Thank You Friends And Family!

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Bonjour friends! It feels so weird to type these words after using hola as my greeting for almost two years, but the time has come for a new adventure and a new greeting. I may just throw in a little Spanish here and there to keep things real.

I am writing this post from the friendly skies on our way to France. A part of me just wants to chill out and binge on movies and another part wants to reach out to my blogging community and say Hi. I miss you all. It has been a busy six weeks, hence my absence from blogging. I have tons to share. I plan on posting about our US adventures during our first week in France in order to catch you all up. And then it is all France, all the time.

Today I want to do a big shout out to all of our friends and family who welcomed us into their homes, fed us, housed us, laughed with us, cried with us, drank wine with us, encourage us, challenged us to think deeper and so much more. We are one lucky family to have so much love in our lives. I have said it before and I will say it again, we did not leave the US because we were unhappy and this visit proved to us again how blessed we truly are, no matter where we are in the world. We go to bed each night knowing all of you have our back and that is something magical we get to keep all to ourselves.

You…

Many of you changed your plans to spend time with us. You came home from vacations early. You let us roll into your homes just as you were returning from long trips or even longer work days. You drove long distances to see us. You missed events you loved or went to events you did not love, just to be with us. You stayed up later and got up earlier than normal. You had our kids over for sleepovers, dinners and birthday parties. You planned activities you knew we would enjoy. You bought food we were craving. You gave us a Boston, Maine and Miami summer. You listened to our stories of the good, the bad and the ugly. You challenged us to think even further outside the box. You told us you loved us. You inspired us. You gave us strength when we needed it. You encouraged friendships amongst our children. You supported our lifestyle choice even if you did not understand it. You hosted parties in our honor. You had cheese in your home. You made our kids feel special and welcome. You were considerate of our limited time. You let our kids be themselves and make their own choices. You understood when we were late. You knew when we needed to just sit still and quiet for a moment. You were flexible with changed or cancelled plans. You took morning walks with Largo. You shared your way of life with us. You took care of us when we were sick. You adventured with us. You made us blueberry pies, terry mcmuffins, vegetable soup and so much more. You ate candy for breakfast with us, ice cream for mid morning snack and cuban bread around the clock. You let me color your hair pink. You came to our lawn sale. You let us borrow your car for a month. You shared your dreams. You watched scary movies with us. You brainstormed with us. You walked with us and just talked. You loved us for who we are.

You were all amazing! And we thank you from the bottom of our heart! Now, come visit so we can return the kindness and love.

Baisers,
Jessica

World Schooling Versus International Schooling

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Hola friends! How is everyone? Wow, I miss you all!

I think this may be my last post using the Hola greeting, it makes me sad! But, here we come France!

I have so much to share with all of you from our six weeks in the US. My plan is to write the entire flight. Wish me luck!

For now I am going to share this post about schooling that I wrote for another blog several months ago. I hope you all enjoy it.

We travel with two of the coolest kids (proud mama here). Largo (our son) is 8 and Avalon (our daughter) is 11. Largo has been enrolled in international French schools in each country we have lived in and Avalon is world schooled. Today I plan to discuss the benefits, the challenges and offer a little advice for each style of education while traveling.

I know when most families start to think about taking off on a travel adventure one of the first areas (right after “can we afford this”) that pops into their mind is education. We were no different. We had charted this education path for our children in Boston that gave them fluency in a second language, exposure to families from all over the world and provided a beautiful hybrid of the American whole child approach to education and the French focus on academics. We had their education path all figured out; moving out of the US in this capacity was not part of the equation. But, when we got to thinking about why we were paying the big bucks to gain this second language and global cultural exposure we realized that this could all be obtained by traveling. Yes, it was that easy, lets go travel. Well, we all know it was not that easy. But, for the sake of today’s topic I will be focusing on world schooling and international schools, not how it takes a lot of hard work to get this travel life off the ground and rolling.

Let’s start with the international school route first. Remember this is just our personal experience thus far and situations can vary drastically depending on the family and the country.

We are very committed to our children’s second language, therefore it was important to us that Largo remain in a French school for several more years. As a result, we needed to live in communities that had a French school. He will eventually be world schooled as well if he chooses.

Since Largo is already fluent in French it has not been an issue enrolling him in international French schools as we travel. There is this agreement between the schools to welcome new students as long as they can speak the language. Enrolling in international schools comes with benefits and challenges, as does any education path.

Benefits:

  • He is exposed to a culture other than his own. And in many schools there is the formation of a community for the entire family.
  • He is making new friends.
  • He is deepening his French fluency.
  • This route has a much lower price tag than other private institutions within his home country.

Challenges:

  • Each school operates differently. I am learning that even though they are all “French” schools they do not necessarily have the same education philosophy. Each school is greatly influenced by the style of education within the home country.
  • Our ability to communicate is limited because of language constraints.
  • There is less contact with the teachers in comparison to our international school in the US.
  • We see less of a focus on a whole child education style.
  • Each country has a different method of communicating within the administration. The US is a very efficient country that prides itself on effective time management. This is not the case everywhere and as a result we must learn to be very patient.

If you are planning to take off to a new country and enroll your children in an international school be sure to do your research first. It is not always easy to get the information you need in another language, but be persistent. For the first time in our travels Largo is enrolled in a French school that varies drastically from the other two he has attended. We have all had to adjust to their style and policies. You will need to figure out if that is something you would be willing to do if you found a school that did not align with the basic premise of your education philosophy. Can you be flexible? If not, then make sure you do diligent research, do it to the point of overkill.

I would also suggest a visit to the school if it is within your travel budget. Talk to the administrators, meet some teachers, audit a class or two and figure out if you like the vibe at the school. Unfortunately we are never able to do this because it is beyond our budget, but we always have the option to leave a country if it is not a good fit, therefore we don’t worry about it too much.

Finally, I suggest that you schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher for the end of his/her first day of school. This is especially crucial if you are entering the school after the official start date. Not all schools have material in place to explain the procedures to you. Get what material they have and translate it immediately, but also sit down with the teachers and have them explain their requirements, expectations and the culture of the classroom. Once you have this information it is important to communicate it to your child. We learned this the hard way by assuming if there was anything that we needed to know that the teachers would contact us. This is not the case in all countries.

Currently we live in two vastly different education worlds. World schooling is pretty close to being on the opposite end of the spectrum to a traditional French school. The only education style that is probably even more of a contrast to world schooling would be a same gender Catholic school. As a result, we are often living in two worlds. I don’t mind, but if you choose the road we are traveling with education be prepared to be pulled in two contrasting directions.

Now lets talk about world schooling. We started this world-schooling journey two year ago. I spent years reading everything I could get my hands on regarding alternative education. I can sit here today and tell you what a fantastic decision it was to explore this path. Our daughter is happy, thriving and learning through the world around her. It is magical to watch it unfold.

I am going to share with you Avalon’s day today just to give you an idea of how it all plays out. Avalon started at 8am with Spanish tutoring at a school near our house, and then she proceeded to two hours of a group tennis lesson in Spanish with her home school group. After this she returned home for lunch, Forensic Science through CTY, an art class online with kids from all over the world, Math taught by her dad and some World Geography. She will close out her day with an ice skating lesson in Spanish with kids from the community and French theatre at the French Alliance with individuals of varying ages and gender. This is just one day in her week, but you get the idea. Each day brings new subjects, activities and social interactions.

Benefits:

  • She is learning from the world around her, therefore giving her a global education about cultures, languages, arts, history, politics and so much more.
  • She is exposed to a new language.
  • She is free to manage her schedule and day, as a result this gives her confidence as well as time management skills.
  • She is able to socialize with people of varying genders, ages and from cultures different from her own in multiple languages.

Challenges:

  • As a parent you have committed to managing your child’s education, which can be extremely time-consuming and exhausting at times.
  • We all have cranky days. I don’t need to elaborate on this one.
  • You will spend the rest of your days being questioned on your choices to step outside the box, questioned about socialization and questioned about college.

My advice to you if you are considering the home/world schooling route is to figure out your education philosophy. This advice was given to me years ago and it helped immensely. Once you decide this you will be able to plan the curriculum seamlessly.

Trust your gut and know that what you are doing is best for your child. As you travel you will be met with criticism from tourist, locals, retirees and many others. They will have no problem asking you in appropriate questions about your less traditional path for education. Take a moment to enlighten them kindly and then remove yourself from the conversation. Most people will not get it, but the few that do will brighten your day. Stand by what you believe and don’t let the naysayers affect you.

Take advantage of local cultural opportunities as much as possible. These are the true learning experiences that will change you and your children forever. Don’t let excuses halt you from being part of an experience that can educate the whole family about global issues.

Finally, don’t let fear stop you from world schooling. You can do this. Trust that your path is the right way for your child. World schooling means different things to different people; there is no right or wrong way.

Besos,
Jessica

August 29, 2016Permalink 5 Comments

Downsizing AGAIN!

