Getting out of my comfort zone.

So far on this journey I’ve left my wallet and my money on our truck and drove off, flipped over in a canoe, accidentally cracked our RV door, went running and got lost, and drove my car into a ditch. No, it was not all in a day. Any person would hear all of this in it’s totality and wonder why the hell am I choosing to live this lifestyle. It’s understandable, but I call it living. Getting out of my comfort zone and taking more risks has allowed me to learn at a much fatser pace. All of the incidents we’re definitely not sought out they just happened along the way and I appreciate each and every one of them. Each one has allowed me to grow just a little bit more.

I touched on a few of the incidents in my previous blog entries. I haven’t shared how I went running and got lost on finding my way back. I try to work out at least two to three times weekly. It was a beautiful day to go jogging so I took the dog along with me to get some ‘me’ time in. I decided to go with a route I was unfamiliar with in hopes that I would get a different scene and I most definitely did by the way. I passed some beautiful horses eating grass as I jogged along listening to my workout playlist on Pandora. As I ran, I found another trail that was a running trail and figured I would take this path since I could count the mileage of my run.

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During my runs I like to go over my affirmations it really gets me energized and pumped for the day so you can imagine I was on a natural high. I took a turn down a road that also looked very unfamiliar to me and thought I’ll try this out too. Once I got down the road I realized that it was more of a highway, but I kept running thinking I would get to the end of the road and see a familiar place. The familiar place never came and I decided to grab my phone and look up where I was on the map. The map said I was an hour away from where I started. I began to panic a bit because at that point I was exhausted and already running for an hour with a dog (this is the part where you can laugh). I knew that if I continued I would have to run for another hour to get back where I started which would be two hours of running. I called my husband in a panic to come and get me, but he or I wasn’t much help because I didn’t know where I was.

In that moment I felt I was at a crossroad. I could either keeping moving in the direction I was currently going in or turn around and retrace my steps. I decided to retrace my steps and it worked out. Life is beautiful in the sense that something as simple as running can be an impactful message. It’s ok to get lost in the moment as long as you find your way back. I wasn’t looking to get lost that day I just wanted to run, take advantage of the moment, see new things and have a good workout. I was able to accomplish all those things and make a mistake that turned into a lesson. So I ask when was the last time you did something that you loved allowing yourself to embrace a mistake and appreciate it as a lesson? I’m far from perfect and don’t pretend to be. I just want to be my most authentic self while appreciating everyday embracing the lessons from my wins and losses.

 

Much needed alone time.

You may be wondering with this adventurous lifestyle how do we get away from each other a bit?

It’s great spending time together and getting to know each other, but as humans we naturally need space. Getting space from each other allows us to clear our thoughts and refuel to be our full and best selves. My purpose is to share a few tips with how to accomplish gaining alone time while traveling as a family on the road. Don’t give up folks it is possible to have a healthy relationship while traveling as a family with members of your family and with yourself.

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First to gain some alone time you must be really organized.

Schedule your time to make sure you get in your main essentials for the day and allot some space for time with yourself. Create a schedule for what you want your day to look like and in your schedule add the time in for yourself. You need to understand what you want your time alone to look like. Does your time alone consist of visiting a coffee shop, going on a walk, exercising, riding a bike, etc.? Then add the activity to. your schedule for whichever day(s).

Consider the frequency and time length in which you need to take time for yourself.  

I’m not an expert in how much time you need for yourself that would be up to each person individually. For myself I need at least two days a week to allot twenty to thirty minutes for myself. In the bigger scheme of things that really isn’t much time alone, but it is what I need to refuel and reenergize to be my best self. If I don’t take time alone, I get crabby or irritable which not only can be damaging for myself, but create a negative experience for my family and that is something I want to avoid.

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It is a necessity.

Spending time alone may sound silly or be impossible, but it should be a necessity especially when traveling as a family. If you ever get irritated quickly or feel frustrated that may be an indicator that it is time to do an activity alone that will unload some stress. Spending time alone should be for any person in your family that needs it. When traveling hopefully the goal is to create the best memories and experiences for you and your family as possible. Just spending a few minutes alone several times a week can make a world of difference. So invest time in yourself as well as your family to create a beautiful and pleasant traveling experience.

