Thankful for The Life I Don’t Want To Escape From (Episode 226)
As I write this during the week of Thanksgiving, in our home, the focus is simply on gratitude. I have to say what tops my list on gratitude is appreciating this beautiful life we've created together. Yes, I'm thankful for creating a life I don't want to escape from. So this week we want to share a bit more about how we got to here, and how you, too, can create the future where you and your family thrive.
Our family story is that we hit the road in October of 2016 to RV the US States full-time. Our daughters were 4, 7 and 9, and we decided we weren't going to wait for "one day" to start our travels. Over the next 2 years, we went full steam ahead and accomplished spending the night in all of the lower 48 states. We slowed our roll over the next 2 years, staying for 2 week increments at places instead of the mad dash we'd been doing. In 2020, our adventures took a detour as we laid low and stayed put on family and friend's properties, doing some soul searching and humanity building as we, like everyone else, lived through the craziness that still continues with the pandemic and beyond.
Do you feel the need to escape?
What is bogging you down that prevents you from enjoying your life as it is?
The Life I Don't Want To Escape From
This year, we added in more ways to give back, going to less locations but devoting way more time to really exploring an area. We bought a house in Florida, and promptly left to volunteer at the state parks in the Florida Keys. We experienced living for 5 months down there, having a state park as our backyard and home, and opening the door to more amazing opportunities.
We're in a season of shifting, having conversations about how much we'll continue to travel vs. having a stationary home base. I love the adventure of exploring new areas and having a different viewpoint from our house on a regular basis, and yet we're in a beautiful season where our daughters are stepping more into the responsibility of helping to write our family story together.
I have a framework and model specifically for families that are looking to RV. But it’s not just about doing exactly what we’re doing; it’s about creating that "life I don’t want to escape from".
What Were We Escaping?
Before we hit the road, we had it pretty sweet in Nashville, TN. We had a great network of friends, both sets of grandparents, uncles and cousins all close by, and the best neighbors we could ask for. Nashville is a hot place and we have a perfect location between Nashville and Franklin. We'd both grown up in Nashville, and Nathan had that advantage as a real estate agent, knowing the area from his childhood to now. He was making excellent money, we were surrounded by family and friends...so why in the world did we choose to leave?
I dreamed of travel, vacation, and getting away. I wanted to escape, not because it was so miserable, but because there were some critical components we wanted in our lives that we weren't getting. And honestly, I was getting hit with the reality that my priorities were off.
Quite honestly, we didn't have much to escape from by all outward appearances. Our life was pretty June Cleaver-esque, except for the fact that I also worked from home. We had a good life there. But...there was more we wanted to do.
I was tired of:
- Over-scheduling and feeling like there are a zillion obligations we had to cover
- Navigating babysitters and crossing fingers they showed up on time (or at all)
- Coordinating five schedules, oftentimes going in different directions
- House repairs and lawn maintenance always looming over us
- Nathan's unpredictable schedule and juggling his work, my work, and household responsibilities on top of raising three high-energy children
We were ready for a shift. I knew I was overwhelmed with wearing too many hats and wanted more opportunity for Nathan to be present with our family. Our love for travel was realized to the extreme when we spent a month in Costa Rica. We learned how to travel on a budget, and saw that the time together was magical. In fact, it was so healthy for us as a family to connect that we chose to look at a lifestyle that would provide more of that.
We Needed A Plan
The quote on the right was basically our justification. There was no point in simply planning for "one day" and having that be this ambiguous date down the road. We quantified it. "One Day" became October 10th, 2016, and we started putting our dreams down on paper.
Let me be clear here - planning can be overwhelming for many, and sometimes we avoid planning just so we aren't "trapped in it.
Our plan was this: travel the States full-time with our girls. We didn't plot out every single point. Honestly, we learned quickly that it's much better to not have it all planned out, as one shift can throw our whole travel schedule off.
Yet instead of saying "I wish we could go see the Grand Canyon" now, we'll pick a date and make it happen! Be careful when you plan to put into place those non-negotiables you want, yet allow for flexibility.
A plan gives you a framework to move forward.
It doesn't have to be a prison you're locked in.
Think about what you wish for. Is it more downtime, or to travel? Can you quantify this wish into a realistic plan to add to your life? It'll always remain "one day" until you put a date on it.
But What About the Money?
Let me go ahead and clarify. We aren't millionaires, and you don't have to be one to do our lifestyle or simply pursue the life you love. We make money right now through a few ventures:
- My coaching, personality profiles , Parent DISCovery Playbook: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Understanding Your Little Humans eBook, 90 Day Family Road Trip and DISCovering You courses.
- My work in my father's company www.48Days.com, leading the Coaching Mastery Program and as community director and DISC expert in the 48 Days Eagles Community.
