Two in the World? That’s Not Right!

Tom and I spent the weekend in Charleston and Kiawah Island, South Carolina where we joined a conference of insurance agents as their guest speakers. When we were invited to speak by our friend, Mike Jensen, he encouraged us to bring the kids and stay for the duration of the conference, a total of 6 luxurious nights in top flight accommodation. No brainer, right…travel with the kids, that’s what we do. The problem was school in Atlanta had already started and with the new attendance policies, we were sure to be incarcerated if we took the kids out for four days. (Travel is an unexcused absence and after three unexcused absences you’re in hot water with the government.)

So I arranged for friends to watch the kids, made out elaborate instruction sheets, packed lunches days in advance, and boarded a plane with Tom for Charleston. We hadn’t been there an hour when my new Verizon Razor rang. It was Dax. He had misplaced his copy of Watership Down, a 500+ novel the rest of his honors English class read over the summer and that he was supposed to read and annotate over the weekend. Great. We ran through our options, settled on one, and I hoped for the best.

We hung out with Mike until about midnight and collapsed into bed (this waking up at 6:30 stuff is tough) and hoped that we would be able to enjoy our alone time the next day. We awoke to the sound of my Razor. The school was locked. Dax couldn’t get in to find the book. We went to Plan B. I called Barnes and Noble, paid for another copy over the phone (2 days after buying the first), and once again hoped things would work out. We spent the day strolling the city with Mike and some of his colleagues and tried not to wither from the heat. Frequent visits to air conditioned restaurants proved the key to survival.

Anne with our friend Mike Jensen

We passed on the period costume ball being thrown for the other attendees (Tom refused to wear either an Abe Lincoln or Confederate solider outfit, while I though a corset and hoop skirt sounded like fun) and spent the evening with my college roommate and her family. None of us could believe it had been 16 years since we last visited them in Charleston, and after a weepy farewell, we vowed it wouldn’t be another 16 before we met again.

On Sunday we moved on to Kiawah Island and what is perhaps the BEST hotel we’ve ever visited…and we’ve stayed in some nice ones. The Sanctuary is heaven on earth. It was built only 3 years ago but exudes the grace and charm of a Southern plantation. Thick plank, oiled walnut floors, hand-knotted Oriental rugs, grand open staircases, the deepest crown moldings I’ve ever seen, understated artwork and hand painted murals of local scenery, and a surprisingly elegant yet homey combination of chintz drapery and upholstery conspire to make The Sanctuary a visual delight. Just outside grass-covered sands and a gently lapping Atlantic await beachcombers who are encouraged to ride complimentary bikes or sip ice cold lemonade by the pool. My usual concern when we stay in a luxury property is that we’ll get nickel and dimed, on everything from internet access to bottled water. Not so at the Sanctuary. Once you’re in (which admittedly isn’t cheap), there are plenty of freebies to go around–ice water by the pool, lemonade in the foyer, wifi in the rooms, bikes on the beach. The best part, however, and something that is often lacking in similar places, was the UNPRETENTIOUS service. The staff were all gracious and eager to please regardless of how guests were dressed or how old they were. This place caters to kids–and not kids who are dumped at a babysitter spot or herded into day camps–but kids who are there to spend time with their parents. We saw dozens of couples with young children who were welcomed into the restaurants rather than being discouraged from entering with their little ones in tow. The Sunday brunch even had a separate low slung table for muchkins, complete with chicken fingers and baked ziti in silver-plated chafing dishes and Swedish fish and M&Ms in glass jars.

The luscious bed at the sanctuary

the I-never-could-get-sick-of-this view

We tried our best to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, but we both agreed something was missing. It seems after a year of family togetherness, we’ve grown quite attached to those offspring of ours and don’t feel right traveling without them. Everywhere we went and everything we did made us think of the kids and what they might do were they present. Asher would be running up and down the hallways. Kieran would be scouring the grounds for animals, McKane would be playing with everybody else’s kids, and Dax would be trying to bodysurf what few waves emerged from the gently blowing wind. We tried to bust a pyramid in honor of our continued post-RTW travel, but we simply need 6 to get it right.

2 does not a pyramid make

Our two-ness seemed even more unnatural when we woke early Monday morning to deliver our presentation. Armed with a mean Powerpoint, lavalier mikes, and our usual wit and charm, we told a warm and welcoming audience all about our big adventure. In retrospect, I’m sure they’ll all be motivated to travel the world with their kids after they’ve heard from the couple who traveled to join them…without their kids! Even so, one particularly interested listener approached afterward and said, “You just lived my dream.” Another said, “It’s good someone out there has the courage to do what you did.” Their comments highlight the questions currently commanding all our energy and attention (when we’re not helping with homework): Now that we’ve lived one dream, what’s our new one? And once we figure out what it is, will we have the courage to live it?

Which would you rather see? Tom going back to work as a high-powered executive and the rest of us soldiering on in our suburban lives or a more freewheeling life involving consulting, speaking, books, and of course more family travel? Would you buy the book, watch the show…or maybe even buy the Asher action figure with karate chop action?

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23 thoughts on “Two in the World? That’s Not Right!

  1. I would buy the book, movie and action figures! Your adventures sounded amazing and I’ve no doubt there are hoards of people out there that wish they could do the same thing. Having three little ones myself, it seems quite the task but one that my husband and I dream of often. Family togetherness, world education and rich experiences. What an experience, thank you for sharing!

  2. Ditto from me. I’m sure my Keiran would love a Kieran action figure, same for my Mac. I still envy you, but someday it’ll be my turn.

