Trilingual Family Going Wild

YIN_6143It’s nerve-wracking enough even just to say it loudly: our trilingual family is going on a round-the-world trip for 9 months!

I am positive that we’ve shocked our families, especially mothers, and many friends successfully in the last month or so after we made the decision.

In a way, I have shocked myself as well. Ever since Nina was born I thought the travel-far-and-further days are behind me, for good. No one in my immediate entourage has ever travelled with a young child for that long. Once you have a child, you are supposed to settle, aren’t you? And with 20 days of annual leave per year and 2 families to visit in China and France, and a mortgage to pay in the insanely priced Sydney, how on earth would we be able to find time and money to travel longer than a few weeks, ever again?

Then the door opened itself.

The company I had been working for 7 years announced some job cuts in September, and that included mine. Suddenly I found myself no longer needing to attend to work. In return a cheque was being sent my way.

I could of course choose to find another job, and let the cheque disappear in the mortgage. That would have been a logical choice.

Or I could choose otherwise.

After all, I have chosen to leave the comfort of home country behind and moved three continents already. I have chosen to change career path completely a few times  because my heart told me to try out new things even at the expense of climbing the corporate ladder faster. I have chosen to spend my resources and energy from young age on travelling to almost 30 countries and learning new cultures/languages and meeting new people. I have chosen the bumpy yet colorful road of marrying someone from a different culture for the last 7+ years. I have chosen to bring up a trilingual child.

So why cannot we choose to take 9 months out, and travel with our 22-month-old daughter around the world?

I have my fair share of worries, to be sure. Are we putting Nina at risk by taking her to the unknown territories at such a young age? Is she going to be overwhelmed/traumatized by the constant changes? Are we able to financially support travelling for 9 months with no income and no promise of immediate income upon return? Are we physically up to looking after a toddler at her terrible two while on the road? Is it a career suicide? Are we going to disappoint our families (while they thought that we finally ‘settled’)?

After almost a month of tossing all these questions around, we made the decision.

Instead of allowing all these worries – all valid ones by the way – talk us out of the idea, we decided that we would never know the real answers for sure. Unless we try it.

Nina could be totally immersed in all these fascinating places we are going to (I will reveal our itinerary plan in another post :)). She might learn to be more flexible and adaptable. She may even pick up some Spanish along the way (hopefully I will, too) – a Quadra-lingual family?! We could travel on budget (such as renting an apartment for a month which typically costs much less than hotels and allows us to cook most of time to save on restaurant bills) so that our money stretches a bit longer. We would rent out our home to support the mortgage. We would slow down the pace and do less ‘touristy’ things – so that we have plenty of time to wind down from running after Nina, and also get to experience how locals live. We cross our fingers that one of us will find a job fairly quickly upon return even if it means that we need to alter our expectation slightly. I might even test out an idea or two of generating some income while on the road, no matter how small amount that is. And last but certainly not the least, we count on our families to come to terms with our decision.

Above all, shouldn’t we celebrate life, when we still can, by living to its full on our own terms?

Once a decision is made, the rest is just logistics.

Another major decision was made (I will come to it in a separate post – yes it is THAT important). The dates are set. The round-the-world tickets were booked. Travel doctor was visited. Nina stopped going to daycare. Friends living anywhere near our planned destinations are contacted (some generously offered to accommodate us which I am so grateful and looking forward to seeing some of them after so many years). A 8-day test trip to New Zealand starts next Monday.

The Trilingual Family RTW is becoming a reality.

P.S: to follow our RTW experience: Trilingual Family blog, or join Trilingual Family facebook group.


  • Stacy Sheperson

    November 17, 2013 at 12:30 am Reply

    Hey, Yin, congrats on your adventure!!!

    Let me know if you have plans to visit Spain — my wife Susana is from a small village in La Rioja and you are welcome to use her (modern) flat if you need/want a base of operations. We’ll be living there in April, and Susana will remain there through most of the summer while I head back to the U.S. and we wait for her immigration paperwork to be finalized. It’s three bedrooms (one currently in use as a junk/storage room) so there’s space for you regardless of if one or both of us are there with you. Her sister lives just down the street and can give you th keys if it’s unoccupied ?

    Also, for what it’s worth, I am currently renting out my house in the US while we live in Germany. I was able to hire a property management firm who took care of finding renters for me and also makes sure that all bills are paid, any issues are addressed, etc. For this service I had to pay them the first month’s rent as well as 10% of the rent each month. Not sure if there is something similar in Sydney and/or if you’re already using one, but it was SO much less stressful than trying to take care of all of that myself, especially from overseas.

    Best Regards and I am so happy for you!


    • Yin @ trilingual family

      November 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm Reply

      Hi Stacy! It’s so good to hear about your stories as well! Thanks a million for your offer – I will look into where La Rioja is and to see how far it is from where we’ll be in France (I’m posting very soon another one about our itinerary so you will see what our plan is).
      For the house, yes I have been listing both by ourselves and through an agency (for some reason here in where we live it’s not such a popular thing to rent furnished house, so not every agent is willing to take us as customer!!). Hopefully we’ll get a suitable tenant soon before we leave and that will help us to relax a bit more 🙂 Apart from that, almost ready to go.
      Hope to bump into each other some time somewhere, perhaps? 🙂

  • Joy

    November 17, 2013 at 10:19 am Reply

    that’s a fascinating story, Yin, you should record all what was happening on the way, it’s a brave step of traveling around the world with a little baby, there will be so many uncertainties ahead, but you never know, maybe there will be a lots of amazement, surprises tagging all the way through! I can’t wait to read through your little incidents, happy moments on the round! How exhilarating! when are you coming back from New Zealand? let me know when you have time before your big trip, let’s catch up 🙂

    • Yin @ trilingual family

      November 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm Reply

      Yes I’m planning to record the trip for sure. Keep reading and commenting, this will motivate me even more to keep going 🙂 Will send you a private message for a catch up before we go!

  • Ken Phang

    November 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm Reply

    Hey, my girlfriend and I are RTW trip (from Xi’an to Turkey to Spain to Russia) too. We are thinking doing it in 2015. I”m sure i can learn much from your trip. All the best.

    In case you are wondering, we met before, long time ago, in Pudong Toastmaster

    • Yin @ trilingual family

      December 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm Reply

      Hello Ken!
      Sometimes I wonder what is the limit of the power of internet – it’s great to hear from someone from my past life! 🙂 Are you still in PD?
      Congrats for your plan too. If my blogs can be of slightest help in making your trip plan, I will be very delighted!

      • Ken Phang

        December 3, 2013 at 2:28 am Reply

        Yep. Still in PDTMC, although all the senior members during your time left. How time has changed!

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    January 4, 2014 at 7:30 am Reply

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