When I tell people that we have lived in three different countries in the past three years, they often think we are rich or involved in illegal activity.
The truth is, we are neither. We are two ordinary people (our moms might beg to differ) who made the decision to dream big and commit to the execution of that dream.
Our dream? To see the world—one hometown at a time. We weren’t interested in merely traveling. That lets you see the world from the outside in. We were interested in seeing the world from the inside out. So, we embarked on a journey to give our children an epic childhood—living the world, one hometown at a time. We call this “World Towning.”
The “Why” of your life.
Before we can share the how—our secret sauce to travel success, if you will—we must first share our why. Why did we leave our life in Cambridge, Massachusetts—our two kids in an amazing international school, part of a diverse community, and living on a comfortable income—to jump ship and travel the world?
Simply, we took the leap in the name of cultural education, family bonding, and adventure.
If we want to accomplish anything in life, we must know our why and commit to it—tirelessly. Our why must be powerful enough to pull us up when we’re feeling down. Powerful enough to make us laugh when we want to cry. And powerful enough to help us fight harder and stronger than we ever knew was possible.
Our why did just that. Our why is (and has always been) our children, Avalon and Largo. Here are our reasons they are our why.
The world is big, and we are small.
We want to give our children a look at life beyond the nine-to-five and expectations of suburbia. We want them to develop a level of compassion and education about the world from first-hand experiences. We want them to determine what life they want to live through exposure to a variety of options. The young are our future, and the more knowledge they acquire about the world and its people, the more we all benefit. Let that sink in. There are different ways to acquire a global education, but for us, learning through travel is the best road to develop relationships with people who live differently than we do, to walk the same path another has walked, and to experience historical artifacts from other countries firsthand, rather than in books.
Our time with our children goes fast.
For Will and I, we want to soak up as much family time as possible before our children take off on their own adventures. In just three short years, our family bond has grown in ways we could never have imagined. Our ability to work as a team is powerful. We have taken the art of problem solving to the next level, and we are growing stronger every single day. And, our children are best friends. We have been able to create memories and build relationships instead of acquiring material possessions during our global travel. It is magical!
Kids are capable.
We are a big-adventure family. Our kids have been encouraged from a very young age to take calculated risks, to do hard things, to push their bodies within their comfort level, and to challenge the status quo and go for it.
That’s our why. I challenge you to find your why. I guarantee that once you do, your how will follow. Here are the steps we took, and which might help guide you:
• Commit to your travel dream (or any dream for that matter)
• Identify your desires as precisely as possible
• Clarify your budget
• Determine your travel style (backpacking, AirBnB, RV, hotel…)
• Decide on a destination—or multiple destinations
Be Ready to Work.
The why is the thing that will keep your dream alive, but the most important component of executing any of the above steps is hard work. Identify and fight through your fears. Do not move forward until you are able to manage your fears. It is unrealistic to think they will go away completely, but you can learn methods that will help you understand them, and you will come out stronger when you do.
Plan and Educate.
Plan and then plan some more. This is an important step. Too often we meet travelers who have run out of money or are on the fringe of running out. Plan, save, plan some more, and have backup plans. When we see people falling apart on the road, it is usually because they cut corners in this area. It is unrealistic to think that you can just ride off into the sunset and life will unfold perfectly. Planning helps tremendously for the obstacles you will face along the way. Know the visa requirements, have reserve money funds, don’t go into housing blind, understand the laws associated with home education, and much more.
Execute and Do it.
Execute. In my opinion, this is the easiest stage but the one where everything can fall apart if you have not planned accordingly. Go into this stage with open eyes. There will be tough days, weeks, and maybe even months, but if you have planned for these setbacks, you will be just fine. And, actually, they will make your family bond stronger and your confidence shine brighter than ever before.
The reason I mention this again is that there are no free rides, unless of course, you have a trust fund at your disposal—but even then, I believe, there are strings attached. You must do the work—the hard work—the late nights and much more. You have to be willing to work your tail off every day to bring your dream to fruition. And, if anyone tells you it is easy, don’t believe them. It is not easy, but it is worth it. It is worth every late night and teary “I give up.” It truly is, but you have to want it more than anything else, and you have to be willing to work hard for it.
Not-So-Secret Travel Secret.
There you have it, our secret sauce to creating a long-term travel life. Not so secret, right? If you want it, first identify your why, then plan your how. Above all else, work hard. Everyone has their own why and how, but the common thread between those who make it and those who don’t, is the planning and hard work. Find your why. Plan your how. Work hard. You can do it.
We are now starting on our fourth year of travel. The first three included living in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and France, and now we are living in an RV while traveling every country in Europe.
We encourage you to follow our travels and learn more about making your World Towning dreams become a reality.
We’re here to help.
Author: Jessica Sueiro
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Taia Butler