So, we have announced our decision to our little world. Our friends, family, and co-workers all know of our goal to travel full-time. For the most part everyone is supportive. Our families are SUPER excited for us. 100%. Some people are fascinated and are asking a lot of questions while withholding judgement. Some of our friends are less excited. Some think it is downright irresponsible (and they have valid arguments too). One friend, who is both excited for us but also a little skeptical said something that struck a cord. She said, “I am happy with my suburban house and my home and work routine.” My (Jeri’s) response? That’s wonderful! I totally get it and through periods of my life I have felt the exact same way and that is a-okay. If I continued with my current lifestyle for the rest of my life I would be content. If I used my vacation time wisely I would be able to say I lived with no regrets. Mike would probably feel a bit more restless than me, but still as long as our family was happy and healthy he would be content. Currently, we are living a perfectly average life. We have a nice home, good friends and neighbors, our kids have nice friends from nice families, the schools are great, we can walk to the park, and I have a job I like. All our basic needs are met plus many of our wants. We certainly don’t have anything meaningful to complain about. So, why rock the boat?
We asked ourselves some questions:
Are the traditional “best things” the best things for us? A fixed rate mortgage and home equity are fantastic. Not knocking them at all. In fact, we plan to use that home equity to get us going on our adventure. The traditional things are great and eventually we will get back to them but why not try something else for a while too? As far as we know, we only live once so we are challenging ourselves to look at things a little differently. We are trading many of those traditional things for more time with each other, gorgeous views, fresh air, meeting new people, first hand experiences for the kids, and fulfilling our sense of adventure. To us, right now, that is what is best for us.
We are trading one lifestyle for another, for at least a year, maybe longer. What can’t we get back after the transition? The short answer is: nothing. It may take time, employers may change, the schools may be different, and our address will be different. We won’t loose touch with friends and colleagues (especially if they are reading our blog and watching our YouTube videos, hint hint). It will be okay!
Every dollar spent represents the time we spent earning it – what do we want to spend it on? Easy. Memories more than things. Adventures more than stuff. Time with our kids rather than time away at work or commuting. Mike heard something about a year ago on a YouTube video that stuck with us – you only get 18 summers with your kids (Marc from Keep Your Daydream). Our oldest is in seventh grade so really we actually only have 5 left with him and 15 left with our 3-year-old. That was eye-opening. It is time to seize the day!
As the Kansas social studies standards tell us (I am a teacher, this is the way my mind works), choices have consequences. We know that we are making a choice and that by choosing one lifestyle we choose not to live another. We are trading one set of circumstances for another – good and bad. We know. We know we will have to work. We know this isn’t an extended vacation (unless that lottery ticket is THE ticket – there is always hope). We know we will feel pangs of what can only be described as home-sickness. We know our income will be less than we are accustomed to. We are just confident that with the right mindset, and with each other, we will have an amazing experience that only comes with being willing to take a leap of faith.