 

Saying Goodbye.

When we left our subdivision we waved goodbye to our neighbors into a world of  the unknown and it felt sad. I even shedded a few tears not because I was sad, but because I knew I was leaving memories behind and that life wouldn’t be the same going forward. We built relationships with our surrounding neighbors and it was a bit hard to say goodbye. I also realized  that I wouldn’t be able to see my family that lived locally when I wanted to. In my heart I justified my reasons for leaving with the fact that I needed to do this. My soul is leading me to a life of wander and adventure and I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t take a leap and see what was next. It is very scary to do something you’re not familiar with, but it is also scary to do the same thing over and over without any change. I want to be somewhere in the middle in the sweet spot of adventure and balance.

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After we left our home we traveled to visit my husband’s parents in Florida. I was a little nervous because that is the longest we’ve stayed with anyone as a family and I didn’t want to be a mooch on anyone. I made the effort to make sure we cleaned and cooked to pay our share of staying in their home. While we were there we explored the local libraries, parks, beaches, etc. We soaked up the local area with curiosity and passion. We genuinely had the best time being in Florida. It was the best time we’ve ever had while staying with my husband’s parents. We didn’t have to worry about going to work the next Monday or stressing about anything. We were free to wander around and take our time which we never get to do. At the end of the visit I got choked up because I knew I would miss my mother-in-law badly. She is naturally a nurturing and caring person and being around that for sometime can become addicting. They welcomed us with open arms and we didn’t in any way feel like a bother to them.

We changed the way we live to live the way we want.

I would’ve never in a million years stay with anyone that long, but I realized while living this lifestyle sometimes you have to lean on others and that is ok. You’re not a lazy person or a mooch if you ask to stay or borrow something from someone. It is good to need other people from time to time. It actually is healthy in my opinion. In this society we no longer borrow things from one another, but we go out and buy it as a since of pride or independence. We are afraid to ask others for help because of our pride, but until we learn that serving others is our mission we will never be successful.

When we arrived back in Atlanta to wrap up a few things we needed a place to stay overnight. I asked my dad if we could stay with him and he welcomed us with open arms. Again, I needed to lean on someone close and things worked out. I haven’t stayed the night at my fathers house in over seven years. It was refreshing to see what his house looked like and what he used in his home. We had to say goodbye again to my dad too and it wasn’t as hurtful. I knew I would be back and I have the love and support of my friends and family. I know they will be here when I get back and that is a great feeling.

A lesson in team work.

Canoeing, a family that rows together stays together.

Canoeing allows you to get out in the sun on water and see nature all around you. If you’re canoeing in a river you get to ride up on a sandbank and rest while listening to some jams with your family. The interesting fact you may not consider canoeing is that it requires a great deal of teamwork and patience. You also have the possibility of tumbling over unexpectedly, and your pretty view is now wet and upside down.

Canoeing requires for two people to work together to create a rhythm that is effective in keeping the canoe moving forward through shallow or deep water, dodging logs or trees, rocky water, etc. If both partners aren’t working together it can create friction leaving your family upside down, in the river and watching all of your belongings float down stream. I will admit my husband and I aren’t the best communicators sometimes and this experience tested our communication skills a great deal.

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My family was getting down the river perfectly after my husband’s and I communication hiccup.  We couldn’t seem to agree which part of the boat him or I would paddle on. As soon as we somewhat found our rhythm in still shallow water unexpectedly we started to tilt to the left. We tilt again to the left this time with a little more force shifting the canoe over completely on it’s side in the river. Over we went along with our belongings and paddles. My husband pulled up the children from the water as they were underneath the boat fully submerged in the water. He tossed them to me while he went to chase our belongings along with the canoe. My children strapped on to me frantically while crying and screaming. While dragging them to the nearest sandbank to catch our breath I ensured them everything would be just fine. My husband slowly treaded through the water down stream to fetch our belongings.

The lesson in our experience was that sometimes it won’t be perfect, but you keep going and don’t let a overturn stop you.

