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On Family: The Cost of Adventure

by Going Slowly

There is a price to be paid for following our dreams. This morning, while our loved ones halfway around the world are tucked into their beds, sleeping on the night before Christmas, a quiet melancholy has swept over our little hotel room.

Right now, we're thinking about this reality: each day we spend traveling, we are, in some way, placing a higher priority on this adventure than we are on our families. With the holiday season upon us, the cost of that decision aches a little.

At home, two years stretches on much longer than we sometimes realize. Out on the road, the days mostly fly by in a perpetual stream of new experiences. The ceaseless upheaval prevents us from becoming too homesick. Back in the USA, our absence is deeply felt.

This Christmas season, as snow blankets the ground in Illinois and Minnesota, it feels like a fragile, tenuous time to be away. To comfort ourselves, we look at the photos and videos our families have emailed to us, thankful for the little bits of home they send our way.

We laugh, we smile, and we get a little welled up, mourning the loss of two years spent with the people we love.


I am fortunate to have four living grandparents, all mostly able to take care of themselves. As we've made our way around Europe and Asia on this one-year-trip-turned-two, there's been a quiet worry gnawing at the back of my mind: I hope they'll still be there when we get home. I love and miss each of them dearly.

Tara's Grandparents Tara's Grandparents


A little further north in Minnesota, I have a chubby little nephew we've never even met who will be walking soon. I often wish our travels hadn't precluded our presence for my sister's pregnancy, and even more so, the first year and some months of her son Eli's life.

Amanda & Eli

I also have four exuberant younger brothers and sisters who are shooting up like weeds without us there to witness the transformation. I miss our Thursday nights with them, and the buoyant mood they always left Tara and I with on our way home. I can't wait to start taking them on mini bike tours!

Kids Skiing

Though we are truly grateful for the freedom of the open road and adventures we've had, right now, our desire to be with friends and family is many, many times stronger than our urge to explore.

A pair of huge thank yous to both of our families, for always being supportive of us and our dreams. Merry Christmas, we love you!

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Christmas can be a tough time, but there will always be something going on at home that will be an excuse not to do a trip like yours. You will have picked up stories that will entertain those kids, and perhaps inspire them to undertake an amazing adventure one day.

I'm a Kiwi living in the UK. I tell myself that my family would want me to be doing the thing that makes me happy, which at this point is exploring the world. But it can be very difficult. My home city was just devastated by an earthquake and I'm seeing the scenes of destruction on the news every night. Sometimes, home can feel a long way away.
Posted by James on March 2nd, 2011 at 10:35 PM
Hi James,

You're absolutely right, there will always be reasons not to embark on a trip like this. Our adventure has been worth the cost, though, and we'd do it all over again in an instant. Sometimes, the things you miss out on can be a little overwhelming, but getting it down on "paper" certainly helps!

We saw news of the earthquake too; we hope everyone in your family is okay!
Posted by Tara on March 6th, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Tara and Tyler: Have been reading your blog since the article about you in the News Gazette. It's Saturday here, working in my office, catching up on you while eating lunch. I needed to start reading with the Dec. 22nd entry. What a gift you have given me this March day with the Christmas videos - thank you, thank you, thank you. Safe journey home.
Posted by Shirley Barnhart on March 12th, 2011 at 7:33 PM
This post really resonated with me. I spent a few weeks traveling in Ireland last year, and was gone over Christmas. I wouldn't trade the experience of the trip for anything, but I remember sitting alone in my hotel crying on Christmas Eve because I was homesick and lonely for my family. Hugs to you :)
Posted by Jen Comiskey on October 1st, 2013 at 6:38 PM
Shirley & Jen - Hugs to you both!
Posted by Tara on October 3rd, 2013 at 11:21 AM