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Five years ago, in August 2015, my family of four set out to see the world without a timeline or specific destinations in mind. We didn’t even know how long we’d be able to stand being with each other day in and day out. We just knew that we wanted see the world as a family.

Departure day

The dream of a world trip began in 2010 when my husband, Ray, and I took Tyler and RJ (then 8 and 10) on a two week trip to New Zealand. Neither of us had much international travel experience and we had never undertaken such a big journey with our kids. We had a fabulous time and realized that our boys were great travelers too. It was during this adventure that the seed was planted for a much bigger adventure… a trip around the world!

We spent the next five years preparing for departure. But along the way, a series tragedies in my family left me reeling. I had seven family members die within the span of five years, including my mom, dad, and 25-year-old brother. The losses took a huge emotional toll but I buried my grief and began to look at the trip as an escape from my everyday life.

When we returned to the US after seven months abroad, visiting more than 80 locations in 14 countries, and retold stories of our adventures, a number of people said, “you should write a book.” I’d always thought I’d write a book one day, this seemed like a great story to tell. Why not? But when I really dug into the stories, I realized I had a lot to say about my journey through grief as well.

Now after five years, too many drafts to count, and thousands of hours of writing, revising, editing, and proofreading, my book writing journey is coming to an end. I plan to publish my memoir “Square Up” within the next few months. It is the story of my family’s adventures and misadventures around the world as well as my journey through grief.

As I prepare for publishing, I will share stories about places that didn’t make the cut for the book and images of our favorite places. I hope you will join me on this new adventure!

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