Written by Erik, the Patriarch -
2018 is a year of tremendous transition for the Schaumanns. From a career and schooling perspective, lifestyle and life goals perspective, and living conditions and living location perspective, all will greatly change. Starting from the top:
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I (Erik) have taken a severance package from Shell Oil Company, after 15 years with the company, and 20 years in the oil industry. While I enjoyed my career, I realized that ultimately my only reason for working was to support my family financially, I did not really enjoy the work intrinsically, and I came to a point where I asked myself, “When is enough enough?” I decided that enough was right now, and I took advantage of a downturn in the industry, and within Shell, to catch a ride on the wave of layoffs, and leave employment with some severance dollars. I have no immediate plans to return to full-time employment in 2018, but I believe I will in time. Until then, I will be the full-time planner for our 8Suitcases 2018 Gap Year adventure.
Tera has traded in the full-time expatriate mom hat, for a for a full-time domestic Texan mother, sister, daughter hat, with the license and the keys, to take kids to all their activities. We spent the last 3 months living with Tera’s parents in Dallas, where everything is a 10-15 drive away, so every child activity demands the time of the parent. Too far and too unsafe for biking, ugh. (How we miss the Netherlands). Now she will be taking on the hat of international, on-the-road meal planner, worldschool administrator, and family videographer.
Emily spent the last 4 months of 2017 in Jordan, in an intensive Arabic BYU Study Abroad. She has now left full-time schooling to become a part-time family spanish tutor while we travel. She plans to return to BYU in May 2018.
Nathan opted to delay entering into University, and has been taking a Gap year of his own, beginning in Sep 2017. He will also travel with us for this next semester, and enter into BYU in May 2018.
Anna withdrew from her dear American School of the Hague (ASH) when we left the Netherlands. She has begun taking online high school courses from a few different online providers, while juggling many other interests. In 2018, she will continue her online classes and music practicing while travelling with the family. She has taken up web design and editing instead.
Tyler also finished up his time at ASH last year, and he too has enrolled in some online high school courses. On our trip, he has taken on the responsibility of helping research and book all of the airbnb's and hotels along the way.
Megan and Jacob are being homeschooled this year, and keeping up with their Math, Reading, Writing, Spanish and Music practicing. They will also be preparing plenty of presentations on all things Mesoamerican over the next few months, and are thrilled to be along for the ride.
What ride you may ask? Well, with no to tie to employment, housing or school, We have the opportunity to do more of what we love to do best, which is family travelling.
2018 Family Travel Agenda
Our plan is to head to Hawaii for a week in early January. Upon returning to Texas, we’ll pack up our family van, and start our drive south to a 3-month long, 8-person full-time immersive spanish intensive study/travel/service trip. We’ll visit various cities and temples within Mexico, including a weekend stay in Mexico City to see our good family friends the Johnstons (whom we knew in the Netherlands). Our final initial destination will be Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where we will stay for at least a month. We’ll also try to visit Costa Rica, Belize, and possible other Central American countries in March and April.
We’ll return to Texas in late April, for a wedding and a drive north to Utah, to drop Emily and Nathan off at BYU (for Nathan’s first term, and Emily’s Senior year). Then the 6 of us who remain will fly back to Europe, stopping in London before a final flight destination of Amsterdam, to stay for a 3-month spring/summer back in Europe. We’ll see old friends, and see beloved countries, and stay until late July.
We’ll return to the US, (hopefully by way of Iceland), and spend the month of August staying with my mother in Orem, Utah, where the kids will take advantage of as many BYU camps as they can (EFY, Ballroom Dance, Education Week). The Fall will see us travelling to various states of the USA and possibly to India and Sri Lanka. I hope to be writing a blog post on this day next year from somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Pack your suitcase, and join us for the adventure!
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Plan? What plan?
Our first Gap Year was a fabulous "2017-2018 School Year" of travel: from the Netherlands to Jordan to Texas to Hawaii to Mexico to Central America to London and back to the Netherlands. Our "2018 Summer Vacation" took us all around Western Europe, back to the USA on a transatlantic cruise, a road trip through New York and into Canada, and ending up in Utah. We have now kicked off the "2018-2019 School year" with a trip to Asia. Follow along with us on our visits to new places, as well as revisiting some of our favorite places from our time living there. It's going to be great!!