Theresa Stevens and her family of four were living a comfortable life just north of San Francisco - they had a nice house, her two daughters were in local schools, and she and her husband Michael had full-time jobs. But something was missing. They craved travel and adventure and wanted to take their kids, Marina and Lilah, around the world before it was too late. Long before their round-the-world trip and even before they met, Theresa and Michael both had a passion for travel.
In his early 20s, Michael spent a year bicycling around Europe, and Theresa spent two months backpacking around Europe just after college. After they met, the couple traveled regularly and always knew deep down that they'd take their kids on an epic trip around the world. They wanted to expose them to new cultures, ways of life, history and sights.
In 2017, the Stevens family finally bit the bullet. They got rid of most of their stuff, put their house up for rent, found someone to watch their dog, and bought one-way plane tickets. The family of four traveled for exactly one year with their two daughters, ages 11 and 13, visiting 22 countries and over 70 destinations. Theresa calls it the trip of a lifetime and encourages other families to travel if possible. Here's what Theresa learned on her trip around the world.
Go when your kids are young
"We finally started to travel when our kids were preteens, and while family travel can work at any age, it starts to get tricky as they get older. The 'teenage' time can be difficult, because they're too old to hang with little kids and too young to be comfortable around older teens. It's harder to find other kids who are just the right age for them to interact with. And when a kid hits 13, they most likely don't want to be around their parents all the time - they want to be out asserting their independence - which made the trip a struggle for our oldest, at times. But one great thing about the preteen and teen years is that kids are comfortable being alone!"