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One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children
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One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  982 ratings  ·  132 reviews
A year off from work. A meandering, serendipitous journey around the globe with the people you love most. No mortgage, no car payments, no pressure. Though it sounds like an impossible dream for most people, one day David Cohen and his family decide to make it a reality. With his wife and three children, Cohen sets off on a rollicking journey, full of laugh-out-loud mishap ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published April 25th 2001 by Travelers' Tales (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,815)
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Todd N
This is a book about a suburban family guy who hits 40 and then decides to leave his job, sell his house, and spend a year traveling the world with his wife and three kids. It's an interesting idea, but you need to know up front that he's not a regular guy -- his family was able to send him to Yale, and he became a millionaire around 30 when he sold his book publishing business. They can afford to bring a nanny along, and his wife is fluent in four languages.

So while I identify with the suburban
If you're planning a trip abroad with children, this book is invaluable for research. But if you enjoy travel literature (such as Paul Theroux), this book will fall short.

Originally written as a series of emails, the book contains breezy updates from the father of a family who decided to sell their house and travel around the world for a year. While the author (an editor of photography coffee table books) is funny, he is not a shrewd observer of people or places -- or if he is, lacks the writing
This has always been a back-of-my-mind fantasy: to take the kids out of school for a year, quit our jobs, sell our house and travel the world, letting the museums, historical sites and natural wonders be our classrooms.

This author did just that, with his wife and 3 kids aged 3, 7, and 8. Reading his narrative of the year abroad makes me really want to travel the world even more, but makes me want to travel it with my kids a bit less! While it sounds great in theory, I don't think I could manage
Mar 23, 2009 Ellen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ellen by: Mom
Shelves: non-fiction
The author of this book somehow managed to extract himself entirely from his life as a coffee table book publisher and spend a year traveling around the world with his three children, ages 8, 7, and 2. This is the somewhat straightforward tale of their adventures in Costa Rica, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. I admire the Cohens' adventurousness and their desire to give their children a taste of the wider world. The story is told from the father's point of view exclusively, and it's interes ...more
Jayanthi Venkataramani
It starts off really well and incredible that someone actually did this. However I lost interest through the mid of the book only because it becomes more and more a personal tale and I did not find any deep insight. I think what put me off most (not at all any reflection on the book or the author and his adorable family) was that he seemed to have a lot of disposable cash to kind of get around all the things that I would've found frustrating even in a single journey, forget a round-the-world tri ...more
Like the author, we have abandoned our life as we knew it, for a year, with our 4 young children (one still in diapers) and moved abroad. Unlike the other, we moved to a developing country for the entire year, instead of moving constantly country to country. I think I prefer our approach. We have found a great house to live in, getting to know locals on a personal level through church and the kids' schools, struggling with language, and the transitions that kids face in a new home. At times we a ...more
I am really interested in travelling the world with my husband and 4 children, so I looked forward to this book quite a bit. It was a gift from a well-meaning friend. I was so disappointed! The author's tone was a bit arrogant, major details were omitted (like they spent 6 months in Australia!! They put their kids in schol there! Tell me more!!). Also, they took a nanny and spent a lot of time on planes and in hotels while I was hoping for some low-budget tips. I appreciate and applaud their tri ...more
Plot Summary: A midlife crisis prompts a successful San Francisco book editor to quit his job, sell his house and possessions and take a one-year trip around the world with his wife, three young children and a nanny. Thrilling and at times harrowing, Cohen’s tale, written as a series of email updates to friends, takes you along to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of more than 20 exotic locales, from Costa Rica to Laos.

Appeals: humorous travel memoir; traveling with children; midlife cris
You're in your early 40's, have wife, 3 kids, successful job...what else to do but sell your house and cars, pack a bag for each family member, and head-off on a year-long adventure around the world?!

I enjoyed Cohen's humorous accounts of his family's exploits (from their pre-trip jitters to the animal attack in Africa to learning the difference between Sards and Italians).

Quick fun read which will make you wish you too would decide to ditch your "old" life and start afresh in foreign lands!
Apr 11, 2011 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: linda
Shelves: travel, memoir
I read this years ago and remember it to be so entertaining that I want to read it again. A family travels around the world for a year+ while living on a very limited budget. They get themselves into some extremely precarious situations so, at times, you find yourself wondering if they're crazy to drag their kids through this. Definitely will reread it soon!
Timothy Darling
Fun read. I recommend One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Childrenfor anyone who dreams of breaking out of the run of the mill life. The Cohen family's decision to sell the house and car and travel the world for a year or so is bold, brave and fun. This with two pre-teen children and a toddler qualifies the mom and dad for something like a medal. Their stops in parts of the U.S., classical europe, Africa, India, SE Asia and Australia make for as complete a ...more
I've travelled to eleven different countries, not too shabby for someone my age, but right now I'm definitely an armchair tourist. This trip-around-the-world tale was good fun - I even laughed out loud a few times at the adventures (and misadventures) of the mid-nineties Cohen family. Fun fact: they were in Hong Kong the day it was relinquished by Britain.
I really enjoyed reading this family's story in preparation for our sabbatical next year. I'm definitely not ready for a whole year off, just a month, but it was great to read of a family including their small children. Very brave. Well written and enjoyable. I'm just sad that 6 years after their adventure that they were divorced.
Robert Lange
In the prologue, the author describes his motivations for wanting to take this journey and the phrase he uses that resonates with me was "spiritual uneasiness." But the book mostly describes the family's "outer" experiences white water rafting, exploring museums and cathedrals, taking safaris, experiencing festivals and food, etc. This was interesting enough, but when the author started to reflect deeper it was only for a paragraph and I wanted more. And they really only took 5 months off before ...more
Very interesting to think about doing this - selling your house and packing up everything to travel around the world for one year. The author and his family had a fantastic time.
I feel like I have read this book before. And I am 99% sure I have, but it was like probably close to 10 years ago when I was just getting back into reading again and just starting on my travel books kick. So it's been a while. And I remember thinking that this book was dated back then, having took place in the mid-90's, that it's even more dated now! But I kind of like that. Like planning a whole round the world tour before the internet? They did everything by fax, classic! The American family ...more
This is written in quite a good quick and breezy style...but not too breezy. I do like the way Cohen pauses along the way to really talk about a certain place. But considering this trip I'm sure the book could have been five times as long. He was probably wise not to give us that version. Although something in me wanted a tiny bit more than there was.

