And filming, too. I’ll share a bit more about how we’ll do this later this week.

  53. You are always welcome in Luxembourg! You don’t know me from Adam (Eve), but we’ve got a guest room/bed and mats for the kids! Even if you just need a quick overnight stopping spot between European countries. Luxembourg is an interesting little (really, really little) place–it’s nearly half immigrants and has 3 official languages (including Luxembourgish–no joke), so it’s a great study in language and culture. Our kids (girl 7, boy 5) are immersed in the local school system and languages. Anyway, keep us in the back of your mind…I suppose you can look over my blog to judge how “normal” we are 😉 Happy planning!

  54. Awesome! We’re are planning to travel overseas with our family by the end of this calendar year and love to see that we aren’t the only “crazy” ones. Looking forward to your new book too!

  55. Kirsten says:

    So awesome to be able to travel like that… are so resilient…. I don’t think they mind too much where they are ….as long as they have their special people with them…. they cope with anything…….how about South Africa…… we have the best weather and sunny happy people…. and on stronger currencies (i.e. USD) living costs are pretty reasonable!!

  56. Awesome. Just really, really awesome. I tell my husband at least once a week that should his company ever offer an opportunity to work overseas, he doesn’t even have to ask me. He can say yes on the spot. That is totally a dream! Until then, we are taking steps to begin exposing our kids to different cultures and traveling – we’re taking them on a family mission trip to Dominican Republic this summer. Hopefully that will be the start of many grand adventures. My husband and I love traveling and we really want our kids to love it, too.

    I can’t wait to read along with you on your adventure. Sounds amazing! And congrats on your book deal! So many exciting things in this post!! 🙂

    • Oh and if I had to suggest one place to visit, I’d say Hallstatt, Austria. There are cheap places to stay and it really captures the heart of Austria. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and the history is fascinating! I dream of taking my kids there!

  57. SO excited to follow you guys on this one. And South Africa, naturally!

  58. I would say go to a country that not many people have heard of. My family is from Malta, which is a small country south of Sicily that was awarded the George Cross for bravery during WW2. There is a rich history in Malta, and Maltese people are some of the kindest and gentlest people (and I’m not just saying that because I AM one!) I also learned in an Anthropology class that Malta is one of the most peaceful countries in the developed world. Alright — enough about Malta! 🙂

    I’m so excited to read and learn more!

  59. Oh this is wonderful and I love how it captures who the Oxenreider’s are. It confirms even more how God gave us the children and them the parents they need for a reason. Because although I’m slightly jealous of this adventure, I realize it’s not us. So, in the meantime I can live vicariously through you and be encouraged to take little adventures:)

    I think South America, Argentina, Peru, or safer spots in Mexico would be fantastic!

  60. Go to India! I just recently lived there and there’s nothing in the world like it! Incredible food, incredible people, it’ll change your life. Then again, your whole trip will change your life!

  61. Kenya!!! We are in Nairobi so if you stop by would love to meet up! So many easy day trips to get a real feel for this beautiful country and a great place to live/travel with kids!

  62. Shannon says:

    Fabulous!! We try to take an international trip with our kids (7&8) every year and it is amazing how much it has expanded them. I would love to do what you are doing!! I think Middle East would be awesome! Oman, Dubai, Jordan – especially the schooling aspect mentioned above. Would SO read that 🙂
    Many blessings to you!

  63. Hi Tsh! My family and I love Bali and I think that it would be great for your globe trotting tour. On the flip side if you want to get to the Caribbean, I know quite a bit about that. I was born in Dominica, WI and grew up in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. So excited for you.

  64. Emily T says:

    Hi Tsh-

    Love your blog and how you help us live more simply and intentionally. I’ve lived abroad a few times and I’ve considered moving my family abroad or doing an extended trip. One question: how do you deal with the guilt (at least for me) that comes with the large carbon footprint associated with international travel? I too think that exposure to other cultures is vital, but I struggle with how to weave it into a larger value system around caring for the Earth. Would love to hear thoughts from you or others about this as it is a challenge for me and my family.