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Hola friends. How are you? We have been knee deep in downsizing, packing and moving, hence the lack of regular posts. First, I spent almost a week going through our storage and having a yard sale and then I helped my parents purge (move, sell and downsize) because they sold their house. And to wrap it all up we have been socializing with local friends and family as much as possible, oh and working our day jobs. All I can say folks is that my attachment to stuff has diminished more than I could have ever imagined. Life is not meant to be wasted on the gathering, cleaning, moving and storing of stuff, at least not my version of a life.

It was incredibly stressful and exhausting our first few weeks in Maine. Will and I had no problem purging again (well, Will had a little problem), however our stress came from the amount of work that went into this process. It is an energy and time sucker. At this point in our life the thought of ever maintaining “stuff” again makes we want to walk away with the clothing on my back. And I am not even sure if I would stop to pack an extra pair of underwear.

Lets start at the beginning, many, many years ago…

When we were pretty certain Will would be offered an expat post across the pond we started downsizing (this was years ago). We went from a three bedroom house with a garage and a finished basement to a two bedroom apartment. We sold stuff on craigslist for months, packed up a good percentage of items for storage and took what we needed to our apartment. At the time we thought we would only be in the apartment for a minimum of a year so why bring everything.

After two years in that apartment we decided it was time to take our show on the road. The corporate package was not happening and we wanted to travel. However, we would first need to deal with all of our stuff that was stored in my parents garage and in our apartment. This was when that first minimalist light bulb came on. We had lived without most of this stuff for two years in the apartment and we had missed nothing. Life was still amazing! I knew at this point that we needed to purge more before we moved it all into a storage unit and out of my parents garage.

During this time we purged, sold and donated again, but there were many bins that were just transferred from my parents garage to our new storage unit. These bins were kitchen items, stuff we thought we would need if this travel life did not work out, sentimental items and much more. Plus I was so darn tired from prepping for our move that I could not go through every bin, however I was convinced everything in that new storage space was stuff we absolutely had to keep. The unit was 10 x 10.

So lets talk about purging and downsizing round number three, current day. We are in the US for six weeks and Maine for four of them. Downsizing AGAIN was the last thing I wanted to do, but I knew it was necessary. We are busy when we are in the states, we still need to work, get our visas, spend time with our kids and much more. Taking a week to downsize again was no easy task, hence the lack of posts and my 5:00 am wake up calls, but we knew the time had come.

We love our travel lifestyle. We feel free without all the stuff weighing us down. We have no plans to stop traveling at this point. As a result it was time to unlock the door and see what awaited us.

So what did we learn from this third downsize?

  • It was much less emotional this third time (well, depending on who you ask). We have lived without this stuff for at least two years and some of it for four years. We are all still happy, thriving and growing which made it very easy to purge anything that did not have sentimental meaning or that we were not in love with. Of course everyone in the family has some moments of difficulty with specific items, but overall it went well.
  • I am never doing another yard sale, estate sale, garage sale, whatever you want to call it. I cannot even begin to tell you how many of these I have done over the course of my life. As far back as I can remember we started doing lawn sales with my grandmother. They are exhausting and I don’t believe they reap enough profit to make it worth it. I will be donating any items from this point forward, however we are pretty much down to the essentials and sentimental items so I don’t even see that happening.
  • What sold like hot fire on our sale? I am happy to report that my collection of picture frames sold well on the sale. I remember when I created that picture wall some seven years ago in our “forever” house. Each frame cost me $18. I was convinced I would have them until the end of my life. Will spent hours hanging them just perfect and I made sure each picture was the best image. I almost have to laugh at the time spent on this wall, but we did enjoy it for many years so I don’t regret it. Camping equipment, beach gear, books and electronics were hot items as well. Clothing was a complete flop, but luckily we had very little of this on a small table.
  • I have to talk about the kids for a minute. When we left the US they were lucky enough to have a room in my parents house where they could leave their toys. Will and I did not want to strip them of all their toys and move at the same time, but we did heavily suggest that they downsize some. Now upon returning after not seeing these toys for two years it was like Christmas in one sense, but a tremendous sensory overload on another and stressful. I am going to do a whole post about the kids and stuff because I do think it is necessary. When they went through their stuff a couple of weeks ago they were very aggressive, they wanted a clean slate and space to walk in their rooms. I am so proud of them. They kept saying it felt good to have the space and that they did not need as much. They travel with three large ziplock bags of toys and they have never once said that they miss their toys or having an abundance of them. I am so proud of these little buggers and the realizations they have come to. Plus, they made $200 on the yard sale and money is always a good motivator for them.
  • We now officially own only 5% of the possessions we had four years ago. First we purged about 10% (four years ago), then another 70% (two years ago) and last week another 15%.
  • Will is not a person you want around when you are having a lawn sale. He does not like parting with stuff he paid “good money for” for change on the dollar. Unfortunately he does not get the concept of selling at a discount. He got into it with a couple of people who were trying to dicker down from $2 to $1. I wish I would have had his camera to video it for all of you.
  • Good Will, Salvation Army, the local library, women’s shelters and many others are great options if you don’t want to do a yard sale. Plus, you get the tax write off, which may be a better deal in the end.
  • Lemonade stands at yard sales can bring in customers and teach the kids about money, sales, business, etc.
  • I finally managed to part with the following: vintage lunch boxes, jewelry I never wear, my camera collection, negatives from my college days (I was a photography major), more books, camping equipment, artwork (this was tough since we love art) and much more.
  • I also learned that we are not the type of family who could have ever purged it all the first time around. We had to evolve and have some experiences along the way to make us feel differently about our stuff. Each time we come back we are able to look at the storage unit with a new set of eyes. Eyes that have traveled to far off lands, eyes that have lived on less and survived, eyes that are eager to be back on the road and eyes that want memories over stuff. I think that even if I went back into the unit now, after leaving it to rest for three weeks I could probably find more to purge, but I guess that will have to wait for our next visit.
  • What’s next? I do have six large bins full of scrapbooks and dimensional art from the kids younger years. I have found some amazing software that I can use to photograph them and then make them into books. I really wanted to do it this time so we had more space when we return, but it is looking like it may have to wait until our next visit. I might even be able to part with some of my unique pieces of furniture, but I guess we will have to see. Our goal on our next is to simplify down enough of the remaining 5% so that we can get rid of the storage until completely. We might even get really crazy and part with some of our artwork.

How are we all feeling? Everyone is doing great. There has not been one mention of the stuff we sold, missing certain items or regrets. Funny how that happens. We survived without it before and we will survive without it again.

It is a very interesting experience when you reduce your life down to relationships, creating memories, doing stuff you love while at the same time “breaking up” with stuff. We have all changed from this ongoing experience. I would say I have changed the least because I was a bit of a minimalist to begin with so I kept our “stuff” consumption in check. Will has made huge strides in disconnecting from stuff, but he still has room to grow. This is a difficult process for him and he knows it, however he loves the results. Now, AvaLar has made the most improvement. They have rocked this “downsizing” process in ways I could have never imagined possible. Kids are just amazing. So when people tell me that they need a room full of toys to feel stable I sometimes laugh out loud. This is a big, huge misconception. Maybe one day I will dedicate a whole post to this topic, but for now I need to get going. Time to make the donuts, well, not really I just thought it would be fun to say that.

I have missed all of you. I want to post every single day for the next month to catch you all up, however I think more realistic will be once or twice a week for the next two weeks. We leave for FRANCE on MONDAY, pinch me. Cheese, here I come baby! Luckily Will is still holding tight on posting his vlogs about two to three times a weeks. Come find me over there! Hit thumbs up, share, tell your friends. We all love vlogging and we want to do more.

Besos,
Jessica

p.s. Look at the after picture!

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August 23, 2016Permalink 2 Comments

Inside A Traveler’s Walls: Heidi Wagoner

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Hola friends! I’m still alive! I don’t have a good excuse except that we have been selling the remaining 15% of our stuff that we had in storage (still keeping 5% for sentimental reasons), catching up with family/friends, working and developing our new business. Honestly it is frustrating, exhausting, emotional and freeing, hopeful and exciting all at the same time. I am working on a post about the whole process of coming back and simplifying again. I plan to share it either tomorrow or at the beginning of next week. We are doing one final estate sale tomorrow and then the rest is getting donated!!! It feels so good. Maybe the next time we come back we can just enjoy everyone instead of working ourselves to death.

If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.

One year in Vietnam, we drew a tree on a piece of paper and had a fire going on our laptop with holiday music playing. ~ Heidi

Today I would like to introduce you to the Wagoner family of Spain. Another amazing story of a family that took off for just a short trip and now they are four years in. One day not that long ago they quit their jobs, sold everything and dove into the unknown. Now they have kids in local public schools, holiday adventures, an abundance of family time and a zest for life. Are you dreaming about this life and how you can get it? Good! These stories of real people and their travel homes is why I do this series. People are doing this! Real people!

They see the world in a different perspective and have amazing social skills. They are friends with kids from school, the 20-30 something nomadic backpackers as well as the parents and grandparents of the world. ~ Heidi

I think one of the big take aways from this family is how they went from so much (in regards to home and possessions) to so little (space and stuff) and they are still happy. So many people think their happiness level will go down and in all actuality it goes up. I know we are much happier not being saddled to our stuff, the maintenance and the cost. Love the spatula! You will have to read the post to find out what the heck I am talking about.

