How long should you travel as a family?

I find this topic an interesting one for several reasons. I’m not here to dictate the amount of traveling a family should do. I’m no where near an expert at traveling, but I think this is a good question to debate. How long is too long on the road?

I think in order to answer that you must first know what you want to accomplish during your travel.

Does your family want to travel domestically only or a combination of domestic and international travel? You also may want to ask yourselves as a family how important is it to see museums, beaches, mountains, historical landscapes, etc. This all plays a major factor if in and when you will see the places you want to see and how long you will spend time in each place.

Do you still own your home?

Next, in order to determine the appropriate amount of time to be on the road it would heavily depend on if your family sold your home or if it is being rented out. If you are completely home free, then you would be free to roam and wander for as long as you need without having to get back to your home. If your family went the route of renting your home like us, it would depend on how long the lease is of course. Choosing the right lease agreement can be very tricky. Renters usually stay anywhere from 1-2 years. We rented our home to another family for 12 months and as of now we aren’t interested in going any longer than that, but things can change.

Do you want to travel for more than a year?

We plan to travel for as long as possible. We love seeing new places, learning new cultures, and meeting new people. Even after we return to our home we still will find a way to travel the world. Traveling is our passion and it gives us time to connect as a family and make everlasting memories. Can you see yourself living in a tiny space with your partner and children if you have any? It can be challenging and get rough at times. Ask your self if it is something you just want to do on the weekends rather than going through the process of selling your house and personal possessions. Traveling long term may not work for every family.

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Six steps on how to recover from being homesick when traveling full time.

Traveling isn’t always glamorous and can get a little redundant just like normal life in a house.

Traveling isn’t also a quick fix to the issues you experience internally (for ex. anxiety or depression). There is an adjustment period when traveling that most people don’t discuss, but sometimes the feeling of being homesick creeps in and you want to go back to a familiar place. 

Beginning stage: Prepare for your journey by researching the culture.

Ensure you are ready for your journey and new environment because it will take some getting used to. You can never fully be ready for the unknown but leave some room mentally that things may not look or feel the way you imagined it in your head.

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Initial happiness: In the beginning, you will feel pure bliss from traveling and seeing new places.

Just know the blissful feeling will wear off. Once it wears off you need to remind yourself why you are living the lifestyle and try to do some new things to mix it up. You may even need to touch ground in your home base to reconnect with some family and friends and that is ok. (using Skype or a digital means to talk to a familiar face is also a useful tool)

Frustration: If and when the blissful feeling wears off you will get annoyed by your new living arrangement.

Everything is different and unfamiliar, so you will need to check in with yourself or a close friend to stay connected to the reason you are traveling. There may be some stores that aren’t easily available such as Walmart or Chipotle. You may not be able to run to the store to get a hair product like you would at home and feel that you just want to be done with the new place you are visiting. These feelings are completely normal and please hang in there it will get better.

Adjustment: You get used to the new customs and culture of your new home.

You find it less of a challenge to adjust to the new environment around you and start to settle in. At this point, you may want to find a part time job or a community event to meet the locals. Find a comfortable routine that works with your schedule. After some time you should begin to feel like you are adjusting well with the new culture.

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Adaptation: Troubles don’t last always.

Once you begin feeling comfortable with the culture, you will start to feel a sense of biculturalism, where you identify and even like the new culture you are experiencing. Everything that was once foreign and odd to you now feels comfortable and normal. You may even meet a few friends to include in your site seeing. A suggestion would be  to learn the native language or try some different foods in your area.

Re-entry: Going home.

When you leave this foreign culture to return home, you may find that you go through these stages all over again. It is no place like home. Having a homestead or home base is a essential part of traveling and takes the ease off of feeling homesick. It also gives the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This is normal and healthy way to enjoy life on the road.

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Leaving one life to live another.

