The Eat, Pray, Love effect: How families finance adventure travel
Part 4 of a Monitor cover story about how families hit by the Eat Pray Love effect finance adventure travel – selling the house, taking the kids out of school and hitting the road.
Planning extended adventure travel is a complex equation of time and money and “it’s easier to do if you have money, no question,” says writer David Elliot Cohen who took a year off with his wife and three kids in 1996 and wrote “One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children.” “If you’re just living paycheck to paycheck, you haven’t saved for your kids’ college, haven’t thought much about your retirement savings, this may not be for you.”Skip to next paragraph
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For four years, Rainer and Carol Jenss, of Nyack, N.Y., planned their trip, saving as much of Carol’s salary as possible and reaching their goal of $150,000. “The planning can seem overwhelming, but it was also really fun,” says Rainer, who left his job as an executive at National Geographic Kids in 2008 to travel for a year with Carol and their two sons, 8 and 11 at the time. “You have this world map and you’re thinking, ‘Where do I want to go?’ ”
Dee and Scott Andrews sold their house and lived off the equity. Scott continued to manage his high-tech business – making a one-week trip back every quarter – and earning a part-time salary.
In the mid-2000s when they first decided to travel, Craig and Dani James, of Silver Sping, Md,, weren’t sure exactly what trip they’d wind up making with their two kids. But, says Craig, they made a “massive study of the whole subject. Even five years before we left, we were talking about it."
Craig, who was an independent corporate communications consultant making six figures, began saving 10 percent of every contract, and within two to three years, he says, they had saved about $100,000. It was, he says, “enough of a cushion to make the trip and feel less of a financial risk.”
They zeroed out their debt at home, renting out their house for slightly more than their mortgage and selling their car. In 2008 they set out first for South America, then went on to New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia, and finished in Europe a year later.