Besides the inspiration portion of this series I truly enjoy the traditions everyone shares. I love how each traveler keeps traditions alive (their fireplace concept rocks). I have kept four boxes of Christmas decorations in our storage because they have sentimental meaning, however we have yet to go “all out” for a holiday on the road. We too make it work with what we have and our holidays are still full of joy. It’s funny how being in the US we feel so pressured to go over the top when it comes to the holidays.

I can relate to so much of what Heidi shares with us. I could see us hanging out with this lovely family swapping travel stories. Maybe one day. But for now I just want to share them and their amazing journey. I know I say this every post, but I just love this family.

So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Introduce us to the people you live with?
We are a family of 4, so a Dad and Mom (Alan and Heidi) as well as Lars (14) and Anya (11).
– Alan is the tech and gadget geek, he loves chatting about world affairs and politics and is very easy-going and full of great stories.
– Heidi is the control freak, travel planner and financial freak in the family. I am always on the lookout for creating experiences and making memories.
– Lars is the family perfectionist and full of the most amazing creative ideas and deep thoughts. He loves to work on producing and editing videos and loves to hang out around town with his friends. Of course being a teen, he does enjoy his alone time, which mainly consists of sleeping.
– Anya is our little packet of sugar and spice. She loves keeping a messy room no matter where we are. She is very social, caring and helpful (when she isn’t asked to help).

We have all traveled so closely with each other for so long, we understand clearly how to push each other’s buttons and how to avoid doing so. We all have cycles, tell-tell signs and moods, so it is a fun game trying to all have the emotional intelligence to pay attention to it all.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
During the school year, we are living in a 3 bed 2 bath condo on the beach in southern Spain. Once a school holiday hits, we are usually on the road. This may mean we are in an apartment, hotel, hostel, camping, boat, train, plane, bus station, or villa. We spent a year nomadic in Southeast Asia, so we have slept just about everywhere you can imagine.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
We originally wanted to live the life of travel for 18 months – 2 years. Our main goal was to connect as a family and be available for each other. This was our dream, rather than continue the hamster wheel we were in of working 50+hours a week and just seeing each other a couple of hours a day. We felt Europe was a baby step away from our home country in the USA and thought it would be best to ease into travel. So we saved money, quit our jobs, and just moved. Now nearly 4 years later, we love this lifestyle and are going to continue open-ended.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
Ha! Our stamp of personalization is a bunch of shoes by the front door and electronics (laptops, ipad, cameras, phones) plugged in all over the house with various adapters. Our digital life means the world to us, as we can capture, make and save memories with very little physical space being taking. It is all portable, so this is how we roll.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
My least favorite room is our downstairs bathroom. We live in a terraced apartment, built into the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It is an upside down house, which means at the front street level you walk into our main living space. This is where you will find the laundry room, small kitchen, bathroom and living / dining area. It is a trip down the spiral staircase to reach the bedrooms and an additional bath. Because we are built into a hill, the back bedroom and bathroom are more like a little cave. There are no windows and natural light or fresh air. That is what I dislike the most, but as long as we leave the doors open it works.

Not that this is a room, but I don’t particularly like the lack of storage and furnishings in our place. That is just what you get when you rent a furnished place, but it also means we aren’t tied down with owning “stuff”. The owner of our apartment has many of the cabinets full of his personal items, so we are left with using the exposed shelves for our belongings. It works out well, but just looks cluttered and messy. Anything we don’t want or need, like a high chair and play pen, are all bundled up and stored under our spiral staircase.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
We felt it was going to be too small for us and we would all get on each other’s nerves. We downsized from a 4800+ sq ft home in the USA, into a 1000 sq ft apartment in Spain. After spending 2 years in this space and then traveling around Southeast Asia for a year, we returned to the same apartment in Spain. Now it feels like a perfect sized space for us. We realized the more space we had the more we would clutter up with things. Of course when nomadic we adjusted very well to extremely small spaces. We each only had 1 bag and a back pack, so we didn’t need as much.

We also thought Europe would be an expensive place to live. We have a furnished 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a “to die for” sea view, all for $700 a month!

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
Call me crazy, but I usually carry an old broken silicon spatula around with me. Yes it traveled all over Asia too. It is small, lightweight, and makes my life easier when we have a cooking space to use. When we have a rental we never know what we will find in the kitchen. This is my one go to item which makes me feel at home.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
We miss several things, but most of it is “stuff”. I know the guys miss owning every video gaming console and Alan misses his tools to work on things. All of which we can get in Spain too, but don’t really have a need or the space. There really isn’t too much more that we miss. I guess that is why we just keep going, as the pros outweigh the cons. While we might miss certain foods and spaces, we gain exposure to so much more as we continue with our lifestyle. In essence, we miss stuff from everywhere we have been.

What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
The kids each have their own blankets from when they were little. Yes they are now 11 & 14, but still have their small blankets to sleep with. They were small enough to easily fit in a carry on while we were nomadic too, so the blankets have traveled the world. By no means are these security blankets, but just something to have handy to cover up on a bus, train, plane or in a bed.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice? No pets, but we get our fix by doing housesits along the way. In August we will have a housesit in the French Alps, with a 9 month old chocolate lab puppy. We are all very excited about our summer plans!

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
We usually find what we need at the grocery store or the equivalent to a dollar store. It is rare we need larger items.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why? space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
Ooh that is a tough question. My first gut reaction was natural light, but I think that is mainly for me. I think the family would all agree that internet is key for our lifestyle. This is how we remain connected with family and friends around the world and keep this lifestyle going.

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
First of all, we don’t really decorate at all, we just take in what is already there. So, to answer your question, while it isn’t really an appliance, I would say our style is like a spice rack. Just a little pinch of this or that here and there. We don’t have many “things” of ours in our daily life, so just a small touch of our temporary artwork or belongings display our personal touch.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
That has been no problem at all, as our traditions are portable too! We have creative ways we give gifts, by making puzzles, digital packages, games, scavenger hunts etc. Christmas was almost always on the go no matter where we have lived, so that is our tradition.

We also carry around a “birthday hat” and have used that for many years. It usually follows us where ever we go and that is a tradition of ours as well.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
It is rare for us to decorate in our home, as we usually have plans to travel. We usually create some way to decorate no matter where we are.  If we don’t have means to have a tree, we will figure out how to make one. Sometimes it is with branches found or perhaps a drawing hanging on the wall. One year in Vietnam, we drew a tree on a piece of paper and had a fire going on our laptop with holiday music playing. We had 3 rooms at this location, as Grandma was traveling with us. We just moved the tree and the music around to each room.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
The bond we have as a family and being present for our children. We love seeing them soak up culture, nature, languages and becoming world citizens. They see the world in a different perspective and have amazing social skills. They are friends with kids from school, the 20-30 something nomadic backpackers as well as the parents and grandparents of the world. Age, race, religion, upbringing and borders aren’t limitations in their world. They have a safe environment to be very independent and live a healthy active life.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Home is our family and all of the memories we have made around the world. We spend 3 months in one apartment in Thailand or a couple of weeks at a hostel in Siem Reap and those were home to us too. Home is us! Where ever we are, we create home and have memories of that home. I recall one day, when flying from Singapore to Japan, Lars stated that we were officially homeless once again. And then he quickly corrected himself and said, well actually we are just living on a plane today. Sometimes home on a 12 hour sleeper train or bus and at times on a ferry too.

What makes you love the place you live?
You can’t beat our sea views, as well as the simple and tranquil lifestyle of our little Spanish beach town. We have close access to travel around Europe and sometimes even inexpensive flights to other parts of the world. We make the most out of any location we are in. The key is to just enjoy the moment and appreciate what you have right now.

Can home be a person, or an idea?  
You bet, home can be a person, idea, food, song or even a smell. Whatever triggers that memory of giving you comfort, security, and love. We have many memories around the world, which give us that home feeling. It may just take talking about a fruit smoothie or street food in Thailand and a big smile will come over us. This just proves it is a fond memory and what better thing to be “home”?

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
My best advice is to just roll with the punches and make the most of what you have in front of you today. Don’t dream about what could be or what was, just enjoy the now.

Anything else you would like offer?
Travel opens your eyes and especially your hearts. There is a misconception that travel is expensive and it doesn’t have to be. If you have the will, you find the way. We spend about 1/3 of what we did when we lived with a traditional life in the USA. You get crafty, smart and wise as you go.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
Ah what is next? Well summer starts in a few days and we are off on an epic 8 week summer road trip. We will cover Spain and southern France, so we will be on the move to about 10-12 locations during that time. Our home will become the car, a villa, apartments, hotels and who knows what else. We are all excited about it and about 5-6 weeks in, we will see if our personal space buttons get pushed. This is usually our limit for “fast travel” before the tension is high. We have done our best this time to help prevent it from happening, so it will be fun to see how it all turns out and to see if we have learned from the past.