Managing a life on the road can be tricky especially if you’re a newbie. It’s leaving one life to live another if you travel full time. There is an adjustment period that happens that most people don’t talk about. It’s the fight or struggle of trying to do things the way you did in a stick and brick house versus in an RV or movable home. Everything changes really fast and if you aren’t careful you won’t realize that you’re in tug of war with yourself to do things the old way because that is the space that is most comfortable. This lifestyle requires a ton of self management and flexibility. Plans don’t always work out which means you have to be willing to go with the flow.

I set my own schedule each day and that took some time getting used to. I’ve learned that I’m a person that craves structure. It minimizes my anxiety and keeps me focused when I set out a plan for the day.  It was always my dream to set my own schedule and travel the world. Schedules are opt to change and that is where flexibility comes in to the picture. Keeping an open mind when things don’t go right is a skill and unfortunately I’m still learning to master it.

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What you can do to maintain a life of full time travel? You can first explore how you can pay down your debt. You don’t want to get on the road with a lot of expenses. Next, you can find a remote job or see how you can make money online. There is also free lance work available for those who are experts in a specific skill. There are also many teaching English jobs online that make decent money. That is how I started out when I first got on the road. Create an expense sheet and see what’s the smallest debt you can payoff first to keep the momentum going. Then slowly work your way up to the highest debt.

It took us a year and a half to prepare before we officially took the jump and we still have a lot of work to do. Although, it still wasn’t perfect when we took the leap we learned that there will always be adjustments to make. You never reach a final point of completion or perfection, it’s more like a steady climb. The best part is that it is the best decision I’ve made in my life besides get married and starting a family. What I know for sure now being on this journey is that my soul is happy. The dollar amount that I make isn’t as nearly as important as it was because I don’t have as many things to maintain.There are still hard times and hurdles to overcome, but I’m choosing this life which makes it all worth it. This is something I really wanted to do, I pursued it, and it is working, I call that pretty freaking successful.  Cheers!

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Living for the weekend.

Many folks think it is impossible to retire and travel the world with children on a fixed income.

I also thought so too. When we decided to retire and travel we happily delivered the news to several of our friends, family, and co-workers. Some not all responded with what are we going to do? The answer to that was to slow down and live rather than exist. I’m sure some found it hard to believe and responded that we would be back due to boredom or cut traveling short due to wanting stability.  Society has us brainwashed to think that there is really only one way to live as a family and that the only way to live appropriately to gain societal acceptance as a family is in a big house, working nine to five, and inserting their children in daycare or school to be raised as good normal working people of society. These are all legitimate ways to live, but have you ever taken the time to stop and think if living the nine to five life, working until your sixty seven, living in the same house, and deciding to retire and travel at nearly seventy once the kids are all grown up is the life you want or the life you think everyone wants for you?

I can only speak from my experience when I say we never really fit in the societal acceptance standard of living. I found it to be quite boring, monotonous, unsatisfactory, and non-adventourus.  We worked really hard in the corporate world. We went to work everyday after dropping our children off at daycare or school and convinced ourselves one day we would be rich from working for someone else. My husband was a network engineer and I a project manager.  We lived on and for the weekends and holiday’s to take short trips as a family to experience life and take time off from our busy lives, but it never felt like enough time off before we were tossed back in to the work grind. We would pray that neither child got sick because one of us would have to take off work and that was usually an issue, because we had to work from home while keeping the sick child quiet and providing care to get them back to health so we can presume with taking them to daycare; respecting the 24 hour grace period. Our mornings started off at 5 am and ended at 6 pm.

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This is what we believed success looked like, so we didn’t complain but worked harder.

As time went on I became less and less happy with our lifestyle. I felt like I wasn’t able to spend as much time with the children as I wanted to and felt a bit lost. All the things and money just wasn’t adding up to the experience of our day to day and right before I decided to jump off the corporate ladder and suburb train I was miserable. On the outside you look great on paper to other folks, but deep inside I knew I desperately needed to make a positive change to impact my life in a way that I was happy, having organic experiences, making an income, and enjoying my family simultaneously. That works for me it doesn’t work for everyone, but to keep my sanity I needed to do it. Living small has been the most rewarding and freeing feeling for us. We spend more time outdoors and less time inside watching our gigantic seventy two inch television. My anxiety has lessen and I feel more relaxed.

