“To live is an awfully big adventure.” -JM Barrie

I’m writing this somewhere between Austin and Los Angeles, daughter to the left of me and my boys to the right.The pilot is telling us we’re at 34,000 feet, and though the cabin is dark, none of us can sleep. Part of it is because the boys are watching Cars, the girl is sketching and the grownups are working, but I’m pretty sure we also all have a slight case of the butterflies.

We are officially on our way. We’re doing this round-the-world thing.

As I mentioned on The Art of Simple yesterday, we feel that this year we’ll simply continue to live our small-but-lovely lives, albeit in different locations. Keeping this perspective is phenomenally peace-giving. I’ve been asked countless times this week if I’m nervous, and I can honestly answer no. I’m not. This feels right and good, and in a surprising way, normal. We’ve been planning this trip so long, it’s more of a sigh of relief that we’re finally headed out.

This whole thing is completely unknown to us, though, so the butterflies remain. No matter how many countries we’ve already visited, we simply haven’t lived out of our backpacks for a year, headed westbound. We’ve essentially jumped off the high dive and are mid-air, waiting to plunge into new waters.

This isn’t a vacation for us. This is an exploration. Yes, we’ll have fun, but we have to continually work to make this happen, and the kids will use their passports and two feet as their textbooks. I’m doing research for my next book, we’re visiting our nonprofit organization’s guest houses, and Kyle’s doing a little artistic soul-searching. We all are, I suppose.

This is most definitely an exploration.

We hope to post here as frequently as we can, but China, our first stop, can be a bit unpredictable with its Internet reliability. Fingers crossed we’ll be happily surprised, but our philosophy here is to expect the worst; hope for the best.

To live is an awfully big adventure. -JM Barrie

First up: Beijing for a week, then on to Xi’an to visit friends, Yangshuo for a few days to escape the big cities, and Hong Kong to see what that’s all about. Then we’ll land in one of our happiest places, Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we’ll park for several months to explore more of Southeast Asia and enjoy a slower pace of life, working, and learning.