This beautiful, awesome, amazing, privileged, lucky life that we are all leading can often feel seriously and unabashedly undervalued.
Not too long ago, we travelled to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I can without a doubt tell you that it changed something in us. It was more than simply conquering the summit; though hells to the yeah, we were proud of that accomplishment. It was tough, most definitely, one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. The mountain gave us the confidence to know that the impossible is only impossible, until you do it.
But there was so much more woven into that trek.
It began with the guides: the men who helped us climb the mountain. We spent a week with them, walking 8-9 hrs a day, talking and learning about their lives, the challenge to get ahead, the corruption in Africa, the amount of money they earned in a year (which was often under $1000), the intensity of their hustle (mostly to be able to pay for schooling or food for their children), their home and their pride in their families. Life seemed like such a struggle for them. Yet despite all of this, their spirit and their smiles were ever-present. No matter what the challenge they encountered, they would simply reply with Hakuna Matata, which truly and honestly means No Worries in Swahili.
We came home to our house, our 2 cars, our phones, our computers, our full closets, countless shoes and our various amusements. Our fridges were full of groceries, we had plenty of pretty things for our house and toys for our kids were abundant. And it all felt ridiculous.
I stood one day in Toys R Us and watched countless kids (including my own) whine or throw a tantrum because their parents were not getting the latest Shopkins or Wii game. It was like I was Katniss witnessing the opulence of the Capital in the Hunger Games for the first time, and it made me sick.
Something in that moment woke me up.
What have we been doing?
Our children (and the majority of children living in this first world nation) truly have no clue how lucky they are. I want them to feel the world. Yet telling them or showing them online the kind of conditions that other children experience in the world is not enough.. We don’t see the kind of compassion or empathy we would expect for their fellow people. They are numb. They have become too over-exposed in the digital space to be able to fully appreciate their lot in life.
And an idea started to twist and turn in my head.
We needed to make a change. And not something minor.
A massive, life-affecting kind of change to kick this #Firstworldproblem in the ass.
It has always been our dream to go on a big trip. To travel the world and find opportunities to immerse ourselves in other cultures. To give back where we can.
We use the phrase “Life is too short” as a catch-all, an answer to cover all the possibilities when we want to do better, be better. Yet do we really pay attention to what that phrase really means?
It was time to walk the talk. We decided it was time to go and witness first hand the way the world works, and the role we play on the planet. To follow our dreams.
How can we ask our kids to follow their dreams when we haven’t followed our own?
We realized the time for us is now. No waiting.
If not now, then when?
When (if ever) is the right time to take that leap of faith and go do something extraordinary? You could spend your whole life waiting for the perfect moment, or you could take a leap of faith and make now that perfect time.
And so our big announcement is that we are selling our house, taking a leave from work, and traveling the globe with our family for 6 months at the end of this year.
This isn’t about going on vacation. This is about teaching our kids to become global citizens. To understand, to connect and to appreciate cultures all over this big, beautiful world of ours.
We want to make the biggest impact on our children while we still can. We have no idea what to expect, but we are going to take the leap. The universe is begging for us to explore it. For us, this is about living in the moment, in the now. We are going to go for it, let fear go and trust.
Trust that there will be good days and bad. Trust that we are risking everything and nothing. That we as a family will grow deeper connections and that our kids will learn amazing things on the road. Trusting (and believing) that this will make all the difference in their lives and ours.
We are so excited about our adventure and look forward to sharing the highs and lows of our preparations and our journey on our blog. We hope you will come along with us for this next chapter in our lives.
To making the when..now.
We started letting the words of this trip tickle our tongue even in this post awhile back. We didn’t realize then that we were starting to write this story. Think about what you desire most. Write it down. It very well could lead to your next chapter.
IF WE CAN DO IT. YOU CAN DO IT.
This is HUGE! Congrats! I wish we could do this so I totally admire what you’re doing. Will be following along!
Thanks so much Maria!! Making the decision to do it felt scary but also necessary. Like it was something we really needed to do. Appreciate the support!
