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Family Travels 13,000 Miles Across 12 Time Zones in 96 Days: ‘It Wasn’t Easy, but It Was a Blast’

Family Travels 13,000 Miles Across 12 Time Zones in 96 Days: ‘It Wasn’t Easy, but It Was a Blast’

Bruce Kirkby is best-known as a wilderness writer and adventure photographer, connecting wild places with contemporary issues. Recently, Kirkby packed up his family (including his two small children) and traveled from Vancouver, British Columbia, to the Himalayas—without setting foot in an airplane. Travel Channel documented their journey, which will debut Sunday, June 21 at 9pm. Below is a piece from People magazine about their amazing adventure:

Bruce Kirkby and his wife Christine decided to take their two children on an adventure – one that would span across 13,000 miles and 12 different time zones.
On May 7, 2014, the family packed two duffle bags and hit the road – without ever seeing the inside of an airplane – for the next 96 days.

Bruce, 47, a photographer from Kimberly, British Columbia, didn’t think twice about taking the unconventional trip.

“We wanted to bond as a family, and although it wasn’t easy, it was such an amazing experience,” Bruce tells PEOPLE. “How many people can say they took the plunge and just went for it?”

The Kirkby’s trip, which took them from the Arctic to the subtropics to the Himalaya, will soon be shown to the world.

On June 21, the Travel Channel will premiere Big Crazy Family Adventure, a nine-part series that will take viewers through the most intense and eye-opening moments of the family’s expedition.

Although the three-month odyssey was a first for the Kirkby’s, they have been traveling with their two children – Taj, 4, and Bodi, 8 – since they were infants.

“They really did get so much out of it,” Christine, 47, tells PEOPLE. “It made them grow in good ways. Exposing to children to different cultures, smells, food and other types of lifestyles is amazing to see.”

Although they participated in unbelievable activities such as trekking 100 miles of rugged terrain and taking a 27-hour ride on the world’s highest railway, the most rewarding part of the trip for Bruce and Christine was how their children bonded.

“These guys have become little buddies,” Bruce says. “They became such good friends. We all had to navigate through challenges together, and it brought us a lot closer.”

When they left home, they only took a handful of clothes, a book each and a first aid kit. But when they returned, they came back with so much more.

“Those memories are priceless,” Bruce says. “We are back at our house, and when we sit down for family dinner, it feels like we never left, yet all of the distractions we left behind, we don’t think about as much.”

For now, they’re enjoying time at home as a family.

“Being together is special,” Bruce says. “Seeing exciting places was a cool experience, but it only mattered because we did it together.”

By Caitlin Keating/People