One Year as a Traveling Family
One year ago today we drove away from our house for the last time. We chose to have no permanent home, no structure to fill with furniture and appliances and all our personal items. Almost all of it was gone by that point anyway, sold or given away. A year ago we officially became a traveling family…even if the first place we traveled to was Grandma’s house.
It feels like a lifetime ago that our days revolved around public school schedules, must-see TV shows and mowing our giant lawn. (Jason did a little dance the day we sold the mower.) Even getting most things second-hand we felt like the struggle to make ends meet would never end, like we would always be playing catch up. There was no desire to keep up with the Jones, but there was a feeling that there should be something more. The American Dream of home ownership and full days just wasn’t making us happy, so we plotted a new course.
We spent years dreaming, discussing, planning and preparing for a full-time travel lifestyle, but the day you walk away from your house and all your stuff, well, it all gets very real. We had no home to go back to. We had no furniture, no dishes, no towels. It was a big moment, and as thrilling as it was it was scary, too. There was nowhere for us to go but forward, so we did.
Next month we will have been living in Mexico for a year. (Ironically the day of our anniversary we’ll be back in the states for a visit, but it still counts.)
Because Jason was able to keep his job we are extremely fortunate to earn in dollars and pay in pesos here so our money goes much, much further. We don’t scrape by anymore, and our kids are able to do things we couldn’t afford back in Iowa. Our quality of life has improved, even as the quantity of our possessions has stayed small.
There are things we miss, most of them people, but we won’t be settling down any time soon with another move planned for later this summer and at least one more road trip scheduled this fall. We gave up stability in favor of change, and some days the adjustment was overwhelming. There were days I hid in the house because I couldn’t face figuring things out and my brain refused to comprehend Spanish. There’s a regular struggle between “Isn’t this great?” and “Oh my God what are we doing?” when you are uprooting your family and figuring out a new place, but it’s getting easier with time.
This month of milestones is making me stop and think about how much has changed over the past year, but when people ask me what I think now that we’ve made the leap and started this journey only one thing comes to mind: I can’t imagine going back.
There is so much more we want to see and so many ways to get there; this year has been like the Big Bang happened to our lives and there’s no way to stop expanding and fit back into the original space anymore. Maybe someday, but not for a long time, not with Peru, Ireland, Greece and a hundred places in between calling to us.
Year one is just the beginning.