One Year Off is the charming narrative of a couple's wild idea to sell their house and possessions, close their business, take their three small children out of school, and embark on a year of round-the-world travel. The reader is left with a combined adventure, memoir, history, and travel narrative, all wrapped into a tender account of a family meeting life head-on.
The author does not sugar-coat the trials of spending a year in cramped quarters with his entire family. Tales of finicky eaters and uncooperative toilets are interwoven with the wonders of the world and the adventure of a lifetime. Why does a man do this? In his own words, to gain a fresh perspective on life, to develop an equanimity, a balance. Is it surprising that thoughts formulating this trip began to surface close to the author's 40th birthday?The book is presented as a series of lengthy emails from the far-flung outposts of the globe. Just how far-flung? Visa stamps accumulate from Costa Rica, Sardinia, Turkey, South Africa, India, Bangkok, and Cambodia. Cohen is the author and co-producer of the popular series of photographic essay coffee-table books of the 1980s known as the Day in the Life series. As he began to reach middle age, he felt the desire to purify [his] life and reclaim [his] old spirit. Cohen is blessed with an adventuresome wife already accustomed to world travel.
The Cohens barge through French wine country, sample cappuccino and pastries in Tuscany, roam the streets of Istanbul, tour wild game preserves in Zimbabwe, sleep with nomadic desert tribes in India, pick through the ruins at Angkor Wat, swim with dolphins in western Australia, float up the Mekong River into Laos, and watch the giant fireworks display during the British divestiture of Hong Kong. Throughout it all, regardless of discomfort or expense, the family thrives. The author paints a portrait of the beauty of travel and the excitement of the wide, wide world.