- Renting out our house as a short-term rental property, and using other investment properties as part of our retirement plan income.
More than the income coming in now, we have been very intentional with our money. We knew we wanted to create this adventure, and we knew it made sense to have Nathan work for a while in real estate, which was very good to him. First was our plan to stick with working hard for a year to provide us a nest egg while on the road. We didn't stop all income, but knew we were choosing to drop the most significant income we had coming in.
Do you have any creative ways you are making money beyond a traditional job? Do a clear assessment of where all your money is coming in, and see if you have the entrepreneurial bug for any other ventures. Think about your children as well!
Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow
We looked at what we wanted to add into our lives right then...and we also addressed how we were going to be strategic about planning for the future. We got creative with rental property because this is a sweet spot of expertise that fits our family well. We were able to create this income through our IRA, so as long as these places are rented out, money is going in every month for our retirement. With our out-of-the-box lifestyle and career choices, we won't be retiring from 30 years at the same company - but in our golden years, it will be super nice to have that extra money socked away to ensure our children don't have the pressure of providing for us as well as their own families.
Think about your future and how you can feasibly set money aside now for later on in your life. Look at Roth IRAs, investment properties, or do something as simple as opening a savings account and sticking x amount of money aside every month for later on down the road. There is no excuse for you not thinking forward, and I have seen the damaging effects and stress of trying to figure out how to pay for elderly care when there is no money there.
Get smart with your money. Be a good steward of it and really think twice before buying something. Is it really necessary? Do you have the extra money to spend it if it's not? Do you have a history of "little" purchases that add up so much you don't realize how much you're actually spending?
We are a minimalist family. Hands down we will seek out an experience or homemade gift over buying something from the store any day. We are minimalist not only on the things we choose to bring into our home, but also with what costs money. If we choose a day of adventure, most of the time it will include free hikes and packing a lunch/snacks. When we go out to eat, we often eat family-style (1 entree feeds 2-3 kids vs. 3 over-priced kids meals). Simply eliminating drinks from our restaurant excursions saves at least $10/meal. We learned how to travel on a budget, especially when it came to eating out.
If you don't have a plan for your future yet, get serious - set a deadline and make this happen.
Don't just hope you'll have it all together "one day."
There Are Many Possibilities. Pick One And Start Living!
Our family is in a new shifting season for us. We're all paying attention to our individual desires and how to live in our strengths, while looking at our family vision and what we want to create together.
This isn't about the perfect plan or the most fun adventure. It isn't about getting all the strategy perfect or just finding the easy button in life.
It's about enjoying this life - truly being grateful for what you're living in and not dreaming of what you lack. Is your life truly reflecting your priorities? Are you enjoying moments every day, or muscling through in hopes you can relax eventually? The most valuable lesson I've learned in our quest for creating a life I don't want to escape from is how much valuable work is done simply within our own mindset.
Your Weekly Challenge:
So this week, get intentional -
- Are you dreaming of hitting the road full time as a family, or just desire to have better connection both at work and at home? Check out our courses to go through together.
Your life won't just fall into a new rhythm without awareness and intention. So what are you going to do this week to further step into that place where each family member thrives? As we reflect on gratitude this Thanksgiving week, pay attention to what is already going right in your life. Bring awareness to all that you are grateful for, and make it a point to let others know what you're thankful for as well.
This week, assume no one in your family knows how much you love them. What? Yep! We often assume this is a given, so we don't make the effort to show them. So assume it's NOT a given as you make it a point this week to show specific appreciation to each family member for who they are and what they bring to your life. Start with gratitude first, as you bring awareness to the good already in your life. It's much easier to build on good than to create from a feeling of overwhelm and lack.
Then dream and create together! Look at each family member as a beautiful individual with their own unique desires, curiosities and insights. As you dream, ensure it takes into account everyone's personalities so you all can thrive, knowing the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste
- What Is A DISC Personality Assessment?
- Get your free download of "Success Secrets for Home and Work" here
- 7 Seconds Will Change Your Communication and Connection (Episode 62)
- Perspectives on Attraction (Episode 223)
- Can I Get A Chill Pill? High Energy Personalities (Episode 224)
- High Processing Personalities (Episode 225)
- What's Left Unsaid - Nonverbal Cues (Episode 192)
- Which is More Important - Skillset or Mindset? (Episode 218)
- Self-Love, or Self-Sabotage? (Episode 152)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
We love Q&A on the podcast, and cover all things that are a part of creating an intentional family.
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, entrepreneurship, minimalism, travel...
What is pressing on your mind? Reach out and ask or comment - we may cover it on an upcoming podcast as well as respond by email.