YA BABY!!!! AWESOME! SAVOUR THIS INCREDIBLE JOURNEY! xx
EVERY LAST MINUTE OF IT. <3
I feel a certain spirit in this post 🙂 and I couldn’t be happier for you. Less is more is a mantra I’ve been chanting lately too. So proud of you guys. You’re going to be amazing.
Yes, she has been by my side the whole time pushing us to go for it, reminding us that in the grand scheme of things, THE most important part of life are the relationships you protect and foster. Thanks for always being such a beautiful, shining light Louise.
Congratulations on being brave enough to follow your dreams! This will be an unreal experience for your family! Looking forward to reading more about it! 🙂
Thanks so much Lisa. We are hoping it makes a big impact on the kids AND us!
I am SO SO SO excited for you guys!! We all only have one life to live; we should live the biggest, craziest, scariest, funnest, life possible! Reach for the highest highs and love each other through the lowest lows – you will have not one. single. regret. JUMP, my friends, and let the world catch you!
You always have such a beautiful way of looking at things Gillian. Thank you as always for being so amazingly supportive.
Holy crap Jen. We don’t know each other very well, but I am sooooo proud of you. Our life has just also turned upsidedown or maybe it’s rightsideup. Heading towards our 60’s, we now find ourselves parents again of our granddaughter. I asked a young mommy friend for advice and she said, “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be you.” So instead of planning on retirement, we are just opening ourselves up to the world of a five year old and all the delicious crazy things they bring into the Universe. Look forward to hearing all ups and downs of this next chapter of your journey.
It sounds like you have been given quite the turn in the road Alison. You are amazing for jumping in with open arms. I worry about being a good parent all the time and love your friends advice. Do the best you can…spoil them with hugs not stuff…THAT is what she will remember most <3
Wow! Wow! Wow! This is going to be such an amazing adventure for you and your family. I can’t wait to follow along. Do you know where you’ll go first? xxx
If you can believe, a big part of our trip is being decided by our children. My son’s Autism lends itself to obsessing over various animals, games, videos, magazines, books, etc… So (thanks to National Geographic) a couple of our must-do places are heading to the Galapagos to discover more about sea turtles and Sri Lanka because it has the largest Blue Whale population in the world. The rest we still have to figure out but are looking at Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay then Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. (Still so much to figure out though!)
Wow. I am so proud of and so excited for you guys!
Thanks a ton Elan!
This is so exciting! And for some reason, it’s making me all teary-eyed. There’s nothing I want more than to raise my daughter to see and experience more of our world than our skewed North American perception.
Hooray for chasing dreams! So excited for you!
Thank you Hannah! I so hope it will help bring a positive, exciting light and compassion to the beauty of cultures around the world for our kids. We know there will be tough moments but believe the good parts will greatly outweigh everything else.
Our family wandered with backpacks for six months around the Mediterranean when our kids were 8 and 10. We had no clue how it would impact them, but we knew that broadening their horizons could never hurt. Almost 12 years later, our youngest is currently hanging out in Phnom Penh, eight months into a solo trek to places she plotted on a bedroom wall map after finishing high school. Her older brother is trying to figure out how he can parlay his bike messenger life into urban adventures around the world. Neither of them have headed for the “post-secondary” academy yet, but they’ve jumped head-first into the academy of life. You have such a spectacular adventure ahead of you! You are not only going to mint memories, you will be forging character and instilling a global awareness that they will never lose. Would we do it again? Without hesitation and without question. God-speed to you all.
How amazing it that? I love the academy of life Sharon. I’m so happy to read that you would do it again in a heartbeat. Can’t wait to share more of our adventures!
My jealousy knows no bounds. This is what I want to do more than anything but Dewey is not on board….YET. I’m still working on him!
You will get there Merry. For that I am sure. You love traveling so much its only natural to make that next leap. 🙂
This is really amazing!
I wish you all the adventure you seek and safe travels along the way.
Wow! Way to show your kiddos how to live!
Thanks so much. It has most definitely been a ride but one we are all jumping in head first with 🙂
Our family did this last year! Greatest 9 months of our lives. We went to 19 countries and came back far richer for it.
Have a wonderful time. Savour it all, even the mundane, the difficult. We miss all of it desperately.
I would love to learn more what your thoughts were about RTW trips Michelle. Any chance we can connect?
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