As we approach our one-year anniversary of traveling full-time, we have found ourselves in a new place. Actually, a lot of new places and not a single one is attached to a zip code.
To kick off the upcoming anniversary, we will be publishing several blog posts to share life updates, reflections, fun lists, the stuff we’ve struggled through, changes for the future, and more. An honest and sometimes humorous spilling of twelve months of traveling tea, if you will.
There’s a lot of ground to cover. Let’s start with the big one.
Are We There Yet?
When we set out to travel this great country in the Spring of 2018, we did so with an appetite for adventure and a whole lot of nervous excitement about leaving our hometown of 30 years to find our forever home. Not a house, per say, but a place. A community of people inside of a town, inside of a county, inside of a state.
Although travel has been a longtime passion and driving force for each of us, and now for our children as well, we set out on this adventure with an end in mind. We planned to travel full-time for one year. In that year, we would identify our forever home and begin the process of moving there.
Three months in, we knew that wasn’t happening.
We looked at our map and decided that there were just too many incredible places to visit. We called a family meeting and all agreed that we didn’t want to limit ourselves to one year. In fact, we didn’t want to think about a calendar at all. The idea of an end goal suddenly felt like a heavy expectation, and one that we couldn’t define with enough clarity to remain committed to.
It was good to relieve ourselves of the pressure to identify a place to call home. We felt a burst of excitement and a new level of freedom. Instead of researching crime rates, desirable neighborhoods, job growth, economy and tax statistics, and the local politics in each new town, we started to learn about the things that lit us up.
We researched native plants, why water can taste different in neighboring towns, how to remove cactus needles from a kid’s foot, why some dirt is orange, and more. We stopped looking at new places through the lens of expectation and started looking through the lens of curiosity. We wanted to know everything, touch everything, try everything and some of us wanted to eat everything.
A Momentary Freak Out
The truth is, we have no idea if we are there yet. Some days, we feel really silly for not having answers. I recently spiraled into a Zillow obsessed relapse in which I felt an intense urgency to figure it all out very quickly.
I was contacting agents about homes in different states and consulting with a friend in real estate. I read books about investing in rental properties, setting up homesteads, and building your own home (yeah, admittedly, that one was extreme). There were even private Pinterest boards full of decor ideas for each home.
These things aren’t bad by any stretch. It’s just that we aren’t ready.
Some of the searching came from my entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to invest in real estate. We’d like to do that someday to create some additional income.
More transparently, I saw our travel anniversary ahead and started to wonder why we hadn’t yet cured cancer or solved for world peace – or, more realistically – why we didn’t have an affixed mailbox. Yep. That end goal that we tossed away crept back in and I was dealing with some fear that we totally blew it by leaving our traditional lives to recreate our family template. I was worried that we cut ourselves off at the feet. After all, tradition has pounded into us the idea that by now, we should be on our second or third home and have enough debt and external success to look like we have a clue.
By those standards, we are lost.
I got distracted, took my eyes off of my passion for this lifestyle, and subscribed to the idea that indeed, we are lost (we aren’t). In that process, we learned quite a few things about ourselves and our future that we will talk about in later posts. Things like: we must follow the sun in the winter months so that we don’t get cabin fever and forget the meaning of home.
Though a bit vulnerable, it is important to share this part of our journey because, despite our unconventional lifestyle, we are a regular family full of people who are trying to find our way just like so many others are.
We take comfort in being uncomfortable. We don’t like being uncomfortable but we love what discomfort exposes and produces. It is a learning process that our family is especially fond of. We like to push and pull at the norms to find our core values and character traits (or defects, if you will).
We don’t have an address. We aren’t tethered to cubicles. We don’t give our income away to debt.
We don’t stay in one place for very long. We haven’t seen every state yet. We haven’t seen every country. We haven’t seen every ocean.
Should we? Sure, why not?
We are coming up on one year of this lifestyle and we aren’t done yet. We aren’t done exploring, we aren’t done doing the work we are committed to doing in our hearts and egos, we aren’t done teaching our children, we aren’t done failing and trying again, we aren’t done dreaming and looking to the future with excitement.
There is no end goal.
In fact, in many ways, this feels like the beginning.
In our first year of full-time travel, we asked if we were there yet.
In our second year of this unconventional lifestyle, we are looking at every opportunity and asking, “why not?”
We encourage you to do the same.