How so you educate your kids?
The kids attend public school in Spain and we usually travel on school holidays. That said we always supplement their education at home and always have. When we were nomadic, they were homeschooled/worldschooled by us and our travels. You can read more about that year here. 

How do you make a living?
We are still living off of the savings we thought would last just 2 years. We have been able to supplement dipping into that savings all of the time with small income streams around. We have provide consultations for moving to Spain and obtaining residency, we have ebooks and make a small income from ads and affiliate links on our blog. None of it is enough to completely fund our life, but it all helps keep it going. We get into more details here.

Quote to Ponder
Travel opens your eyes and especially your hearts.

Contact:
Heidi and Alan Wagoner are passionate about travel (50+ countries) and both authors of the popular travel blog Wagoners Abroad. In Aug 2012, they left the “perfect American life”. They quit their jobs, sold their belongings and moved to Southern Spain, with their 2 kids (Lars and Anya).  They also spent a year as nomads exploring Southeast Asia. They are now back in Spain as their home base and continue to embrace the world.

They have inspired hundreds of people to visit Spain and helped many actually move to Spain as well. They are a true source of inspiration and proof you can make your dreams come true. Follow them on their blogFacebookYouTube, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

Let’s go! Thank you Heidi for sharing your home and your travel life. I am so ready to head to Spain, but the kids picked France so that is where we will go.

Don’t you just love where they live? Can you visualize it? I think it sounds blissful. We might have to pay them a visit since we will be so close.

Besos,
Jessica

August 11, 2016Permalink 2 Comments

Inside A Traveler’s Walls: Amy Miner Rutherford

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Hola friends. It’s Wednesday, well, you know it’s not, but let’s have fun anyway. I am still a@# deep in bins, selling, tagging and a little bit of cranky (it will all be on the video), however I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are having our HUGE estate sale with my parents (because they are selling their house) this weekend in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. If you are nearby PM me and I will send you all the details. It has been a long week and it will be an even longer weekend, but hey, maybe we will make enough money to hire these amazing videographers we want to shoot our story in France. Sounds like a good plan, right? We have some higher ticket items going on eBay, some vintage items going to antique stores and some jewelry hitting the pawn shop. We were not kidding when we said we were selling it all, well, not all of it, but a heck of a lot.

If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.

Ok, let’s get this travel life party started!

I would like to introduce you to the Rutherford family. Another family traveling with pets and educating their children along the way. Do we see a pattern here? People are out there making it happen, living differently and fulfilling their dreams.

I love being able to travel and see new things, but be able to go home instead of a hotel. ~ Amy

I have to start by saying that I love this RV. It feels so comfy and filled with love. The pictures say it all, this family has personalized their space and I think it is magnificent. I am constantly asked if it feels weird to live in someone else’s space and my answer is always no. We make the space our own with artwork, food, some personal items, but at the end of the day it always feels right to us because the people we love are in it. I get that feeling when I look at Amy’s pictures, don’t you?

Home is where my family is. ~ Amy

I actually laughed out loud when I read her misconception. I get it. Our life is exactly the same. There have been obstacles along the way and on most days it is harder than our stationary life was, but on ALL days it is worth it. Thank you Amy for being honest. I have a lot of readers who are on the cusp of venturing out and they need to know the good, bad and the ugly because there is some ugly, just like any life.

Don’t just think about it: do it! Life is too short and precious to just wish and want. ~ Amy

And then I cried out loud. We are currently in the US for six weeks seeing family and going through storage bins (lots and lots of framed pictures and art). I can so relate to what you miss. When I look at the bins of pictures I want to just take them all with us and put them up on every space we live in. However, I know I can’t and I know we are making memories and at the end of the day that is much more important than having old pictures with us.

You are truly and inspiring family. I hope our travel paths cross one day. Thank you for sharing your story.

So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Introduce us to the people you live with?
We are a family of 4 humans and 2 fur balls. Amy (mom, dreamer, planner, navigator, teacher, Air Force veteran, massage therapist), Jeff (dad, glass artist, driver, science geek, Marine veteran), Lilly (5yo, excited, rambunctious, loves to collect rocks, explore and sing songs to the Sun), Violet (3yo, explorer, cautiously watches her world before diving in, adores her big sis, animal whisperer, and gives the best hugs). We share our home with a 10-year-old dog that thinks she’s part human/part lap dog even though she’s 65lbs and an almost 18-year-old cat that likes to meow all night long, pee herself, but gives the best purr filled snuggles.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We are living in the Midwest, visiting family and friends in our 5th wheel toy hauler RV. We recently left our home of 9 years in Arizona and slowly started our journey out this way.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
We were tired of never visiting our friends and family. Or when we did, it was every few years and a rushed visit. So we sold our house and most of our belongings, bought an RV and truck and hit the road after years of planning and talking about it.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
We removed all of the original furniture in our RV, painted the walls, cabinets, replaced fixtures and made it feel more like home to us. We have plans to add more “us” into the space, but are doing one thing at a time as we can financially and time wise.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Favorite space is the living area. It’s wide open with plenty of space for us to sit, play, read, create and without tripping over one another. Least favorite is the bathroom. The bathtub needs to be replaced, is a gross yellow color and there’s no storage area.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
That it would be easy and carefree. Every step of the way, we have hit obstacles. Whether it be a part on the RV breaking, getting lost, spending more money than we expected, not relaxing as much as we envisioned. However, it has all been worth it thus far.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
We always have our phones. For maps, researching, photos, videos; they have been pivotal in making this easier.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
I miss having all of our artwork and picture frames of family and friends. Because we don’t have as much wall space and need to be considerate of weight limits, we didn’t bring any of this along.

What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
They each have their favorite stuffed animals. They were able to downgrade a lot of toys and books, but certain books and stuffed animals they HAD to bring along to make this transition easier.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
Our dog is used to going to the bathroom as she pleases. Now, she has to go on a leash while we walk. She likes her privacy, so it’s taking some adjusting for her to have to go while out on a walk. Our cat pukes and pees herself every single drive day. Every. Single. Time.

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
For storage ideas and solutions, we have used a mixture of things we already had in our home that happened to be Ikea items, as well as ideas I find on Pinterest or RV groups on Facebook.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
Internet! We don’t have it. We have it on our phones, but nothing for use on our computers. So, unless we have access to a café with wifi, or happen to stay at a park that has it, we go without.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
We have kept routines the same for bed, meals, etc and plan holidays to be the same just in a smaller space now.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
Aside from Christmas stockings, we didn’t bring along any holiday decorations. We plan on making what we can as well as shopping at thrift and dollar stores for what we can’t and then donating those items when we are done with them for the year.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
I love being able to travel and see new things but be able to go home instead of a hotel.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Home is where my family is.

What makes you love the place you live?
I love that it goes with us.

Can home be a person, or an idea?
I think it can be wherever you are with your loved ones. A place that makes you happy and feel calm.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Don’t just think about it: do it! Life is too short and precious to just wish and want. You can do without many things to make your dreams come true. It’s not always easy, but so worth it!

Anything else you would like offer?
It can be scary, selling all of your stuff, moving into a tiny space and doing the unknown. People may think you’re crazy. They may verbally doubt you. But they may also openly support you. Follow your heart and the rest will fall in place.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
We are going to continue doing this as long as we are able to and as long as it continues to feel right. Once it no longer does, then we will do something else. One day, we would like to venture to other countries again but with our children this time. For now though, we are going to extensively explore the United States.

How do you educate your children?
We have been homeschooling all along. Though the kids are only 5 and 3, we are always teaching and they are always learning. But we are about to start an actual homeschooling journey and will continue to do so as long as it continues to work.

How do you make a living?
This is a popular question that comes up in RV groups. Any job that can be mobile or done online, can be done. The options are limitless. We are living on less than we did when in our conventional home. We are doing without less as well. We no longer have a TV. We don’t have the internet. We “boondock” (camp without hookups) as much as we can so our paid stays cost less than we paid for our monthly mortgage. We paid cash for our RV. Jeff, as an artist, does as many art & craft shows as we can find along the way. But since they are sporadic, we are more frugal than before. We don’t collect trinkets on our journey. Instead, we collect photos and memories. I meal plan and since our fridge is tiny, we can’t fill it full of food that wastes. We find FREE things to do and see and only do things that cost money when it’s something we absolutely can’t live without! We plan on doing workamping which is a “free” RV spot in a campground in exchange for working minimal hours. It doesn’t have to be expensive to live this way, though many people think it does.

Contact:
www.ontheroamagain.com
www.facebook.com/ontheroamagain
www.instagram.com/ontheroamagain

Quote to Ponder:
It can be scary, selling all of your stuff, moving into a tiny space and doing the unknown. People may think you’re crazy. They may verbally doubt you. But they may also openly support you. Follow your heart and the rest will fall in place.

Thank you Amy. This has truly been inspiring. I love your thorough description about how you make it work financially. I agree, many people think it is just not possible to do this lifestyle on less and it is.

RV’ing the US is not part of our plan with the kids because we are quickly running out of years before they head to college, however I hope to do it one day. How about you? Do you want to RV the US or maybe Europe? What is holding you back?

Have a great day.

