4 In Literature/ Travel

One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen



I picked this book up at a bookshop in Vientiane, Laos and found myself very intrigued by the thought of a couple selling everything and traveling with their three small children. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a wanderer, so I’ve been curious, because of my recent engagement, how adventures are going to continue to pan out. While we have some really amazing trips planned for our near future, children are also in that plan. We’ve both expressed wanting to travel often, even after we’ve had kids, so this book was really inspiring to read.


David and his wife Devi pack up their three children and take off for 16 months across the world. This book tells of adventures in France, Sardinia, South Africa, Greece, Australia, India, Laos and more. While we would do some things differently, it was great to hear that they lived to tell the tale. I found a lot in his book to be insightful and interesting to hear about travel through the eyes of their children. I felt that David was very honest about the struggles of spending so much time together, as a parent and as a spouse, as well as the benefits of it. 

Here are some quotes that I
found to be especially inspiring:

“I think I began to mourn the loss of the free spirit that once roamed the world, worked for passion, and ran off to Bali on a moment’s notice.”


“… The whole purpose of this journey is to open ourselves to new experiences and genuine adventures.”


“I think these incidents signify that I’ve finally completed the transition from one way of life characterized by constant overscheduling, impatience, and mindless rushing around to a different way of life. Where I’m more likely to live in the moment and accept things as they come.”


“I meant to bring a flashlight, but I forgot, so I fumbled around in my camera bag until I found a pack of matches. When I let a match, it formed a small circle of light around us. In the circle hundreds of tall thing Buddhas stood sentry. Each time I let another match this gentle army sprang to life, and each time it flickered out we were plunged back into   darkness. It was a remarkable effect, very spiritual, and it made me consider how far we’d come in the last year. It was almost a year ago, exactly, that we were living a pretty ordinary life in the suburbs of San Francisco. Now we found ourselves 1,500 miles up the Mekong River, igniting matches, one after another, in a pitch-black cave surrounded by a thousand carved Buddhas. It all went by so quickly, this journey of ours_ just one brief luminous scene after another. We lit a match, and we were in the mountaintop forests of Costa Rica watching the clouds fly by. We lit another, and we were in the hills of Sardinia enjoying a sumptuous feast. A flash of light and Devi and I were standing hand in hand under a crescent moon on the banks of the Golden Horn. Flash again, and we were traveling across the sere plains of Africa. One flash of light after another and we were in the vivid Rajasthan desert, the desolate Nullarbor Plain, the crumbling ruins of Angkor Wat.”


“…Would we do it again, if we could? Would we reup for all the aggravation, risk, and expense? Would we toss sleeplessly in fleabag hotels, eat disgusting food, wear dirty clothes for a week, get sick from Indian air pollution, suffer long, crowded flights, listen to children whine and cry all day before collapsing exhausted into bed? In a heartbeat. Because after thirteen months, sixteen countries, and more than fifty thousand miles on the road, Devi and I both know we barely scratched the surface.”

I hope you guys are inspired by these quotes and be sure to
check out this book if you’re curious about making traveling
long term with your family a dream come true.

To keep up with my travels in real-time and read more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.

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    August 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

    […] – David Elliot Cohen from One Year Off – […]

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    September 20, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Check out http://www.globetrottingparents.blogspot.ca Feel free to link to it!

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    May 28, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Do you happen to remember the name of the book David Elliot Cohen recalls reading as a child growing up in Erie PA in his book One Year off?

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