Q: What made you decide to go on this adventure?
A: Like all good things, this idea has progressed over a long time. For many years when we would travel with our young children (just one or two in tow), we would dream of how we could do it more. We loved most our trips that immersed us into some of the culture of where we went. We have felt for years that a time would come where we would live and/or travel extensively abroad. However, for the most part, this dream lived in our few family vacations per year.
As we wrapped up our business responsibilities in Utah and were faced with a new opportunity of where to live, we recognized a unique situation. Our children were finally here with us (baby making days are over!) as a complete unit. They are still young enough that we could make a major life switch without sending them into years of therapy (hopefully!). We can live and work from anywhere that has the internet. We were renting our home and could easily get out of what, for most people, is their biggest financial commitment.
We decided that rather than settle in the places we have lived before, grew up in and are most comfortable in, we needed to stretch our wings. We originally planned only to go to place that we would consider settling down, which included the west coast and southwest US. As we planned this, we soon added Hawaii to the trip. Once we planned this far and were now looking at nearly half a year, it was obvious that MAJOR life changes had to occur. We would pack up our belongings, we would not be going to regular school, we would need to sell our cars, etc. At that point, it was fairly easy to talk ourselves into going abroad. After all, we were halfway to Asia.
Q: How long do you plan to travel?
A: We purposefully left this flexible for ourselves. What if we started and hated it? We tell ourselves that we can quit at any time. However, for logistical purposes, we have allowed ourselves two years. We can easily extend this to longer if we all still love it. We gave away possessions, kid clothes, baby stuff and furniture all with the two-year mindset. We both feel that when the time is right to stop and settle back down, we will know.
Q: How can you afford to do this?
A: The short answer is we already work from home, so we are still working and bringing in money. Chris has successfully worked from home in our business for nearly nine years. He grows companies online and has clients worldwide, but mostly US based. I do our accounting and other special projects as time allows. We’ve been very blessed with success and have been able to travel regularly for the last few years.
Q: What are your kids doing for school?
A: We are homeschooling. This was somewhat of a hurdle for me to get over when thinking of doing this- I did not feel super confident in being able to homeschool while travelling with five kids. However, I’ve always admired the philosophy of homeschooling and how unique it can be for each child. I love the idea of pursuing their passions and not being away from them for so many hours a day. Frankly, after volunteering in classrooms for MANY hours, it is obvious that time is not always the most efficiently used the most efficient at school. I have nothing but admiration for teachers, but the system is not the best overall and I think most teachers would agree.
After reading a few family travel blogs on how they “travel school”, I loved the idea. I think my children are getting a huge amount out of our travel that compensates for what they may be missing in school. We are also homeschooling for the basics- math, reading, writing and certain electives. If there is any interest, I can share specifics on what exactly I am doing for this.
Q:What are your long-term plans for your itinerary?
A: We have now completed about six months in the Western US and Hawaii, seven months in Asia, six months in Europe and are waiting out Covid-19 in New Zealand. We originally planned to go to Australia, Tahiti, and South America before we officially move to Portugal in the fall of 2020. However, those plans are mostly canceled. We still have flights to Tahiti, but have no idea if they will even operate or if we will be allowed into their country.
Q: Are you guys trying to be the next Bucket List Family?!
A: We always giggle when we get this question. We didn’t actually hear about the Bucket List Family until we started announcing our travel plans to our friends and family. We brushed it off the first few times we heard about them and didn’t even see their material until we had already left for our trip! We really admire them now and would love to pick their brains someday! While we aren’t trying to BE them, we are similar in a few ways and we support fellow travel families 🙂
Q:What makes you unique?
A: I think this is a great question! Travel in general has become SO much more accessible in the last couple of decades and, with social media, the amount of people talking/posting/blogging about travel is also huge. My college-age babysitters are going to countries I am only now dreaming of in my 30’s!
A few things that make us unique:
- We have five young children
- We are still working another job while traveling
- We are staying in most of our locations for about a month at a time
Q: Why a month in each place?
A: While the length of our stay does limit how much we will see, we really prefer this amount of time. Many years ago, we decided to visit Sanibel, FL. When we went to book the VRBO (our very first!), we found that we needed to stay 30 days or more by city law. Since it was possible for us to still work, we decided to do it! We got a house and pet sitter and went for the entire month of June.
