Lutz Go: Taking My Family to South America for the Next 10 Months

Posted by on July 3rd, 2016

Jim and Carly

It’s hard for me to believe, but on August 31 my wife Carly, my three kids (Cecelia, Sean and Colin) and I will all be boarding a flight to Rio de Janeiro to start a 10 month journey in South America. Carly and I have talked for years about how we should take the time for an extended trip to South America as a family, and we’re finally making it happen. Since I’m in the business of South American travel, I’m particularly excited to spend another big chunk of time in South America – this time, sharing it with my wife and kids. I’ll be working remotely while traveling, something that might have been complicated a few years ago but is now routine for many people. I’m definitely seeing the upside of the technological age in putting together this trip!

Cecelia and Sean

Cecelia and Sean

Our kids are 9, 7 and 4 years old, and their ages seemed right for taking on the challenge of homeschooling. (4th and 2nd grade for the older two, pre-K for the youngest. No trigonometry for me to re-learn!) And their lives aren’t yet so complicated with activities and school and friends that it would be difficult to tear them away.

Another thing that helped us make the decision is that Carly is between jobs and possibly between careers. Until April of this year, she was the Vice President of Marketing at Shuddle, a start-up billed as “Uber for kids” (they would drive your kids around to soccer practice and school with vetted drivers), but the business model was better in theory than in practice. They shut their doors after less than 2 years in business, and the timing suddenly seemed very right to go on this adventure.

At this point we are pretty much ready to go. We’ve rented out our house to a very nice Norwegian family that wants to spend a year in Berkeley, and we have the first 4 months of the trip planned, mostly by way of a series of Airbnb rentals. Airbnb has made this a much easier and more affordable process than it would have been a few years ago… thank you Airbnb!

4 year old Colin

4 year old Colin

The first month we’ll be in Rio de Janeiro, where we’ll get to see some of the Paralympics, and then we travel in Brazil for almost 3 weeks, visiting Ilha Grande, the Pantanal, and Bonito. After that we head to Argentina for a month in Buenos Aires, followed by 6 weeks in Punta del Este, Uruguay. That takes us just into the new year. We return to the U.S. on June 27, 2017 from Cartagena, Colombia, so we’ll figure out what’s working and what’s not in these first few months and adjust accordingly. Maybe we’ll settle down in one place and put the kids in a school, or maybe we’ll keep moving around every month or so. Maybe we’ll just let the kids decide!

It will be great during these first 4 months to spend time with business partners and friends that I’ve made over the years running Vaya. And among other things, I’m looking forward to seeing the look on my kids’ faces when they see hundreds of caiman along the side of the road when we’re driving to our lodge in the Pantanal!

For now, we’re busy getting our things together (which of our kids’ stuffed animals will make the trip and which won’t, etc.) and sorting out some of the final details that need to be taken care of before leaving home for 10 months. We’re also getting excited about the adventures ahead… though I’m not sure I’ll really believe this is happening until we are on the plane. Stay tuned!

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