Eirik and Hélène have had a dream of travelling around the world for as long as they’ve known each other. 18 years ago, we talked about sailing around the world and even took a navigation class while living in Copenhagen. We had no experience with boats and it’s probably better that this plan never became reality… This time, on the contrary, one can say that we have plenty of experience with taking airplanes, so at least we are a bit safer with this mode of transportation…


A couple of years ago, we started to talk seriously about this old dream. It is difficult to find an ideal time to leave when you have school kids. In addition we finally found a piece of land to build our dream house on and started in January 2009. After a lot of work with the house, we decided in spring 2010 to jump into it and leave in the fall. We started planning seriously in July, just after we moved in our new house. The timing is not ideal, we could have used much more time to prepare the trip, and it feels a bit sad to leave the house just after we’ve finally moved in. The preparation work is huge, very exciting and full of questions that need answers.

In this phase, we found a lot of inspiration in another Norwegian family´s blog. It was very helpful to us to read about their experiences before and during their trip. Thank you for sharing all this useful information :)


Itinerary and tickets

The first thing we had to ask ourselves was: Where do we want to go? And for how long? Eirik and Hélène took a two-month trip to Argentina and Brazil 14 years ago. It was fantastic, but we learned that it was too short and that we moved too fast from place to place. In addition, we are now travelling with three young children who need time to settle down in each new place. We must also remember that this is not a vacation, it is a kind of initiation voyage. We need time to do school work, and to absorb everything we encounter. We also agreed that one of the main objectives of the trip is to meet old and new friends. With all that in mind, we looked at a map and made a list of all the people we wanted to visit and places we wanted to see in the same continents. We ended up with a route concentrating on North and South America and Oceania.


After having travelled a lot for work, Eirik is well acquainted with on-line flight booking sites and how to get tourist information on-line in general. He tried to contact a travel agency specialized in round-the-world-trips, but they couldn’t offer much more than he could do himself, and they would charge 17,5% on the top of the ticket prices to do the job. So he found out that he could manage the ticket booking himself. It takes a huge amount of time, but you learn a lot about all the connection possibilities and the places you’re going to., Google earth, and are all immensely useful. Our tickets are a combination of a round-the-world-ticket with One World and local flight tickets. The reason for choosing One World is the connection between Chile and Easter Island. This route is only flown by Lan Chile and this is the only way to cross the Pacific from South America by plane. It is striking when you compare with all the possibilities offered from North America to the Pacific.


Vaccines etc.

We checked on the internet which vaccines we needed . It’s a good idea not to wait until the last minute, since some vaccines require two injections with some weeks in between. We started 2 months before departure and took all the necessary injections.


In addition, we needed a vaccine against cholera, which is not an injection, but a powder that you dissolve in water to make a drink with a very artificial raspberry taste. We took two doses, one week before departure, and one on the day of departure. We drank the potion saying “bottoms up” and “cheers to our adventure” all together around the dinner table 😉

We are also bringing anti-malaria pills for everybody for our stay in the Peruvian Amazon forest.

We need a good first aid pharmacy in our luggage as well, with all the standard stuff.



There is a long list of practical things to do before you leave. Things connected to your trip, and things connected to what you leave behind.


Our house being brand new, there is a certain amount of things which are not quite finished yet, or not tested out (like the heating). We are renting out the house to a nice family we know, who will take care of it and hopefully keep the burglars at a distance. We asked a family member to take care of our paperwork, invoice payments, mail etc. while we are away (tusen takk, Anne). We also had to find a stand-in-aquarium-keeper while we are away (Hei, Marius!).

Concerning formalities for the trip, we had to renew some passports and credit cards which would expire while we are travelling. We also bought some Am Ex travelers’ checks just in case. We expanded our travel insurance to be valid for a 7 months duration. It was very expensive, but still cheaper than ordering a special insurance for round-the-world-trips.



Clothing: What do you bring on a 7-months long trip??? We found out that we would bring clothes which can be used in all kinds of weather, and that we would apply the multi-layer-principle. We have bought a lot of clothing in microfiber fabric, because it is light and dries up quickly.


