WE CAME, WE SAW, WE LEFT
A Family Gap Year
By Charles Wheelan
I am going via phases: Sometimes I really feel as if I’m doing OK as a guardian, different occasions I really feel like a henchwoman in a single lengthy, sluggish sociocultural crime. When my 15-year-old son screams for assist from his counterterrorism crew whereas capturing his means round the world in Rainbow Six Siege, I think about turning myself in to the authorities.
In the fall of 2016, confronted with associated, albeit extra charitable emotions about elevating his youngsters, Charles Wheelan selected one other tack, and the result’s his new journey memoir, “We Came, We Saw, We Left.”
“Team Wheelan” contains Wheelan’s spouse, Leah, and their three teenage kids: Katrina (18), Sophie (16) and CJ (13). Inspired by a backpacking journey he took with Leah in the late ’80s, Wheelan rekindles a longtime want to reprise this journey with children in tow. He notes that “experiences, rather than things, are what make us happy in the long run,” as a result of they turn out to be an “ingrained part of our identity.” Wheelan argues for the feasibility of such an journey, which clearly requires a measure of entitlement, although not essentially wealth. (What it actually requires is a lady like Leah, a skilled pc scientist turned educator who loves maps, spreadsheets and planning.)
Together, they plan a nine-month journey round the world, a time span that tellingly mimics the size of a human being pregnant. The Wheelans begin in Colombia, consuming their means via avenue meals in Cartagena, then proceed to the Peruvian Amazon for a hilarious misadventure at an “adventure lodge.” From there, in every single place: New Zealand, India, Vietnam, Zanzibar. How do they get round? Buses, buses and extra buses (and a few planes). They all get carsick; most of them throw up. The stars of this present are undoubtedly the children: precocious Katrina, on her option to Williams College, contrarian Sophie, who fingers her mother and father a manifesto in the Quito airport declaring a speech and starvation strike, and quirky CJ, a “raging extrovert” who talks a lot in school he’s apparently positioned dealing with a wall and talks to it.