We ended up loving the amount of time. The first few days were hard. I remember distinctly taking a shower on day 4 or so and just having a breakdown. I missed my house and my friends and my family. I felt like I was missing my normal summer. Chris resolved to take more time with me during the day to break up the monotony of only young children ( at the time we have three kids ages 6, 3 and 1). Over time, I made some friends at church and started to get to hang out with other adults. I bonded with the kids and Chris in a whole new way. We watched our children bond and become the best of friends. It was richly rewarding.
We also got to know the area quite well. We shopped at the grocery stores, went to movies, shopped at the mall, dealt with traffic, explored surrounding cities, etc. Family visited us there. It was a great way to get to know a new life.
Ultimately, our journey now is one of self-discovery for our family as well as a journey to find our homebase. While it may just be the two places we grew up and love (Utah and Colorado), we want to do some exploring a know for sure that is what we want for the long-term.
Q: What do you want out of this journey?
A: We are so excited to see new cultures and explore the world. However, we could do this over a lifetime and possible without lots of kids in tow 🙂 We are doing this particular journey to also bond with our children and have them bond to each other. Nothing makes them best friends quite like removing everyone else from the picture. We felt like our family makes the best memories and bonds closer when life’s distractions are removed for all of us. So, ultimately, we are removing most of our “life clutter” to get to know each other better.
The experience of the travel is a fantastic side benefit to this journey and the memories we will make are priceless. No one (usually) regrets money spent on travel with their kids 🙂
Q:What are your backgrounds?
A: Chris and I met in Utah while attending college. We both had just broken off previous engagements and didn’t think anything would happen but friendship between us. However, it was pretty clear to both of us within the first few dates that this was going to long-lasting. If you ever meet us, ask us about our engagement 🙂
I graduated first with a degree in biology and worked for a few years as a Cosmetic Chemist. Chris graduated the year after in business and very soon after we moved to Colorado. A couple months after the move, Lucy joined the family.
Q: What are you most excited for?
A: Our ultimate goal for the trip is to become closer as a family. To create special bonds forged in in the experience of travel and new things. We love seeing our kids be each other’s best friends and for us to be great friends with them also. Chris and I could have waited to see the world when most people travel- as kids have left the house. However, we wanted them in this experience with us.
Outside of this, we are most excited to see some of the wonders of the world, eat amazing food from all different cultures, and the fun of being introduced to new and exciting things! We also look forward to the friends we will meet along the way.
Q: How are you traveling?
A: This first leg of the trip on the west coast was a road trip in our car. We sold our car when we flew to Hawaii. We were completely carless for nearly a year in Asia and relied on planes, taxis and Uber-type cars to get around. We long-term leased a car in Europe, twice actually, and have a rental car here in New Zealand.
Q: How far in advance do you plan?
A: With five kiddos in tow, a lot of our planning happens in snippits when kids are in bed or we have a date. We listen to recommendations and see how the idea feels to us for a while. Then we start to shop places to stay and make plans. Some of our first destinations were planned more than a year in advance. It was a way for us to get excited and into the trip (and start to think of moving). However, we are now about 6-8 months out and that window will likely start to shorten as we travel more.
Q: What have been your favorite place that you’ve seen?
A: As you can imagine, it is nearly impossible to narrow down! We’ve packed a lifetime of experiences into two years time. Some of our highlights include:
- Feeding elephants in Thailand and walking through the jungle with them, our five kids in tow. The 4-year-old stepped into a mud pit with the baby elephant and lost his sandal. Our sweet guide spent a good 20 minutes sifting through mud and poop to find it again!
- Being on the Great Wall of China is a bucket list item for sure. It is amazing! The amount of work that would have taken to accomplish is mind-blowing.
- Attempting to surf and play on Hanalei Beach in Kauai will always be a favorite memory of ours. For a long time, Chris wanted to move to Kauai.
- Sampling escargot and raclette at Christmas markets in Paris made it one of the most memorable holidays we will ever have.
- Sneaking our kids into the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore to swim in the famous infinity pool.
- Being in the colosseum in Rome and going to Gladiator Training with a real-life gladiator brought it all to life!
- Getting annual passes to Disneyland while we spent a month in Anaheim, CA was so much fun. We did Disney 2-5 times per week and it was our favorite date night.
- Flying in a helicopter to hike ON a glacier in New Zealand with our oldest two children. Our guide showed us an ice cave and we ate glacier ice as we walked with crampons.
- Bangkok night markets will always draw us back to Bangkok, a place we always consider living in. We always get the same things: fresh fruit smoothies, Pad Thai, Nutella Roti and mango and sticky rice.