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  • Writer's pictureGlenn Cohen

Time to fulfill the dream

Updated: Nov 30, 2019

When I recently finished the 500 kilometer "Expedition Africa" race (add link to previous article in marathonisrael), many asked me what the next challenge would be, and I answered- the family marathon around the world(.

The time has finally come to fulfill a dream. I retired a few months ago at the age of 50 after 30 years of service in the Israeli military and defense ministry. The idea was first conceived of 15 years ago when Orit and I honeymooned on a round the world flight ticket and dreamt of a similar one year journey with the kids after retiring.

This is a perfect window of opportunity, both in terms of the ages of the children, (Yali 14, Maya 11, Noga 7), and our careers. Orit is an independent organizational consultant with much flexibility.

(Why should our family trip interest athletes? In recent years, more and more athletes are turning to the direction of endurance sports. Marathon, ultra marathon, triathlon and Ironman achievements are a huge attraction for a lot of athletes. As someone who has been deeply involved in these endurance sports over the last decade, I can soundly say that mental fitness is the key to overcoming obstacles, coping with difficulties and achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. The sense of satisfaction and self efficacy we experience while succeeding in a sports event are symbolic and serve as a metaphor for other areas of life.

Indeed, the family of the year trip around the world is certainly an event of endurance and mental capacity demands. Besides, sporty family, we definitely will combine sports events around the world that we share with you throughout the year.)

A few words about the preparations. Like any serious endurance event a journey like this demands much planning and preparation.

The seed for our journey was sown 15 years ago, but we started concrete planning about a year before leaving. We decided on a general framework of one year, starting from summer 2015. We went into high gear about six months before embarking on the journey; firstly setting our goals, then renting the house, caring for the dog, education for the children and general route planning. There are advantages and disadvantages of precise planning versus spontaneity. Advanced planning grants more certainty and raises the chances of getting what you want, but is high maintenance and leaves less flexibility. Spontaneous flow allows flexibility and taking advantage of unforeseen opportunities as they arise, but risks missing out on options that might not be available at the last minute.

In general, we planned a two phase journey, first half year in South and Central America, and second half in the Far East, with a pit stop in Israel to visit Grandparents. We felt we needed a high level of certainty in order to boost our sense of confidence before embarking on such a journey, therefore we reserved all the flights for the first half of our journey with a travel agent. This was a painful rookie mistake. It would have been considerably cheaper to reserve each flight separately by skyscanner, approximately two weeks in advance.

Economics are of course a major consideration. Contrary to popular belief, a year around the world does not have t o be exorbitantly expensive.

For us, a monthly pension together with the house rental made it viable for us. Even though we have an attractive house with stunning views to the coastline, it was not easy to find a tenant for only one year. This became quite a nail biter when we found ourselves two months before departure without any potential tenants. We heavyheartedly prepared a contingency plan of shortening the journey by six months if we would not find a tenant. With a last minute stroke of luck a perfect tenant came out of left field and clinched the deal for a year.

There are many creative ways we've heard from other families to afford a big trip, so the bottom line is- if it is your dream, it can be fulfilled. By the way, there are currently several Israeli families who are on a trip of 6-12 months, and exchange tips in a facebook group. There is an international group as well, called "Families on the move".

We encountered some typical responses from the environment:

1. You guys are really brave!

2. I am so jealous!

3. You guys are nuts! I would never do anything that- a two-week vacation together is more than enough.

4. What about school? They won't study for an entire year?

Our responses to the above comments are as follows :.

1. We'll talk at the end of the year, and see whether it was brave or foolish.

2. Why be jealous- you can dream and realize yourself.

3. We understand you completely, one person's dream can be another's nightmare. Also clear to us that being together 24/7 for a year is going to be challenging but we believe emerge from it more cohesive and a lifetime experience.

4. We quote Mark Twain- "I never let school get in the way of my education", and say that the children will learn more than "world schooling" from every school in the country. In addition, we will complete them with "home schooling" Math and English.

So we set off at a good after we packed the house and loading 150 kg in ten Tz'imidnim on the roof of the jeep on the way to Ben Gurion Airport.

(Photo-moment of leaving home to Ben Gurion Airport)

Easy to warm up, we stopped in Sweden to convene a family with uncles and cousins, where we spent together in the summer on the southern coast of Sweden for a week. Station Hbah- month Conservative Jewish summer camp named level in the United States, where the children having fun and we worked very hard to fund the crazy spending $ 5000 a child psychologist month or I, and Orit cooking department.

After the camp, we have the occasion to shop Campmor New Jersey, where we have equipped ourselves with clothing and equipment that will serve us in the great journey. On the last day we seriously debating whether an electronics store to buy each child Tblat, and decide (from fear) to buy them, but the three cheapest models sold out and therefore set out only one laptop with the family, and parents saved two smartphones only. Governor of you at the end if it was luck or a mistake.

(Photo-embark equipped with both smartphones and laptop)

Five weeks after leaving home, equipped with five duffels on wheels (90 liters of children, Orit 110, and 150 liters for me), we finally stand on the starting line at an airport in New York, ready to take off the real journey. First-station in Lima, capital of Peru.

No part-wide surge we stand on the tarmac for four hours (240 minutes!) To get cleared for takeoff due to thunderstorms, which brings us to Lima almost two in the morning. Taxi drivers questionable driving us desire to leave the airport, not even near the hotel at the time. We prefer to spend the six hours left before our morning flight to Cuzco airport. All chairs B"aizor waiting "busy and we begin to think we were wrong decision but identifying individual cafeteria with a few empty sofas and invite Kroasntim children. They are robust and mental fitness Mrsim- without a single complaint, they just curl up Bsk"sim and go to sleep until the next flight. So begins the first day of the trip, and we definitely see it as an adventure.

(Photo-pass the night at an airport in Lima)

The flight from Lima to Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca civilization, raises the threshold of excitement. The mighty Andes emerge the clouds, and Fsgtm snow glistening in the sunlight. Cusco land surrounded by snowy mountains and lies at -3300 meters high, and definitely feel the poor air. Panting beyond the ordinary, trouble sleeping the first few nights, and we all feel a dull headache. After skies vomiting and complaining of a sharp pain in the back of the head, we invite a local doctor who checks us and establishes conclusively skies suffering from low oxygen and high-altitude sickness pulse. Taking a few pills (where the ball) exempted the problem and we are ready to go out on the whole four days in orbit H"ainkh Jungle Trail "as the tour agents call it.

We will write to you next article on this adventure that includes a drop of 2500 meters by bike the summit of 4200 meters, river rafting turbulent, challenging the Inca trail trek and cherry Bktzft- mountaineering from Chao Picchu dark to catch the sunrise. Where the story will be "Triathlon Family Inca Jungle".

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