  65. Amazing. Love it all. The travel, little kids, the book. Hope you will be sharing details about how this all comes together for you. We wouldn’t ever do such a long endeavor but I love to travel and my husband is a bit wary of it with kids. I agree with you in that, if you want it to happen, it will!

  66. Liisa R says:

    Thanks for this! We don’t have kiddos yet but are dreaming about doing this… we are getting certified for ESL but are unsure how we would work while traveling more widely, wondered about pace, how to decide where to go, how old kids should be to get the most out of it, etc. Thanks for going ahead in this and letting us tag along and learn form you! I love the idea of getting involved with a ministry/organization stateside that would give us a great reason to travel as a side benefit. 🙂

  67. I’m sending this post to my husband! It’s my dream to do something like this someday hopefully not too far in the future. Hubby is very traditional and not adventurous and does not believe this is something we could ever do or should even want to do, but he married a hard headed woman–who also the nerd/budgeter in the family, so I can figure out how to get us there! 🙂 I love love love your plan and how you want your kids to experience so much that many of us have only dreamed of. So inspiring!

    I’m very interested in the nonprofit you work for, that’s a need I’ve never thought of. Could you share the name of it?

    For your book, I’d be really interested in parenting styles. I’m not a parent (“yet” if we decide to adopt), but that book about French parenting sounds really interesting to me and I would be interested to know how other cultures approach it too.

    • To clarify, I don’t mean I’d drag him around the world, it just doesn’t occur to him to dream this big, to think something like this is feasible. I like to think part of why God put us together is to broaden his horizons. Hopefully he will grow to embrace more possibilities. 🙂

  68. Shelley says:

    So, so excited about this for you and, selfishly, for me to read about! I spent 2 years “traveling slowly” through Japan while teaching English – pre-kiddos and now have an incredible itch to do the same with our 3 kiddos, 11, 9 and 6. We have a 1-2 year plan to be in Australia/New Zealand and this blog post was music to my ears!

    It’s sometimes so difficult to keep this dream of travel alive when many around us do not share this worldview of parenting and are just horrified we’d think of tearing our kids away. This post and all the comments remind me I’m not alone with this dream.

    Maybe if we get our acts together we can host you and your family:-)

    Thanks so much, Tsh for your blog, your awesome sounding non-profit and for your youness. It’s just pure awesomeness and adds love and light to my day!

  69. How incredibly exciting! I can’t wait to hear more.

  70. Belgium. One of Europe’s smallest countries, but one with a very rich history. Almost every major European conflict/empire has impacted this nation (Waterloo, Ypres, Namur). The city Bruges (or Brugge) is one of my absolute favorite places in the entire world. It’s known as the Venice of the North–medieval city, moat, belfry, Flemish artists, Michelangelo statue, cathedrals, etc.

  71. Can’t wait to live vicariously through your travels! My husband and I both spent time overseas as college students – Russia and Belize (how different can you get??), and we had the opportunity to return to Belize as young marrieds. We both talk about taking our kids traveling internationally, but we struggle with the lack of job flexibility. 10 days of vacation a year just doesn’t get you very far!

    This post has inspired me to think about dreaming bigger, though. I can’t imagine that we would ever take a year off, but what about a 3 month leave of absence to visit one part of the world. Hmmmm… Of course, then I’d have to choose just one part of the world!

    I could easily narrow it down to:
    Belize, New Zealand, Thailand, Scandanavia, Ireland, Equador, South Africa, Prague, Italy, India, …
    Okay, maybe I can’t.

  72. Heather says:

    Tsh, you might have already blogged about this, but I was wondering did you and your husband travel any as kids yourselves? I think it is a great idea and seeing “it” hands down is better than just reading about “it”.

    • We didn’t, actually. My first time leaving the country was when I was 15 and I went to Russia and Latvia (not long after the Iron Curtain fell, actually). Kyle and I both separately went to Mexico a few times with our churches when we were teenagers, and then neither of us traveled internationally again until our early 20s. Kyle went to Albania when he was around 20 (I think), then went to Kosovo at around 21-22 and lived there for awhile. He backpacked Europe a lot when he lived there, too… And of course, after doing the typical post-college grad Europe backpacking thing, I ended up settling in Kosovo, too. And that’s where we met! 🙂

  73. So super excited for you and your family-and trying not to be jealous! We have so many places we’d love to visit, but our heart always goes back to Ethiopia even though we’ve been there four times already. Russia would definitely be on our short list.