I explained this to my children after we got back in the canoe and things calmed down a bit. Sometimes it won’t be pretty, you may get dirty, and lose some things, but it doesn’t mean you stop moving forward. It is challenges like these that we can learn from and use as an opportunity to grow rather that one to quit. Once we got back in the canoe and settled back in my husband and I worked perfect together to the finish line.

Miracles happen everyday.

Miracles happen everyday sometimes we see them and sometimes we don’t. Today was an exciting day partially because we were able to go to the beach, see the ocean and that I was able to spend time with my family. More especially I felt as though I experienced a miracle because I believe an angel was looking over us today and part of it I just can’t explain.

I couldn’t get in my husband’s car as I came out of the bank today to handle some business while we were in Florida with the children site seeing. I decided to come out of the bank with the children because they were a little restless from sitting  and waiting for us to finish up. I had a very large amount of money in a briefcase along with my wallet that I sat on top of the bed cover of the truck as I waited for my husband to unlock the car. Once he unlocked the truck I picked up the children to put them in their car seats and I also walked our dog that was in the car with the windows partially open. We all then got back in the truck and drove off without a worry in the world.

“Everything in the Universe is interconnected. Within each it is reflected.”

-Anonymous

We drove thirty minutes to an area called Gulf Breeze to visit Fort Pickens. We started our wonderful trip as we went over a beautiful bridge overseeing the water. We drove on the highway for what seemed to be an extended amount of time before we got to the other side of town. We were feeling hungry so we decided to stop by a sandwich shop to get a bite to eat as a last minute decision. I then decided I needed to login into the banking app on my phone to look at a few things while I was waiting for my husband to get back to the truck. Suddenly an overwhelming rush of fear overcame my body. It was at that moment I noticed I didn’t have my wallet and then I remembered the cash was sitting on top of the covered bed of the truck as well. In a panic I reluctantly got out of the truck in fear of the fact that I possibly just cost my family money we could not afford to lose. I then walked to the back of the truck as my heart fell into my stomach.

Miraculously, as if it were the will of God the cash was still there leaving me with a glimmer of hope. No lie, I couldn’t believe it! I grabbed the fairly small briefcase and held it close to my chest thinking that it wasn’t real. I then quickly hopped back in the truck as my husband was still inside getting our food. Oh crap, the thought that my wallet which I placed on top of the briefcase was gone entered my mind and I realized my drivers license, my credit cards, and military ID was in my wallet. I quickly came to the realization in that moment that I would never see my wallet again. Ten minutes after that horrible realization my cell phone rang with a number based out of New Jersey of all places. There was a woman on the other end stating that her friend in Florida found my wallet in a parking lot and I needed to call her. I frantically called the number the woman I just talked to gave me.

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There was a woman that helped me, she was my angel. She took her time to tell me what she found in the wallet and that she wasn’t too far away to bring it to me. She ensured that I received it and said she would have wanted someone to do the same for her if she was in the situation. In this short time of traveling I realized that there are still good people in this world. At times we get so caught up in the bad things we hear and see people do to others, but I genuinely believe there are still people with genuinely good spirits out there. This woman didn’t have to help me and she could’ve just as easily kept going after she saw the contents all over the parking lot from my wallet. Of course, the twenty dollars I had in my wallet was gone when the woman found it, but everything else was still there. I’m beyond grateful for the good deed of this person and I will pay it forward by doing something in return for a random stranger because that is what living a good life is about.

As I continue on this journey I will continue to keep my heart open to this and other experiences. I also want to learn and see the world I’m yearning for. I want to believe that there are still people out there who will do a good deed for someone else without expecting something in return. With this experience I hope to help someone else and inspire hope in others. I’m forever grateful for the miracles I can and can’t see.

Don’t mistake your growing pains as a reason to give up.

I have watched several Youtube channels where the hosts experienced  mini break downs from leaving their lives behind for a life of travel.

I would think how silly that was and if I had the opportunity to travel the world there is no way I would be upset over leaving my things, my job, my family, etc. I now know what those folks were experiencing through the process of saying goodbye and entering the unknown for a life of travel. I refer to this process now as ‘travel growing pains’. I want to travel and I’m extremely excited about the lifestyle, but it hurts a bit that I’m leaving the life I’m comfortable with to live another that I’m not as familiar with. It’s a bizarre experience to be happy and sad at the same time.

