Our son, eight years old when we first mentioned about applying for the exchange, was quite nervous and emotional. He wondered who would look after the dog, who will feed his fish, what about school, is someone going to use his room and his toys, what will we do when we’re there? Lots of questions, and, at the moment, not many solid answers. We talk about the adventure, the experience, the challenge of trying something new. Conversations in our family started big – forest view, so to speak – an exchange to Australia, the continent, on the other side of the globe. With a specific destination now, our conversations have started to narrow in focus as we look at states, capital cities, town names, river locations, and the beaches. GoogleEarth and street-view images bring us to the ground and help to appreciate that the gestalt view we have of the Australian continent is not the reality of daily life, in the same way that our daily lives here in Canada are not filled with majestic mountains on the horizon backing herds of caribou sweeping majestically across the snow-covered prairies. Rather, we wake up, eat meals, go to school, drive to work, pick up groceries, pay bills – the essential activities that make life work. Connecting with my exchange partner and his colleagues on social media, and “Liking” my destination school’s Facebook page lets us see some of the people, places, and activities of our home-for-a-year. This causes both excitement and a little anxiety as it brought the forest view down to the trees. It’s easy to think about travel and a little holiday, but it is so much more than that. Set that beside the new curriculum documents I’ll be teaching next year and it is a little like sitting at the top of a huge waterslide – you’re nervous and excited, it’s terrifying for a while, then just exhilarating. For my son, when I asked him what he thinks about when he thinks of the exchange he said something like, “I don’t really think about being there… I think about going there.” For him, so far, it’s the journey and not the destination. Time enough ahead to process everything!