  74. I think hospitality would be a fascinating core topic for a book like you propose, Tsh.

    I would love to spend time in Mongolia, where I’ve never been. And I highly recommend the smaller cities of Asian Russia like Irkutsk and Ekaterinburg.

  75. Wow… this has got me craving adventure again! My husband and I had hoped to move overseas and work in Southern Africa but things didn’t quite work out and after a stint at college this past year we’re now back in our home town and loving family life with our newborn little girl. We still crave some overseas adventure though and although at the moment have no plans to leave home, we also have no plans to stay either. I hope if the opportunity arises our family will be as bold as yours to just step out and not let the fear of the unknown hold us back.

  76. What an awesome adventure!

    Come to South Africa if you can? As a fellow culture observer, it is a fascinating mix of Western influences, local practices & third world challenges.

    As well as all that it is just phenomenally beautiful!! We call Cape Town home at the moment & it is an honour that is not lost on me – with all it’s beauty & adventures on my doorstop.

  77. What a great adventure that will be! I think Venice is one of the neatest places in the world- don’t miss it if you go to Italy.

  78. Ohmygosh I am SO excited for you! Can’t wait to follow along.

  79. Elizabeth says:

    This sounds fantastic, Tsh! So happy for you and your family. And now I have two books to look forward to from you 🙂

    Last summer we traveled to Canada for the first time and I loved it. I highly recommend visiting Montreal – very walkable city, gorgeous buildings and parks, and great people. And I could spend *days* in their library – plenty of space and giant windows lining the walls. I think you all would really enjoy it.

    • We just may! Aimée of Simple Bites is there, and we’ve long wanted to visit them. 🙂

      • Canada has so much to offer! I lived out West for a couple years, close to Banff. Stunningly gorgeous. I grew up in the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick – best in the summer or fall), and now I live in Toronto, where hubs and I have settled down. I’d love to show you around our lovely city 🙂

        As for the rest of the world, well – my first choice would be to go back to Tanzania. I’ve been to Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya… and TZ has really stolen a piece of my heart. The people are just lovely, and Swahili is an amazing language (and one of the easiest to learn because the letters are ALWAYS pronounced the same way in every word, and the emphasis on always on the second to last syllable. So cool).

        I too dream of my own round-the-world trip one day. My hubs is a pilot (right now a flight instructor) and we are considering going into missions, or getting into the airlines, or… both? I’d love to see us jetting all around the world for free. It would be pretty awesome 🙂

  80. What a wonderful adventure! I can’t wait to hear and read more about it. 🙂

  81. Por-tu-gal, Por-tu-gal! 😉

    No kidding, It’s awesome to see the differences among european countries. You start in Portugal (did you know it’s one of the oldest countries in Europe?) with it’s Atlantic coast and the most beautiful views and monuments (Alentejo, Douro , etc) I can be your guide in Lisbon, my pleasure!
    Spain (Andaluzia, Catalunia, etc);
    France (Normandy, Bretagne, the castle line, etc)
    UK (craaaazy about Scotland. There’s a youth hostel inside a castle, and another one in the middle of nowhere , Wales beautiful also and England is full of history)
    Austria (Wien is gorgeous)
    Check Republic (Praha!)
    Italy (Rome, Tuscany, the coast, Venice, etc etc)
    Greece (definitly the islands, also all the historic sites)
    Slovenia (never been but it’s just too beautiful)
    Germany (at least Berlin)

    Morocco and it’s countryside (Atlas rocky mountains and the berbere people)
    Príncipe in São Tomé e Príncipe (
    Moçambique – by the way the hidden place where George Clooney takes vacation, and I know what I say…
    (check ilha de Moçambique,

    And I end here. Sooooooooo much to see and where to choose!

