First step in the world tour: pack our bags. With the many planes, trains and buses we'll use over the next year, there's not much room for luggage. Each person gets a carry-on and a laptop bag. Brigham helped me load it all up:
And Gideon created a small token of our departure:
To kick things off, we had planned to surprise the kids with a trip to Orlando. The ever thoughtful Hurricane Irma had her own surprise in mind: cancel our flights three days before departure. Since we couldn't reach Orlando, we did a quick pivot to spend the week in Boston (from which our Europe flights departed anyway). It all worked out surprisingly well. We found a small house near Revere Beach. Haven and Jericho insisted that the water was warm enough for swimming:
Wonderland station on the Blue Line was only a 20-minute walk from our house, so we used the T most days to travel into the city. Our daily walks near the ocean to and from the subway became a pleasant feature of the trip. On one walk, Brigham got bored and decided to use a small shell to collect sand from the beach and construct his own private sandbox in the shade of a gazebo. As you can imagine, this was a very slow process:
In the city, we visited the New England Aquarium, some historic sites and Boston Common. Walking through Boston Common one evening after dinner, we were 150 ft away from a shooting. We heard the shots being fired and saw some of the participants dive to the ground. The crowd scattered and we followed suit. We joked later that we dodged a hurricane and bullets within a few days and that this trip was turning out to be more exciting than we'd expected.
We also toured Plimouth Plantation to learn about Pilgrims and contemporary natives. The Plantation is probably the best living museum I've ever been to. There's a lot to explore and the staff is all very knowledgeable and glad to answer questions.
On our last day in Boston, we tried to attend a local ward's Sunday meetings. It turned out that they had stake conference that day so nobody was at the meetinghouse. Two other groups of travelers showed up with the same plans. After they all left, we stood outside the locked building in the shade and sang primary songs and had our own little Sunday school lesson as a family. It was a pretty great way to spend a Sunday:
Next stop: Iceland