The Harpers –
Updated pictures and profiles Feb. 2018 below.
We are a family from Ashland, Oregon that decided to take 18 months and explore the world. A lot of people have come along on the planning of this journey; it has taken the better part of ten years to move dreams and whispers to real departure times and Air BnB reservations. We packed it all up, sold it off, gave it away or (in the case of our wonderful cats) snuggled and tried to telepathically communicate that we will return someday.
But after twenty years of slowly filling a wonderful old house with stuff, twelve years of raising our family and twenty five years of being lawyers we decided it was time for a break. The nearest we can trace it back is that at some point before having a family we realized that if we took our American culture allotted three weeks a year and did nothing but travel to the places in the world we wanted to visit, we couldn’t possible make it, even assuming the kids will push us around in wheelchairs by the end of it. So, we needed a new plan. A time when the kids would be old enough to carry their own stuff and remember where they visit, a time when we could have saved up a little money, a time when we were still healthy enough to sleep in youth hostels and a time before Kate starts high school exams. That left us this one wonderful window of time – fall of 2016 to fall of 2018. And January of 2017 seemed like a perfect time to make the break.
Feb. 2018: The thing I am most thankful for is this time all together as a family. I think that basically I am the same person who left on this Big Trip but together we have shared something that is so strange and full of so many amazing sights, that only our family will get it. I think that is great in a lot of ways, but will be odd too.
A big kid from Portland Oregon who likes to explore new places and loves to guide friends and family to them once he has it figured out. He likes good coffee, good beers and good wine. A perfect experience usually involves meeting interesting people. There is nothing he enjoys more than being with his family; at least that is what he says before he has spent 18 months of 24/7 time with them.
Feb. 2018: The Big Trip has given Judi a lot of time to think about what life will be like when we return and to love the uninterrupted time as a family. Each day is precious, she often says.
A Portland girl who enjoys cooking (but mostly gathering ideas for great meals) and loves a good crime drama. Which is funny because she has been a criminal lawyer her whole adult life. She aspires to be organized but will settle for being an amazing mom, and everyone knows moms have to be prepared for anything.
Feb. 2018: Now a dynamic 13 year old, she seems much older to her father. She thrived playing basketball on a team in London and enjoyed shopping on the high streets of Paris and Tokyo. But mostly I have seen her touched and motivated by the challenging life situations of people, especially kids, all around the world. Kate and Judi have taken several cooking classes in many diverse places. Judi and I are so glad to get to hear her dreams and goals as they evolve daily on the Big Trip. Her recent thoughts on the trip were captured here.
A beautiful 12 year old who has a great eye for fashion and fun. She loves to play basketball and volleyball and she dearly loves her friends. She will miss 7th and 8th grade and be away from a wonderful group of young ladies that are like part of the Harper family themselves. But she hopes that they will come visit her on the Big Trip at some point. Or at least they will help her keep her Snapchat streaks (whatever those are) alive. She is also the family foodie; she loves new foods, exotic foods, comfort foods and has always had a great sense for food adventure. She also has a strong idea of what she likes and how a plan should come together, and we all know how that works when traveling.
Feb. 2018: Now 11, it really has been John who has missed his friends the most. He is still full of energy and always full of ideas. People have loved him instantly everywhere we have went – his sweet nature and open heart make him an amazing traveler. His early thoughts on the trip are captured here.
Everything you would guess a 10 year old boy to be – he is always on the go, except for when he is quiet and snuggly. He loves to play games of all kinds. He loves to build things and wants to invent things (after his chosen career of being a basketball point guard for Cleveland). He has a light in his eyes and openness in his heart for all things. He is kind and fun but he also knows himself well. He will also dearly miss his 4th and 5th grade buddies but he expects that playing basketball and flipping half full bottles of water for hours on end will still be useful pastimes in middle school when he returns to Ashland.