We are a month into traveling and I’m convinced I don’t want to go back to the life I just described. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but one thing I didn’t realize is how unhappy I was living the monotonous routine of going to work and coming home. I believe if you are unhappy with your life you have the right to make a change. You don’t have to put on the face for the outsiders, but stick to what makes you and your family happy. Traveling full time isn’t for everyone, but find something that you can do that will allow you to live more versus existing in the day to day whirlwind of work and living for the weekends.

 

Corporate America made me Travel.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to win and lose at the same time?

I previoulsy worked for a company that is a major defense contractor for the government. It is a white male dominating bureaucratic and political aeronautics industry. I never thought in a million years I would get the opportunity to work for a company with such a rich and prestige history, but there I was excelling and performing like I belonged. The truth of the matter is I didn’t really belong and it would take me a while to learn that before choosing to leave.

When I was originally hired I was responsible for two major areas. One regarding food and the other fitness. There wasn’t any structure that existed prior to me starting so I built my own structure to manage my daily functions and responsibilities. In the beginning it was slow, but it allowed me the opportunity to learn the ropes and build relationships. As time went on I began to prove myself, and more responsibilities fell in my lap. I was ok with this because I saw it as growing opportunities, and I was looking for more of a leadership role within the organization. I slowly began to learn that there were some minor roadblocks simply because I was a black female in this industry.

One when I sat in meetings I was the only brown face in the meeting majority of the time.

I was used to that sort of thing working in Corporate America, but what I wasn’t used to is not being acknowledged or not getting a handshake from white men in the room. Secondly I learned that black or brown people were mainly in janitorial or in the food services area of the organization. There were very few brown people in leadership and if they were in leadership they weren’t women. Third, I would slowly realize that the culture of the organization had existing issues with discrimination and it was a common fact amongst the brown and black people working for the company –there was nothing anyone can do about it, basically get your money, go home, and be black.

I assisted a white male who at the time was my manager. Before him it was a white woman who managed me, but soon retired. She trained him to run the department before she left and he took over. I fell into the picture because I assisted him in running a fraction of the department. For some reason he saw me as competition and limited my knowledge on many things pertaining to the department. He was very unhappy with his job and soon looked for another leaving me in the dark about his intentions. He announced to the department that he was leaving after a year and a half in the position and provided me a week crash course on how to run the department until a replacement manager was selected.

With limited knowledge on how to manage I ran the department successfully for three months independently.

I applied for the position as well while I was managing the department thinking it would be a perfect fit. After three months, I learned that I didn’t get the position. When I asked why I was told that I wasn’t assertive enough or outgoing. I wasn’t the loudest person in the room and they were looking for someone that had the personality traits of the last manager. I was stunned and confused by this feedback because it was based on personality and not skill. The job was ninety percent skill and skill wasn’t even considered. I was told that my expectation was to train the new manager and bring him up to speed. I came to the conclusion that the reason they could afford to hire someone based on personality because I provided the skill. How was this fair? The candidate that was selected was described as such, he was a represented employee, Associate degree, and a electrician. I looked him up and turns out he was a white male. I had a Bachelor’s degree, was a salary employee, and had more experience.

So again I ask did you ever have the feeling of winning and losing at the same time? How is it that I exceeded all my expectations on my annual review and not deserve a promotion? How can I lead a department independently and still not measure up to a worthy candidate? Many would accept this and think they had a chance, but I knew I wouldn’t simply because there was no evidence of a black woman leading in this organization successfully. I’m not a person that will just accept anything because I should be happy that I’m in the door. I will create my own door and win not based on the color of my skin but the depth of my character. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

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.

 

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