What makes you happiest? Where are you happiest? And with whom?
One day, almost a year ago now, we had this lightbulb moment. What makes us happiest? Traveling, but more so with each other. At first, the two of us, and then when our daughter was born, the three of us. Done. Easily said. So how do we get there? We hatched a plan that will span over the next two years of our lives, which by the way is an extremely intimidating long term goal for the unorganised, non-goal setting, last minute kind of girl I am -or should I say was? It's incredible how much you can grow in less than a year.
Let me give you a short backstory. We are travelers. For me it's in my blood. I'm American born but spent my childhood as an expat kid, a TCK (third culture kid) in Southeast Asia. I knew my way around dozens of international airports before I knew long division. I can sing the Filipino national anthem in Tagalog but still can't sing the American national anthem for the life of me. I felt at home walking the streets of Manila, a city of 12 million people, my little blonde head standing out, but I felt as if I belonged. New places and cultures have always excited me, and being on the move actually moves me in a spiritual sense.
Josh, on the other hand, grew up in a small rural New Zealand town of about 4,000 people. He liked to skateboard after school and has always been a pretty simple guy. Charming, kind, reliable -the kind of guy you'd trust with your life. He was a carpentry apprentice & getting his pilot's license when we met in his little home town. I was 18, had just graduated high school and had come to NZ to visit my best friend and travel around for a month. We met in his hometown, knew each other for four days and the rest, they say, is history.
Only it was more complicated than that as we spent the first three years of our relationship doing long distance between New Zealand and Florida. It was both excruciating and euphoric. It was awful aside from those few weeks every six months when we saw each other, but we made it work. After three years of it, I decided to leave everything I knew and arrived in NZ on the 4th of July a newlywed with $400 cash and four suitcases. It was the easiest & most exhilarating decision of my life. There is something infinite and incredibly brave about a one way ticket, not to mention epically romantic -especially when done in the throws of young love -I was 21. It was a slightly insane move, but it didn't feel like that to us. It felt like the world had been made whole where before we had been struggling to hold on to all our pieces.
Fast forward 6 years, four houses, one lamb, two piglets, two puppies, and one almost-four year old later. We're down to the human child, one insane pup (that will need to go hang out on a friend's farm when we take off into the world - any takers?), and one almost fully renovated house -our first as homeowners. We're restless, we're aching to travel, to show our girl the world. When we asked ourselves what makes us happiest, it was travel that came to mind first. Travel. Together. The three of us. We could have said, 'That's a nice dream but we have a mortgage and bills to pay, and a house to fill with 'stuff'. Besides, Lena will start school at five. We can travel when we retire.' Of course that's what society tells us every day. Right then we made a choice to start getting rid of 'stuff', to embrace minimalism as much as we could (it's a constant struggle for me), and to resist the 'stuff'. To live intentionally, to buy intentionally. Sustainably.
After that we made a decision. Why do we feel we need to put our will-be five year old into traditional school five days a week? Because society tells us we have to, right? If it's anything that we've learned so far into parenthood it's that we don't have to do a damn thing society tells us we need to do. A lot of our parenting has been against the grain. Call us rebels, maybe, but we have always just done what has felt right to us. If anything, the greatest lesson I've learned as a mother is to follow my gut in all things. My gut said worldschool this girl. Josh agreed. There's nothing we can't teach a five year old that school can. She will learn so much traveling the world with us by her side, teaching and learning right along with her.
So so how do we get there? Moving up the property ladder is number one, and with Josh being a builder it was the most obvious choice. We are stoked to build our own home, even if we will be leaving it soon after. For me, it was getting a part time job in the evenings on top of running my photography business during the day (or midnight hours). If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. It has now been a year since we began making our plans.
It wasn't until a couple months ago we decided to build a home, and this month we begin. Things move fast with an extremely organised and motivated construction manager for a husband!
Our website, blog, Facebook, Instagram, you name it, will be full of our learning experiences, tips, tricks, photographs of both our home and traveling.
So what makes you happiest? Where, and with whom? How can you get there? How badly do you want it? What's stopping you? You are author of your story, and it's never too late to start a new chapter. I find sometimes if I write down what I want, or say it out loud, I can hold myself accountable.
So tell us! What is it that makes you happy? Write it in a comment, write it in a journal, on a calendar, on a map, on a supermarket receipt. Say it loud! Then make a plan.
Follow along with our plan as it unfolds. We'd love the support!