    All the best
    (and keep in touch if you visit the small country across the ocean)

  82. Sounds like quite the adventure!

    I think you already have an offer of a place to stay in New Zealand if you go, but if that doesn’t work out we’ll be in Auckland starting Jan 2015 and you’re welcome at our place. =)

    I would love to read your take on the interaction between families and communities of different cultures. I’ve had a few of my African friends tell me how our concept of family in America is so different from what they’re used to…in the US family typically encompasses only our immediate family, while they view family as basically their whole community. I’ve heard similar sentiments from my Polynesian friends. I guess maybe that could tie into the hospitality aspect you mentioned.

    Good luck with all your endeavors along with healing from knee surgery! You are one busy amazing lady!

    • I think many, many, many cultures equate family with larger communities. And yes, I find all that so fascinating as well!

  83. How fun! Simple Mom world tour! Love the upcoming book idea!

  84. Keijo Bollinger says:

    Cape Verde.

  85. Ah…so exciting Tsh!!! I hope Texas is one of your around the world stops. 🙂

  86. How exciting for you!! I haven’t travelled much outside of western countries, but I love love love Florence, Italy!

    I teach Anthropology and I think your book idea sounds fascinating. I think learning about parenting in different cultures would be so interesting ~ how much kids play on their own vs. structured play managed by parents, etc. {like some of the comparisons in the movie Babies}.

    So excited for you and your family!

  87. This sounds amazing! I have really enjoyed your blog and podcast since I found you a couple months ago. I love love the podcast; I wish it was daily 🙂 I look forward to following your adventures.

  88. You go, girl! I am so jealous! My hubs is a pastor and while it provides some flexibility for our homeschooling family, a year away is out of the question. I’m hoping God has some international travel in our future, though. My kids are 10 and 13 and I want them to see anything but the American way, at least so they know it’s really out there .

  89. Katelyn says:

    How exciting! I’m really looking forward to reading more about your plans and experiences. I’d love to travel – more within the US as well as internationally. I’ve never traveled internationally, but my husband has a bit. We’re currently working on making it a bigger budgeting priority. And as a military family, we’re trying to get stationed overseas. I’d love to be stationed somewhere in Europe so that we had a “home base” overseas to venture out from. Airfare is so expensive!

  90. I’m THRILLED to hear about this massive, and totally amazing trip! What a great gift you’re giving your kids.
    I totally agree that fear prevents many parents from traveling with children, when in reality there’s very little to fear. Sure you may loose some sleep (but that’s part in parcel with parenting, right?) And there may be some inconvenient meltdowns (also normal!) and the odd stomach upset (but then again, that happens at home too!). But it’s worth it.
    I’ve lived in Asia for about 8 years, my almost-three-year-old was born in Japan, and we now live in Indonesia (may I suggest a visit to our fair country! Totally worth it!) I’ve taken my daguther all over the place. She did about 18 trans-continental flights by the time she was two years old (all but two of those were solo parenting flights for me)! Sure it sucked when she didn’t sleep for 36 hours on a long-haul flight, but that was only 36 hours. And a colic attack over the pacific was sub-optimal, but didn’t last forever. I really think what my girl and I gain from the experience is totally worth a few tired eyes.
    I commend you and your sense of adventure! Can’t wait to follow along.
    And PS, keep Indonesia in mind. Feel free to get in touch re recommendations!!

    • I think Indonesia might be on our short list! We’ve got friends there we want to see, so I’ll let you know if that happens.

  91. This post really got me thinking about things, and if I’m honest, I’ve never wanted to be a world traveler. I thrive on home and on roots. It’s been so good for me to read this and realize that both of these approaches are OK and that we each can make a positive difference in the world, whether we’re in Portland (where I live) or in Turkey. I look forward to reading more about your plans and travel! (PS and unrelated, the SimpleMom podcast is one of my favorites!)

    • Believe it or not, I love home too. I don’t think being a homebody and being a wanderer are exclusive from each other. 🙂

  92. Oooh sounds SO exciting, and SO inspiring! We are keen to do the same one day. And I’m another vote for you to come to NEW ZEALAND!! And another offer for a place to stay 🙂 Looks like you have lots of fans from down here, we’d love you to come!!

    So looking forward to hearing more about what you’ll be doing.

