Imagine taking a year off to travel the world. Now, add two young children. Winnipeg couple Daria Salamon and Rob Krause did just that in 2015. They sold their car, rented out their home, and headed around the world for 12 months.
Don’t Try This at Home: One Family’s (mis)Adventures around the World documents the family’s experiences through 15 countries in the Southern Hemisphere, both the highs and lows, while exploring themes such as parenting, marriage, security, and personal loss.
Salamon, the author of the novel The Prairie Bridesmaid, was offered a book contract once news of their upcoming trip got out. This was a new way of writing for her, and she quickly included Krause in the deal.
“The plan was to write while on the road – but we were so busy trying to keep ourselves afloat most days,” Salamon says. “Also, I think doing the bulk of the writing post-trip allows for reflection. I thought that having two, sometimes conflicting, perspectives of the same scenarios would make the book interesting.”
Krause’s impression of how he came to be a co-author is a bit different. “When [Turnstone Press] approached her about writing a book about the year off, she was excited but also freaked out because she wasn’t sure that she’d be able to pull off a whole book by herself. So she pitched that I write half of it. Not only did she save herself a bunch of writing, but she now had a scapegoat in case people think the book is bad – ‘I know, it’s his first time writing. Let’s just try and be positive. At least he tried.’”
The challenge of writing was nothing compared to the challenge of parenting on the road.
“I think this book is great for parents in general,” Krause says, “because no matter how bad you think you are at parenting, reading this book will make you feel like you are a genius at all things in the child-raising department.”
Despite the title of the book, the couple does not want to discourage travel. In fact, they are already in the midst of planning their next adventure, which may include seven months in a camper heading from Alaska to South America.
Krause says the fear of what might happen is much worse than anything they experienced on the trip. “Not once during that year did I think we had made a mistake or that we wouldn’t make it,” he says.
“Don’t let the fear of what-ifs stop you.”
Salamon notes that the book is not a chronological account of places they went and things they did. “It’s structured around ideas that everyone can identify with, like parenting, family, fear, safety, love, and misunderstanding. We build the stories and our year-long life on the road into these ideas.
“This year did not screw us up like I thought it might at times! Long-term travel is so different from short trips because life must still carry on on the road as opposed to taking a break from it. It’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.”