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Full-Time Travel: 8 Months In

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Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

Tomorrow, we hit our 8-month anniversary of full-time travel. I can hardly believe this. When I talk to my friends (mostly through Marco Polo—have you heard of it? It makes talking to my mom friends possible, especially in different time zones!), it feels like I’ve been gone maybe a month or two. Time is such a funny thing—some moments drag on forever, and others are a blink.

Road-Trip car selfie, with Leslie and Chris in the front and all the kids in their car seats in the back

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As I sit and ponder our last eight months, I remember how completely overwhelming it was to get here. It was not easy. In reality, it was one of our biggest and most difficult accomplishments. To break the norm in such a way, to buck expectations, to try to put into words to our closest friends and family that we were leaving…. for what? Not for a job relocation. Not to move closer to family. Not to go to a place we knew we loved. To leave our comforts, our loved ones, our “things” that we loved (and do still miss a bit). To re-locate our pets. To instead venture into the unknown.

BUT WHY? People would ask. Those are hard things to leave. These are hard things to separate from, even when a new job or family situation compels you. When we choose to do it on our own for reasons that are hard to explain, well, that seems wacky.

Even now, as I try to put all the reasons in writing, it is difficult. It is so intensely personal. It’s like a little corner of my heart that is tender and special. When I start poking around and prodding, it pushes back.

I could give you the superficial answers that seem to placate most people:

  • We want to find a new place to live!
    • True statement. We have opened our minds to anywhere on this beautiful globe. We really try to envision our lives in every place we go.
  • We want to leave the normal grind!
    • That being said, we were already quite unconventional in working remotely and owning our own business
  • We wanted to have less stuff!
    • I do love having less. I also hate it. I want to still fill our homes, I want to buy and have things I “might” need. I’m not a minimalist by nature… neither is Chris.
  • We wanted to make new friends around the world!
    • Very true. I love meeting new people! However, not enough of a reason to overcome all the difficulties of getting to this point
  • We want to see the world!
    • Also very true. However, I would have been content to do our annual vacations and have a home base. We even could have done a month or two each year and kept a home. We work from home, after all! We’ve done it before.

While these answers hold truths, they are not the whole picture.

What I can say when I start to prod around that tender little spot in my soul is that this felt very much like a calling. Like a purpose for our family. It was not something I wanted all that much. I put up all the same reasons to NOT do it, which you can probably name off the top of your head.

  • What about the kids’ school?!
  • What about my friends?!
  • What in the world do I do about medical issues?!
  • Will I ever feel really comfortable if I’m not in my home?!
  • How can I live out of backpacks and luggage for more than a month?!

I had to get over those things and many more. Well, let me clarify that. I didn’t HAVE to. I could have said no. Chris, while disappointed, would have loved me and supported me all the same. However, to stay true to what I knew was meant for us, I had to get out of my comfort zone.

As we started to get serious about dreaming and planning and started to actually book places, it was like puzzle pieces coming together in my heart. My brain said no, but my heart said yes. I was freaking out, but in the quiet moments, I knew it was right.

Family photo in front of an ocean and city skyline view

As we started to tell people, we got a lot of different reactions. Some were excited, many had questions, and others sort of blew us off. Maybe they didn’t think we would actually do it? Haha. They don’t know me well!! When I say I will, it will happen to the best of my ability. I don’t commit lightly.

Those months of serious prep before we left were so intense and so difficult. We set a date for the end of May 2018. Starting Jan 1, 2018, we started packing up our things. I’ll have to do another post about the nitty gritty timeline, but it felt so surreal to start packing things up.

From Jan 1 to the end of May was a bit of a hell. Really. I was so overwhelmed. So stressed. I got little sleep and it was not restful. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. Seriously. Chris would have to make me stop many time from just working myself into a frenzy.

My mind was constantly swimming in details. What about doctors? What about our cell phones? What do I pack? Do I leave out clothes my boys will grow into and have my mom store them and send them to me? What do I do with toys? How long may we be gone? What do I do with our furniture? Scheduling moving, piano movers, turning off utilities, etc. I talked to teachers, explained what we were going to do, and tried to pick their brains about what I should do. Some were supportive; others were very skeptical.

Then the going away parties started, the “lasts”… last time we go to church, last time we go to school, last time we see someone, last time at our gym, last night in our house. We wanted to see all our friends and our family soak it up before we set out on our own. We knew we were likely NOT coming back to live in the place we left, so it all had to be wrapped up as neatly as possible.

Phew. It brings back a lot of emotion just reviewing it in my mind.

However, once it was done, it was the breather I had dreamed of. Don’t get me wrong, the first couple of months were an adjustment. Especially for the kids. We continue to adjust every day, every week, every month. However, it’s been so much easier. It is lovely not to have so many of those things to deal with. I don’t stress about soccer practice and the kids doing their homework. I don’t have social expectations. I get to just be me all the time. It’s very freeing. NO ONE knows me. I don’t have to keep up with anyone else’s expectations of me, of how I parent, of my marriage, of my family. While I want to serve and connect with people, I don’t have to meet any “I should” expectations either. It’s just up to us each day how we want to live that day. This should be everyone’s reality, but I was not living that way all the time before we left.

Of course, seeing the world at the same time is a MAJOR bonus. Being together as a family as much as humanly possible is truly wonderful, even though taxing at times. Creating memories is the treasure we take away.

I don’t really know what our “purpose” is. I probably will never know completely. However, we are continuing to step out into the unknown with faith. With trust. With the hope that whatever is in store for us is the BEST for us. This is OUR story.

The family and a bunch of other children in uniforms, in front of a school building

Plan your next international trip and get some budget-friendly tickets from Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a family-friendly hotel wherever you are from Booking.com, Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover more of the world through exciting activities from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need to rent a car? Visit Rentalcars.com.

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads.

Want to have a photo shoot while traveling? Check out flytographer!

Capture your best travel memories as we do with a GroPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

Check out your travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!

Additional Reading

Full-Time Travel Q’s and A’s

7 Wayfinder’s Full-Time Travel FAQs

The Reality of Full-Time Travel


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