Besos,
Jessica

 

Miami, Florida

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Hola friends. It’s Wednesday, but I have to hold off on Inside A Traveler’s Walls until tomorrow. As many of you know I am neck-deep in storage downsizing. There will be an ENTIRE post dedicated to the pain I feel from entering our storage unit after two years. I really think we hit it hard when we left, but wow we still have a lot of stuff. We sold 80% of our belongings two years ago, that was big, but now that I look at our unit I realized that we can sell another 10-15% of the 20% we have left. Can you believe it? I can’t either. When I opened those doors yesterday I almost cried. I kept it positive so I could fool myself, but  I was overwhelmed. As I sit here today with about 10 plastic bins surrounding me I know I am close to the end and it feels good. I have so much to share with you about this round of downsizing, however it will have to wait until Friday because today is all about Miami before I forget what we did. Ha!

We spend five days at the beginning of our Florida visit in Miami. Remember I had food poisoning from some bad ceviche I ate the night before we left Quito? As a result, I did not go out much during our first stay in Miami. After five days we headed to Orlando to see my parents new house, take Avalon to a water park for her birthday and spend my dads birthday with him. It was a quick trip and we were back in Miami for another nine days. I was still feeling a bit under the weather from my other virus (I know, I sound like I am a 100 years old), but I was determined to show AvaLar some of Miami and their Cuban heritage. There is a lot to do in Miami, but I can’t cover it all in this post. Today I plan to share just what we did on this visit and then I will add to the list as time goes on.

 

CITY:
Miami, Florida

DO:

  • Art Deco: Take a tour with Art Deco Tours in Miami. Make sure you request James Cubby, he was just fabulous. The kids, my mother-in-law and I took at 2.5 hour tour around the South Beach Miami art deco district. We learned a lot of about the art deco history, some Cuban culture and history, plus we toured some amazing buildings. The kids had a ball and they loved trying to find the features in each building that made it an art deco spot. They also enjoyed trying to find where the secret rooms were. I highly recommend this tour with James, however I must caution you that it will be hot if you do it during the summer months.
  • Wynwood Walls Tour: Have you heard of this outdoor gallery? You must visit! The walls of warehouse buildings have been transformed into graffiti artist canvases. All four of us loved this tour and our tour guide Osmos was amazing. He is a graffiti artist who has art walls all over the world. I highly recommend a tour instead of just a walk through. With a guide you will be able to learn about the “why” behind the space, the artists and their work, how they choose the artists and much more.
  • Little Havana Tour: We had a fabulous tour with Corinna J. Moebius. I know I have said this with everyone, but I do believe an amazing tour guide can take the experience to another level. Corinna has a passion for the history and its preservation which shines through during the tour. We learned about the local fruits, Cuban history, art, food, cigar making and so much more. We ended up doing her two-hour tour since it was so hot, but I wish we had done the three-hour tour, it was that good.
  • Key Biscayne Beach: We have been to this beach several times during our Miami visits, although I prefer Miami Beach this is a great alternative. Why? Parking is easy, less crowded and the waves are pretty chill which is great if you have toddlers.
  • Blizzard Beach (Orlando): This was my first time to a Disney water park and I was pleasantly surprised. I have to admit, I am not much of a Disney fan (gasp). I know, I know, very un-American of me, but I have my reasons. A post for another day. We all loved this water park (I went with the kids and my parents). It was easy to navigate, it has something for everyone and the lines were not too long.

EAT:

~Mi Rinconcito Mexicano: Amazing Mexican in Little Havana.

We have eaten at many places in Miami, but for now I am going to keep this list short since some of them I have not visited in a very long time. Don’t worry I will add to it as we travel to Miami in the future.

SLEEP:
~ Family: We stayed with family in Miami, however if I was traveling to Miami and I wanted a rich cultural and world schooling experience I would stay in Little Havana. The beach is fun and relaxing, but it is pretty mainstream in its appearance and culture, unless of course you stay in an Art Deco hotel.

FUTURE:
~ So much. We have been to Miami more times than I can count, however we rarely stay more than a week which limits what we can see. We have a lot of family and friends in the area and they get most of our time. This visit was a bit longer so we made a huge attempt to see the local culture. I will definitely be adding to this list as we visit Miami in the future. I have this dream of spending a month world schooling in Little Havana.

Ok, I am over and out for the night. Can you believe I still have more storage unit simplifying to do for our big estate sale this weekend. And, I have work to do on the mysterious business I am launching in October! Woo Hoo! Change is good.

Besos,
Jessica

My Tattoos!

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Hola friends. And it’s Friday! I am going to skip Weekly Round Up this week because I want to share this post with you, not because it is time sensitive, but because its fun for a Friday. This one is for you Jenna, I know you have been curious about all of my body art.

I have 10 tattoos that I have accumulated over almost 27 years. And I love every single one of them for different reasons.

Why do I get tattoos?
Are you ready for the profound reason??? It is simple…because I like them. I am an artist and this is my body art. Just as someone wears makeup every day, dresses in fashion or buys the latest gadget I too have my ‘things” I like. Yes, I know my “things” are permanent (well I guess they can actually be removed if need be), but make up could be considered somewhat permanent if someone never leaves the house without it, right? It is part of their identity, no one sees them without it and they don’t feel complete going bare-faced. This is not a post about why tattoos are like makeup, nor is it a criticism against makeup. I just thought it might be an interesting comparison.

Lets take a walk down memory lane and I will share where (city and on the body), when, what and why I got each one of my tattoos.

  1. Maine : Ankle : Age 17: A Strawberry : I love strawberries. It was my first tattoo and I wanted it small, simple and easily camouflaged. It is little enough to be covered by a small, round band-aid. At the time I was not sure about my professional life and if I would like it, so I placed it very strategically. My mom came with me and she got her first tattoo at the same time.
  2. Los Angeles : Shoulder : Age 22 : The letter J & B integrated into a flower : A tribute to my sister. My sister and I went to Melrose Ave in Los Angeles and got matching tattoos. This was during a my partying days and we were crazy. I still love it to this day. I just got it re inked in Quito.
  3. Los Angeles: Lower Back : Age 28 : The word WILL : Because I wanted his name on me. We were recently married and I had always liked the idea. This tattoo was a bit crazy because it is super small, but was the most painful. I almost passed out. It must have been hitting on a nerve or something.
  4. Maine: Lower Leg : Age 34 : 3 Butterflies : Avalon loved butterflies. I wanted to do three butterflies taking flight up my leg. Actually I wanted five, but I never got around to adding the rest.
  5. Ecuador : Inner Arm : Age 43 : Morpho Butterfly : I started a travel sleeve for all of the countries we have lived in. The morpho butterfly lives in Costa Rica. I fell in love with their vibrant blue color and freedom.
  6. Ecuador : Wrist : Age 43 : Wrist Band : I loved the indigenous culture of the Otavalos in Ecuador. I had my tattoo artist recreate one of their belts on my wrist.
  7. Ecuador : Outer Arm : Age 43 : Kolam : When we were in India for a month I grew a great appreciation for Kolam. I then found a design online that I liked and my tattoo artist recreated it.

Will there be more?
Yes! I am loving my travel sleeve and I plan to continue it. I am not sure if it will become a full sleeve however. I just have to see how I feel about it as time progresses.

What are the most common questions people ask me about my tattoos?

  • Did it hurt? I have a very high pain tolerance. I have had 2 kids via c-section and my love for them makes the pain more tolerable. For me it is painful, but nothing out of control. However, the small one on my lower back was tough, but the one on my foot was barely anything. It depends on the location on your body, pain tolerance and size.
  • Do you regret any? Nope. Not one! I even love the location I put each one in. I have always spent a long time thinking about my tattoos before I take the plunge. As you can see from the ages listed above I let years pass before I committed to a new one. Well, until I started on my sleeve and then I had three in 10 months. However, I had been thinking of a sleeve for almost 10 years.
  • What does your extended family think? I don’t know. I have never asked them since it is not their body.
  • Would you let your kids get a tattoo? Yes, but they need to be older and committed to it for a very long time before they take the plunge.
  • Is it safe? Yes, as long as you see the needle coming out of a brand new package (and a couple of others things) and everything is covered in plastic, otherwise I would never let them touch my body.
  • Do you worry about being judged? When I was younger yes, only because I needed to still be able to pay my bills. I can pay my bills now so I don’t need to be concerned anymore. If someone is going to judge me based on something external like a tattoo then they are not someone I want in my life anyway. If someone is going to judge my kids because of it then their life philosophies probably differ tremendously from ours and I doubt a connection would be made to begin with. We operate from the heart and brain, not the external opinions of others.
  • What do your kids think? They like them, but are not consumed by them if that makes sense. At this point it is just like part of us (Will has three) and they don’t really give much thought to them.

Do you have tattoos? Would you want one? What is holding you back?

Have a fantastic weekend. When we meet again I will be posting from New England for four weeks and then it’s France baby!

Besos,
Jessica

Inside A Traveler’s Walls: Evan & Melina

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Hola friends. It is that time again!

If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.

