World travelers: Brown family spends year traveling abroad

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Although many families take traditional vacations, the Browns aren’t like most families. The Fishers residents, comprised of Jim and Kathy and 6-year-old son Nolan, recently returned from a 12-month trip around the world during which they lived in a different nation each month.

Jim said the trip came about after their mobile app business closed in 2015. Jim and Kathy were on vacation when Jim came up with the idea.

“My wife and I went to one of our favorite vacation spots and we kind of just looked at each other and said, ‘Why are we doing this?’” he said. “We were both professionals working way too much and we have a little boy. Like most people, we want to retire early and travel the world and see what everything has to offer, but the reality is we are not guaranteed health, wealth or tomorrow, so why wait? That was the reason behind it.”

Jim came up with the idea to live in a different nation each month, so Kathy picked four she wanted and Jim picked four. They then selected four together.

Kathy, Nolan and Jim Brown at The Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

“We had to take into consideration the weather, any big events in those cities we wanted to be there for, things like that,” Jim said. “That was the original process.”

The Browns, along with a nanny, left in July 2018. Jim and Kathy worked approximately 20 hours a week throughout the trip.  Jim is a sales coach for tech companies. Kathy is a solutions consultant for Salesforce customers. The couple used Zoom video conferencing to stay connected overseas.

“Monday through Thursday, we live a very normal life,” Jim said. “We would do our work and whatever we wanted to do for the day. Nolan would go with the nanny to a museum or playground and we would always have dinner together.”

On Fridays, Jim, Kathy and Nolan did outings together. On Saturdays, Jim and Nolan would spend the day together while Kathy went out on her own. On Sundays, Kathy and Nolan would spend the day together while Jim did what he wanted.

The family returned to July 4, and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness declared July 12 as “Browns Return From Around the World Day.”

Jim, who grew up in southern Indiana, said there was plenty to takeaway from the trip.

“You get a fixed mentality of what the world is supposed to be, what people are supposed to look like. My view of the world was just tiny, and I didn’t want that for my son,” Jim said. “I wanted to be able to give him the opportunity to travel around the world and hang out with kids his age that didn’t look like him, didn’t talk like him and ate different foods. We taught him how to say, ‘Hello, my name is Nolan. Do you want to play with me?’ in every language we did. It was awesome for him to see that kids were willing to talk to him when he’s the one that looks different.”

For more, visit the Browns’ blog at brownsaroundtheworld.com

Kathy Brown prepared a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner for a family in Sitges, Spain.

Nations lived in

  • July 2, 2018-July 31, 2018: London, England
  • Aug. 1, 2018-Aug. 31, 2018: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Sept. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2018: Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Oct. 1, 2018-Oct. 27, 2018: Mirano, Italy
  • Oct. 28, 2018-Nov. 26, 2018: Barcelona, Spain
  • Nov. 27, 2018-Dec. 26, 2018: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Dec. 27, 2018-Feb. 7: Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Feb. 8-Feb. 28: Hong Kong, China
  • March 1-March 22: Tokyo, Japan
  • March 23-May 3: Sydney and Melbourne, Australia
  • May 4-June 7: Auckland, New Zealand
  • June 8-July 3: Santiago, Chile

Areas visited

  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Beijing, China
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