This book is very inspirational for those with the dream of travelling the world. He doesn't paint it all rosy either, which I like. This trip was
I thoroughly enjoyed this account of a family's year-long travel adventure. One thing that sets this apart from other travelogues is that the reader gets to see exotic parts of the world through the eyes of a family with young children (2, 7, and 8). Some of their experiences are unexpectedly hilarious, and I found myself laughing out loud, and reading the especially funny parts to my husband so he could enjoy them too. Cohen's vocabulary is impressive; As a bonus, I learned at least one new wor ...more
A family takes a year off to travel the world.
Well they really stay for six months in Australia but it is a fun book about their experiences. Many of the places, I had been to (though under very different circumstances as our world travel with kids so far only included Georgia), and the rest I want to go to (with the exception maybe of Zurich). And there are tons of places I want to go that the family didn't make it to.
A couple of places brought tears to my eyes. I laughed out loud several times
Cohen and his wife, both experienced international travellers, decide to give their children the experience of a lifetime: a round-the-world trip lasting a year, taking in as many sites and experiences as they can. So they sell their home, close down their business, plan their itineraries--more or less--and go. From steaming volcanoes in South America, to a safari in Africa, to the crowded cities of Europe, their journey covers just about every aspect of travelling with young children in vastly ...more
A very quick read. Basically an anthology of the emails this family sent home while on their year-long round-the-world travels. Loved the way their expectations and reality often clashed and they were able to roll with it, especially when it came to what they thought their kids would like/not like and the fear of what a toddler will do/not do. As happens when you're traveling, the second half of the book is much more sparse and in the moment than the first half. Of course it makes sense that onc ...more
A fun book about a man & his wife who decide to abandon their home, jobs, & mid-life comfort to travel around the world for a year with their 3 young children (and a nanny). Overall it was a good read, I particularly liked the section on Sardinia, I think I need to go there! But while I was thinking how great it would be to do something like they did, I also thought, yeah, if I was a millionaire writer & photographer to begin with, like Mr. Cohen, I would do it too, & probably no ...more
This family sells everything they own, including their business to "Take a Year Off" and travel the world with their 3 kids. My husband and I have played with the idea before and it was fun to read about how things turned out for them.
C Branson
Although I really liked the concept, I had a hard time relating to Cohen. He seems a lot richer than I will ever be to spend $100,000 on a trip like this. I applaud the concept, but had a hard time with it.

I was VERY put off, however, by the numerous typos and missing words in this edition. I couldn't believe it.
Matt Rickman
Overal an interesting read. It could have been so much better (from my perspective). I would have like to have known more about the logistics. Also the whole experience was pretty much glossed over (13 months of world travel only took up about 280 something pages). It also would have been great to have more of the perspective of Devi come out in the book.

Lastly - this book was written well over 10 years ago. Would be neat if there was some sort of follow up (even just a blog entry somewhere on a
Great book with interesting stories from a families travels around the world. I wish there were a few more details in some chapters and the end sort of fizzles out, but overall great. Makes me want to travel more.
I originally bought this book when I was contemplating living overseas, and I have reread it a couple of times since. I love travel writing (as you can tell from my list of books) and this allows you to experience what most of us would never have the guts to do: take a year off of life and travel around the world with kids. It is written as a series of emails to home and filled with both humor and the practicalities of this adventure. I mostly like the book for encouraging me to reevaluate the v ...more
A good attempt to reinvent oneself & get a perspective of life. Not many have the will get out of the mundane, duty bound life to try the unknown.
A refreshing addition to the travel genre wherein so many authors stand off from their subject and pepper their readers with pendantry and facts so obscure that they could only interest a Cambridge don. If I were a forty year old millionaire, a world traveller, a guy with a beautiful wife fluent in several languages, and I had a year to wander the world, this is exactly the kind of adventure I would like to take. Of course, I am none of these things so I thank Cohen for allowing me to journey wi ...more
Many people think long-term travel is only for students, bohemians, retired people, or the ones that leave "it all" behind. This book shows that you don't have to be crazy, a millionaire, or single to travel the world for an extended period of time. Cohen describes how he, his wife, and three kids of various ages planned, traveled, and returned after a year away. Contrary to many boring travelogues, this one is well-written and sometimes funny. It gives you insight into the ups and downs, includ ...more
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“Live every moment—no matter where you are and what you're doing—as if it were truly important... you must strive to be in a good place—a place of purpose and integrity... Life is short under any circumstance and in some cases it can be plucked away at a moment's notice.” 10 likes
“I realized then that if I could teach my children only one or two basic principles, tolerance would be one of them.” 1 likes
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