“You know, Karen, the only reason you can live a life of travel is because you have money!”
These words caused a fire to start burning inside of me.
My sweat-beaded face changed to deeper shades of red propelled by the rage I felt at that texted comment.
There I stood, damp from head to toe from the Miami summer heat, with smeared plaster all over my chest and arms. My joints throbbed in pain from pushing them way farther than their limits, while working to make enough money for the next step in our journey.
The truth is this was not the first time anyone had assumed that our life was luxurious or that we had extravagant amounts of money.
My daughters and I started traveling full-time several years back to break away from many limitations and to create an experience that would take my two young homeschoolers out of their circle and into an immersive state of learning.
This assumption was a reoccurring theme from those we met along the way—as to them, the only way our life could be possible was if we were the holders of such luck.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
Before we started traveling, I had reached a place in my business that felt like going the wrong way on an escalator.
Even though the business was prosperous, I felt like no matter how much I walked, I was not moving.
I had the same life, with the same limitations, and my children’s childhoods were disappearing before my eyes. The idea that “one day” my business would reach a certain level to allow me to be free to spend more time with my children, take better care of my health, or have more free time, had crashed and burned with the realization that years had passed and my situation had not.
I had enough and decided to choose to truly live.
I decided that I would do what was hard and scary, and always say yes to what the universe put in front of me.
I sold the bakery I had created and owned for 10 years. This caused me to work harder than I had ever worked, which brought up feelings of resentment; it also made me feel safe and reassured that I would always have a steady income.
I started all over again with an online business that would, in theory, create the type of freedom we were truly hoping for. But I refused to wait for that business to be off the ground. I was not willing to spend more time watching the days go by, watching my children get older, and waiting for things to be right—to truly live.
Instead of finding another “job” in which I would sell my time for money, and that would leave me with no freedom yet creating stability, I decided to minimize the amount of money we needed to live. This meant subleasing my home and getting rid of everything except our car and whatever we would need to live on the road.
Being in the process of creating an online business that was not yet at the customer acquisition phase, I found myself like many before, creating out of a garage. Except, the garage was not mine and the garage usually looked more like a coffee shop or the house we were sitting at in the moment, or someone’s couch.
So for income, I would take on random jobs doing things I had excelled at in the past, like tinkering—my cute description for heavy physical labor that usually a “handy-man” would do. It’s a term that does not match my inner Goddess—cooking at camps or making cakes—something I quite honestly dreaded as it was something I had spent a quarter of my life doing.
But in between, we got to feel the dry desert air on our skin as we hiked the Grand Canyon, taking in the beauty, history, and geology displayed all around us.
We got to play in heaps of fluffy snow with flurries gently falling on our lashes as we hiked trough intricate trails. We got to swim in freezing, crystal blue water that mysteriously appeared from underground deposits in the most astonishing areas. And we got to do our learning or computer work, while immersed in a new landscape every few weeks.
I am so grateful for our life and every experience we have encountered.
So, when I am asked if I am a “trust fund baby,” I will usually laugh it off. And proceed to explain how we afford the simply extraordinary life we live.
What I found different this time was that it was in response to my very first eBook launch on the same subject, Full-Time Travel: Simply Extraordinary life on $2000 a month. Because now the comment felt dismissive.
Dismissive of how creative I must be with our money to create the magic we live every day. Dismissive of how scary it is to set out on the road with two young girls and worry for our safety as we pet sit with strangers or sleep in our car in a rest stop. Dismissive of how, when we are low on money and thousands of miles away from our hometown, the fear of not providing for my daughters kicks in and I must choose to keep going.
The comment “You know, Karen, the only reason you can live a life of travel is because you have money” hurt, because my life is not luck.
But I was not open to receiving this.
In fact, I refused. I live a life of travel, of exploration. I live outside of the box. I raise my kids to be free. And I live being fully present every moment of every day, because I choose to.
Because I woke up one day and decided that waiting until I reached the unattainable peak of the endless mountain I was climbing, before I started living, was just not an option. I needed to be free and I needed it now.
And instead of waiting until I had the perfect amount of money in my bank account, I simplified my life to afford a life of travel for me and my two daughters on $2,000 a month.
This was not luck.
This was not thanks to a hand-me-down.
It was because when I decided I would truly live, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I did not wait for someone to come rescue me, lay the path before me, or tell me what to do.
I jumped in headfirst and figured it out as I went. Just my girls, and me, on the road.
Overcoming every hurdle that life presented us with. Life does not happen to me.
Life happens for me, because I lead myself over hurdles each and every day.