Nine months. Six continents. Three teenagers. It sounds like the Amazing Race Family Edition, doesn’t it? In reality it was the Wheelan family’s gap year trip around the world. A trip that Charles Wheelan describes in his delightful travelogue We Came, We Saw, We Left.
In 2016 the Wheelan family – Charlie, Leah, 13-year-old CJ, 16-year-old Sophie, and 18-year-old Katrina – left their home, their jobs, their schools and their dogs to start a much-dreamed-about adventure around the world. Starting in Colombia, they traveled down through South America, crossed to New Zealand and Australia, journeyed through Vietnam, Cambodia and India, detoured through Africa and the Middle East, and finally returned to their home in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The sights were wondrous. The street food was tasty. The people were friendly. But of course traveling with three teenagers has its own issues. Homeschooling, for one thing, tried the patience of both kids and parents. And teenagers wouldn’t be teenagers without plentiful dollops of surliness and provocative arguing. Motion sickness was a family affliction, and a flesh-eating parasite almost derailed the whole trip.
But what’s a little leishmaniasis in the face of adventure? We Came, We Saw, We Left is a thoroughly entertaining account of a likable family on a trip of a lifetime.