What will the weather be like? We will start with fall in the US and hope that it will be milder than in Norway. It might be cold in Arizona in October. Then we expect warm weather in Peru, Northern Argentina and Brazil. Christmas time in the Andes might offer Norwegian-like summer weather. Then we will have a long period with Robinson Crusoe clothing in the Pacific before we get to New Zealand where it could be chilly and rainy (at least on the Southern island) even though it will be the middle of summer. In Australia, we will find warm weather again, and Thailand on our way home will be the last period of summer weather before we head back to Oslo to find the very beginning of spring. There might even be some snow left in Oslo in late April.

Here is roughly what each of us brings:


  • 2 pants with zipp-off legs
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 2 fleece sweaters
  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 anti-uv t-shirt
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 bikini/swimming trunks
  • sandals
  • sunglasses
  • 1 gore tex jacket
  • 1 rain pants
  • gore tex shoes
  • buff scarf, bunny, gloves
  • warm sports underwear pants/shirt
  • 1 towel

In order to limit the luggage weight, we decided early to scan all books which we couldn’t buy as e-books. We’ve bought all Lonely planet guide books as e-books. We have scanned children’s literature in Norwegian, all school books, and we’ve bought some children/youth e-books in English as well.


We base all our school work on 3 iPads and 2 MacBook Air. We also have 2 iPhones and 3 iPod Touches with lots of music, children’s movies and audio-books. In addition, we bring 2 compact cameras. We are also bringing Viktor’s saxophone and some music books with belonging CD’s. He will learn new songs by himself and keep contact with his teacher, Bendik.


Our children go in 2nd, 5th and 8th grade. In Norway, anyone is allowed to teach their own children and keep them at home. The school authorities can come on inspection twice a year to make sure that your children are learning what they are supposed to. So who knows, maybe some bureaucrat from the Oslo school administration will show up while we are on some Pacific island to make an inspection? I’m sure they can find a volunteer to take the trip…


More seriously, it was a bit of a shock to find out that it is not possible to take leave from school for a few months. The system is actually very restrictive, because of a recurring problem of children not attending school as they should. So the rule is simple: if you want to take your children off school for more than 2 weeks (outside school holidays), you have to take them officially out of school. They loose their place in the class, even the school, and you start from scratch when you get back. Since the population in our area is growing, the classes are full. We have therefore no guarantee that they will get back to their respective classes. In the worst case, they might have to attend another school nearby. It was difficult to tell our children that they might not get back to their classmates and teachers, which they love, but after some discussions and sadness, we all agreed that it is worth it after all.

The next step was to plan how we would teach our kids ourselves. We found an on-line school, which offers teaching in the 3 specifically Norwegian subjects: Norwegian, Religion and ethics, and Social Studies, History and Geography. We have just started and it looks great. See Norsk nettskole 1-10.

For all the other subjects, we will do the job ourselves. Another challenge waiting for us was the school books. It turned out to be impossible to buy e-books, they just don’t exist on the market. So Eirik started to scan every single school book. 4000 pages and 20 hours later, we now have all our school books on our iPads. The kids just love it. For some reason it is much more fun to use a computer and an iPad to do your homework. That looks promising… We haven’t made a detailed plan of how we will teach the kids. We’ll start with a few hours every day, and learn by doing. We haven’t even distributed the subjects between the two of us, but that will happen quite naturally, since our favorite subjects are quite different. Eirik will take the math/science part, Hélène the humanities. We are already fighting over who will do Spanish with Adrian (we both want to).

All in all, we wish we had more time to get ready. We are pretty used to doing things “just in time”, but we strongly underestimated the time we needed for preparation work. Here we are anyway, almost ready for departure, very exhausted, stressed and excited. This is really happening!

So as they say in the Norwegian fairy tale “Taper Tom who Made the King’s Daughter Laugh”: – “If you want to come along, hang on!”

See here for the full fairy tale.