In the words of Bridget Jones, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.”
Are we really doing this?
My family has been “selling it all” for the past year in preparation for this epic world travel adventure.
I’ve written about it from time to time (it all started with that book, Global Student, when I realized that, YES, we CAN do this – people DO do this), and the time has come.
We’re in the final stretch.
We have less furniture and fewer appliances. Truth be told, my minimalist passion loves this and would keep it this way from now on. I don’t need three different ways to boil water.
The countdown is on and we have a big calendar for it.
My mom isn’t thrilled about it and we will miss her very much, 🙁 but we can’t stay around to make her happy. We prefer not to sacrifice our adventure, Kamea’s opportunities, our passions because she will be upset. It’s a hard pill to swallow and there are moments I feel bad. She’s my mom, after all! 🧡
But, there is a choice… a trade-off.
We can stay here in Arizona to make other people happy (and miss out on world travel), or we can go and mom will be sad for a while (and we live out our dreams). I don’t want to seem callous, but we need to live our lives for us, as we’re all responsible for our own happiness. As Kamea piped up about my mom one day when talking about this, “Nana is resilient.”
There’s no complete win, as there never is in life. “It is neither good nor bad.” (<- Taoism)
And, hey, when the time is right for others, like our moms, they can come visit us.
We want to go. We want to explore.
We want to show Kamea that there is life outside of the United States. We want to take on this challenge as a family which will help us grow and bond like never before.
In the supporting words of my doctor, “Yes, it’s awesome what you’re showing Kamea. You’re showing her that there are other ways to do things. It will be so mind-opening, and you will learn so much yourselves.”
There’s still a lot to do!
It’s been intense the past couple of weeks, because we booked our airplane tickets to Denmark. This is happening! We’re really leaving, and soon. It’s crunch-mode time.
So, yes, it’s a bit stressful at times, and it’s also fun and exciting. You know, like the kind of stress one experiences from planning a wedding.
I have a list of about 50 things I need to do, and when I cross off three, it seems that 5 more appear. I’m taking a Wu-wei point of view though. I’m just “going with it” and doing the best I can with no attachments or expectations. I’m taking many deep breaths along the way because, well, life happens and I want to surf those metaphysical waves with ease when they do.
Packing has been interesting.
I originally thought we’d pack backpacks for carry-on plus two suitcases to share between the three of us. I originally imagined packing my Instant Pot, chef knives, cheese grater, books, clothes, and all of the other normal stuff.
That’s changed. Big time.
I keep getting massively impressed and excited about the idea of packing as little as possible. Inspired by many digital nomads who repeat … over and over and over and over again…. TAKE LESS. Pack the things that will definitely make life better. Leave behind anything that is “meh.” Bring only things you wear (or use) 80% of the time and leave behind anything you don’t use or wear regularly. If there is an occasion where something is needed, once or twice, then buy it there.
Reduce the luggage drag.
I can’t help it. I’m extremely passionate about this minimalist packing philosophy. So, over the months, I’ve crossed things off my list and I continue that today. I’ll pack way less. 💪🏼 None of the “just in case” packing.
And, so, I’m going backpack style.
I decided I would pack everything I can in a carry-on approved size backpack (plus a purse). I would use Kamea’s carry-on airplane allotment and she would pack all of her stuff in a backpack, too. (Well, I’ll be carrying her backpack because it’ll be big, but we can stow it under her seat on the plane.) And, Greg? Well… he’s taking a backpack, plus a camera case, plus a suitcase. 😳🤪
Packing cubes to the rescue.
There isn’t one traveler who doesn’t recommend packing cubes for organization and being able to stuff a bit more into a bag. We will follow the trail they blazed and do the same.
Therefore, we’re now down to one checked suitcase. I really don’t think, at this time with lack of experience, that we can all only go with backpacks, though I’ve seen families do it. I wish beyond any wishes that we could. I truly prefer to have that freedom as we navigate foreign airports, tubes, trains, etc. But, I think we will have to bring a suitcase – Greg prefers it and it probably is smart at least for this leg of the journey.
So, I think that could be a good idea, and it will allow me to bring a couple of homeschooling books. I’m hoping that, actually, while traveling we can use Amazon and purchase books as needed. Or, at the worst, have mom buy them and ship one every now and then. Things I’m still figuring out. That said, I’m also quite interested in seeing how much of our homeschooling we can accomplish with only technology:
That’s something to ponder. 🤔
In trying to find the best backpack for me, I went with a Minaal.
After much reading and comparing I found that I think a Minaal backpack will suit me best and should last a long time.
The Minaal is sleek, looks minimalist, and should do the job. I’ve started “practice packing” and so far, so good. When you’re only bringing the essentials and remembering that we can do laundry anytime (plus I like wearing the same thing repeatedly to reduce decision-making fatigue)…. it works really well.
I’m still realizing that by “practice packing” early, I easily eliminate items.
For example, I thought for sure I’d bring an exercise band, because, well, I occasionally use one at home. Well, WTF, Kristen(?), if I’m not using it all the time at home, why would think I would use it all the time abroad (and/or why pack something that I might only use sometimes?) ? I’m just realizing this about the band as I write this. Take it out! Do some planks, push-ups, squats, chair dips, and other body-weight exercises, and call it a day.
We still have things to do.
My list includes things like buy travel/health insurance (update during our travels: we went with this insurance and have used them for almost two years now since writing this post – no complaints and good rates), sell our car, get International Drivers Permits, continue working on Italian citizenship, pack, rent a truck to move a few things to mom’s, figure out banking, end the lease on our condo (clean the condo, etc), practicing French, do a final move of everything (which will be just a few things we’ll store at our moms’ houses).
We also were invited to speak at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC in February! Greg will be speaking about how/why our children’s book series, STEAMTeam5, was birthed and Kamea was invited to be on a panel of girls to chat about the importance of supporting women and girls in science! I expect YouTube videos will be published and I’ll be sure to share them.
Moreover, this is a busy time with preparing to travel the world, visit the UN, plus my brother and his family are coming for a visit in February, too!
We’ve accomplished a ton so far, too.
As I mentioned, the “to-do” items do get crossed off. Daily. We have sold tons of stuff, donated tons of stuff, planned the first 6 months of the journey with respect to transportation and lodging, received Global Entry for easy traveling back to the USA when we visit, and kept a to-do list going with many other misc items.
How can we afford to move abroad and eternally travel?
It’s quite simple:
- We work from laptops.
- We won’t have bills in America because there’s no mortgage, car, insurance, etc.
- We homeschool Kamea (though this is optional as many families enroll their kids in schools while living abroad)
I’ll write and record as much of the adventure as possible to share what we’re doing and where we are. I might start my YouTube channel back up so family and friends can get a real feel for what our life is like.
Our 2018 itinerary is Denmark, UK, France (hence working on learning French), and Italy (will work on Italian starting in the summer).
Ok, I gotta go meditate. See you later.