  3. Just in case you’re really taking a poll, I will be direct and say, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY BUY THE BOOK!! The show…well I think(and pray) that the reality TV trend is on it’s way out…and I think it would be terribly intrusive on your family to film such a thing.
    So glad to get these updates now and then and see that you are settling back into family life off the road. And I bet you enjoyed that weekend away more than you’re telling! That hotel looks fantastic!

  4. Admittedly, I’m a junkie…can’t get enough “vicarious travel journals”. I would buy the book and give away copies as gifts to inspire others….religiously watch the show (while agreeing its an invasion of privacy but relishing your experiences!), and hope to run into the six in some remote place of our amazing planet whilst embarking on my own journey to mystical lands. Thank you for sharing ~ Namaste’

  5. I WOULD WATCH THE MOVIE, TIVO THE TV SHOW, READ THE BOOK….. I am a fan. Did you know you had fans? I first saw you on Oprah and quickly caught up with old posts. You are my lunch time activity. Your family seems absolutely wonderful. I lived my dreams of world travel through you and thank you and your family for sharing with me.

  6. Please–don’t go back to the exec world! Your kids are already transformed into world travelers with so many experiences under their belts. You’ve had this rich experience, life changing, as a family, and so many of us have enjoyed living it along with you. I think your tribe would be perfect for a Travel Channel show on travelling with children in far away places, and showing others how it can be done, as well as incorporating the service/outreach into it. I’d definitely watch that show! and will buy the book and see the movie. It might mean the producers will need to send you back to some of the places you have been, or on to new spots that you didn’t get to see. (what fun!) Whatever you do, may God Bless you for sharing your lives with all of us. I keep looking to see what is happening next, so keep posting! Sandi

  7. Hey guys!
    Ok Anne, I am going to be honest with you…I too agree that a show is a bit to much, because i’m sure you wouldn’t have half the fun…! But why not you guys tape it in most famous places, or dream places???!!! I mean not a reality tv show, but a travel channel show like Sandi said. I loooovvveeeee to travel, so at work I have a tv, and its 24/7 on travel channel, just because I like to learn new ways to get somewhere, I think that would be cool, and as well teach us where to go with children, cause as you mentioned, sometimes is just not easy!
    A book???!!! A travel book with hints, and beautiful places we could go…cheap places, and amazing places (as in super expensive) eheheheh yes if that I would buy it, I live in Portugal, and I’m thinking of doin an interrail, very famous round here…if you have any special places around Europe I would love to hear about it!

  8. I’ll pass on the action figures – they won’t fit in our packs, but we’d get the book! We’re just planning our RTW – taking off in a little under a year (with eight kids)…..I’m really keen to see how things pan out for you. CANNOT imagine coming back to suburbia – and we haven’t even left yet!
    Definitely need to go from one adventure to another. We’re thinking ours might be travel…then self-sufficiency.

  9. I would definately buy the book, show, movie, or what ever it is you are making. I would also like to hear more from your experiences. Your family has been wonderful to follow, and been an inspiration to me.

  10. We would buy the book! Our 2 boys have enjoyed catching the updates on your site and figuring out where you are in your RTW journey. We have started planning for a trip of our own one day because of your families inspiring journey. Best of Luck and keep us posted!

  11. I would watch the show and buy the book! don’t worry about not having Tom in a regular job, my husband has been self-employed for years and allows him more flexibility to be with the kids and has enabled our family to travel more because he doesn’t have a boss to report too, we may loose money that way but we gain something priceless. You have inspired us and we are planning a round the world trip with our 4 kids leaving next July, thanks for the encouragement.

  12. Of course we’d buy the book, and the action figure of Asher as long as we could get action figures of the other five and occasionally let the Asher figure karate chop on a brother or two … ha ha. Think the Action Anne will come with a lasso to wrangle all the others in?… oh and make them magnetic so we can keep them in pyramid form on the shelf! :-)

    I would say if the offers are there for the continued adventures jump at the chance and enlighten the world with your wanderings.


  13. Whatever works best for your family will work for me, but I love reading your updates and am interested in any future projects (book, show, action figures, Andrus travel products line at REI . . . ) that might come along! As an adventurous girl, I love reading about your family and am inspired by your travels! Keep up the great blog and hopefully whatever is in store for you is just as amazing as the year you’ve just had. 0

  14. We’re there behind you whatever you should choose as a family. Your family has something special, go for it!

  15. I would buy the book, watch the movie ot tv show with all you travelling together, and would happily pay a monthly subscription to read your web site with updates on your travels.

    GO for it!!!!

  16. This is my first comment but I’ve been reading your blog since early in the year. I’m an addict!! I’d definitely buy the book, watch the show or movie. (I have 3 boys-they would like the action figures!)
    I would love to see a Travel Channel show w/ you showing us how to travel to wonderful locations w/ our children. Affordable ideas for the average family.
    I’ll keep wating for the next update!

  17. Ditto on ALL of the above… look at all the fans coming out of the woodwork! Your family is much loved in any form… .go for it!!

  18. Anne,
    I would buy the book, along with the work book and “live the dream”. There is the opportunity to share your wisdom with the home school crowd. Trust me, many need to know there is a WORLD out there that they CAN and SHOULD enjoy.
    Best always

  19. This is my first post, but have been addicted to your site since the Oprah taping. I could see you guys on the Travel Channel with a show about how to travel with children in all those places. Not only would I watch it, I would Tivo it and go to the movie, and buy the book. You have such a beautiful family, God bless in whatever comes your way in the future.

  20. Don’t go back to the corp. world! Why would you when now you know your family can live free of it and its insanity! I would buy the book and watch the show! Good luck and have courage to follow the next dream!

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