About this Trip

A 10-month Moment

The last few years have been pretty filled with stuff. Work, projects, travel, buying a house, the kids growing up. Someone recently asked me during a Yoga class to ‘let go of the past’ – and I immediately thought of my past 3 hours (of work and juggling life) until I realized that there might be more to the past than the last 24 hours…

Being in the present is another difficult challenge for us, being so focused, as freelancers, on the future and the next project. For our children and for us as family, it’s important to comprehend that the present is now and to spend some time with it.

And so, together, we decided to explore the “present” of taking some time off and to remove ourselves from our patterns for a 10-month exploration into an unplanned future. Bring it on, world! We are ready.


UPDATE AUGUST 2016: We did it! We made it out into the world and back home to Turkey. Readjusting to our new old lives brings on new challenges and inspirations. Please keep on reading my posts and check for new videos – I still have a plethora of adventures to edit and will continue with my monthly reflections. Thanks for being with us.


UPDATE FEBRUARY 2018: We left our home of 7 years in Turkey and moved our life into a converted Fiat Ducato Van. Homeschooling the kids for another 6 months, we took off to explore Portugal as our next destination – for the moment. To follow us from here on, please connect to our instagram feed @paleyography

What's the big idea?

After going through a plethora of conceptual ideas and original travel themes of great educational value (from the Footsteps of Marco Polo to Countries that start with P-A-L-E-or Y), we had an epiphany one evening: “Maybe”, Matthieu and I said to each other, “Maybe, the plan is NOT to plan!” Once those words were spoken a weight fell off our shoulders and we’ve been busy not planning ever since.

How do we travel?

Let’s just say, we are ready for anything. We are packing light enough to be fairly mobile and independent (Matthieu left his kitesurfing gear behind, Timo agreed to not take his Lego collection, I traded my Magic Circle for a Ther-a-Band and Iluka insists that 2 T-shirts are plenty). A backpack each for Mom, Dad and Iluka, a big travel bag (with school materials and other extras we can store at designated ‘basecamps’ for a while) and even Timo has a small backpack (which we will probably have to carry for most of the time). Laptops, camera equipment and toys are reduced to the bare (but necessary) minimum. So, in theory we can travel ‘any style’ – by foot, by boat, by plane, by donkey. We’ll keep you posted on the family favorites.

Where do we sleep?

As we literally know people all over the world, we might actually spend some nights with friends and random acquaintances (which is a] always lovely and b] good for the budget). However, considering the well-know fact that we do like remote and difficult to access places, we also carry a very light 3-people tent (2 kids count as one adult if you lay them out behind each other, right?) for extra flexibility. Yurts, backpacker joints, tree-houses, iglus, long-term-rentals and 5-star hotels are also options we will consider, circumstances permitting.

What about school?

Now here’s a project that might actually count as a concept (after all). I’ll be homeschooling Iluka during this trip. We’ll be plodding through his 3rd year together – just the two of us, as Matthieu (such a shame) does not speak enough German to take on the task. Matthieu (not to diss an important role) has volunteered to ‘entertain’ Timo during the +-3 daily hours that Iluka and I will have to concentrate on Maths, German and Science. Luckily Babi (gandma) Paley sent over a whole bunch of French Pre-school exercise books for team Mattimo, while team Mariluka will try hard to stay on track with the (quite demanding) requirements of Die Deutsche Fernschule. If all goes well, we will succeed and Iluka won’t have to repeat the school year, but will be able to join his classmates at the DS-Izmir in 4th grade in September 2016.

What about our jobs?

Now here’s a rather sensitive point as wishful thinking does not always reflect reality. For my part, I’ve successfully managed to put my UN consultancy in Afghanistan on hold until further notice, so no need to travel to Kabul with the family for the foreseeable future. Pilates Retreat Asia continues to exist, of course, as I have trusted colleagues running my early 2016 retreats. Private clients will have to wait, unless, as one Pilates Delight client put it: “I find a suitable Pilates studio in India or elsewhere and she will follow me there.”

For Matthieu, let’s hope that any great assignments are perfectly timed and located nearby. No one really honestly expects Matthieu NOT to work during this trip (those artists, they never stop), but we’ve agreed on some ‘slow time’ and he already has a few (topsecret) personal projects up his sleeve that will hopefully keep him busy and the clients in eager anticipation…

Note: Here are some links to stories that Matthieu did on the road. He started off with an assignment on the Pollution in Delhi, and Proof picked up his Highway Walkers. Later in China Matthieu documented life on a train for National Geographic News.

Biggest challenge so far?

Packing up the house without major fights or mental breakdowns. Little details included finding a home for Django (the cat) and Clyde (the bird), preparing next year’s taxes (oh yes!) and deciding whether to disconnect the internet or just keep the service running. (If you would recommend suspending the service and save the money, you’ve clearly never tried to get internet installed in Turkey!). Well, many, many, MANY more items have been cleared off the list and it looks like we made it out of Turkey alive…

Meet the Paleys

Matthieu Paley

Father / Photographer /
Bad Goat

All action all the time!
But I never say no to
a hot bath if available.

  • creative power 56%
  • physical power 83%
  • sense of humor 89%
  • organizational skills 42%

Mareile Paley

Mareile Paley

Mother / Yographer /
Voice of Reason

I’m an optimist and an idealist
and would not want it
any other way.

  • creative power 98%
  • physical power 64%
  • sense of humor 55%
  • organizational skills 88%

Iluka Paley

Iluka Paley

Son #1 / Creative Assistant /
World Explorer

Despite what my grandparents say:
I DON’T want to become
an ambassador!

  • imagination 78%
  • endurance 46%
  • sense of humor 72%
  • diplomacy 88%

Timo(té) Paley

Son #2 / Crush-Test-Dummy /
Wild Child

Warum? Wieso?
Why? Pourquoi?

  • imagination 80%
  • endurance 99%
  • sense of humor 65%
  • diplomacy 10%