    • I think we may just have to! NZ has always been on my bucket list, so it’d simply be a matter of logistics, definitely not desire…

  93. Looks like you had an adventurous trip. Waiting to hear from you more on such adventures.

  94. Hi Tsh,

    Well, having lived in Turkey you already have a great perspective on raising kids here, but I’d love to meet up and chat if you stop through Istanbul and want to talk kid raising ( or anything else!). I’m blogging about my journey as a mom here as a resource for other expat moms, but both my husband and I are pretty into the culture and learning a lot. Maybe I can give you some ideas for your book. Who knows?

    • We’ll definitely be in Turkey for a bit of time! We can’t be that close and not stop to see friends, favorite places, and to eat some of our favorite food in the world. So yes, I’ll let you know when we’ll be in that area, because it might be fun to do a reader meet-up!

  95. Well, I can’t say where you should go. But if you end up anywhere near Jordan, I’m happy to help you out. We’ll be here until next summer, and then on to Moscow.

  96. Caitlin says:

    This sounds like such an amazing adventure! I feel a little small-minded for not having this type of ambition – thinking it would be impossible, scary, and unheard of. I guess we are very stuck in the here and now in our little corner of the world and day-to-day life, that being “worldly” would seem like a far-reaching dream. BUT, hearing you speak so confidently about it makes the idea of traveling not quite as scary and financially possible. Wow! It just makes life seem much more exciting!

    Best wishes on the planning, preparation, and anticipation of your travels! I really look forward to hearing about this adventure. Thank you, as always, for sharing.

  97. Our Denomination has been dedicated to serving the people of Haiti for decades. A few years before the earthquake, My Husband & I led a team from our Church there. I’d been on lots of Mission Trips/Work Trips before. But this was my favorite. The people are so poor in the world’s eyes, but God’s children there are the richest I’d ever met! I love keeping in touch with them. there will always be a treasured spot in my heart for Haiti.

    I also get to meet alot of our Missionaries abroad. But this past 2 yrs I’ve been priviledged to meet & forge friendships with some of our Domestic Latino Missionaries in Eastern PA. They come from all over Central & South America . Why ? To minister to the lost of the United States. You heard me. They come to the USA to tell Americans of the Good News b/c we have become too comfortable and obsessed with things and stuff.

    Two ladies in particular have become close Sista’s. How I love to sit at their feet and listen to how they do life stateside. The stories from their homelands of Puerto Rico & Venezuela are humbling. Their faith is inspiring. They are planting churches like crazy in Venezuela, Dominica Republic, Mexico. Contacts in Spain have recently contacted them.

    It’s not so much about where I”d go, but who I’d go to and why am I going?

  98. WOW – My husband and I are doing stuff in our lives right now hoping that we can someday soon say that we have the freedom to travel like that. The mortgage has got to go and my husband’s job may transition (hopefully) in the next year to make it happen. I don’t know, but your story is super encouraging to me and I forwarded it onto him too! Have you been to Morocco, Algeria or Tajikistan? I love Morocco and Algeria cause I”m obsessed with North African’s and Tajikistan because it’s the poorest of the former Soviet Union and is 90% mountains! I have this romantic dream of having a sheep farm, hiring locals to help me take care of them, spin the wool in to yarn and sell it so they can make a living. Americans pay like crazy for hand-spun yarn. Why not let it support people in need?!

    Anyway, good luck in your travels and have a great time!! And for the record, I couldn’t agree more about traveling with them young! We took a month trip across the US with a 9 month old and a 3 year old while I was pregnant and it was heavenly. Now we’re onto child number 4 and are itching for something overseas. We will see how things play out, but we are ready at a moment’s notice!

    • Morocco is definitely in our list! We have friends that will be living there, and it would be so great to visit them. Agreed! 🙂

  99. Very cool song Tsh! I envy your flexibility. We just have to wait until the job takes us back around the world! I can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

    PS As someone who has traveled a lot with little ones, I thnk it will be a great time to travel with your kids. Wishing you the best of luck as you continue to plan your journey!

  100. Hi Tsh!

    We are a military family living in Japan and definitely think Japan should make the list! Japan is beautiful and has been such a friendly culture to step into. We’d love to show you around! 🙂


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