Their adventures’ tagline is “3 kids, 30,000 miles, 4 continents, 1 truck, 1 year” and that’s exactly what the Lally family plan to do. On September 1 they’re heading out taking “The Long Way Home” from Sedro-Woolley, Washington to County Galway.
Brendan and Gillian Lally, originally from Galway and Cork, have been living in the United States for the past 16 years. They decided it was time to head home and along with their three teenage children, Kate, Tess, and Zac, they plan to travel through Alaska, Argentina and Africa before starting their new lives in Ireland.
The instigator of this adventure, Brendan, told IrishCentral that he thinks the idea came from watching adventure shows on TV as a kid and also from the notion of simply doing something different. So after two years of preparation they’re heading out to become overlanders.
Their adventure will see them explore the United States from Alaska to Texas, then to Mexico and Central America, across the Panama Canal. The Lallys will drive to the end of South America and up the Amazon River, in Brazil before shipping across the Atlantic. Then they’ll travel north through Africa through the savannah grasslands, to the Sahara Desert and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt before they explore Europe and then finally get home.
This is no ordinary moving home with a couple of layovers in exotic spots but a true adventure for Brendan and his family. But the Lallys are no strangers to adventures as Brendan told IrishCentral.
“We’ve been researching this for years and, particularly in Colorado, we’ve done a lot of 4x4 road camping. There’s just a lot of open space and wilderness where you can just drive. So there’s a lot of opportunity to do your own camping in the wilderness. We eventually started to say to ourselves that maybe we could do this for more than a week or two?”
The family used the internet to research the possibilities and quickly realized there was an active community of these overlanders. Through reaching out to several of them they learned about the ups and downs of the adventure. They even had some of them to stay.
“All the people that have stayed with us we met them on the internet: one couple from Czech Republic, two from England, two from Switzerland and all with very different stories,” Brendan explained. “Some people did it on the spur of the moment. Some people saved for years.
"A couple that stayed with us recently – he was a solicitor and she worked in a call center – they saved up their money bought a Land Rover, got some work done on it and they’ve been on the road for five and half years. For some people it becomes a way of life.”
The Lallys, whose teenagers range in age from 13 to 19, will settle in Galway and by September 2015 their eldest will be off to college in Cork and the other children settling into school. However, Brendan doesn’t rule out another adventure or two in the couple’s future.
He added, “We’re probably thinking that we’ll hit the road in five years of so. We’ll have to see what happens."
Brendan and Gillian run an IT company which, he says, as long as he has the internet and the phone he can continue to do from whenever he may end up. Ireland’s knowledge economy boom is also a draw for the small company.
After a year of adventure traveling through Canada, the US, Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, the UK, and Ireland, the crux of the Lallys' journey will be to come home but it’s not just about where they end up but also the journey.