Positive Surprises

It was easy to move from place to place, and we've enjoyed being "on the go." We've stayed in 24 places in two months, and -- somewhat incredibly -- that pace has worked well for us

We were together for ten months as a family, 24/7. At the start of the trip, we worried that we would soon grow tired of being around each other so much, and so intensely. But the exact opposite happened. By the end of the trip, I dreaded any intrusion into my day that meant I couldn't spend all of it with the rest of the family.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, was remarkably nice to us.

We had no real challenges with language barriers.

Home-schooling was fun and highly-productive (most days :-)). We covered about a year's worth of material in just three months, and continued for the rest of the travel year. Now that the kids are back in school, we appreciate even more the contrast in pace between school and home-school.

The Far East was incredibly interesting, but more from learning how people live there and their history -- not so much from looking at sights.

Visiting people who face extraordinary daily challenges has had a dramatic impact on us

This trip was more of an intense educational year instead of a vacation, and we all "worked" really hard (especially the kids).

This trip will change our family forever.

What We Missed The Most

Friends and family

Sharing home-cooked meals with friends

Organized sports, especially Fenway Park in October

A night out at a movie theatre with popcorn

Regular, frequent exercise (thankfully, the scales show kilograms, so I'm still below 11!)

What's Surreal

Always being a half day ahead of East Coast time

Generally having no idea what day of the week it is, and often losing track of what month it is

Having almost no possessions, daily "chores," or routine (other than schoolwork for our kids)

Never knowing where the bathroom is in the middle of the night

Being the only Caucasians in most of the places we've been

Watching a Sunday night baseball game on Monday morning -- live!

Biggest Hassles

Charging batteries, lugging chargers, and internet access

Not being able to order stuff, especially books, on-line

Too many smokers

Finding the on/off switches for lights in hotel rooms

Finding a grassy area (or even some asphalt) to play baseball in

Best Things We Brought

Ted: iPod

Elizabeth: Water Bottle

Sterling: Amazon's Kindle

Gibson: Field Guides to Reptiles for the countries we visited