I would like to introduce you to Evan and Melina who currently call Quito home! Sound familiar? I first became acquainted with Evan when he reached out to me with kind words about my blog (that gets me everytime, ha). He asked if he could share some of my posts on their blog and I in turn asked if I could share their story on this series. It was a win-win for all of us. Then I had the pleasure of meeting both of them in person at a local store in Quito. Evan came up to me and said, “are you Jessica” and I answered “why yes,” of course my kids always think it is cool when I get recognized. They spent the next 10 minutes talking about what it would be like when I went on tv. Just a side note, there are no plans to be on tv. The minds of kids are so darn cute! I truly love it when I can connect with blog followers in person. So if you see us on the street please come up and introduce yourself, lets get a coffee or just hang out. Unfortunately when we met Evan and Melina we were days away from moving and a bit behind the bus so we were unable to connect for very long, but lucky enough to meet them.

Our favorite part of the lifestyle choice would be that we are constantly having new adventures and we are never really stuck anywhere. ~ Evan/Melina

What award are they getting today? I believe (I could be wrong, the list of families here is getting long and my memory is short) they are our youngest travelers so far on the series. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings to me to see young folks going after their dreams, defying traditional odds and living large.

I see benefits of living where I grew up in a first world country, but I also see benefits in a third world country that don’t exist in the first. ~ Evan

I must tell you before you start to read this that you are going to love these two. I would be incredibly honored to call them my children. They have found their zen and it is just beautiful to read it while sipping a cup of cafe con leche. Can you tell I am writing this from Miami?

I just want to have a boat to sail and eventually a small country home farm. That would be my idea of settling down contentedly. ~Evan

This post is full of great insight from the younger generation. I know I generally do a little recap here, but I think I want to let this one unfold very authentically for all of you. So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Introduce us to the people you live with?
Hello, we are Evan McCaffrey (27 yrs from Pennsylvania, United States) and Melina Viteri Medranda (23 yrs born in Portviejo, Ecuador and grew up in Barcelona, Spain/Catalonia). We are a young couple that have been married for only 9 months. Our current living conditions have a lot to do with our story since the day we met, so I will start from that day. We met through friends at a rock pub in Dublin, Ireland and had an interesting and crazy first night together that brought us to a secret closed rave in a Dublin basement and waking up on a sunny Sunday in an Irish park with a dog licking our faces and dog walkers staring at us with judgmental eyes. Evan was living in Dublin to study for his masters in Multimedia and later work. Melina came to Ireland to study English and work she ended up working as an au pair. When we met neither of us had a traditional home and we were actually quite poor and at crossroads in our life. Evan had just finished his masters and his visa had expired. He was sleeping on a blow up mattress in the living room of a friend’s house shared with a Venezuelan guy whose visa had also expired and was facing deportation. Once we met, Evan decided to stay in Ireland and look for work. Because Melina was a live in au pair and couldn’t invite Evan over, Melina would share the small little living room blow up mattress with Evan and the Venezuelan guy. That’s the thing about Ireland though, people are very open and friendly and friends will never leave you without a place to stay. Things soon improved when Evan got an internship with a tour company as a content creator. Although we still had to sleep on the air mattress (while fixing multiple holes that would cause us to wake up on the floor) for the next 6 months until he was offered a full-time position we were enjoying ourselves and our low-cost lifestyle. Once Evan got a full-time position and Melina changed to a restaurant job, we began renting a room together in the same house where the air mattress was. I think the roommates were glad we were actually paying this time. We were moving up in the world. After much thought and conversation we made the decision that life would be easier for both of us to live together if we got married. We wanted to get married and stay with each other and this was the best way to do it. So, we invited Melina’s parents and friends from Spain and a whole bunch of our Irish friends and sealed the deal at a local registry office in a ceremony that was very unique and fitting to us. My parents were in attendance via skype. Our intro song was a bluegrass song to highlight my US Appalachian culture and our closing song was a latin song to highlight Melina’s roots and our coming together. And the week we got married happened to be the first week of legal gay marriage in Ireland, so when the groomsman and I entered, the marriage officer was trying to hurry us up to get married and we had to explain that “she” wasn’t here yet. Melina ended up being ½ hour late in true Ecuadorian style.

So after being united in marriage we decided that we wanted a new adventure so we jumped across the ocean to Melina’s home country. Luckily, Evan found a job in Quito and we ended up moving there. So, that is what brought us to Quito.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We are living in a small guest house attached to Melina’s cousins larger house in the North Center of Quito. Melina’s cousins are two older women that share a large house with one of their daughters. The home used be owned by a military general so it is quite historic and stylish. We call our guest house the servants quarters, not to be witty or because its bad, but because we believe that’s what it actually was. Our guest house is made of thick stone with a wooden roof covered in tin. When it rains the echo of the tin makes it sound like the whole building is going to fall in. Also, the stray cats that battle on our roof each night make quite a commotion. But, if you want to live in any city in Ecuador between the constant bass from salsa music, car alarms, and loud neighbors, you better get used to noise. We have two rooms and a kitchen. In the kitchen we have a tabletop gas stove and a small sink. It is simple, but it is still a step up from the air mattress. The front of the house has a nice garden, but it has a downside because we are constantly fining scorpions in our clothes.

Our favorite part of our home is the mountain views. Anywhere you go in Quito you can usually look up and see the towering volcanoes. We are quite close to the teleferico which has become our escape from the city as we go camping a lot in the mountains.

Our second home, we must mention our second home is Melina’s family hacienda / farm in Portoviejo which we try to go to most weekends. It’s a 8 hour bus ride there, but it is worth it because it is close to the beach and is very relaxing hanging in a hammock in the middle of the plantain fields.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
We chose to live in our current arrangement because Melina’s family was nice enough to give us a place to stay in Quito.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
If you see our bedroom we have strived to personalize our room. We hang pictures of our travels around the world across the walls and at the front of the bed we have our two identical maps with the places we have been colored in. The identical map was Evan’s first real gift to Melina. We also have a dream catcher to chase away the bad dreams. The kitchen is covered with plants and bonsai trees (Evan’s new hobby). And the latin Jesus was already in the house and watches every move we make. So, we go into the other room to hide things from him.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Our favorite room would be the bedroom because we like sleeping too much. Our least favorite room would be the bathroom because we regularly find scorpions there that chase Melina on to the toilet while Evan kills them.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
I think our biggest misconception was that it would constantly be dangerous. Ecuador has a bad stereotype for being dangerous, but we regularly walk around or back from the gym at night and have never had any problems. I think the area we live in is nice enough to not be dangerous, but not too nice to be a constant target.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
I think our climbing shoes are the one thing that have been consistent in our travels, because we like to be outdoors and hike a lot.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Evan misses the countryside where he grew up and the ability to be able to walk out of his house and explore the woods, hunt, fish and just relax (and family). He is not to keen on cities even though he has lived in one for the last 4 years. Melina misses being close to her family. She has a very big and tight-knit family that she hasn’t lived with for the last 4 years. Melina loves cities and is quite content in them. This is an issue that will have to be resolved between us some day.

What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
No children yet or for a while. We can’t even take care of ourselves yet, ha.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
We share the house with our pet cockatiel (yet to be named) who flies freely around the house. We used to have a lovebird, but he made a daring escape through a small hole in the roof of the house. We hope to bring the bird with us when we leave (if it doesn’t escape).

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
Quito has a lot of second-hand markets where you can buy inexpensive items for the house. You can also bargain with people to get a lower price. We leave this up to Melina, because Evan has no skills for this.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
We think good internet is something we are lacking. We use a router from inside the cousin’s home that doesn’t quite reach our house. This makes skyping with relatives, Netflix, and working from home difficult.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
In Ireland we would sit with our roomates and drink wine and cook dinner. Even though me and Melina are living alone for the first time we still regularly have our dinner and wine nights.

We try to create traditional food for special dates, last year in Ireland we cooked what Evan used to eat at Christmas when he was in Pennsylvania and Melina tries to cook her family dishes for those dates ( I can’t cook how my mum or grandma does…yet haha -Melina)

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
In Quito we haven’t been present for any holidays yet. In Ireland we made jackolanterns for Halloween that fell victim to the local kids. Our first day in Ecuador was actually New Years though. We arrived on the coast of Ecuador which was pretty crazy. For those who don’t know the Ecuadorian New Years traditions there is a few unique ones. One is where the men dress up as widows in all black and beg for change in the middle of the road. The kids of the towns will pull up a rope to block the cars from passing until they give them change. Melina’s grandfather was having none of that while driving through Portoviejo and kept driving over the kids ropes. Another tradition includes beating the living crap out of papier-mache characters to get rid of the bad things you’ve done all year. We beat up Mickey Mouse and lit him on fire.

