'Are We There Yet?' - An Edinburgh father who dropped everything to travel the world with his family has released a book on their experience

After more than three years in the works, ‘Are We There Yet?’, a book about the year an Edinburgh family travelled the world, is available to buy from today.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 8:11 am
Ian, Anne, Rory and Roonagh in New Zealand in 2008.

The author Ian Pilbeam, an Edinburgh based HR director, hopes his words will offer some much needed escapism to people who are feeling the effects of being stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

The book centres around the Pilbeam family, Ian, now 54, his wife Anne and their children Rory and Roonagh, now 20 and 22, as they uprooted their lives for a year in 2008, leaving their family home in Dunbar to backpack around the world.

The book explores all the fun they had from swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands to taking a hot air balloon ride in China, but Ian believes it offers more than just that.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rory and Roonagh in Madagascar.

He said: “It’s a heart-warming, funny and at times tear-jerking story of what can happen when you take a massive risk, take young kids out of school and quit a secure job just before a recession.

"It really changed our lives”.

Their first stop was Cape Town, and from there the family travelled everywhere from Machu Picchu to Madagascar, completing their twelve month trip in Rio.

At the time, his children were aged eight and ten, and the most common question Ian found himself answering was ‘how did you home-school them?’.

Ian Pilbeam. (Picture by Blue Sky Photography).

He said: "The simple answer is that the world was their classroom.

"Finding suitable books on the road was a challenge in a pre-Kindle age so we would obsessively scour second-hand bookshops and charity stores”.

He said that in terms of maths, it was just a case of keeping on top of the basics, adding: “Rory would on occasions take responsibility for the daily budget.

"As our financial controller, he would take great pleasure in telling me when the daily budget was overspent and I was not permitted to indulge in the beer I craved”.

The Pilbeam family in Machu Picchu, Peru.

While the book has been in the works for three years, Ian found the time during lockdown and ended up writing the first draft of their trip around the world, in just 80 days.

He said: "For many people it will be escapism, the chance to explore and understand exotic and interesting places from the comfort of their own home.

"If you can’t go to the world right now, let the world come to you”.

When asked if he was wary that people wouldn't appreciate his work while they can’t travel themselves, he said it "hadn't even crossed his mind".

He said: "If i'd written a how-to guide then maybe, because that might be a bit frustrating.

"But it's not for everybody is it, I would hope that people who are interested in the world will see it as a way of reminding themselves what it’s like and how exciting it can all be”.

On Tuesday, March, 9, Ian will be speaking to Ken Hay, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, about how the year abroad came about, what followed when they arrived home and what long term benefits the family have enjoyed thanks to their life changing trip.

To order tickets to the event follow this link, or to order the book from Amazon, click here.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.