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I believe it is completely normal to experience growing pains and feel excited about a new life.

It would almost be unnatural to not have a bit of fear and pity for yourself that you are going to a unfamiliar place. Although the other side of your decision is unknown, there is an excitement that is generated from taking a leap of faith. Whether the decision is worth it or not will be up to how the experience is perceived after a person has made the decision to change their life. However, any decision to have a fuller life is worth it in my opinion – it is worth the fear, the growing pains, the excitement, etc.

Don’t mistake your growing pains as a reason to not go through with the discomfort of taking the next step. You really can’t have one without the other. You must endure the mental battle of wanting to be comfortable and move up a level in your journey. If you want results – you need to take risks. Of course, assess your risks and have alternative courses of action in place, but don’t look for a reason to quit.  I’ve had many reasons throughout my experience, but I will keep moving towards the life I want which is a life of travel with my family where I can learn and work on the road.

The need for change.

“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.” – Maya Angelou

Have you ever felt so disturbed and uncomfortable from the need to change that you felt like you would do anything to change your scenery? Even if it was such a bizarre and unusual idea to most people? The big question is do you follow that disturbance with the action to change your life or do you continue to do the same thing over and over hoping for different results? Most people don’t change because it is too risky or they don’t want to stand out amongst their peers as “odd” or “crazy”. People generally choose the road with the least amount of resistance. We get so involved with the stories we tell ourselves we actually believe them – we don’t think to question or re-evaluate our lives for change. Most of us move around unconsciously making choices for ourselves that impact our lives tremendously.

Travel for me is a way out of the day to day grind into a different journey.

Each day I will have to consciously decide what I will get out of life each day. The questions I will ask myself is what do I want to go learn today, how can I improve my life for the benefit of my family, how can I help someone else, etc. The best recipe for a great life is to live in the present moment because that is truly all we have. It isn’t our material possessions or the labels we have acquired. It is who we are in the present moment that will make an impact on the next thing. So I ask – what is your next thing? It doesn’t have to be my story in traveling. It can be taking a photography class to further your skills, saying goodbye to that dead relationship that has been hanging over your head for years, spending more time in nature to enjoy the sun, etc.

Time is really the only luxury we have in this world. We need to live every moment intentionally. You are the writer of your own story. What will your story be? Don’t waste anymore time doing something that makes you unhappy. Do what you enjoy even if that means a change needs to happen.

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Ready, set, go! How we began a life of travel.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, we feel fine! -REM

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The discovery.

Last year, I would’ve never guessed that we would be leaving a static, 9 to 5 corporate job making good money to explore, learn, and travel the world. I had plans to move up in the corporate world, at least it seemed like a good idea, but it later blew up in my face for unknown reasons.  I also thought my son starting Kindergarten was  going to be an exciting new adventure, which it is and was, but I’m learning he needs more of a one on one learning style. Somehow our family is being led to a life of learning what else is out there. We thought we arrived by getting that big house, driving the fancy cars and making a combined income making over six figures, but as humans we evolve over time and I’m learning that’s ok.

A sign.

Our first sign of a travel life was seeing a family on Youtube of eleven travel the world. We thought how in the world are they doing that? We took a trip to North Carolina before we were inspired by the Youtube family and we were so in bliss from the trip on the way home we started brain storming on ways to work on the road so we can have more time with our family and see the world. When we got home, I started to randomly read a book called the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey which soon there after led to paying off debt. Once the debt started to dissipate we learned that we were spending a lot of money to live in the suburbs just to work and maintain our possessions. We wanted out, we were merely existing and not living.

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Whats Next?

It’s funny how life works, when you put your mind to something and the universe or God literally starts sending it your way. You just have to be open, aware, and see it as opportunities when they start to show up. I have no idea why I decided to read Total Money Makeover that day or why shortly after that my husband discovered a Youtube channel of a traveling family. They could in fact be all coincidences we just put together to make work, whatever it is, I’m happy with what it turned out to be, considering the fact I wasn’t really happy with the life I was living. I really haven’t been this excited about anything in a very long time.

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