Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

On the Road to a Broader Perspective

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

On the Road to a Broader Perspective

Article excerpt

ONE YEAR OFF by David Cohen Photographs by Devyani Kamdar Simon & Schuster 320 pp., $24

While many dream of abandoning their daily grind to travel the world, trading security for adventure, very few actually do it. Far fewer even entertain such a fantasy if it means taking the kids along.

"One Year Off" is the story of just such a trip, taken by David Elliot Cohen, his wife, Devyani (Devi) Kamdar, and their three children, ages 2, 7, and 8. Their year-long journey actually takes 13 months, during which time they travel more than 50,000 miles and visit 16 countries on five continents. Early in his career, Cohen lived a peripatetic life. As the co- publisher of the A Day in the Life series of coffee-table books, Cohen traveled the world, living for extended periods in Australia, Hawaii, Tokyo, and other exotic locales while producing his enormously successful books. ("A Day in the Life of America," published in 1986, sold more than 1.4 million copies and was one of the most popular nonfiction books of the decade.) By the mid-1990s, his career long since peaked, Cohen was happily married, with three children, a prosperous business, and all the trappings of a settled, suburban life. While he didn't exactly suffer a mid-life crisis, he found himself dissatisfied with both his work and his hectic, overscheduled life. Yearning for the old days, he concocted a plan for him and his wife (also an experienced world traveler) to sell everything and "disrupt our usual patterns so thoroughly that we'll be receptive to new options and possibilities." With the well-organized Devi acting as travel agent, and with a nanny along for about half the trip, the Cohen family took off on a one-year sabbatical. Cohen recounts his family's adventures in this highly enjoyable book. They find that life on the road, and the broader perspective on life it affords, makes slowing down and enjoying the moment second nature. …

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