Travel To The Life You Don’t Want To Escape From (Episode 295)
On the road again...lately there have been many travel days, and I'm realizing I need to share a bit more about what we are doing, what we've been learning, and the "why" behind it all. I've talked about not waiting for "one day" to travel, and have found some wonderful quotes and insights to support what we're doing.
In October of 2016, our family of five set out to RV the States full-time in our little travel trailer. Our daughters had just turned 3, 6, & 9, and what an adventure we took! In the first two years, we hit all of the main 48 states, with just Alaska and Hawaii left on our list. We spent from 2016-2020 boomeranging back from our home base in Nashville, TN to different jaunts: the southeast trip, the southwest trip, the northeast, and then the northwest trips.
Then 2020 hit, and our travels started to look a little different. With the volatility of campgrounds opening and closing due to covid, we weren't looking to just hop all over the place, and we ended up staying for longer stretches in one place. We spent the height of the summer at Nathan's family lake house, and then camped on family property for another few months after that.
As we started our trek to Florida for the winter, one thing led to another and we realized it was cheaper to have a mortgage than to try and find camping in the winter in FL - and thus, we bought a house (with a spot for our RV, of course)! We closed on our place in Venice, Florida, and booked it down to the Keys where we had campground reservations already booked.
And now we hit the next adventure - an opportunity for camp-hosting! We absolutely love volunteering as a family, and the past few years our camping hasn't taken us beyond Florida as we've stayed here as camp hosts and volunteers mainly at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys.
Now it's March 2023, and we're off again! As we focused on our word for the year of "Drive", our family was eager to get back out there, and I'm thrilled the girls are now at the age they are taking initiative in the travel planning! At almost 16 now, Clara has rocked it with finding cool places to explore (mainly for birds and snakes, her passions), as well as helping us stay on track with what options are available along the way for camping that have good internet, etc.
My days once again consist of setting up "home" across the States, staying maybe a day or a week. We're only at stop number 3 in this adventure out, and I love how easily we get back into the travel swing.
I love the adventure of exploring new areas and having a different viewpoint from our house on a regular basis. But it's not just about doing exactly what we're doing; it's about creating that life you don't want to escape from.
What Did We Want To Escape?
We had it pretty sweet in Nashville, TN. Lots of friends, both sets of grandparents, aunt, 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've both grown up in Nashville, and Nathan had that advantage as a realtor, 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.
Quite honestly, we didn't have much to escape from. 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. 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.
Do you feel the need to escape?
What is bogging you down that prevents you from enjoying your life as it is?
We Needed A Plan
Eleanor Roosevelt says, "It takes just as much time and energy to wish as it does to plan". And that's 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.
Funny enough, our plan was simply this: travel the States with our girls full-time. That's it. We didn't plot out every single point, and as I am writing this, we have until next week plotted out and that's it.
We learned a lot about how we wanted to travel, and tried out many different methods on our first adventures. Building anchors in with the hard-to-book sites helped us explore all we wanted. And now, we're excited to allow this season of our adventure take us where the wind blows, just determine the next few steps and leaving a lot open as we go.
Instead of saying "I wish we could see the Grand Canyon," we will plot our our course and hop on it. Think about how many "I wish" statements you make. Or, "if only..." What is truly holding you back? Have you considered putting a date on it?
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?
This Isn't Just For Millionaires
Let me go ahead and clarify. We aren't millionaires, and you don't have to be one to do our lifestyle, or to simply pursue the life you love. There are a multitude of ways you can bring in an income, and, it's important to even look at what your purpose for money is (and how much you might really need).
We make money right now through a few ventures:
- We bring in income through Mama Says Namaste by coaching, personality profiles and courses, 90 Day Family Road Trip and DISCovering You: Looking Inward for Deeper Connection - With Yourself and Others
- As Chief Inspiration Officer at my father's company, www.48Days.com, I manage our teams and membership community and bring in some salary and commissions through here as well.
- And, whenever we aren't in our homes, they are available to be rented out, both in Nashville, TN and in Venice, FL.
In addition to the income coming in now, we have been very intentional with our money. We knew we wanted to do this, 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.
Live For Today, Plan For Tomorrow
We also looked at the future, and have invested in two rental homes through our IRA - this means that as long as we are renting out these homes, money is going in every month to our retirement. With our out-of-the-box lifestyle and career choices, we won't be retiring from 50 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."
Pick Your Choice and ACT
There are so many possibilities for what your next season can look like. And I encourage you to see it as such. We believe life is full of seasons, and it's okay to just address what you want this next season to look like.
For now, we've chosen the open road. We have picked the lifestyle we thrive in, and for this season, it is perfect for us. We've visited one of the 4 breweries open during Prohibition in KY (and discovered the incredible Bourbon Creme). West Virginia and Virginia gave us a run for our money with the mountains and definitely threw us in headfirst with navigation! We banded saw-whet owls and learned all about their migration from an awesome ornithologist (who happens to be my distant double cousin). We've ridden ferries to little islands and seen the devastation of hurricanes from the Eastern to the Southern coast.
There have been sightings of so many animals I can't list them all, and we've made new friends along the way who have shown us the little-known haunts and enlightened us with stories of their own adventures and lifestyle choices. We've been to Disney and on a cruise, and also spent weeks in the middle of nowhere with nothing but beans and rice (I have to admit, that's a bit more our style). We've balanced the big with the little to carve out this happy little groove that fits us well. It's not for everyone, but it's right for us.
What do you dream of doing?
What will it take for that "one day" to become a reality for you?
What will your family adventure look like? Is it a full new season of your life? If you're considering hitting the road, check out this link for a free download to 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hitting The Road...and honestly, those questions are relevant to more than just road-tripping!
Think about your next steps. Looking back on your life five years from now, what do you hope has happened for you to feel happy and excited about your progress? What do you envision for your family, and how do you plan on getting there?
It starts with now. Put a date on it.