We don’t buy things for special dates, we realize that after a while we have to leave our stuff and buy new items in the next place so I think we prefer to keep it simple.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
Our favorite part of the lifestyle choice would be that we are constantly having new adventures and we are never really stuck anywhere. One thing we are avoiding like the plague is settling down. We are in Quito now, but as soon as it begins to feel repetitive and resembles settling down in any way we will move again. We have both been moving around and haven’t lived in one place for more than 6 months for the past 4 years. We both have the travel spirit which keeps us insane and together.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Evan – I don’t really know what home is anymore to be honest. I have a home base in the house and town where I grew up, but I don’t want to live there and there isn’t many opportunities for someone my age. I sort of ran away as soon as I had the chance. I do miss it a lot though. I don’t feel I have a place where I really belong or should be. Not because I feel cast out or can’t relate to people, because anywhere I am I feel like I need to leave eventually. I also don’t feel that much loyalty to any country or place. I’ve realized people are generally the same everywhere, so finding friends and close friends is not hard. I see benefits of living where I grew up in a first world country, but I also see benefits in a third world country that don’t exist in the first. Stress in the U.S. is very high in the professional world. Its high elsewhere, but peoples perspective on life changes and many times people are happier in poorer places because of reduced stress. Money doesn’t really buy happiness. Owning a bunch of things is an addiction of sorts. I find myself falling into this trap and wanting a big home and stuff, but I look at those people and see that they are some of the unhappiest people in the world. Congratulations, you won the game and have a bunch of stuff, but you’ll never be happy because with all that work you passed by life. I just want to have a boat to sail and eventually a small country home farm. That would be my idea of settling down contentedly.

Melina – The truth is that I don’t feel that I have a home, I feel that home are the places I have been and I will be. I was born in Ecuador but my family moved to Barcelona, Spain when I was 7 years old, I grew up there and then I decided to move to Ireland. I think I am more emotional in this case, I feel that a part of my different homes are in the places and the persons I have met. I love and miss my family and friends in Spain, the ones in Ireland and when I leave Ecuador I will feel the same again. I am a person who connects very deeply with people and I do love traveling so it is difficult to settle in one place called home as I will always find home where my loved ones are.

What makes you love the place you live?
Evan – I love the place I live, because I’m travelling still.

Melina – I love Ecuador because it connects me again with my culture (which I have lost, because I left when I was a kid) and that I know that we are free to continue traveling.

Can home be a person, or an idea?
Evan – Yes home can definitely be a person or idea. A roof over your head can be as much as a home as any. I don’t think I have a physical home to be honest. I think a home is where you’re happy and feel content. For now me and Melina traveling together and being beside each other is my home.

Melina – I definitely say that home is a person or many people. I feel home is where my loved ones are, right now I miss them but I am lucky to have found Evan who makes me feel I am home wherever we are.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Many people who travel try to do the game of constantly comparing everything to their original home. If you find yourself constantly doing that and its blinding you from seeing the good things all around you then go back to your original home because that’s where you belong. If you open your mind and realize the good parts of everything and everywhere you can become a good traveler and be content anywhere.

Anything else you would like offer?
One of the hardest parts of traveling (if you don’t have money saved) is finding work and an income that can pay for your travel. This is especially hard in third world countries where work is already hard to come by. You have to be able to learn to live cheaply and cut back on certain things. Learn the hundreds of ways to cook a potato or how to sharpen a disposable razor soap and the hairless part of your arm. It’s an uphill battle if you want this lifestyle. We have come from sleeping on an air mattress to actually having our own apartment. We got help along the way, but it was still a struggle in many ways, but definitely worth it.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
Currently, we are trying to figure out how to earn an income without being tied down to a place. Evan recently took the risk to quit his job to work on a website we created to promote outdoor tourism in South America.  This is our attempt at taking a piece of the pie and working towards a lifestyle that won’t tie us down to one place. We eventually plan on moving with Melina’s family in Barcelona so she can finally study at university which she has been delaying to travel.

How do you make a living?
So far we have been working for tourists companies which exist everywhere in the world. We were working for the same company in Quito with Evan as the Multimedia Marketing Manager and Melina in Operations. These experiences gave us the idea to begin our website mentioned above to help outdoor tourism companies in South America promote their outdoor activities. Also, there are million ways to make money and not be tied down to a place. The few we have done is stock photography, freelance writing, selling old stuff on ebay, even painting walls for landlords.

Quote to Ponder:
I feel home is where my loved ones are…

Contact:
http://southamericanoutdoors.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Southamericanoutdoors/

Ok, how cool is this young couple? Don’t you just want to stand up and shout “keep on going, keep on going!” We will be reading about these two for years to come. The younger generations are the ones who are going to make this world a better and more global place. They are curious, spontaneous and ready to choose their own path rather than having it all planned out for them. Way to go Evan and Melina!

Just on a side note… don’t you think they should name the cockatiel Goodie Goodie Gumdrop or Goodie for short? Lets vote on it!

Oh and I like their tradition. Anyone else with me? I think I may start that tradition for every evening at the Sueiro home, except for the kids of course.

Go out today readers and inspire some young adult to travel. Tell them they can do it! Buy them some travel books, send them a little starter fund. The world needs more of the younger generation out there seeing the good this world is.

Have a fantastic Thursday and thank you Evan and Melina for sharing your story. I love it.

Besos,
Jessica

“You’ll See…”

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Hola friends. Happy Wednesday amigos! How is everyone today? I am sorry I have been a bit MIA again. You know how this goes, we are in the US…socializing, sleeping a little, adventuring, eating cheese, hanging with family/friends and working. It is not an easy task to balance, but we are managing. However, we do have a couple of extra added elements that seem to be slowing up my blog writing this week. We are planning to launch a new business in October (lots of prep work this week), we will be applying for our French visa on Monday (oh the paperwork) and we cannot seem to find anything in our massive amounts of luggage (going commando). Time to simplify again. Ha!

Inside A Traveler’s Walls will be here tomorrow! Get ready for your inspiration!

Thank you to the reader who shared her story about the “you’ll see” situation she had with her sister. You inspired this post. She wrote to me and told me that her older sister (4 years age difference) was always saying “you’ll see” to her and she believed it. Ultimately it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and she pretty much gave up on her dreams because she knew the path her life would take. It was not until she said NO, I don’t choose this and you don’t get a vote that she was able to make changes in her path. Now she is years beyond that planned life, traveling the word and defying the you’ll see odds. I am proud of you amiga!

Have I ever told you why I dislike the phrase you’ll see?

“You’ll see, when you go to college….”
“You’ll see, when you get a real job….”
“You’ll see, when you get married…”
“You’ll see, when you buy a house…”
“You’ll see, when you have kids…”
“You’ll see, when you have your next job…”
Repeat…
Repeat…
Repeat…
“You’ll see, when you are 70…

I have been hearing different versions of this phrase for as far back as I can remember, maybe age 11 or 12ish. Why do people say this ridiculous phrase? Complete strangers, as well as family and friends will offer up their “you’ll see” as often as they change their underwear. I find it so completely obnoxious and presumptuous to assume that one persons path will be exactly the same as another. So far in my 43 years of life the “you’ll see” statement has not ever come to fruition.

I remember when I was a teenager people would say this statement to me a lot. “You’ll see, you will look back on this part of your life and know you were in an experimental phase.” I am still waiting for that you’ll see to present itself. I am starting to think that this might actually be me. I am perpetually in an experimental phase (sarcastic undertone). In my teens when I would hear this statement it always confused me. How could a 30, 40, 50-year-old person know what my path would be in the future? How could they predict if I would regret my current teenage state? Why would they think that I would have the same thoughts they would have about their past or future? This you’ll see statement has always been a weird thing for me, even from a very young age. It makes the assumption that we will have regrets, that we will not live authentically as we grow older, that we will follow the path of the majority who has gone before us.

Well, I can sit here today and type and tell you one thing, the you’ll see crowd was WAY off base on me.

I remember when I went to lived in London for four months and people would say, “do it now because when you have a family, career, kids, house, (fill in the blank) you won’t be able to live this free, you’ll see.” Again, still waiting for this you’ll see to come true. After over 20 moves, five or more house purchases, two kids, two careers and much more I would say that we have never lived as free as we do today and none of the above has ever held us back.

I remember when I got married and people would say, “you’ll see, everything will change, you will lose your freedom, life will become boring, you will have to give in to your man all the time and you will lose yourself.” Again, still waiting for this to happen. If anything our marriage has become more fulfilling as time has gone on because we are both pursuing passions, living authentically, removing tasks that don’t bring us joy, spending copious amounts of time with our children and so much more.

I remember when we bought our first house and people said, “you’ll see, now you won’t have the money to travel, now you are locked into living in LA forever, now you are xyz.” Again, still waiting for this to happen. Actually the opposite has happened, the house made us think more outside the box. It taught us about equity, leverage, real estate and living differently. That first house we bought in LA set us on a path of real estate investing that has given us many opportunities to think creatively. As a result, I am grateful for that purchase and the you’ll sees that never actually manifested.

I remember when I was pregnant and people (many times complete strangers) would say, “you’ll see, now you won’t be able to travel as much, you will be forced to live a certain life because of society and what people expect with children, you will need to look the part, etc.” I’m still waiting again.

I remember when we had Largo and people would say, “you’ll see, it’s all going to change, forget about having a life, two kids is so different….” Still waiting. Our life is more fulfilling with the kids and I cannot even imagine being on this journey without them. They push us to stay optimistic, live our dream, remain young at heart/mind/soul and so much more.

