Toronto family honours late mother with round-the-world trip

A Toronto teacher and his two sons are ready to travel around the world after the mother of the two boys, who died of cancer years ago, embarked on a similar trip when she was a child.

'I just really want to see what she's explored,' 7-year-old says

From left, Jason Pearson and his two sons, Max and Sully, are set to kick off their 12-month journey around the world Friday with stops in places such as Iceland and Laos. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)

A Toronto teacher and his two sons are set to embark on a year-long trip around the world to honour the children's late mother who enjoyed a similar trip when she was a child.

Jason Pearson said the experience will provide his children with "a sense of living and living life to its fullest potential." On CBC's Metro Morning, he called the trio of himself and two sons a "good little three-person posse." Sully, who turns 11 next Tuesday, and 7-year-old Max took some time away from a busy week of packing to speak about their exciting months ahead.

Part of the reason the family is embarking on this trip is the profound impact a similar trip had on Jason's late wife, Jane, who travelled the world with her family when she was 10 years old and shared her experience on CBC Radio as a youth. He said his children were "blown away" by the audio clip featuring their late mother, who died of cancer.

"Why not let these guys experience it as well?" asked Pearson, who gave up his career in the pharmaceutical industry to return to school to become a teacher so he could spend more time with his young boys after his wife passed.

He said his wife's journey "carried on throughout her life" and provided her with a sense of adventure that rubbed off on him during their time together.

'Following her footsteps'

The global trek means everyday will be a new adventure for Pearson and his young boys, which he said is "extremely and terribly exciting." Pearson said he made the decision to go on the 12-month journey four years ago and his boys provided input on where the family should go.

"We are following her footsteps for some of the places and I just really want to see what she's explored," said Max, who is most excited about experiencing ziplining in Costa Rica. Sully said he "can't wait" to check out the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, a place fondly remembered by his mother.

As for their education, Pearson said he will ensure his boys focus on math while on the road but he doesn't worry much about them since they're both avid readers.

"Homework is illegal because there is no schoolwork," Sully chimed in. Besides, the lessons learned on the worldwide journey will provide the children with insights that can't be experienced in school.

The boys will retrace some of their mother's footsteps along the way, in more ways than one. The family is bringing a pair of pink Crocs along with them to serve as a little reminder that their mother is always with them. Pearson said his wife would be proud to see the family going on this journey.

The family departs Toronto for their trek Friday to spend time in places such as New Zealand, Laos, Iceland plus many other spots. You can follow their experiences on their website, where blog posts and photographs are set to be shared.

Sully will wear these pink Crocs during the trip as a memento to his mother's journey around the world that she enjoyed when she was around his age. (Helen Mann/CBC)


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