I remember when I got my first tattoo, my second tattoo and I started my tattoo sleeve. I remember when I cut my hair, dyed it blue (then pink, then purple, then platinum) and when I let my hair go grey. “You’ll see, it will make you look older, people will treat you different, your husband will be turned off…” Well, I don’t have any trouble getting action (wink, wink) so I will say it again, still waiting. Plus, my pink (the current color) and grey hair has been very liberating, fulfilling, healthy and a choice I am glad I embraced.

I remember when we decided to take off traveling and everyone had an opinion. “You’ll see, your kids will miss out on so much, the American dream, team sports, pop culture….” Well, they were right. FINALLY! Our kids are missing out on the American dream, but it is being substituted with the Global Dream. Our kids are missing out on team sports, but they have hiked the Andes mountains to Machu Picchu, swam with sea lions in Galapagos, walked for hours and hours in foreign cities, etc. They don’t know US pop culture, but they know cultural nuances. They know what the head bobble in India means, they know what countries cook their ceviche and which ones don’t, they enjoy music/movies/performances in three different languages and are able to understand it. So I am happy this you’ll see came true.

Funny thing though, no one ever says you’ll see to Will and I anymore after two years of travel. Either they have given up because we don’t really listen or we just look too wild for people to even approach us anymore. Ha. Either way it is nice to have finally hit a point at 43 that we don’t get that comment anymore.

Maybe some more you’ll see moments will pop up, but what I can tell you is that I will not become that 75-year-old woman who believes she is so full of wisdom that she knows what the future holds for those younger than her. It is not fair to make that assumption or presume that everyone is on the same path. And if you are reading this saying, “well, she is only 43, she will see,” I say NO WAY! I am not saying I am not going to change. I will definitely change, but it is unlikely that my life will change to resemble exactly that of someone elses. And how do I know this? Because of the aforementioned. The “you’ll see” has not proved its validity to this point in my (our) life so why would I start believing it now?

Why did I write this post? I wrote it for those of you who are “you’ll see’ers” to show you another side of the life journey. We get one shot at this life (unless you believe in reincarnation) and it is unfair to make this statement to anyone. Period! It makes assumptions and it is unfair to the person on the receiving end.

I also wrote this for those of you who are on the receiving end of the adamant you’ll see’er. Fight through it, ignore it, enlighten someone, but whatever you do please DO NOT believe that this is your path and unavoidable. I truly knew in my heart that my life would take a different path and it did. Follow your heart and your authentic self and it will set you free from the clenches of the you’ll see’ers who think the life path for everyone is the same.

And whatever you do…. DO NOT BECOME A YOU’LL SEE’ER! Please. This younger generation needs our love, support and encouragement to forge their own path. They don’t need our opinions, they need our commitment to stopping the you’ll see’ers. They need us to accept their path and not judge it. They need us on their team not trying to take them down with the ship.

Do you have you’ll see’ers in your life? How have you handled it?

Besos,
Jessica

9 Ways Travel Has Changed Us!

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Hola friends. 9 Ways Travel Has Changed Us! But, first…this will be my last post for the week because… AVALON IS TURNING 12 TODAY!!! And we celebrate birthdays big time in Casa Sueiro! Plus, my dad is turning 67 tomorrow, so we will celebrate AGAIN! And since Will was in Hong Kong for his birthday we will celebrate yet AGAIN on Sunday (and lets throw in our anniversary while we are at it)! So now you know why I am out of here for the weekend. Will miss all of you, but I have singing, baking and celebrating to do.

But, before I go…

Travel has without a doubt changed us, A LOT. It has become blindingly apparent to me in the last week as we spend time back in the US that we are not the same people who left almost two years ago. We see things different, we feel things different and we are more aware. This is a good change in us. A change that was necessary, especially considering the state of affairs in the US and beyond. I know I can start to sound like a broken record, but travel changes you, deeply and for the good. We are not perfect human beings, quite frankly perfection is something I would never strive for anyway because I believe that is when learning stops. However, what we have gained is a greater understanding of the world, the people in it and we have developed a level of empathy we did not have before. This is hard to obtain unless you have lived amongst people who are very different from you and you have had the experience of being in the minority.

9 WAYS TRAVEL HAS CHANGED US:

We have more compassion: I put this at the top of the list because to me this is incredibly important. The ability to look at a situation different from your own and have compassion towards it is a trait that is undervalued. When we started out traveling it was important for us to teach our kids compassion towards those less fortunate than us, as well as those more fortunate. Often the people with the “most” need the greater level of compassion towards them. After spending two years in developing countries I can say that I am proud of the fact that my children do not walk by homeless individuals on the street with no regard. They give them money and can see their struggles, they have developed compassion. We are not rich, however we always have enough change or some extra food to share with someone in need.

We don’t obsess about diversity: When we lived in the US is was very important to us that we lived in areas with a diverse population. If we were going to live a stationary life we wanted our children to be exposed to people of different races, religion, culture, sexual orientation and much more on a daily basis. We wanted their every day life to be diverse. Now that we travel we are able to live in different countries and we want them to have a powerful cultural experience in the country we reside in at the time. For this reason we don’t seek areas that have a lot of Americans, we actually avoid them because we have had that experience. We want them to have new experiences with other cultures and to do that the less diverse the area the richer the experience. As a result, our children now have friends from many different different countries across the globe. I think these global friendships are great for global alliances and understanding. The world needs more kids becoming friends with other countries.

We see with our eyes wide open: Wow, do we see! We are not busy going through the motions of the daily rat race (of course we have it to some degree) and as a result we are able to walk and SEE. We take it all in, we stop, we watch, we listen and then we discuss. Life was so busy for us in the US that we seldom took time to be still and see with our eyes wide open. It is truly amazing what you can learn when you are silent and just watch and listen.

We have grown closer as a family: Our family has grown incredibly close over the past two years. We have learned some amazing conflict-resolution skills, developed an understanding of each others wants-needs, enjoyed jokes only our family would get and much more. We are a team, Team Sueiro and we are getting pretty darn good at it. Where one person leaves off another can easily continue seamlessly. Where one person is hurt another is there to pick them up. And where one person is joyous we are all there to share in this amazing happiness. We have come a long way as a family and I look forward to what the future holds.

We give more: When we lived in the US we would give to large organizations and school sponsored programs who then gave the money to a specific group. Now that we are traveling we still give, but it happens in a different capacity. We are fortunate enough to physically see the individuals benefitting from our giving. We now know who the money, time and efforts go to and that gives us great satisfaction. Also, we have become more generous with our pocket change. We travel to developing countries and many of the people we pass on the streets do not have money for food. We have learned to share what we have whether it be food or change with individuals who clearly need it more than us.

We have a greater understanding of the world: I am a huge fan of reading, however the type of learning that takes place on the ground in these developing countries is far different from that on the pages of a book. When you can touch, smell, see and feel the ways of the world in a new country your understanding of that area is heightened tremendously. We have finally hit a point where I can see the global mind in our children and it is glorious to watch it unfold.

We are grateful: Our family has so much to be grateful for. We have been able to bring our dreams to fruition, spend copious amounts of time together as a family, live an epic life, have amazing health, enjoy love from family/friends and so much more. I can honestly say that I wake up every day grateful for the life we have. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point and it is still hard work, but we recognize we are also very lucky to have the freedoms and choices in life that many people do not have across the globe. There are a lot of big conversations about appreciating what we have in life (and I am not talking about material possessions) in our travel family. The overall energy that travels with us is gratefulness, all the way down to the kiddos. The more we travel, the more grateful they become.

We need and want less: We travel with very little and we still live a full and happy life. In today’s world where over consumption is prominent it is so nice to live a life on less. Our children have learned to value people and experiences over stuff. When we left the US they were allowed to bring three small (zip lock) bags of toys with them. Would you believe that they never even end up playing with all of it. They are able to make due with what we have, use their imagination to create and go on adventures. All of these bring such joy to their life that they actually forget about traditional toys until one is gifted to them by a relative visiting.

We don’t tolerate racist comments: Before we left the US when I would hear someone say something racist I would sit by silent (secretly thinking “what an idiot”) and I would not say anything because I wanted to keep the peace in the group. Not any more. Never again. If someone says something racist I will speak up. I don’t want my kids to see me sitting back “saying in my head” that it is wrong, but doing nothing. In my eyes this is just as bad as being racist. It is not comfortable to call someone out and I don’t shout “hey you racist,” however I do address it as politically correct as possible. The more we travel the more we see that we are all the same at the end of the day. Children, mama’s, grandparents across the world all operate the same, maybe in a different language with a varying religion, but we are all the same in the end. Our children are the generation to make change and spread the love to all. They learn their views about other cultures from us (their parents) and we need to be held accountable for equal treatment.

Honestly this list could go on and on. We are very much a work-in-progress. Each and every day we grow and are changed by travel. I don’t think we will ever hit the stopping point of being changed by travel. The more we learn and know the more I realize how little we actually know. I am humbled daily in this season of our life.

How has travel changed you?

Have a fantastic weekend!

Besos,
Jessica

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